CLEVELAND (AP) - The speeches are written. The guitars are tuned. The amplifiers are plugged in.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, a musical celebration that in the past has included awkward moments, touching tributes and unforgettable performances, is set for Saturday night in Public Hall before 6,000 fans, 1,400 well-heeled guests and many of music’s biggest stars.
One will be missing.
Axl Rose is skipping the event.
The show will rock on without him.
Frontman and co-founder of Guns N‘ Roses, the head-banging, hard-partying band that achieved global dominance before its inevitable breakup, Rose announced this week that he’s skipping this year’s ceremony.
He and former band mates headline an eclectic class that includes the Red Hot Chili Peppers, rap pioneers the Beastie Boys, the late singer/songwriter Laura Nyro, folk icon Donovan, and the Small Faces/the Faces, two British bands that included Rod Stewart and Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood.
Rose’s decision, which he explained in a rambling letter to the hall, ended months of speculation about whether the original Guns N‘ Roses lineup would unite for the first time since 1993 and perform any of their classic hits like “Welcome to the Jungle” or “Sweet Child O’ Mine.”
But Rose, who has toured under the G N’R name for years with a revolving group of musicians, didn’t want any part of the festivities and asked that he not be inducted.
“The Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony doesn’t appear to be somewhere I’m actually wanted or respected,” Rose wrote, citing his feud with former band mates.
The hall plans to enshrine him with whether Rose likes it or not, and despite the drama, some of his fellow inductees aren’t going to let him spoil their big night.
“Who cares?” Ian McLagan of the Faces said when asked about Rose’s slight.
“He’ll think, `I should have done it,’” Wood said. “Drop all the qualms and all the differences.”
Rose won’t be the only lead singer missing.