Breaking Down Axl Rose's Rock Hall Rejection Letter

Just three days from the 2012 Induction Ceremony, and after months of speculation about a potential reunion performance, Axl Rose wrote an open letter to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame declining his induction with Guns N’ Roses.

Let’s take a close look at what Rose wrote and what he might be trying to say between the lines.

To: The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Guns N' Roses Fans and Whom It May Concern,

When the nominations for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame were first announced I had mixed emotions but, in an effort to be positive, wanting to make the most of things for the fans and with their enthusiasm, I was honored, excited and hoped that somehow this would be a good thing. Of course I realized as things stood, if Guns N' Roses were to be inducted it'd be somewhat of a complicated or awkward situation.

Since then we've listened to fans, talked with members of the board of the Hall Of Fame, communicated with and read various public comments and jabs from former members of Guns N' Roses, had discussions with the president of the Hall Of Fame, read various press (some legit, some contrived) and read other artists' comments weighing in publicly on Guns and the Hall with their thoughts.

Under the circumstances I feel we've been polite, courteous, and open to an amicable solution in our efforts to work something out. Taking into consideration the history of Guns N' Roses, those who plan to attend along with those the Hall for reasons of their own, have chosen to include in "our" induction (that for the record are decisions I don't agree with, support or feel the Hall has any right to make), and how (albeit no easy task) those involved with the Hall have handled things... no offense meant to anyone but the Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony doesn't appear to be somewhere I'm actually wanted or respected.

Axl has a BIG problem with the fact that the Rock Hall decided, apparently without his input, which members of Guns N’ Roses got inducted. The Rock Hall chose to induct the original five members, plus Matt Sorum and Dizzy Reed. With the exception of Reed, none of those guys are still with the band, and Axl appears to feel his current lineup should be included as well. And why shouldn’t he? All he had to do was look at fellow 2012 inductees, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, to see that new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer is somehow getting inducted after just three years as an official member of the band (under the Trujillo precedent). Axl has worked with a bunch of different people since the mid-nineties, but there are members of the current GNR that he has worked with for over a decade now. The Rock Hall has recently been taking a much more inclusive stance with inductees, so why shouldn’t they be inducted? Oddly enough, the Rock Hall may have been waffling on this issue. They hadn’t publicly released the inducted members list, and only updated the Guns N’ Roses bio on their website this week to make it official. They could have changed their mind without having to backtrack.

Axl may have also had a problem negotiating the performance aspect of the induction ceremony. Don’t forget that when Van Halen was inducted in 2007, the negotiations about the song selection caused David Lee Roth to stay home. Rock Hall president Joel Peresman said this about the incident,“"We made every effort and the decision not to come was solely his, not ours."”Hmm… Expect a similar statement from the Rock Hall about Axl Rose to surface soon.

For the record, I would not begrudge anyone from Guns their accomplishments or recognition for such. Neither I or anyone in my camp has made any requests or demands of the Hall Of Fame. It's their show not mine.

Axl makes it clear here that he wasn’t trying to keep Slash or anyone out of the Hall of Fame.

That said, I won't be attending The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction 2012 Ceremony and I respectfully decline my induction as a member of Guns N' Roses to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

I strongly request that I not be inducted in absentia and please know that no one is authorized nor may anyone be permitted to accept any induction for me or speak on my behalf. Neither former members, label representatives nor the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame should imply whether directly, indirectly or by omission that I am included in any purported induction of "Guns N' Roses”.

Boom. There have been plenty of artists over the years who haven’t shown up to the Induction Ceremony (most infamously, the Sex Pistols), but this is the first time an artist has actually declined the induction. It appears that the Rock Hall is going to ignore Rose’s request and induct him anyway. The glass has already been etched on the Hall of Fame wall in the museum.

This decision is personal. This letter is to help clarify things from my and my camp's perspective. Neither is meant to offend, attack or condemn. Though unfortunately I'm sure there will be those who take offense (God knows how long I'll have to contend with the fallout), I certainly don't intend to disappoint anyone, especially the fans, with this decision. Since the announcement of the nomination we've actively sought out a solution to what, with all things considered, appears to be a no win, at least for me, "damned if I do, damned if I don't" scenario all the way around.

In regard to a reunion of any kind of either the Appetite or Illusion lineups, I've publicly made myself more than clear. Nothing's changed.

Yup, Axl really does hate Slash.

The only reason, at this point, under the circumstances, in my opinion whether under the guise of "for the fans" or whatever justification of the moment, for anyone to continue to ask, suggest or demand a reunion are misguided attempts to distract from our efforts with our current lineup of myself, Dizzy Reed, Tommy Stinson, Frank Ferrer, Richard Fortus, Chris Pitman, Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal and DJ Ashba. 

Again, sticking up for his current band.

Izzy came out with us a few times back in '06 and I invited him to join us at our LA Forum show last year. Steven was at our show at the Hard Rock, later in '06 in Las Vegas, where I invited him to our after-party and was rewarded with his subsequent interviews filled with reunion lies. Lesson learned. Duff joined us in 2010 and again in '11 along with his band, Loaded, opening in Seattle and Vancouver. For me, with the exception of Izzy or Duff joining us on stage if they were so inclined somewhere in the future for a song or two, that's enough.

There's a seemingly endless amount of revisionism and fantasies out there for the sake of self-promotion and business opportunities masking the actual realities. Until every single one of those generating from or originating with the earlier lineups has been brought out in the light, there isn't room to consider a conversation let alone a reunion.

Is Axl waiting for an apology? Do Slash and Steven Adler even know what they would be apologizing for at this point?

Maybe if it were you it'd be different. Maybe you'd do it for this reason or that. Peace, whatever. I love our band now. We're there for each other when the going get's rough. We love our fans and work to give them every ounce of energy and heart we can.

So let sleeping dogs lie or lying dogs sleep or whatever. Time to move on. People get divorced. Life doesn't owe you your own personal happy ending especially at another's, or in this case several others', expense.

No, fans aren’t owed anything. But it’s easy to see a giant missed opportunity and wish it were different.

But hey if ya gotta then maybe we can get the "no show, grandstanding, publicity stunt, disrespectful, he doesn't care about the fans" crap out of the way as quickly as we can and let's move on. No one's taking the ball and going home. Don't get it twisted. For more than a decade and a half we've endured the double standards, the greed of this industry and the ever present seemingly limitless supply of wannabes and unscrupulous, irresponsible media types. Not to imply anything in this particular circumstance, but from my perspective in regard to both the Hall and a reunion, the ball's never been in our court.

”It’s not me, it’s you.”

In closing, regardless of this decision and as hard to believe or as ironic as it may seem, I'd like to sincerely thank the board for their nomination and their votes for Guns' induction. More importantly I'd like to thank the fans for being there over the years, making any success we've had possible and for enjoying and supporting Guns N' Roses music.

I wish the Hall a great show, congratulations to all the other artists being inducted and to our fans we look forward to seeing you on tour!!


Axl Rose

P.S. RIP Armand, Long Live ABC III

Guns N’ Roses fans were indeed hoping for a reunion, even it was extremely unlikely. Even the original five were never going to perform together at the ceremony, it would have been cool to at least see them on stage together to accept their award. Clearly, Axl Rose didn’t see it that way. Hey, it’s his legacy, he can do what he wants with it.

So, how will the Rock Hall handle the sticky situation of a GNR induction now? We know that Green Day will be doing the induction speech, but what about a performance? We don’t see Green Day covering GNR like they did for the Ramones. Our theory is that now that Axl is out of the way, Slash, Duff and Steven Adler can perform with Kid Rock on vocals. (Supposedly, Kid Rock and Axl are on the outs, so maybe Kid Rock won’t mind pissing off his old friend.) What else is Kid Rock going to do at the ceremony if he’s not doing some GNR songs? We’ll all find out on Saturday night.

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