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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 28 August, 2002, 12:24 GMT 13:24 UK
Rocking with the Kerrang! gang
Kerrang! awards
An everyday backstage sight at the Kerrang! awards

I thought I was being clever seeking out the tradesmen's entrance to the Park Lane Hilton.

I ended up on the red carpet, sandwiched between Stereophonics and The Offspring and separated from 100 screaming fans by a flimsy crash barrier.

It was a relief to reach the press room, where not a single celebrity was in sight. We squatted around a 30in TV, watching the ceremony taking place across the corridor.

Wes Scantlin
Puddle of Mudd's Wes Scantlin: Friend of the Jedis
The 'Phonics bounded on stage to present the first award, swearing and cussing in the rock & roll tradition.

But most of the winners were surprisingly polite - never forgetting to thank their fans and managers. Even Marilyn Manson's video message was remotely civilised.

The awards were given out swiftly, presumably so the party could commence.

But half an hour after the ceremony, Zoe Ball was still the only celebrity to have entered the press room.

It was time for drastic action.


When I first came to these awards, it was just a few people trying to keep the flame alive and now it's a great big bush fire again

Brian May
I found Wes Scantlin from Puddle of Mudd sneaking down a corridor with a friend, who he claimed was a Jedi knight with ju-jitsu skills.

Wes grabbed my tape machine and whispered: "It's about the music and the fans and that's all that matters. I love everyone who loves our music."

In the main arena, I found Queen's Brian May locked in conversation, while Roger Taylor swished about in a velvet jacket.

"When I first came to these awards, it was just a few people trying to keep the flame alive and now it's a great big bush fire again," May told me.


I know there's a huge underground of women who are making great music

Shirley Manson
Back in the press room, the Phonics' diminutive Kelly Jones had arrived. I asked him what he thought of the burgeoning rock scene.

"It's nice that kids have something to go out and find, rather than have it delivered to them on the radio," he said.

As if by magic, the press room suddenly became celebrity heaven. Ash drummer Rick McMurray was spilling the beans about the band's bus crash in America.

"It wasn't scary in the slightest," he said. "I just woke up to find Charlotte lying on top of me."

McMurray was delighted that Ash had been the Foo Fighters' "secret special guests" at a gig the previous night and he applauded the band's induction into the Hall of Fame.

"Dave Grohl has been around for a long time - he deserves it."

Shirley Manson
Shirley Manson: Standing up for female rockers
Garbage frontwoman Shirley Manson was also singing Grohl's praises. "Just to see him get an award was very moving. I think he is an amazing person.

"He has turned very difficult circumstances around and come back with a great band and a great attitude."

Manson issued a rallying call to female rockers - who were in short supply at the ceremony. "I know there's a huge underground of women who are making great music.

"They just need to get out on stage and not be fearful."

Matt Bellamy (in orange trousers and silver hat) from Best British Live Act, Muse, was seriously talkative.

"It means a lot to me because we have just finished touring on and off for 19 months. Playing live is the reason I got into a band in the first place."


I just want to hang out with my girlfriend and my mom

Dave Grohl
Bellamy revealed the band have 15 to 16 songs for possible inclusion on their new album.

"I think it's going to be really personal. It seems to be more uplifting and there's an excitement in what we have achieved as a live band that will come across as well," he said.

Back in the main arena, I went hunting for Dave Grohl.

I found Dexter Holland from The Offspring (who compared winning the songwriting award to being in The Eagles), Gary Numan (who was talking about flying) and the lads from Hundred Reasons, who were trying to open their beer bottles on the back of a chair.

"I'm going to get drunk, have a laugh and talk to as many cool people as possible," said bassist Andy Gilmour.

At last, I spotted Mr Grohl - accompanied by a gorgeous blonde and his mother. "Can I have a few words?" I said.

"Of course," he replied.

I explained it was an interview and suddenly he clammed up. "I just want to hang out with my girlfriend and my mom," he pleaded. I relented and asked for his autograph instead. He obliged me with a smile.

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27 Aug 02 | Entertainment
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