In the news this week is a report that Guns and Roses lead singer Axl Rose will not be attending the induction ceremony for his band this Saturday at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. He also requested that no one induct him in absentia at the ceremony saying in his letter "no one is authorized nor may anyone be permitted to accept any induction for me or speak on my behalf."
Numerous commentators have already speculated on Axl's motivation for not attending the ceremony. The most explicable reason for the decision would seem to be his on going feud with his former band mates: Slash, Izzy Stradlin, Duff McKagan, and Steven Adler. Axl Rose has continued to claim sole ownership of the Guns and Roses name and brand after they split in 1996. He toured with a completely different group of musicians in 2001 as he began a tour associated with the long-awaited and highly disappointing album Chinese Democracy that debuted in 2008.
Another possibility is that Axl is simply doing this as a publicity stunt. After all, the only other band to decline Hall of Fame membership were the Punk Rock gods The Sex Pistols. Oi! And let's face it, Axl's brand isn't as hot in 2012 as it was in 1994. A lot of rock fans have been born since the mid-1990s. Many of them more familiar with Green Day than G'NR.
Of course, we could also take Axl's letter at face value and see this as one more volley in his career-long battle with music producers. He says at one point "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."
As I listen to the song "Get in the Ring" on a mix tape from the 90's, my money is on all three explanations for Axl's recent emergence into the spotlight.
Oh, Axl. If only you'd stick to singing, but then you wouldn't be the crazy-brilliant MF'er we've come to know and love. Of course, in order to be crazy-brilliant you have to deliver the goods and recent concerts and albums suggest that now might be a good time to fade into Rock and Roll history rather than staying in the headlines.