Constantine Maroulis plays a record executive in this film. He originated the role of Drew Boley in the Broadway production and was nominated for the 2009 Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his performance.
Def Leppard coincidentally happened to be touring in America at the time of the film shooting, and were able to be present on the day that Tom Cruise filmed his interpretation of their song "Pour Some Sugar on Me".
In the "song duel" outside the club, the anti-rock protesters, who are obviously modeled on the Parents' Music Resource Center (the group who imposed the "Parental Advisory" warning stickers on recordings), sing Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It." In real life, Dee Snider of Twisted Sister was one of the PMRC's most outspoken critics and testified against their proposals in the September 1985 Senate hearings.
Chris D'Arienzo, original book writer of the stage musical, admitted to having been disappointed by the movie, citing the unnecessary story changes, poor casting (was apparently shocked that Constantine Maroulis was not asked to reprise the role of Drew), and how glossy the singing sounded, saying that "It may have looked liked the 80s, but it's missing the dirty-likability that made the 80s awesome". He's vowed that a possible remake will be independently-made rather then studio produced.
Gloria Estefan was considered for the role of Patricia Whitmore. She was so heavily favored for the part that she even substituted for Catherine Zeta-Jones at some of the table readings when Zeta-Jones was unavailable.
The title Rock of Ages refers here to the generations of people who like rock music, but is also a play on Rock of Ages, an extremely popular eighteenth century hymn written by Reverend Augustus Montague Toplady. In the song, the Rock is a natural formation which shelters a man during a storm, and is seen as a metaphor of God the Father protecting his children. It's is also the name of a Def Leppard song from their Pyromania album.
Contrary to belief, the major changes to the story were not at the insistence of Warner Brothers, but that of Adam Shankman. Openly admitting that he didn't care for the original stage play, he vowed to "fix" its problems, despite originally gaining critical praise and a cult audience. Much of the changes took away the "R" rated raciness in favor of something more appropriate for a general audience.
Joel Hoekstra, who at the time played guitar for the Broadway production of Rock of Ages and for the band Night Ranger, can be seen to the left over Will Forte's shoulder during the "We Built This City" scene.
John Carney was first offered director's chair, having directed the Irish musical Once (2007). He declined, stating a lack of knowledge of the "80s American hair rock" scene and was uncomfortable handling a larger budget.
Sebastian Bach: the former lead singer of Skid Row is in the crowd next to Russell Brand during "We Built This City/We're Not Going To Take It". Skid Row's song "I Remember You" is heard playing in the Tower Records store while Drew and Sherrie are shopping.