Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony: Metallica and Jeff Beck Report
“Every Cliff Burton bass solo that I have ever heard is a soulful, psychedelic, headbanging expression that rocks your world, trips your brain out and gets the house rockin’; a beautiful piece of music played by an awesome rocker of a young man, a masterpiece of a human being. When I hear him play, I hear a dude that knew his shit.”
–Flea (from the Induction of Metallica into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame
As most of you know, Saturday (April 4, 2009), The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame inducted Metallica and Jeff Beck. These two inductions are triumphs for the hard rock and heavy metal world. I won’t spend much time talking about the other inductees, as they are mostly irrelevant for the Rock n’ Roll View. That’s not to say that we don’t respect those other inductees (congrats to them), but frankly no one at the Rock n’ Roll View owns a single record or has ever seen any of them live aside from the side men inductions.
After waiting three hours and hearing some great acceptance speeches and introductions, Jimmy Page finally made it to the stage to induct Jeff Beck. How amazing is that, one of the greatest rock n’ roll guitarist of all time inducting another great guitarist? Full circle. Jimmy and Jeff started playing together when they were 13. Possibly, their friendship changed and evolved rock music into what we now know and was the foundation for some of the great rock songs and rock bands. It has been a long time coming for Jeff Beck’s induction. He is a masterful player, one that was always looking to push the music into a new direction whether it was with fusion, blues rock, interpretations of the classics, style or technology. Jeff Beck is unmistakable and fully deserving to be in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame.
Jeff made a short acceptance speech as I think he was more interested in playing guitar. Notable, as he made his acceptance speech he thanked those who did not help him along the way. In Jeff’s irreverent style he flashed the international symbol of “fuck you” for those people. Taking the stage with his phenomenal band which included Tal Wilkenfeld on bass and for one night only, Jimmy Page on rhythm guitar, Jeff played two songs with face melting guitar solos. In two songs Jeff summed up his playing style which can be soulful, electric, bluesy, and jazzy. I’m hoping that this inspires those unfamiliar with Jeff Beck to seek out his recordings.
Next up: A blue haired, well spoken, and funny Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers inducts Metallica into the Hall of Fame. Wait. Am I on the right channel? A heavy metal band inducted into the Hall of Fame? Black Sabbath opened up the doors and now, I hope, Metallica busts them down for other heavy bands like Judas Priest, Kiss and Iron Maiden. I can only say that while I listened to Flea as he spoke so gracefully in the rock n’ roll way about Cliff Burton, Metallica, and their music, I was completely awestruck by how their music has affected many others in much the same way it has affected me. Without question, Metallica is the Led Zeppelin of their generation.
The anticipation by the fans was high because the performance after the induction would include former bass player, Jason Newsted who has been missing from the lineup for about 7 years. Rightly so, his contributions to albums like And Justice for All and The Black Album cannot be underestimated. Some hopeful fans even think this performance might signal Jason’s return to the band (this fan included). While this is doubtful, it doesn’t keep those fans from hoping.
The acceptance speeches where interesting and their goodwill toward each other was visible, but I thought that James Hetfield was somewhat standoffish to Jason. The most notable moment for me was when James invited other bands through the doors of Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame including Thin Lizzy, Rush, Deep Purple and others.
Then there was music. The two bass players stepped out onto the stage after the rest of the band. After a moment, Metallica roared into “Master of Puppets” big bottom style (see Spinal Tap – “Big Bottom”) with two bass players. And for the first time, thrash metal was played in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Performing in their suites, the band seemed comfortable and Jason seemed like he never left the band. Then came “Enter Sandman.” Kurt Hammett really smoked his guitar during the solo. James’ signature voice, lyrics, and guitar were on display. This is the stuff that makes them Hall of Fame material.