Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong And GNR’s Duff McKagen ‘Devised Plan’ For Armstrong To Fill In For Axl Rose

Although feisty frontman Axl Rose and former guitarist Izzy Stradlin didn’t show up to  Guns N’ Roses’ Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in April, bassist Duff McKagen wrote that after an early morning rehearsal the morning before and a talk with Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong about filling in on vocals.

Eventually, the “last minute” performance was supplemented by ex-guitarist Gilby Clarke and Alter Bridge signer Myles Kennedy, but Green Day did have the opportunity to induct their idols into the Hall of Fame.

In Duff McKagen’s Seattle Weekly blog, the musician said he was “honored” to be “included in such an epic class of bands and artists,” recalling the times that “GNR opened for the Peppers” and how the “Beasties” were Guns ‘n’ Roses’ hip-hop East Coast equivalent. McKagen then said that while the Peppers and the Beasties survived the “folly and the nonsense,” GNR didn’t.


“Watching that HBO Special made me sad — for the very first time, perhaps–that the original GNR didn’t somehow stay together,” said McKagen. “It would have been a miracle if we did. If I’d known then what I know now, I would have done my part to try and rid that band of the caustic resentments and outside inputs that finally wore us down to a nub of what we once were, and what we could have come back from. Alas, it just wasn’t in the cards.”

McKagen then went on to talk about the energy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.

“Flea gave me a big hug later that afternoon, and so did Chad Smith,” said McKagen. “The Green Day guys came to my book reading the night before at the House Of Blues, and Billie Joe and I devised a plan where he would sing whatever was needed…if needed.”

In fact, Guns N’ Roses didn’t even know if they “were going to play at all” until they decided after a last minute 2am rehearsal to go ahead.

“For Slash and me, it was the first time we’d played our songs with Steven Adler in something like 22 years,” explained McKagen. “We had to wonder: Would it work? Would we be able to get our mojo back with only 14 hours to spare before playing in front of an audience of 7,000, and be filmed for an HBO Special!?”

“I couldn’t have been more proud of the guys I did take the stage with that night (special thanks to guitarist Gilby Clarke and singer Myles Kennedy for their heroic, last-minute efforts),” continued McKagen. “My bandmates composed themselves in the face of so much unneeded drama. We had no resentment, and showed up to pay homage to those fans who did their part for us.”

“At the end of the day, I am so very satisfied about the outcome of that night in Cleveland. It was about the music that GNR wrote way back when. And the fact that a few of us showed up to reciprocate our appreciation was certainly enough for the occasion.”

–Nadia Noir, CBS Radio Los Angeles

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