To celebrate the 10th anniversary of their annual awards show, influential U.K. magazine Classic Rock brought the ceremony, Classic Rock Honours, to Los Angeles.
Mixing the elite of both Los Angeles — Henry Rollins presented the inspiration award to the Doors — and the U.K. — Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliot paid homage to Ozzy Osbourne‘s debut solo effort, Blizzard of Ozz, for the Classic Album Award — the night brought out a plethora of music elite to the Avalon in Hollywood.
At one point on the red carpet, Elliot stood talking to Billboard between Julian Lennon and Matt Sorum.
“Wow, what a sandwich,” Elliot quips. For Elliot this event was all about being amongst friends. “Everybody here, if they’re honest, they are fans of each other’s music, or very respectful of it at least. The great thing is most of us have known each other for so long that when we’re not doing our day job we’re in a band together somewhere else. So that’s the fun part.”
It was a sentiment echoed by Sharon Osbourne, who was honored in the ceremony as Classic Rock VIP. “It’s nice to be with your friends, we’ve all grown up with all these people here tonight,” she tells us. “And whether you like them or you don’t, I think everybody all has a mutual respect for each other. It’s like being part of an exclusive club.”
Inspiration recipient John Densmore tells Billboard, “It’s my clan, musicians. We speak the same invisible language, which is sound.”
While the theme of the night was without question camaraderie and old friends, there were still awards to be presented and musical performances. The musical segment began with Scott Weiland, followed by Rival Sons, California Breed and the Matt Sorum-led all-star jam, Kings Of Chaos, which brought Aerosmith‘s Joe Perry and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons together, something Perry was grateful for.
“I know Billy, I’ve been a fan for years and gotten to say hello a few times, but really somebody like Billy, you get together and it’s all about the music and this is the first chance I’ve had to play with him,” Perry tells Billboard. “Also I’ve played with Matt a few times and jammed with Duff [McKagan], but this is like a lineup that if I was going to sit down and pick out the guys I’d want to jam with, this is it.”
Surprisingly on a night where Ozzy was feted, Metallica took home best film for Through The Never, and Dave Mustaine was celebrated as Metal Guru, the musical highlight was arguably an acoustic performance from the balcony by Glenn Hughes’ California Breed.
Then again, other than Rival Sons, who brought some youthful energy and fervor to the proceedings, this was a night for “classic rock,” something host Sammy Hagar planned to have some fun with.
“It depends on who’s on the wagon and who isn’t, that’s the problem with classic rock, all the young guys drink still and they party. As we get older a lot of guys are putting on the brakes. To me, the humor will be about that, all us old guys up there, here I am hosting the damn thing,” Hagar tells Billboard. (And one of the bartenders told us this was a particularly slow night, proving Hagar right.)
But that didn’t slow down the celebration at all, which for everyone was about 2014. Taking the honor for best band, Queen’s Brian May, who accepted the award with Adam Lambert, said, “For Roger [Taylor] and myself it’s like a new beginning, and it’s all thanks to Adam.”
Hagar, who knows something about stepping in for iconic frontmen from his days as the man who took over Van Halen from David Lee Roth, had some fun with that award, quipping, “It’s hard to replace someone if they’re still alive and they’re over there going, ‘I’m over here.'”
Mustaine, who’s been in the news a lot the last few years for his conservative political views, referenced that in his speech, saying, “I know some of you love me, some of you don’t. But you have to remember it’s the irritant inside the oyster that makes the pearl.”
Gregg Allman took home the highest honor, the Living Legend Award, a fitting tribute just days after the Allman Brothers Band said farewell with a closing stand at New York’s Beacon Theater. But Allman, who kicks off solo dates with his band Dec. 26, didn’t look at this award as a farewell at all. “My grandfather told me, ‘Things don’t end, they start over,'” he says to Billboard. A fitting quote for this night.
The show will air on AXS TV on Dec. 28, 9 p.m. ET.
The complete winner’s list is as follows:
Living Legend (Sponsored by Orange Amplification) ? Gregg Allman
Inspiration (Sponsored by Global Merchandise) ? The Doors
Band Of The Year (Sponsored by Universal Records) ? Queen + Adam Lambert
Film Of The Year (Sponsored by AXS.TV ) ? Metallica: Through The Never
Album Of The Year (Sponsored by MixRadio) ? Wilko Johnson & Roger Daltrey Going Back Home
Classic Album (Sponsored by Eagle Rock) ? Ozzy Osbourne Blizzard Of Ozz
Outstanding Contribution (Sponsored by CitiBank) ? Jeff Lynne
Reissue Of The Year (Sponsored by The Great Frog) ? Led Zeppelin I, II & III Deluxe Editions
Maestro ? Joe Perry
Metal Guru ? Dave Mustaine
The Bluesman (Sponsored by Blues Magazine) ? Eric Burdon
The V.I.P. (Sponsored by Sunset Marquis Hotel Restaurant Spa) ? Sharon Osbourne
Best New Band ? The Cadillac Three
CR Radio station of Year (Large Market) ? KSWD (100.3 The Sound)/Los Angeles, CA
CR Radio station of Year (Medium Market) ? WZBA (100.7 The Bay)/Baltimore, MD
CR Radio station of Year (Small Market) ? WTUE (104.7 WTUE-FM)/Dayton, OH