Most years, we’d gladly let you go about your day without a second thought as to who the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame selected for its short list of nominees. The Hall remains mostly irrelevant for all the reasons you may well be sick of hearing by now, like its allegedly shady voting practices (former Hall voter Joel Selvin, in 2007: “This thing has sunk to a shameful level of manipulation and behind-the-scenes chicanery”) and the fact that, nearly three decades into the institution, the majority of music fans neither know nor care who’s actually in the Hall of Fame. But this year is different. This year, Guns N’ Roses have been nominated.
Yes! Twenty-five years after their formation (as per Hall rules, and alongside — deep breath — Heart, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, the Cure, Small Faces/Faces, the Spinners, Rufus with Chaka Khan, Freddie King, Eric B. & Rakim, Donovan, Laura Nyro, War, Beastie Boys, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Donna Summer), GN’R are up for coronation. So what makes this so exciting?
Well, as you well may have noticed, Axl Rose has been dragging around a mercenary version of the band, staffed by hired guns with names like Buckethead and Bumblefoot, for the last decade and change. Rose has toured haphazardly with his new guys, abruptly canceling sets at giant European festivals while flaking out on other shows altogether. He’s also put out Chinese Democracy, a project that had taken on near-mythical proportions until it was released in 2008 to lukewarm reception. But what Axl hasn’t done is make amends with Slash. In fact, those two despise each other! Which means that, if GN’R does make the cut as one of the five inductees, we could have one gloriously awkward onstage reunion on our hands.
Of course, maybe none of them would even show up. But maybe they would! Things might not be so tense between Axl and former bassist Duff McKagan, who actually joined the band for an impromptu appearance during a London show last year. Guitarist Izzy Stradlin, who had played a few gigs with the band back in 2006, probably won’t be too ornery either. Drummer Steven Adler, who’s spent some time on Celebrity Rehab, might not be as polite: He made overtures toward joining GN’R 2.0 as part of a post-rehab career path, but was rebuffed. But the real potential fireworks would come from Slash’s direction. In 2009, Axl hilariously explained that “There’s zero possibility of me having anything to do with Slash other than by ambush, and that wouldn’t be pretty … In a nutshell, personally I consider him a cancer.” (His hatred of Slash has also led, indirectly, to multiple lawsuits.) They reportedly haven’t spoken in years. How wonderful would it be if the — possibly violent?! — reunion took place on TV?
For the first time, we care enough to make a plea to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Do the right thing, guys. Vote for GN’R.