Here's what the inductees, performers and other attendees had to say backstage Thursday night at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles:
Randy Newman's induction came earlier in his career than he expected. Much earlier. He remarked, "When I didn't get in with the original sort of interest...I didn't think, oh, I didn't get nominated this time....I didn't think it would happen until I died or something, or never. 'Cause why would I?
Booker T. Jones was asked to share his favorite memory of working with the late inductee Albert King. He recalled co-writing King's signature song, "Born Under a Bad Sign": "The minute we started the first four bars of it and Albert played that guitar lick that he became so famous for, that just thrilled me. There I was, 19 years old, playing blues with a real bluesman, I just couldn't believe it. It was amazing. It was great."
Pearl Jam's Mike McCready said Heart was a huge influence on him. He said the band was "integral" in him "learning about rock stars in...the northwest because there wasn’t any but them." McCready recalled meeting Heart when he was 12 or 13 years old and got the band to autograph their Dreamboat Annie record for him. McCready said Heart was "a very early influence on all of us." When asked about Pearl Jam's chances of getting in the hall, McCready said he hoped so, but wasn't a gambler and wouldn't put odds on it. He did say that he hoped Kiss would get in.
Public Enemy was inducted Thursday and backstage, Chuck D acknowledged that the group was never "popular" in the traditional sense: "We were always were the uncool, unpopular...matter of fact, we ain't even the most popular going in right now...we've never been on a Rolling Stone cover, we've never had a Grammy. We've never had a top ten record in America. We never had any of those things. All we knew how to do was rock the [bleep]ing house." Flavor Flav hogged most of the spotlight during Public Enemy’s time on stage, thanking everyone from Miles Davis to God to his seven children. Backstage, Chuck D explained why he let Flavor go: “Well, this is his night, you know? And any award that comes to Public Enemy is the sum of many part, so I try to defer that to all the members, so...You know, reality TV has made Flavor not always look his best, so why not relish in what is considered his day job?”
The members of Rush took to the backstage mics last, and while guitarist Alex Lifeson reiterated his onstage comment: "Blah blah blah," frontman Geddy Lee and drummer Neil Peart were more talkative. "Well, I can tell you that I think the collective voices of our fans without question put a hell of a lot of pressure on...The Academy to seriously consider us. I think there's no question about that." Peart said the band has grown up with their fans, and laughed, "they feel like they're part of the team, and our team should win."
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