The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony took place last Friday night in Brooklyn, NY. While at least 3 out of the 5 bands had disagreements with past members, the night went well for some big names in the rock n roll industry.
Metallica drummer and self-confessed Deep Purple fanatic Lars Ulrich, in a purple sport jacket, had the honor of inducting his childhood heroes into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This is part of what he had to say in his intro:
“With almost no exceptions, every hard rock band of the last 40 years traces its lineage back directly to Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. Where I grew up [Denmark] and in the rest of the world outside of North America, all were equal in stature and influence. So in my heart, and I know I speak for many of my fellow musicians and millions of Purple fans, when I confess that I am somewhat bewildered that they are so late in getting in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, decades after the mighty Sabbath and the brilliant Zeppelin.”
Deep Purple counts 14 members in its long-running fraternity, but only eight were formally inducted Ian Gillan, Ian Paice, Roger Glover, Ritchie Blackmore, the late Jon Lord, David Coverdale, Glenn Hughes and original singer Rod Evans.
Singer Ian Gillan referred to the band as a “remarkable family,” while bassist Roger Glover said boycotting guitarist Ritchie Blackmore “changed my life forever.” Paice, the only original member still in the lineup after nearly 50 years, joked about the difficulty of dealing with bandmates over the long haul.
“For all the fans that have been with us, you know it’s like watching your own football team. If they win, you’re part of it. And for the fans, when their heroes get a pat on the back, they feel part of it too. So for them, thank you very much.”
The current lineup, with Steve Morse on guitar and Don Airey on keyboards, then did “Highway Star,” “Hush” (after a lead in of “Green Onions”) and “Smoke on the Water.”
Asked backstage after their induction about why they couldn’t bury the hatchet for one night and perform with founding guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Gillan insisted he invited him to perform with them, despite issuing a statement in February saying how he wanted the current lineup to perform.
“I invited him, you know. You have to understand that Ritchie is a singular animal and he could say he wasn’t gonna turn up for the last six weeks and it would be just like him to have turned up. So you never know. It would not have surprised me at all to look round and see him there. But it was Ritchie’s choice and that’s fine.”
Steve Miller was inducted by the Black Keys, who gave a humorous speech which Dan Auerbach began by noting, “Miller was born in Milwaukee.” His bandmate Patrick Carney added, “A lot of Millers come from Milwaukee, but only one of them wrote ‘Fly Like an Eagle,’ because cans of beer can’t write songs.”
After running through Miller’s career highlights, Carney ended by saying, “The Space Cowboy, the Gangster of Love, some people call him Maurice. It’s finally time to have a fourth persona of a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.”
Miller took the stage to play “Fly Like an Eagle,” “Rock ‘n Me” and “The Joker,” the song he claimed saved his career. In his speech, he also called for the Hall of Fame’s induction process to become more transparent, and for more women to be inducted.
If anyone had any doubts that rap belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Ice Cube set them straight as his group N.W.A. was inducted.
“The question is, Are we rock & roll?” asked Cube. “And I say, you g**damn right we rock & roll!” As the audience cheered and applauded, he continued, “Rock & roll is a spirit… Rock & roll is not conforming to the people who came before you, but creating your own path in music and in life. That is rock & roll, and that is us.”
MC Ren also addressed the issue in his acceptance speech, calling out Gene Simmons of Kiss for criticizing the inclusion of rap into the Hall. “I want to say, to Mr. Gene Simmons, hip-hop is here forever!” said Ren. “Get used to it! We supposed to be here!”