Anthony Kiedis wasn’t counting on an award for the Red Hot Chili Peppers in the best hard rock performance category. “We figured we had no chance of winning ,” he said. “‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ was the anthem of the year. We even offered to accept the award for Nirvana, who aren’t here. It would have been the first time the loser accepted the award for the winner.”
James Brown seemed unaware that he read the winner instead of the nominees as a presenter for best vocal performance, male. “Everybody loved it,” Brown said backstage. “They want me to do the same thing next year.”
Peter Gabriel said he will tour in April and May in Europe, June and July in the U.S. He said he also wants to hit some markets that don’t often attract rock tours — Venezuela, for example.
Gabriel, who opened the show being carried on a chariot by several beefy men, said he got the idea from a performance of the Cirque du Soleil. “We saw what they did, we wanted something restrained and modest, so we came up with that.”
Epic’s Shabba Ranks, winner of the best reggae album award, responded to recently attributed statements that were perceived as anti-gay. “People are free to say that Shabba Ranks is gay. To each his own.”
Mary-Chapin Carpenter, whose win in the country female vocal category for the second straight year symbolizes the continuing changing of the guard in that genre, was humble backstage. “When I saw the nomination, I was just glad to be in there with the female artists who symbolize the diversity (of country). I’m proud to be a part of it.”
Carpenter said her multiple nominations and the victory are based on the record-buying public’s “ability to find good music even if radio isn’t playing it.”
Tony Bennett, a winner in the traditional pop vocal category for his “Perfectly Frank” album on Columbia, said his favorite contemporary artists include Pat Metheny, Phil Collins, Billy Joel, Michael Jackson and Madonna.
But he lamented that marketing has become a tool over raw talent. “They haven’t got the touring test of time to learn their trade,” he said. “They look good and have energy, but then it’s up to them to sustain that.” Bennett praised the jazz programs at a number of colleges. “They have some great performers coming out. Too bad they’re not promoted like rock artists.”
Sir Mix-a-Lot, winner in the rap solo performance category, said NARAS was “doing the best they can to acknowledge rap,” but expressed disappointment that his award category was not part of the telecast. “We have to let them know rap is a force, not just Hammer or Kris Kross, and it needs to be taken more seriously. (Rapper) Kid Sensation suggested us rappers get together and start our own show. We’re making more money collectively than anyone else. Maybe we should.”
Lyle Lovett said being mentioned in Mary-Chapin Carpenter’s “I Feel Lucky” is the only way he gets played on some country stations and that his listener base has expanded exponentially as a result.
Magic Johnson, who won a spoken word Grammy for his video, “What You Can Do to Avoid AIDS,” said backstage that he listens to Luther Vandross “as soon as the lights go down.”
Speech of best new artist Arrested Development said, “It feels good to be rewarded for something that you worked so hard on.” He added that rap should have its own awards show to “better represent the art form.”
Melissa Etheridge says the lack of influences may be one of the reasons there are so few women in rock. “When I was growing up, I was influenced by Janis Joplin, but then she died. That wasn’t inspirational.”
Celine Dion, who won with Peabo Bryson for best pop performance by a duo or group for the “Beauty and the Beast” single, gave credit to the late Howard Ashman for “letting a 24-year-old be part of a classic. It’s a fabulous song, especially since this is only my second album in English.”
Bruce Swedien, winner of best engineered album Grammy with Teddy Riley for work on Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous,” said working with the King of Pop was not difficult. “Michael is very serious and so am I. I’m also a perfectionist. If it was up to me , we’d still be pounding out the vocals on ‘Thriller.’ ”
Al Jarreau credits his win for best R&B performance male on his ability to “play on the same field as the 19- or 20-year-olds.” Jarreau said the reason popular music changes each year is “because we’re a trendy culture. We love the next stupid hairdo, the next stupid metal thing, and the best music usually never finds its way to radio.”