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Rock Hall of Fame: 10 Things Seen & Heard Behind the Scenes
Go behind the scenes of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, held Saturday in Cleveland, with our roving roundup of chatter with the likes of Ron Wood, Questlove, Chuck D and Alice Cooper. Get our report from the ceremony here.
1. A sober Ronnie Wood told Billboard that he felt "a little more coherent than when the Rolling Stones were inducted" (in 1989) when he entered the Rock Hall for a second time, with the Faces. He recently caused a stir when British media quoted him as saying the group was preparing to hit the recording studio again soon, but he said those comments were not accurately reported. Get the Full Story
Wood said he's looking forward to the "Rolling Stones 50" coffee table book in July and an as-yet-untitled documentary due in the fall. "We do have a 50th anniversary," the guitarist promised. "Whatever is going to be done, we will know in the next few months."
2. Kid Rock considers himself "probably the biggest fan of the bunch" that performed in honor of the Beastie Boys on Saturday. "That was the soundtrack of my life in seventh grade, the whole 'License to Ill' album," he told Billboard after rehearsing the medley with the Roots and Gym Class Heroes' Travie McCoy. "I compared them to the Led Zeppelin of my day and age; I still stand by that. I think their music's gonna live a long, long time. I think there's a lot of nooks and crannies to be discovered. I still listen to it (and) discover something new and different every time." Rock said a friendship with the Beasties' Mike D made performing in front of the Beasties "probably not as nerve-wracking as it should be. I'm honored." Rock reported that recording is going well for his next album and could be finished by late spring and early summer. He's also preparing for his annual Chillin' the Most cruise later this month and a benefit concert with and for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra on May 5 at the city's Fox Theatre.
3. Among the well-knowns hanging out at the ceremony were David Arquette, Michael J. Fox and his wife Tracy Pollan, pop crooner Jim Brickman, VH1 Classic host Matt Pinfield, Cleveland Indians team President Mark Shapiro and a variety of city and Ohio state politicos.
4. Rock Hall 2011 inductees Alice Cooper and Darlene Love both had big smiles on their faces as they arrived at this year's ceremony. "It feels much better now," Love told Billboard. "I can't tell you what happened that night (last year). But tonight it feels good." Cooper, who arrived on the Gibson Guitars bus with his wife Sheryl, added that "I have no pressure at all this year. I don't have to do anything but sit there and watch people. Everybody that's being inducted are friends of mine. It's one of those family things." As for Guns N' Roses drama and Axl Rose's no-show, Cooper said, "Everybody's got a different take on the Hall of Fame. Axl is always gonna make a left turn. But the other guys are here…You never now; (Rose) could show up." Alas, he did not.
5. George Clinton delighted red carpet watchers with his early arrival in an amusement park-style rocket ship from Cleveland's Euclid Beach that's been converted into a car. "That's the prototype Mothership," Clinton told Billboard. "We figured since it's on wheels now, we should borrow it to come up to the show tonight." Clinton and company were blasting "Hollywood" from the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Freaky Styley" album, which Clinton produced.
6. Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr. was in attendance at the ceremony for the Miracles' induction. He told Billboard that he met the group after it had auditioned for Jackie Wilson's manager. "When they were turned down I couldn't believe it because they looked too much like the Platters," said Gordy, who wrote Wilson hits such as "To Be Loved… and "Reet Petite." "So I quickly stopped writing and ran out I the hallway and said, 'You guys were great.' And Smokey (Robinson) thought I was trying to audition, too, and he said, 'So who are you?' I said, 'My name is Berry Gordy,' and he said, '…You wrote songs for Jackie Wilson' and I said, 'Yes, that's true.' …I said, 'Who wrote your songs?' He said, 'I did,' and I said, 'You got any more?' and he read off a hundred songs to me, and all of them had something…I just loved it, and that was the beginning of their career."
7. Asked backstage what the late Hillel Slovak would have thought of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' induction, frontman Anthony Keidis guessed, "I think he would have a good laugh. It would certainly mean something to him, as he cared deeply about music and the love and the brotherhood of being in a band and being a creative force in the universe -- which he is and always will be, a part of everything we do. But I think more than anything he would probably make you laugh until you pooped in your trousers." Slovak was represented at the ceremony by his brother. As for his foot, which was operated on earlier this year, forcing the Chili Peppers to reschedule the beginning of their North American tour, Keidis said, "My foot? It smells sexy. It's still a little bit messed up, but…I'm just happy that I can do what I want to do with this weird foot."
8. Billy F. Gibbons said that in addition to music, he learned a bit of geography from the late Freddie King, who he and ZZ Top bandmate inducted as an Early Influence at the ceremony. "He did a song… 'I Walked From Dallas/I Walked through Wichita Falls' " Gibbons recalled. "We never really knew that that meant, 'cause Dallas to Wichita Falls ain't such a big deal. But he and Little Walter left Dallas ,Texas, together and walked to Chicago. So that's saying a lot for Freddie."
9. The Roots' Questlove says that he was taken aback to find out the Beastie Boys were white rappers after turning on to the trio's first Def Jam 12-inch, "When 'Beastie Groove' first came on, which was the B-side…we thought they were Puerto Rican because there's a break in the song. They did this little skit and…Mike D had a crazy, heavy, Bronx/Puerto Rican (accent), like the term, 'You just fessin' '…That became our lingo for all of 1984. Then I saw 'Krush Groove' and I was like, 'Yo, man, for Puerto Rican guys, these guys sure dance white…'"
10. Public Enemy's Chuck D took pleasure in introducing a couple of the ceremony's attendees to each other. "I introduced Rick Rubin to Bette Midler - wasn't that something? I was amazed, because I'm a collector of things. Bette Midler did a fantastic narration on the story of Ahmet Ertegun, 'The House That Ahmet Built.' And I told Bette, I said, 'It's a pleasure meeting you, cause this (Rubin) is my Ahmet right here, so when his story comes out, hopefully I can do a voice over that's just as good as yours.' So she was touched. " Another great encounter: "Carole King was touched because her daughter was like, 'Wow, Chuck D.' But I'm saying, 'Do you understand? Your mother and Smokey Robinson, feet apart?' As a songwriter, trust me, trust me, I was in heaven. So I tweeted my ass off."