Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony: Dave Grohl Praises Rush, Chuck D Admits Donna Summer Crush
The recurring theme on the red carpet of the 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, held Thursday night at Los Angeles’ Nokia Theatre and honoring Heart, Albert King, Randy Newman, Public Enemy, Rush, Donna Summer, Lou Adler and Quincy Jones, was that the event was one for the fans.
So said sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart of getting the call from Rolling Stone publisher and Rock Hall co-founder Jann Wenner. The fact that they were being inducted was special, no doubt, but as Nancy told The Hollywood Reporter, she was happiest for the longtime Heart loyalists.
“They’ve been angry villagers with torches running into the town,” said Nancy. “So for them in particular, we’re really excited because now they can calm down and be glad that we didn’t get passed over again.”
But perhaps no band’s devoted followers have waited longer or campaigned harder than the Rush fans. Their inductors, the Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins, were two of them.
“My first Rush memory was walking into my cousin’s bedroom as he was getting high listening to 2112,” Grohl told THR on the carpet. “Then he gave me [his copy of] 2112, and the album smelled like incense and pot.”
For his part, Rush’s legendary drummer Neil Peart was honored to be introduced by two rockers who play the same instrument and happen to be his friends. Said Peart: “Dave told me the other day that he was inspired to play drums by our 2112 album, and when I first heard Nirvana in the early 90s, I was galvanized by that and then what he’s done since then. So I kind of consider it the praise of the praiseworthy, people that I respect who have respect for what we’ve done."
Peart also admitted that while he hadn’t given a lot of thought to the honor leading up to the event, which was held in L.A. for the first time in 20 years, it did mean a lot once it finally arrived. “We worry about day-to-day,” he offered. “We’re still touring, we’re still making records, we’ve had plenty of respect and plenty of success, there was no need for us to lament.” That last comment was in reference to how long it had taken for their turn to come up. “I’ve been in the motorcycle hall of fame, I’ve been in the hockey hall of fame, but now that this has happened, apparently it’s quite a big deal.”
For Heart, like Rush, having longtime friends and veterans of the Seattle scene on hand -- like Soundgarden's Chris Cornell, Alice in Chains' Jerry Cantrell and Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready -- made the night that much more special. “It’s especially meaningful to have Jerry and Mike McCready because that’s the community up there, we love those guys,” said Ann.
Likewise, Cantrell was moved for his friends. “It makes me really happy for them on so many levels,” he said. “They’re my friends and also an inspiration musically, they’re one of the reasons I decided to play. They’re our local heroes, and they gave a pretty clear signpost of, 'This is the way to do it if you want to do it.' To have them ask me to be a part of tonight is amazing.”
In the press room during the show, Cornell said he looked forward to his own possible induction one day and felt that being in the same Hall as Heart, Public Enemy and Rush, one of his all-time favorite bands, he said, made the future prospect all the more exciting. “It gives it more integrity,” he said of the inclusion of many of the night’s honorees.
Tom Morello, on hand as a fan, also was impressed with the class of 2013. “Albert King was hugely influential to me as a guitarist; those Heart records are such classic rock jams; Public Enemy, one of the greatest not just hip-hop groups, but groups of all time, and Rush was super formative for me as a guitar player and aspiring musician,” Morello told us. “And when a Donna Summer jam comes on, I will crank that shit. I didn’t like it when I was a young metallian, but now it’s fantastic.”
The late queen of disco was remembered by several music notables, including the Wilson sisters, who praised her work with fellow inductee Jones. Public Enemy’s Chuck D recalled his own adoration for Summer, who died in May. “I would’ve loved to do ‘The Hustle’ with her,” he said of his dream collaborations with this year’s class. “I had a big crush on Donna Summer my whole life.”
Chuck D definitely won the award for best speech in the press room as he poked fun at Flavor Flav’s rambling acceptance, which ran well over 10 minutes. But D felt that was precisely his longtime bandmate’s purpose: to confound. “His job is to make you go, ‘What the f---?’”
In that, he succeeded, but it was all in good fun on a night when everybody seemed thrilled just to be in the room. And for those being inducted, the honor was the cherry on top. “This is definitely rejuvenating because it’s acknowledgement,” said Ann Wilson. “We’re human; everybody likes a little pat on the back.”
Pictured below (from left): Nancy Wilson, Jerry Cantrell, Ann Wilson and Mike McCready.