Pop-punker Billie Joe Armstrong took to the stage last night (April 14) with his Green Day bandmates Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool to deliver the induction speech for Guns N’ Roses into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Slash, Duff McKagan, Steven Adler, Matt Sorum and Gilby Clarke rounded out the original and former Guns N’ Roses members on hand to receive the honor. Armstrong delivered a speech that took everyone in attendance on a trip back in history to remember the first time they heard Guns N’ Roses debut seminal disc ‘Appetite For Destruction.’ In particular, Armstrong spoke about the impact it had on him personally as a young musician.
The first time I saw Guns N’ Roses on MTV I thought, one of these guys could end up dead or in jail.
The opening riff of ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ is a descending trip into the underworld of Los Angeles. This ride was not about parties, glamour or power ballads. It was about the seedy underworld of misfits, drug addicts, paranoia, sex, violence, love, anger and the cracks of Hollywood.
It was a breath of fresh air! Needless to say, I bought the record. ‘Appetite for Destruction’ is the best debut album in the history of rock and roll. You can name a few others if you want, but tonight, Guns N’ Roses owns that crown for sure.
Every song hits hard on all emotional levels. It takes you on a trip through the seedy underworld of Los Angeles in brutal sequence: ‘Welcome To The Jungle,’ ‘It’s So Easy,’ Nighttrain,’ ‘Out To Get Me,’ ‘Mr. Brownstone, ‘Paradise f—kin City,’ ‘My Michelle,’ ‘Think About You,’ ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine,’ ‘You’re f–kin’ Crazy,’ ‘Anything Goes’ and ‘Rocket Queen.’
(They were) jamming in a sweaty hole in the wall, writing songs on pizza boxes and bar napkins, looking for a free drink and a place to crash and they did it for the love of playing loud ass rock and roll music. The thing that set them apart from everyone else is guts, heart and soul. And most importantly, they told the truth and painted a picture of the mad world that they lived in.
I f–king hated power ballads. I hated jock party anthems. As a young musician, I craved something more – ‘Appetite for Destruction’ delivered. Ultimately, they became the biggest and best rock and roll band and that was off one album.
Armstrong seamlessly traversed through the band’s notorious career, pointing out each new album with anecdotes to complement each one, all delivered with Armstrong’s brand of humor.
He addressed every member in attendance personally with a special shout out to Izzy Stradlin who didn’t make the ceremony. Here’s what he had so say to the individual players:
Steven Adler, your drumming on ‘Appetite’ was perfect. It was like the perfect combination between slamming hard rock songs and laying into a great groove. It’s f–king unbelievable man, it’s great.
Matt Sorum. You took over seamlessly and you brought in [Armstrong pauses]…….what did you bring in? You brought in new dynamics and power and your first gig was Rock in Rio….welcome to the band!
Dizzy Reed, you play a mean keyboard – keep up with the good job. [Armstrong gives a possibly sarcastic thumbs up]
Duff McKagan. The Seattle transplant punk rock kid. You’re like Johnny Thunders with a bass. The bass line to ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ is so good, you can sing along to it. And you got a great family over here, all proud of you and s— and you were in a band called The Farts.
Izzy Stradlin. Wherever you are, I hope you can hear me right now. You’re probably driving an RV across Egypt right now. You’re like the Miles Davis of rock and roll. The way you played and weaved with Slash was an effortless craft. You’ve got that f–kin’ Ronnie Wood mojo, I’ll tell you right now.
Gilby Clarke – I love you, where are you? [Looking towards Clarke in the crowd.]
Slash — while every guitar geek in L.A. was riding on the coattails of Eddie Van Halen, you took a totally different approach. You bridged the gap between Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Joe Perry and you brought it into your own modern era. I can immediately identify your leads and riffs because you embodied them. Your guitar playing is an extension of your heart and soul. To see you without a guitar and a top hat is just plain weird.
In the end, Armstrong painted Guns N’ Roses as a gutsy rock band who broke all the rules and never looked back – the pure essence of rock ‘n’ roll.
Green Day also kicked off the show with a live performance of their song ‘Letterbomb’ from ‘American Idiot.’
Listen to the audio file below to hear Armstrong’s full induction speech or read it in its entirety here.
Billie Joe Armstrong Delivers Induction Speech to Guns N’ Roses
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