On a night that includes N.W.A., no one expects Steve Miller to be the act that causes a controversy, but that’s what happened Friday at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 2016 induction ceremony in Brooklyn. N.W.A.’s MC Ren called Gene Simmons out by name in his speech for hoping for the death of hip-hop, but he had nothing on the Space Cowboy. During his induction speech, Miller politely alluded to the absence of women in the Hall of Fame’s class of 2016, encouraging them to be more inclusive of women:
But once he got backstage, he decided to cut loose. Here are his initial comments, transcribed by New York Times reporter Joe Coscarelli:
“No, we’re not going to wrap this up—I’m going to wrap you up,” seems more Chicago gangster than gangster of love, but Miller had clearly had it with the entire process. In another backstage interview, he talked about the ceremony itself:
It was a lazy kind of night with a bunch of fat cats at the dinner table. It’s not a real pleasant experience to tell you the truth.
Miller went on to question the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s very existence, saying, “You tell me what the hell is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and what does it do besides talk about itself and sell postcards?”
The other inductees—Cheap Trick, Chicago, Deep Purple, and Bert Berns—were inducted without drama (not really a surprise for Berns, who died in 1967). Meanwhile, N.W.A., whose members answered no questions and left early, took the money and ran.