Flashback: Guns N' Roses Play Without Axl at Hall of Fame - Rolling Stone
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Flashback: Guns N’ Roses Play Without Axl at Hall of Fame

Watch the group perform ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ with Myles Kennedy on lead vocals

As soon as word came out that Guns N’ Roses were going to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in late 2011 questions began flying: Would the entire original lineup show up? Is there any chance they’ll play together? Might this finally force Axl and Slash to stand in the same room together and maybe hash things out? If Axl doesn’t show, then what happens? How will this whole thing not turn into an absolute train wreck?

Very few answers were forthcoming over the next couple of months, though Steven Adler made it very clear he’d be there and would happily play with any incarnation of the group willing to take the stage. Finally, just days before the ceremony, Axl Rose wrote a public letter explaining his decision to sit this one out. “So let sleeping dogs lie or lying dogs sleep or whatever,” he wrote. “Time to move on. People get divorced. Life doesn’t owe you your own personal happy ending especially at another’s, or in this case several others,’ expense.”

Unsurprisingly, guitarist Izzy Stradlin released his own statement a couple days later saying that he also wouldn’t make it to Cleveland for the ceremony. “I have waited up to this point to see what would become of the GN’R induction into Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame,” he wrote. “I would like to say THANK YOU and GRACIAS to Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame for the acknowledgement of our works over the years as a band. BIG THANKS to all my bandmates who helped get us to where we are today.”

When the big day finally came, Slash, Adler, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum were all on hand. They were joined by former touring guitarist Gilby Clarke and Myles Kennedy (best known for Alter Bridge and his work in Slash’s solo band) for “Mr. Brownstone,” “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and “Paradise City.” At the time, it seemed like the closest thing we’d ever get to a Guns N’ Roses reunion, but in just a few weeks Axl and Slash will finally come back together. Nobody knows for sure whether Steven Adler will play some sort of role in the show, but at the Hall of Fame he proved that he’s more than capable of playing the Appetite for Destruction material. Let’s hope they find a way to include him.


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