The 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony was packed with surprising reconciliations and all-star turns on the mic. So what went down backstage, when the night’s honorees and speakers got a chance to unwind? Rolling Stone captured the behind-the-scenes vibe from our prime perch:
When Stevie Met Bruce
After we talked with Stevie Nicks, she ran into Bruce Springsteen in the crowded hallway. “You sang fabulous,” Bruce told her. “You sang fabulous, and you looked fabulous.” As he walked away, Nicks grinned like a teenage Beatles fan.
In the hallway, Bruce also ran into Peter Gabriel. Gabriel said he heard Springsteen was vacationing on a boat in Sardinia, where Gabriel has a house. Gabriel invited Springsteen out there again someday. “There’s a meal waiting for you,” Gabriel said.
“We’re gonna take you up on that!” Springsteen laughed.
“Please do,” Gabriel said. Later, he called it one of his highlights of the night. “That was a nice moment!”
St. Vincent’s Unsaintly Praise of St. Kurt
St. Vincent frontwoman Annie Clark stopped by Rolling Stone’s interview suite as the show was beginning and had a noticeable energy about her as she geared up for her performance of “Lithium” with the living members of Nirvana. When asked how Nevermind impacted her when she was 9 years old, her eyes grew wide and that energy just poured right out of her in one giddy profane explosion: “Fuck yeah, it hit me as a 9-year-old!” she said. “Fuck yeah! That’s the test of great music.”
Talkin’ in the Boys Room
Because Rolling Stone‘s backstage room was in use (for an interview with Ace Frehley), we had no choice but to take Peter Gabriel to a bathroom for a Q&A. “This is class!” Gabriel said, adding he’s taken the Rock Hall honor as an opportunity to look back on his life. “A lot of these people, I grew up with, them and their music, so it’s good to feel part of that community,” he said. “Getting awards is nature’s way of telling you you’re getting old, so you can get a little more reflective.” Gabriel opened up about his life as a father – “I do the school runs in the morning and then try to get something done. On a good day, I’ll go to the gym.” He’s working slowly on a new album (“I’m itching to get back to more writing”) and added a Genesis tour is unlikely at the moment. “I never say never. It really didn’t happen last time and I think there’s a small chance, but I don’t think it’s very high.”
Morello and Questlove Look Ahead
Tom Morello brought the house down with his impassioned Kiss induction speech in which he recalled seeing his first Kiss concert at age 12. “It’s so trippy, man,” he said backstage about coming full circle, getting a little emotional. “Life is rich. There is no crystal ball I could have looked into and seen this.” Morello sensed there would be no drama the minute they walked onstage, and even saw the foursome getting along backstage. “In the press tent, Gene and Paul waited for Peter before everyone was onstage, very consciously said we’re not going up until all four of us are here.”
In the middle of the interview, Questlove walked in the room. “I feel like you should win the Nobel Peace Prize,” he told Morello. “This is the man of the night this man right here: this is the people’s champion! I hope those guys appreciated it.”
“I think they did,” Morello said. “They seemed humble and that is not often a word associated with the band Kiss,” he added with a laugh.
“You did it, now I gotta do the N.W.A speech next year!” Quest replied.
“We’ll see about who’s doing the N.W.A speech,” Morello joked moments later. “I got ideas about that too!”
Ace to Face with Ron Delsener
After Ace Frehley made his entrance during Rolling Stone’s interview with Tom Morello, he got situated and took a moment to reflect on his career. “I think we’re probably gonna go down in history as the greatest theatrical rock group in the world,” he said. “I think that’s probably gonna be undisputable fact.” But shortly thereafter a real spectacle broke out, when legendary concert promoter Ron Delsener spotted Frehley and burst into the room. “I don’t remember you standing up like that – we used to have to carry you to the stage, you were so fucked up,” he said, ribbing Frehley about his wilder days. “This guy would come to every show at the Palladium, the Garden, and he’d come with an entourage of people,” Delsener continued. “I thought he was fucking Prince.” Frehley just laughed his famous high-pitched cackle and took it all in stride.
Sheryl Crow’s Backstage Fan
It gets hot backstage, so when Sheryl Crow was marching down the hallway with her entourage before the Linda Ronstadt tribute, she required the help of a fan to cool off – a literal fan. “My own personal fan!” she quipped, as someone waved a fan to cool her down.
Questlove Insists on Watching Kiss
When Questlove came into the Rolling Stone interview room, he went straight to our TV, which was showing Kiss’ acceptance speech. “I’m good, but who else has spoken?” he asks. As we watch Peter Criss, the Roots drummer explains how Tom Morello convinced him to vote for Kiss to be inducted during a Rock Hall meeting to discuss nominees. “He sold all of us on why they deserve to be in it,” Questlove said. “It made me just give up on my choices. I’ll fight for Sonic Youth next year.” And what was it that Morello said that was so convincing? “He said, ‘You guys are the former guard, the baby-boomer guard, and now that Generation X is coming into play, you’ve got to understand that every group that came out in the Eighties and Nineties, you can ask them who was the band that made them want to start a band, and the answer is Kiss,” Questlove said. “I thought about it, and even me, being connected to hip-hop, I remember being obsessed with them when I was 7.”
Hall & Oates and Their Own Historical Distinction
“We’re probably the only duo in history that still is friends,” Daryl Hall told Rolling Stone when asked for his take on the drama surrounding the original members of Kiss not playing together. “Even the Everly Brothers didn’t like each other.”
Vini Lopez Marches to His Beat – And Max’s
As the E-Street Band passed through the backstage hall, Bruce Springsteen told Rolling Stone, “Talk to the band!” And shortly after that Vini Lopez, who drummed for Springsteen from 1972 to 1974 and who just performed a drum-off of sorts with the E-Street Band’s Max Weinberg. “It was a first with Max,” he told Rolling Stone, still sounding amazed. “We’ve never done two drummers before.” And how did he fit in? “You just listen and watch a lot. I just let him. He’s been playing all this time. Then it was my turn to bop, I bopped.”