ROCKNROLLHalof fame640 Rob Tannenbaum of Billboard reports:

When the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominating committee meets in New York every September, they nibble on sushi and Carnegie Deli sandwiches, and decide which artists to place on that year’s election ballot. The committee members — successful musicians, record executives, writers and historians — remain cordial even when they disagree, with one exception: the annual arguments that raged about KISS.

Whenever KISS was mentioned, “there were fireworks,” says one attendee. Several people in the room recall hearing the phrase “over my dead body.” Some on the committee see membership in the Rock Hall as the ultimate stamp of credibility; they viewed KISS, a popular and crass band, not with skepticism, but with disgust. Dave Marsh, an author and committee member, said KISS embodies “music at its most mercantile and shallow.” Then Tom Morello, from Rage Against the Machine, joined the committee as part of an effort to make it younger and more diverse (he’s African-American). At his first meeting, in 2013, he launched into what one witness calls “a rant” in praise of KISS. He persuaded the committee to nominate the band, and a few months later, welcomed KISS into the Hall of Fame.

…Because there’s little transparency in the [voting] process, conspiracy theories abound, especially ones that portray [Jan] Wenner as a puppet master. The Hall of Fame Foundation’s two staff members work in the offices of Wenner Media, and the foundation pays rent to Wenner Media for the space it uses. “Jann has completely taken over,” says a disillusioned committee member, pointing to Wenner’s influence on board membership and foundation employees. “He doesn’t try to rig anything, but it’s the Jann Wenner show.” Though Wenner is not on the nominating committee, it is stacked with current and former Rolling Stone writers and editors, which perpetuates the magazine’s vision of rock’s Great Works. “I understand the basis of [the conspiracy theories],” says Wenner, “but I don’t care about the speculation. After doing this for 30 years, nobody’s ever found any credible charge of chicanery or undue influence.”

..The committee has often been justly criticized for being homogenous — “too old, too male, too white, too rich,” says a former member. There are six women and seven people of color among the 41 members. In the last decade, “we’ve made a conscious effort to diversify it,” says Wenner. In 2006, several stalwarts were dethroned: “I was fired for being too old. That’s what I was told,” says one. (Wenner counters that anyone who was kicked off “wasn’t being useful.”) Younger members have been added, including Morello, 50, and The Roots drummer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, 44.

Morello’s successful advocacy for KISS shows how influential new members have been. In his first year, Questlove pushed pop act Hall & Oates onto the ballot, after others had tried and failed; “he worked the room like Frank Underwood works Congress,” one member says. And yet, the source adds, the balance of power is still with the elders: “Like anything boomer-centric, people are going to hold on to it as if their lives depend on it. You’ll have to pry the Hall of Fame from their cold, dead fingers.”

..Gene Simmons of KISS sums up the frequent criticism that the Hall neglects hard-rock and prog-rock bands. “Patti Smith is in before Deep Purple?” he exclaims. “Talking Heads, but not Yes? It started as a great idea, but it has become a sham.”

Read the entire piece at Billboard.


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  • RTunes68 on

    Jann Wenner, Jon Landau, and Dave Marsh have about as much credibility as their Rolling Stone Magazine. ZERO.

    • Mark Ellis on


  • Mr. Rock And Roll on

    The Hall Of Shame “suits”. They’re cretins without souls. The crusty, fecal stained, barely animated corpse of an institution they know not how to steer. Reality is never on the horizon, nor in their grasp. Smugness runs amok, sensibility thrown to the wind in the same fashion a billionaire lights his Cuban cigars with 50 dollar bills. What they think they hear is the harmonious sound of justice prevailing, but cannot hear the reality that this sound is that of the off key calliope of the death knell, strangling and usurping all credibility from their own lair of disgustingness. The Hall Of Shame “suits”, the whore of 1000 abominations concerning all that is ROCK AND ROLL…

    • Mark Ellis on

      Mr. Rock and Roll, Could you just please tell us how you really feel?

    • RTunes68 on

      I can’t tell if you’re offering a comment on the article….or you’ve just written lyrics to a death metal song?

  • James K. on

    We all know the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is ran by idiots. It’s gotten to the point that I don’t really care as much about it as I used to because it’s become a joke. If Deep Purple doesn’t get in next go around, I’ll just stop caring completely.

    Jann Wenner must have gotten his ass kicked on the sidewalk outside of a Disco club back in the 70’s by some long haired dude who was wearing a Deep Purple shirt. Yeah, that would explain some of this ridiculousness.

  • MikeyMan on

    Somebody get Eddie a Valium, stat!

  • Doug R. on

    The “critics”, the “committee”, they’re all a bunch of clueless idiots. WTF does “Too White” mean anyway? I find that comment offensive. Believe it or not, white people can and do actually get offended as well. The R&RHOF isn’t “Too Old, Too Male, Too White, Too Rich”, they’re just too fuc^ing stupid!

    • shannon mehaffey on

      Lol…Doug R, they aren’t talking to you…”too white” is a mindset, not an ethnic distinction. The person who got into the best schools from day one is groomed to think a certain way, like Clarence Thomas, he is someone who is “too white.” I could tell you more about how our Western society is set up to favor this person, that it’s a very concrete notion, but I don’t want you to hit the bottle again… : )

    • Doug R. on

      98 Bottles of beer on the wall…LOL! Just kidding Shannon, don’t worry, after yesterday I won’t be hitting the bottle again for at least 4-5 days. Shannon, people just need to pick and choose their words wisely, of course they aren’t talking to me, or you, but to use the phrase “Too White”, to most people is offensive, just as the phrase “Too Black” is offensive to most people, it goes both ways! Doesn’t really matter what someone means by it, whatever mindset, it’s basically implying that if you’re a old, rich, white male, you’re a racist, and even though I’m not old, yet, or rich, I am a white male, who finds that “terminology” offensive. Again, the R&RHOF committee are just clueless fuc<ing idiots, old, young, rich, poor, white, black, male, female, doesn't matter, putting in Rappers like DMC, LLKOOLJ, or whatever in the HOF, and leave out a real band of musicians like Deep Purple? Are you fuc<ing kidding me? That's just called, Too Ridiculous! Just like the Grammys. The R&RHOF can change "colors", "ages", "genders", whatever, but if the "mindset" doesn't change, it won't matter, or make a difference. 97 Bottles of beer on the wall, just kidding! Cheers. 😉 (Just java)

    • shannon mehaffey on

      The mindset you refer to being the Ivy League, elitist…uhhh, alright Doug R I won’t say it!!!

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