LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Former Rage Against the Machine guitar-shredder Tom Morello wasn't just one of those hardcore Rush fans who complained and protested each year the Toronto trio was excluded from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
"No, I was one of those fans who was lobbying hard with people on the board," Morello said on the red carpet Thursday as he arrived at the Hall of Fame gala at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.
"It's come to fruition. It's a great day."
Morello said it's hard to estimate the impact Rush's music had on his own career. He listened to 1976's "All the World's a Stage" and 1981's "Moving Pictures" so much he had to buy multiple copies because his cassettes kept wearing out.
"Their musicianship was very important to me as an aspiring guitar player," he said. "And they eschewed some of the cornier trappings of hard rock music ? the devil stuff and the groupie stuff, which I could never really relate to. And three of the greatest players were somehow in the same band. Their music was just very compelling to me."
Morello was set to take the stage with Rush later in the evening to mark their induction into the Hall, and his giddiness at the prospect was clearly evident.
"I gotta tell you, rehearsal last night, it took a little getting used to being in that proximity," he laughed. "At one point, Chris Cornell (of Soundgarden) and I ... were studying Neil Peart's kit like we were 12 years old. We begin rehearsal and I'm like holy (crap), that's Neil Peart! On Neil Peart's kit! Really, that's crazy. I could have touched him! It's awesome."
"They are as advertised though," he added. "They are as down to earth and easygoing as any band. They deserve to be in the nice guy of rock hall of fame as well as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame."
Morello wasn't the only fan on hand. Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl is a sworn Rush supporter who was set to induct them later in the evening, and Alice in Chains singer Jerry Cantrell also sang Rush's praises as he strolled the carpet before the event.
"Absolutely, absolutely," he said, naming "Fly by Night," "2112," "Moving Pictures" and "Permanent Waves" among his favourite records.
"There was a lot of time spent listening to those records with your buddies, a lot of pot smoke, bad beer drank, you know? A lot of time trying to figure out riffs. 'It doesn't go like that!' (They're) pretty amazing."