Axl Rose Explains His Rock Hall Snub, Makes a Ton of Sense (Really!)

Guns 'N RosesDespite the cavernous absence of one W. Axl Rose, the 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony went down as planned in Cleveland on Saturday night. (Were you totally unaware that this was happening? Was there maybe a competing, possibly hologram-related music event happening this past weekend?) According to the New York Times report, nothing out of the ordinary took place; the Red Hot Chili Peppers jammed with Slash and George Clinton, Bette Midler cried, Kid Rock wore a track suit. Which means that most of the entertainment delivered by the 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony came our way — just as it has throughout the entire 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame process — via Axl’s reaction to his 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. Days after first announcing, by way of a hilariously irritable open letter, that he’d be skipping out on the ceremony and that he’d be rejecting his induction (a rejection the Hall chose to ignore), Rose followed up with another winning statement. And this one just happens to make a startling amount of sense. The entire letter is, per Axl’s personal request, reprinted below. But here is the meat:

I still don’t exactly know or understand what the Hall is or how or why it makes money, where the money goes, who chooses the voters and why anyone or this board decides who, out of all the artists in the world that have contributed to this genre, officially “rock” enough to be in the Hall?

This isn’t an attack. These are genuine issues I don’t have enough verified information on to have more than rough ideas. Certainly not enough information to make any judgments about.

I could elaborate here on our dude’s salient point. I could contend that waiting 25 years before declaring something of value seems highly counter to so much of what makes music great, and I could knowingly nod to the fact that, unlike almost any other field, a musician can be an all-time great based off of, like, two and a half minutes of work, and I could lament that they probably don’t let you bring drugs into the ceremony. But, really, the “who decides who rocks enough” line — that’s it, right? That’s the whole thing, as summed up by motherfucking Axl Rose. Commendably even-keeled, right?

Waaaaaait, there’s also this part:

Now that the smoke’s cleared a little, any desperate, misguided attacks have been just that, a pathetic stab at gossip, some lame vindictiveness, the usual entitlement crap, he’s obsessed, crazy, volatile, a hater. I once bought a homeless woman a slice of pizza who yelled at me she wanted soup. We got her the soup. You can get your own.

No lobster bisque, no minestrone, no split pea! Get your own soup, haters. Axl Rose isn’t buying you any.


To: Cleveland, Ohio, Guns N’ Roses Fans and everyone who’s shown support for my decision regarding the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

I seriously didn’t plan on or expect the overwhelmingly positive response and public support for my decision regarding the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. With such a generous outpouring of solidarity from fans, media outlets, writers and other artists, I’m truly humbled, blown away and unbelievably relieved! To be honest, I thought it would go the other way and was just hoping to weather the storm. As I said, I sincerely didn’t want to disappoint anyone. It gets old being the outlaw even if “it’s only rock and roll”.

It took a lot of focus and soul searching to be sincere and informative while making a genuine effort to be somewhat diplomatic. We made, what I feel, are real efforts to learn about the Hall and the Board, spoke as I said with the president and various members, and though I inducted Elton John and Bernie Taupin in ’94 saying something to the effect of “I’m learning what the Hall’s about … “

I still don’t exactly know or understand what the Hall is or how or why it makes money, where the money goes, who chooses the voters and why anyone or this board decides who, out of all the artists in the world that have contributed to this genre, officially “rock” enough to be in the Hall?

This isn’t an attack. These are genuine issues I don’t have enough verified information on to have more than rough ideas. Certainly not enough information to make any judgments about.

I would like to apologize to Cleveland, Ohio for not apologizing to them beforehand for not attending [the ceremony] in their city. I think they know how much I genuinely love performing there. Cleveland does in fact Rock!!

Now that the smoke’s cleared a little, any desperate, misguided attacks have been just that, a pathetic stab at gossip, some lame vindictiveness, the usual entitlement crap, he’s obsessed, crazy, volatile, a hater. I once bought a homeless woman a slice of pizza who yelled at me she wanted soup. We got her the soup. You can get your own.

Again: HUGE thanks to the fans and to everyone for the incredible public support. My congratulations to the other artists inducted. And my apologies to the city and people of Cleveland, Ohio. I hope you’ll forgive me and we hope to see you again soon!

Keep Rockin’,

Axl

Unlike my open letter to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Guns N’ Roses Fans and Whom It May Concern this was written for GNR’s official website, Facebook account and my personal twitter account and not intended as a press release. If anyone does choose to pick this up as has been done previously I’d appreciate if you’d run in full including this paragraph so as not to give a partial picture, have things taken out of context or to imply or inadvertently give the impression this was intended for other outlets.

Thanks in advance. Peace-

Filed Under: Axl Rose, Guns N' Roses, Music, Rock 'N Roll, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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Amos Barshad has written for New York Magazine, Spin, GQ, XXL, and the Arkansas Times. He is a staff writer for Grantland.

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