Three immediate impressions come to mind when I think of that Saturday night'’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony:

First, I think of dreams. After all, if you thought about seeing a performance with Tré Cool and Ringo Starr playing drums in unison side-by-side; Mike Dirnt sharing a mic with Miley Cyrus; Elvin Bishop making a fashion statement with a bright green plaid shirt and denim overalls in a huge hall full of tuxes and sparkly dresses; Billie Joe Armstrong playing guitar and singing “"Bop shuop, m'bop bop shuop"”; Beck and Nate Ruess covering Lou Reed; Zac Brown and Tom Morello performing together to honor the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and all kinds of other surrealistic musical combinations performed for an audience including Yoko Ono, Tim Armstrong, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Stevie Van Zandt, you'’d probably think you’'d have to be having some kind of weird dream. The idea that this could be reality - well I certainly never imagined such a reality!

My second thought is influences - not influence, but influences/influencers. It struck me how many long lists of other musicians'’ names we heard being read out by so many inductees. From Muddy Waters to Nasal Sex (yeah, that was one of ours), it was nothing short of wonderful to hear so many musicians mentioned, many of whom are no longer with us (as Bill Withers pointed out actually rather amusingly). If Laurie Anderson is right about our third (and final) death being the last time someone speaks our name, then these musicians will live on forever. Certainly, their influence is not only still alive and well but recognized and acknowledged. It'’s a thread of history running through every song we hear.

The third thing that comes to mind is, well ... …“Love Fest”. I can'’t even count the number of tender, tear-inspiring moments of this ceremony. From Joan Jett talking about how important it is to be exactly who you are (and noting with a little grin that Miley Cyrus does a particularly good job of that); to Patti Smith choking up and having to start several sentences over as she tried to express her depth of feeling for Lou Reed. Of course, nothing could have expressed that feeling better than her inability to speak. And speaking of Lou, hearing the spooky, mournful, joyous, late-night-train sound of the crowd sighing his name... Seeing John Legend walk across the stage to lovingly lead Bill Withers over to sing along with himself and Stevie Wonder...… Listening to the members of Double Trouble talk about Stevie Ray Vaughan. Well, it’'s choking me up again now, just thinking about it all.

(Click here to continue reading the recap...)

However, memories like those are not the only reason I think "“love fest"”. How many members of the Green Day Community from around the world were at that ceremony? No idea, but we surely had a loud voice! And, my first time in Cleveland, I ran into people I knew in the corridors of the Public Hall – - people who also don'’t live in Cleveland! I met new Green Day friends in the hotel, in lines, and at the clubs and restaurants in the area. We were loving each other, and we were loving our band. Rarely have I seen such unadulterated happiness all around me.

But that’'s still not all! Every artist being inducted had their own “Green Day” community full of people who looked into each other’s eyes and thought, "“You understand".” I saw tears running down people's’ faces for Joan, for Stevie Ray, for Paul and the boys, for Lou. I’'m sure people would have teared up for Bill Withers too, if he hadn'’t been so adorably amusing!

So, if I could give you an idea of how it felt to be there, I would ask you to imagine being wrapped up in a musical dream of heart-swelling love, respect, esteem, irreverent adoration, and fun. Words, of course, are not enough but that'’s how it felt to me.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

The ceremony proper started with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts'’ performance followed by their induction. They performed three songs: "Bad Reputation," "Cherry Bomb" (with Dave Grohl on guitar and back-up vocals), and "Crimson and Clover" (with Tommy James, Dave Grohl, and Miley Cyrus).

Personally, I would have preferred "“I Love Rock and Roll”" to "“Crimson and Clover”", but I greatly enjoyed the performance.

Joan Jett and Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus did a good job with the induction speech. She obviously has the greatest love and respect for Joan, and she'’s able to express herself freely. As a matter of fact, a few sentences into her speech, I turned to Daniel and said, “"Maybe I won'’t tell Granny this is airing on HBO on May 30."” I’'ve loved Joan from the first time I heard her music (I think it was "“I Love Rock and Roll"”), but I don'’t believe I'’ve ever heard her speak at length before. Now I like her even more.

Joan and her band mates obviously have the same kind of strong connection that our Green Day guys have. And Joan was full of gratitude to her band and to all the folks who have helped her have the ability to play her music for so many years. She did mention Green Day among the long list of thanks she expressed. Many of us remember how enjoyable it was watching her open for them during one of their European tours.

I believe it was one of the band members who said that Joan is just one person. She’'s the same no matter where she is or what she’'s doing. She doesn'’t put on a front for anyone. And I believe that'’s true. She definitely had a message for everyone to just go out and “be yourself”. Simple words, but how many people truly achieve that?

To paraphrase some of Joan’'s words that made the biggest impression on me: "Rock and roll means something more than music, fashion, or a good pose. “It's a subculture of integrity, rebellion, frustration, alienation and the glue that set several generations free of unnatural societal- and self-suppression. It’'s a way to express dissent, upset the status quo, stir up revolution and fight for human rights. Music has a political impact on people around the world. There are Pussy Riots wherever there is political agitation. "

What an inspiring woman.

There was then a brief talk by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation chairman, Jann Wenner. He talked about the history of how it all got started and the fact that the first donation to the museum was John Lennon'’s Sgt. Pepper uniform, donated by Yoko Ono. He also pointed out Jerry Lee Lewis in the audience. “"Goodness gracious! Great balls of fire!!!"”

Paul Butterfield Blues Band

The next band to be inducted was the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. I remember listening to them many years ago. Zac Brown (vocals), Tom Morello (guitar), and Jason Ricci (harmonica) performed “"Born in Chicago"” to get their induction kicked off. After that, Peter Wolf (J. Geils Band) inducted the band.

As the members of the Butterfield Blues Band walked up to make their acceptance speeches, we couldn'’t help but smile. Sam Lay was wearing the most dapper outfit of the evening, including a big black cape with a bright scarlet lining. One of his band mates, Elvin Bishop looked just as noticeable in his green plaid shirt and denim overalls. Along with their other surviving band mate, Mark Naftalin, those two performed "“Got my Mojo Working",” a song I hadn'’t heard before. Aside from the verses, the title phrase is repeated many times, and the song ends with, “"But it just won'’t work on you."” It was lovely to hear these guys play again.

Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble

All the inductions were moving in their own ways. One of the most poignant for me was that of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble. Stevie died way too young in a helicopter crash, and the emotions were running high in the crowd and on the stage during his induction by John Mayer. John several times referred to Stevie Ray as the ultimate Guitar Hero. Stevie’'s brother, Jimmy, with Doyle Bramhall II, Gary Clark Jr., John Mayer, and Double Trouble performed three songs after the acceptance speeches: "Pride and Joy," "Texas Flood," and "Six Strings Down" (a very moving song about blues guitar players who have passed on).

Again, there was one song I would have loved to hear that wasn'’t forthcoming. If you'’ve never heard it, listen to “"Cold Shot"” sometime. I don'’t know what it is about that song, but it sure is great.

Green Day

Now came the moment so many of us had been waiting for. I feel so privileged to have been there to witness Green Day’'s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I wish every single Green Day fan could have been there with the rest of us, but I think we did a pretty good job of representing the community. Not that we were really needed to show enthusiasm. Green Day absolutely rocked the house, and everyone was on their feet enjoying it!

As there was for all the other inductees, there was a short movie about their career played to introduce this section of the ceremony.

Fall Out Boy
The members of Fall Out Boy then entered to induct Green Day. Patrick Stump and Pete Wentz did the induction speeches. I liked what one of them said about the contributions of each of the three members being inducted. Simply seeing a silhouette of Billie Joe Armstrong playing guitar was enough to identify who it was and his inimitable style. Those bright, open chord structures”, his singing, and his strong sarcastic lyrics. Then he started on Mike’'s bass lines. He said Mike is as identifiable a bass player as James Jamerson or Jaco Pastorius and something about how drummers spent an entire summer trying to learn the rapid fire build at the beginning of "Basket Case" and no one else could get it quite like Tré does it. I was pleased that each member was singled out for some well-deserved individual praise. I also liked the brief mentions of the Network and Foxboro Hot Tubs (followed by a comment, "“But we know it’'s you"”).

Tré, Mike, and Billie took the stage (Tré with bright green hair) and made their acceptance speeches in that order. I was so proud of our boys and loved being in on the messages they had for the audience.

Tré said something about not being allowed to use the teleprompter. He started his speech proper by saying, "“Music is the force that gets us up in the morning. It'’s also the thing that keeps us up all night".” He commented that, “"With every beat of the drum, our love of music gets even stronger.”" During his thanks, he mentioned a long list of his favorite drummers, including Ringo Starr, Buddy Rich, and John Kiffmeyer among many others.

Mike thanked “radio. "I'’m a big fan of radio,” because of the way it makes people feel connected." He thanked the hundreds of kids who let the band sleep on their floors during their early days. He also thanked the Ford Motor Company for making the Econoline Van: "best touring van ever!" He thanked the Armstrong family for taking him in as a kid. He received a huge, lovely response from the audience when he thanked Brittney for beating cancer last year.

Green Day giving speeches
Billie started by saying that, "“The gratitude that I feel right now is overwhelming",” and that it had left him speechless. He said he had made some “talking point” notes but hadn'’t actually prepared a speech. When he did get started, I decided he must have been gathering his thoughts while lying on the floor at the House of Blues during the Shout medley on Thursday night. He started by thanking his family, – Joey and Jakob, Adrienne, and his mother, Ollie … from Oklahoma (I did NOT object to the shout out to Oklahoma). He spent some time talking about the musical influences that were brought into his life by different family and friends. He got a lovely laugh and round of applause when he said, "“My record collection'’s actually sitting in this room."” In talking about how he and Mike first met, he alluded to the fact that they had both previously been the class clown, so "“it was like Dueling Banjos”". And "“what you get’'s Deliverance”." He talked about seeing Tré for the first time, and Tré was performing with the Lookouts, wearing an old lady'’s shower cap and a tutu. In talking further about Tré, he said, “"He'’s the most dangerous drummer on the planet.”"

In closing, Billie talked about how fortunate the band was to have a place like Gilman Street that was all-ages and non-profit. He talked about seeing bands like Operation Ivy, Crimpshrine, Sewer Trout and Nasal Sex and how much he loves rock and roll.

All three thanked their families, Reprise records, Rob Cavallo, and Larry Livermore (I believe it was Mike who called him Laurence). They thanked many people who had helped them along the way, and it was fitting and heart-warming. All thanked Pat Magnarella. Billie apologized to him for "“the hotel rooms ... for Tré'’s drum kits catching on fire" , then thanked him for rehab and for doing “"those talks that we were not capable of doing"”.

Rather than try to recreate all their speeches, I'’ll point you to this link where you can watch them for yourself.

I felt all three acceptance speeches were from the heart, moving, tender, and gracious while also illustrating the guys'’ unique personalities.

After all the speculation of which three songs Green Day would play for their induction, there is no further room for debate. They electrified the entire Public Hall with: "American Idiot," "When I Come Around," and "Basket Case."

It wasn'’t just the Green Day fans who were on their feet jumping up and down during this set. No one has the intensity and energy of Green Day in performance, and the whole crowd felt it. I loved all the old show posters that were splashed on the screens during parts of this set! All in all, the induction of Green Day was sweet and satisfying. They left the stage, but the huge grin didn’'t leave my face.

The "5" Royales

Steve Cropper inducted The "5" Royales, and then backed up Leon Bridges’ beautiful vocals on two songs: "Dedicated to the One I Love" and "When a Man Loves a Woman."

Lou Reed

The next inductee was Lou Reed. This one was hard to get through. I had tears flowing freely down my face during much of it. Patti Smith did the induction, and Laurie Anderson (Lou’'s wife of 21 years) accepted on his behalf. Patti talked about the reaction in New York to Lou'’s death and about some of her experiences with him over the years. At times, her voice broke to the point that she had to start a sentence over. Laurie was similarly affected. Both of their talks were so touching. It was difficult to be there and witness that kind of intense emotion, but it was beautiful, too.

After the acceptance speech, Karen O and Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s performed Vicious. Then Beck performed Satellite of Love. Both were extremely well done and fitting tributes.

Bill Withers

Stevie Wonder did a short but very sweet induction of Bill Withers, who was the surprise comedian of the evening. What a character! He spoke of many of his memories throughout his career, at one point saying, "“Pause that teleprompter! I’'m going to go off script."” Later, he said that, after listening to the acceptance speeches of his fellow inductees he was sure this was, "“the largest AA meeting in the western hemisphere."” In discussing his fellow inductees further, he said, "“But I’m the only one with a Wonder and a Legend",” (referring to his induction by Steve Wonder and the imminent performance of his songs by John Legend). Bill was obviously touched that he was being inducted by Stevie Wonder and ended his speech with, "“Stevie Wonder knows my name. Brother just put me in the Hall of Fame.”"

Stevie Wonder then played and sang "“Ain'’t No Sunshine When She'’s Gone"” as Bill sat with him. John Legend joined Stevie for “"Use Me"” and "“Lean on Me"”, leading Bill back to center stage with a mic for the last song. After reading a post-show interview with Bill, it'’s clear that he didn’t actually sing into that mic. He said he just wasn'’t ready for that.

Ringo Starr

I was surprisingly touched by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. Sir Paul was charming and sweet and told some lovely stories about his collaboration with Ringo as Beatles. He said that, the first time the band met Ringo, they were quite impressed with how professional he was. "“He wore a suit. That’'s professional ... He sat at the bar drinking hard liquor. That’'s professional. He was a grown up drummer!"

Both mentioned John and George. Ringo gave the crowd some very good advice for anyone in a band who might be touring in a van. "“If you fart, own up."” Simply put, but Ringo actually said the Beatles had a pact around this issue because otherwise, "“the blaming starts”". He said that their pact was one of the reasons they succeeded. Who knew it was so simple?

Ringo mentioned that it was very meaningful to him that he was being inducted in Cleveland. As a youth, he listened to a Cleveland radio station being broadcast from Luxembourg because that was the only place he could hear that kind of music.

When it was nearing time for Ringo'’s musical performance, something interesting was happening on stage. Two drum kits were being set up on raised platforms side-by-side. Much preparation was happening as several people buzzed busily around the stage. Finally, Green Day appeared, with Tré seating himself at one of the kits as Ringo finished a few last words. Well, you can imagine –the anticipation was thrilling.

When Ringo approached the other kit, sat, and looked over at Tré, he commented, “"I'’ve got to do something about my hair."” They then launched into the Shirelles’' "“Boys"” that the Beatles had covered. As I mentioned earlier, it was nothing short of surreal to hear Green Day singing, “"Bop shuop, m'bop bop shuop"” and the appearance was almost as if we were at a Beatles concert (sitting far enough away that the skinny legs in black pants and dark heads of hair could almost pass). The performance was just great. I mean, it was great! This was a performance and an experience never to forget.

That one was followed by “It "Don'’t Come Easy"” (with Joe Walsh on guitar). I believe it was after this song that Ringo stepped down from the drums, picked up a mic and started talking. He chatted a bit as the crew worked on setting up the stage for the next number. Then he kept chatting -– and chatted some more -– spotted Yoko in the audience -– spotted another audience member that he squinted and stared at for some time before saying, “"No idea",” – kept chatting and trying to keep things interesting. Finally, he said, "“I’'m actually sorry I picked up this mic!"” Soon afterward, someone took the mic from him and took him off camera to take the pressure off while the remaining set up was completed. This was the only long, awkward pause of the evening.

Mike, Beck, and Tré
Soon after that, “"With a Little Help from My Friends"” was started and additional folks started entering the stage (Billie Joe sharing a mic with Joan Jett; Mike sharing a mic with Miley! – and Sir Paul was there, too). The stage was soon pretty full with almost everyone we’'d seen performing that night joining in. We thought that was the close of the show, but after the song was over, Ringo launched into “"I Wanna Be Your Man",” again with everyone singing and playing along.

I guess I felt everyone there loved their kind of music and their kind of band the way I love mine - and I actually loved a LOT of what I saw and heard that night. I was SO blown away to see our boys inducted and how happy, excited, proud (and nervous) they were! What a wonderful memory.

As I said in my recap of the House of Blues show, I have a sneaking suspicion that they love us as much as we love them. I think Billie Joe validated that comment with his Instagram message on Monday.

It never occurred to me that I would enjoy the entire ceremony as much as I did. I felt I was just going for Green Day’'s induction – though I like and admire most of the other inductees. I was blown away by so many of the speeches and performances. Of course, I also had no idea that Green Day’'s part in the festivities would be as significant as it was. Although a few of the acceptance speeches got a bit long, on the whole, I was riveted by the entire evening'’s ceremony. There’s no question that this was another once-in-a-lifetime event. I’'m so grateful that I was able to be there to witness and share this moment in the life of Tré Cool, Mike Dirnt, and Billie Joe Armstrong, those sweet children who call themselves Green Day.

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May 2022
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Happy Birthday Mike Dirnt! He turns 50 today.