Inside The Rock Hall: A Live Blog From The 2015 Induction Ceremony

rock hall 2015 ceremony preview

Taking place in Cleveland, Ohio this evening is the highly anticipated 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.

Slated to be inducted in rock’s highest honor this year are fan favorite and legendary acts the likes of Green Day, Ringo Starr, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Lou Reed, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Bill Withers, and The Paul Butterfield Blues Band.

There will be special guest and complimentary appearances from scene favorites Fall Out Boy, Miley Cyrus, John Legend, Paul McCartney, John Mayer, plus many, many others.

Want an inside scoop on the this year’s ceremony before it airs on HBO May 30? Follow Under The Gun Review right here as we live blog from the press room — with quotes from inductees, photos from the ceremony and updates on what is going on inside the show. First up at 7 p.m. EST is Ringo Starr taking the press stage. Follow @UTGreview, @callinghomematt, and @KMGphotographie for instant updates.

7:31 p.m. EST

Ringo Starr, famed Beatles drummer and established solo artist, took to the press stage with light spirits. When asked where this award ranks, he said in the “top 10” before elaborating.

“I think it’s an honor,” he said.

He addressed how, with his tenure in rock ‘n’ roll music, it took him longer than some would say less qualified inductees.

“I’m only actually doing it so Paul can have a day out,” he said, playfully. “You’re recognized when you’re recognized.”

Joe Walsh came out and took a series of questions as well. He showed nothing but love for Ringo and the event taking place tonight in Cleveland.

“I don’t know why he wasn’t inducted before,” Walsh said. “That’s always kind of bothered me and [this] puts closure on it. Ringo’s my brother.”

joe walsh ringo starr

The Induction show just began with a ripper of a set from Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, including a guest performance from Dave Grohl and Tommy James.

7: 53 p.m. EST 

“What en epic night to be part of,” said Miley Cyrus, taking the stage to introduce Joan Jett. “I’m going to start this introduction with the first time I wanted to have sex with Joan Jett.”

Cyrus gave a strong speech to introduce Jett — the first to enter the hall tonight…and yes, it included a story about smoking pot. If there’s two things Jett and Cyrus have in common, it’s that neither give a damn about their reputation.

For those who don’t know, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts pioneered rock ‘n’ roll music for women, paving the way for artists the likes of No Doubt and Warped Tour alumni Paramore. Cyrus called her a “badass” for anyone entering the hall, man or woman. She cited how Jett was the first woman to start her own independent record label.

“I don’t think there’s one person on this planet who’s been an inspiration to me like you have,” Cyrus said. “Joan’s been an example of what you can achieve. She made the world evolve.”

Sporting pants of black and white stripes — not unlike Beetlejuice and totally punk as hell — Jett and the Blackhearts took the stage for their induction ceremony to a standing ovation. Her band gave her nothing but much deserved appreciation, and hugs were spread all around.

Tears streamed down Jett’s face as she began her speech.

“Hey, mom and dad, did you ever think that Christmas guitar would come to this?” Jett said. “I come from a place where rock and roll means something. It’s a language of a subculture.”

She continued a strong, emotional speech.

“Rock and roll is an idea and an ideal,” Jett continued. “Sometimes, because we know the music and we make the music, we forget how political rock and roll is. Rock and roll ethic is my entire life and I’m thankful for all the people who let me be me.”

8:50 p.m. EST

Internet connection cut in and out from the press room, but Tom Morello and Zac Brown came out for a few quick questions after a stunning tribute jam to the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.

During the interview, Morello said his biggest musical influence coming up was Randy Rhodes. He also said he didn’t know if Rage Against The Machine would ever make it to the Rock Hall.

morello zac brown

Inside the hall — friends, family and past members of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band gave tribute to the band’s commitment to furthering blues and rock ‘n’ roll music as one of the biggest pioneers of the genre.

9:18 p.m. EST

Internet connection back — Joan Jett joined the press room to open up about her standing ovation and overall emotional induction — the most emotional moment of the night thus far.

“To see that room stand up like that and applaud to that degree…it’s pretty amazing,” she said. “People just did not think girls could play rock ‘n’ roll. To see the whole place stand up like that…it was acceptance.”

She also elaborated on Miley Cyrus’ speech.

“You want to make sure you’re singing to everybody,” she said, in reference to Cyrus. “Whatever circumstances, you want to relate to both sexes. I thought she did an amazing speech. She’s a rock ‘n’ roller at heart and she acts like it.”

Meanwhile, the show moved on to celebrate the music of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble. Modern day guitar hero John Mayer gave the utmost praise to Vaughan, who died in 1990 due to a helicopter crash, and his band during his speech.

“Some flowers, man,” Mayer said. “They just push through the round in full bloom. Stevie is the ultimate guitar hero, and he’ll live forever.”

Vaughan’s music created a whirlwind of impact on modern blues and rock music — fusing the two like no one had ever done before, and hasn’t done since.

10:56 p.m. EST

It’s the point in the night where Green Day were introduced by Fall Out Boy. Two of the most recognizable and groundbreaking rock and punk bands of a generation came together — like a student honoring the teacher. An inspiring moment for punk, pop punk and general lovers of modern rock music.

“[sic] The other kids had Guns ‘N’ Roses and Nirvana and I found that stuff later,” said Fall Out Boy frontman Patrick Stump on Green Day’s Dookie. “But this…this was mine.”

Stump and Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz praised Green Day both for their musical prowess and punk rock ethics. They praised them individually, they praised them as a whole.

“Great bands feed on the strength of the collective,” Stump said. “With Green Day, every sound that comes out of those three guys is just as important to the fans.”

Tre Cool was the first of the punk rock trio to take the microphone.

“Thank you, fuckers!” he exclaimed, sporting green, slicked-back hair. “It’s overwhelming, the amount of love and talent in the room.”

He also told a story of when the band first started out, touring in a yellow Ford Econoline, called “The Tooth,” and how he never thought his band would come this far.

“I feel like I’m in line at the DMV or something,” said frontman Billie Joe Armstrong as he came to stage, poking fun at the length of his bandmate’s speech.

It’s this type of comment that makes Green Day such a memorable and relatable act over the last 25 years.

“I couldn’t really write a speech so I’m going to make it up off the top of my head,” Armstrong confessed.

Armstrong then thanked families and friends — including his mother, wife, children and long-time producer Rob Cavallo.

“It’s like my record collection is actually sitting in this room,” he said, emotionally. “I love rock ‘n’ roll and I will love it for the rest of my life.”

Fall Out Boy entered the press room to discuss Green Day’s legacy and the idea of punk rock.

“Without Green Day, there’s no us, there’s no blink-182, there’s no New Found Glory, there’s no Paramore,” Stump said.


Green Day then took the stage — after a long, silent pause — and absolutely tore down the city of Cleveland. There’s nothing more punk rock than a band playing a song like “American Idiot,” in suits after getting the highest honor in their career. They toyed with the crowd, they were loud, they were in your face. Green Day was everything the Rock Hall needed from the band of an entire generation.

After “American Idiot” came “When I Come Around,” and the place was as ecstatic as if the band were back at Cleveland’s House of Blues — where they performed last Thursday night. Legendary photos of the band, from Armstrong’s bleach-blonde days of the ’90s to the “American Idiot” era of mascara, flew across the screens during the performances.

The band closed their electric performance with “Basket Case.”

If for nothing else, tune into HBO on May 30 to watch Green Day do what they do best: tear it up.

11:05 p.m. EST

Patti Smith introduced Lou Reed, speaking about his music — talking passionately about his death — that’s about as emotional as the night could get.

“He was not only my friend, he was the friend of New York City,” Smith said.

She spoke of her first time hearing Reed’s music and meeting Reed. She spoke about him as though he just passed away yesterday. Preliminarily, her introduction speech came in a close second to Cyrus’ light, yet honest speech about Joan Jett.

“He was a humanist, heralding and raising the down-trodden,” she said. A chant of “Louuuu” followed the speech — a vibrating ode to his music and legacy.

Indie rock’s finest in Karen O and Nick Zinner took the stage to pay tribute to Reed’s music through their flamboyant and stylishly sassy music — starting with classic “Vicious.” Recent Grammy Award winner (sorry, Kayne) Beck and Nate Ruess of fun. and solo fame took the stage to also pay tribute to Reed — making for the ultimate back to back indie rock jam.

The performance proved to be a powerful, yet fitting juxtaposition to the calm, poetic undertone of the speeches about Reed that led prior to the performance.

11:33 p.m. EST

“Lean, lean on me when you’re not strong.”

Bill Withers was next up — this soulful legend, much like Ringo Starr, was long overdue for tonight’s introduction into the Hall. Stevie Wonder, who gave Withers’ introduction speech took the stage to a uproar of applause from the crowd.

“This is not about me, this is about a great man who has written some incredibly great songs.” Wonder said. “Bill Withers’ songs are for every single culture there is.”

“Lean On Me,” “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Just The Two of Us,” and the rest of Withers’ discography is the testament to the soul and passion that can come from rock and roll music. It’s not poetic like Lou Reed or aggressive like Green Day — it’s simply beautiful.

Withers took the stage to amazing respect and all around applause from the audience.

“This has got to be the largest AA meeting in the western hemisphere,” Withers said — during one of his many witty jokes during his speech. He even poked fun at Yoko Ono’s hat.


“Let me get back on script here,” he said. “Or else Stevie will have to go to the bathroom. I used up another two minutes — sue me.”

The entire crowd couldn’t deny his humor. He could be at the Rock Hall — but he also wouldn’t be out of place during a night of stand-up at The Cleveland Improv.

All jokes aside, Withers thanked a slew of important people in his career and proceeded to tear through a collection of his hits, including “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Use Me.”

John Legend and Stevie Wonder joined him on stage. A generation of amazing voices all on one stage — and even a funny break where Wonder admitted he was in the wrong key and started the song over.

“I wasn’t looking at the music,” Wonder said.

To say chills were running through the crowd would be a gross understatement.

12:12 a.m. EST

And after nearly 4 hours of breathless performance after breathless performance, it’s finally Ringo’s night. It’s finally time to give appreciation to the fourth, and final, Beatle to make it into the hall.

Fellow Beatle Paul McCartney inducted Starr with a fun speech about their time in The Beatles, how he joined The Beatles, and other fun moments of their all-too-familiar youth.

“My name is Ringo and I play drums,” Starr said, entering the lime light. “I’m finally invited and I love it. I also love that I got lucky and it’s actually in Cleveland.”

While Starr’s much-anticipated speech took place, Stevie Wonder took the stage in the press room. He answered questions about the joining of soul and rock ‘n’ roll music.

“What [the hall] means to me is being able to bring incredible artists and songwriters together into one thing,” Wonder said.

He also commented on Withers’ musical impact.

“I love you, Bill Withers, and I respect you and I want you to stay alive for twice as many years as [you have been] to give us great music,” he said.

Back at the ceremony, Starr discussed everything from his influences to his time as a solo artist to his time as a Beatle. It was truly his time to shine — to give the world a dose of his slick banter that so many have came to love.

“I’m sort of part of their downfall, he said, giggling — talking about being older than his fellow Beatles and showing them around clubs in native Liverpool.

“I wanna tell you, it’s been a beautiful night,” Starr said. “Following John Legend and Stevie Wonder, for God’s sake…”

Starr opened his set with a song he said he originally sang in 1960, “Boys.” The entire crowd stood for his performance. Green Day joined Starr, who was behind the drums for the performance. Generations colliding. Billie Joe Armstrong provided backing vocals. Despite nearing the 5-hour mark, the crowd was jamming to this classic rock ‘n’ roll tune.

Starr’s time to shine didn’t end with a collaboration alongside Green Day — Joe Walsh joined the rock legend next for an offering of “It Don’t Come Easy,” a George Harrison cover.

“If you don’t know this song you’re certainly in the wrong venue,” Starr said before going into his marquee number “With A Little Help From My Friends.” McCartney slayed the age-old bass line.

The show closed with a performance of “I Wanna Be Your Man,” featuring Starr, McCartney, Legend, Wonder, Green Day, Beck, and others. A total party…and a fitting end to a historic evening.

Be sure to catch the full performance on HBO May 30.

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