John Mellencamp, Little Steven Van Zandt, Smokey Robinson Lead Rock Hall Presenters
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced most of the presenters for the quickly-approaching 27th annual induction ceremony, taking place April 14 in Cleveland. Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Mellencamp will be on hand to speak about Donovan (they toured together in 2005). E Street Band guitarist Little Steven Van Zandt, a longtime supporter of garage rock bands (having campaigned successfully for The Rascals and The Dave Clark Five) will present The Small Faces and The Faces. Bette Midler will do the honors for the late Laura Nyro, rapper Chuck D of Public Enemy will present The Beastie Boys, and comedian Chris Rock will be on hand for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. No presenter has been named for Guns N Roses as of yet.
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Smokey Robinson will be there to honor a number of backing bands who have, up until now, not been included with their frontmen: James Brown’s Famous Flames, Gene Vincent’s Blue Caps, Hank Ballard’s Midnighters, Buddy Holly’s Crickets, Bill Haley’s Comets and Robinson’s own Miracles.
Other legends in attendance will be Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Robbie Robertson of The Band (to present to producers Cosimo Matassa, Tom Dowd and Glyn Johns), Carole King (for her former boss Don Kirshner) and ZZ Top‘s Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill (for blues legend and fellow Texan Freddie King).
Still unknown about the ceremony is who will actually perform: it’s likely that the Red Hot Chili Peppers will, as they are currently touring for last year’s I’m With You. Former guitarist John Frusciante has said that he won’t attend the ceremony, but other former members (including drummers Jack Irons and Cliff Martinez) may join the current lineup on the big night. The Beastie Boys are a question mark, especially as bassist/vocalist Adam Yauch has been battling cancer in recent years. Ron Wood, Ian MacLagan and Kenny Jones have toured Europe as The Faces recently, with Mick Hucknall of Simply Red filling in for Rod Stewart, who isn’t participating in the reunion. But Stewart may rejoin the band for the ceremony. Donovan has told Billboard magazine that he plans to perform with a younger musician, Jim James from My Morning Jacket at the show. Unsurprisingly, there’s no word on whether the members of Guns N Roses will bury the hatchet and perform together: Axl Rose has been touring with a new version of the group that doesn’t include original members Slash, Izzy Stradlin’, Duff McKagan or Steven Adler.