So in the coming year of 2015, the mysterious reptilian Freemason Bigfoot clones who run the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have decided that the bands/artists most worthy of enshrinement include Joan Jett, Ringo Starr, Lou Reed, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Green Day.
I’m going to step way out on a limb here and say that I actually love all of those names.
However, I still think the list is a joke.
I’m not the only one. The reactions from this year’s inductees have ranged from a hearty “it’s about time!” from the Ringo and Vaughan camps, and a bewildered “Us? Really??” from Green Day, Joan Jett, et al.
Let’s not split hairs here – the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame may very well be an elaborate prank set up by vengeful ghosts of the black bluesmen ripped of by all the early white inductees. I hope so anyway. How else would Grandmaster Flash get in in his first year while Rush is still waiting?
But before we explain why this year is especially disappointing, let’s clarify a few things: the Hall of Fame’s induction process is not determined by a voting body of professionals like the Academy Awards or Emmys, but is instead handled entirely based on the personal tastes of like twenty people; none of whom are professional musicians. How you get to be a part of the induction committee isn’t clear. As far as we can tell, you give someone a big check and mark the “Yes” box when the application form asks you if you like rock music.
This means induction is entirely based on the biased tastes of a handful of old rich white people, based on what they personally enjoyed as kids and what they think will sell tickets to the induction ceremony. It’s the only way to explain how Deep Purple is still not in the Hall and Buddy Guy was only inducted in 2005.
Now we could go around pointing at all the silly omissions the Hall has made, but that’s not the point here. The point is that this is the year the Hall officially stopped trying to convince us it isn’t a joke.
Nirvana earned a well-deserved induction last year in its first year of eligibility, so naturally the other grunge icons that come up with them – such as Alice in Chains or Pearl Jam – should be right on their tail, right?
Apparently Nirvana is the only band to ever come out of Seattle as far as these people are aware. One grunge band is plenty. Let’s induct Lou Reed a second time instead.
Alice Cooper scored an induction last yea…approximately a billion years after one of rock’s greatest performers became eligible. But naturally, Green Day hopped in on their first try. I enjoy Green Day, don’t get me wrong, but shouldn’t they have to wait a bit before they land an entry?
Not to mention, doesn’t the idea of lavish ceremonies and long, congratulatory speeches kind of run counter to the spirit of punk? The Sex Pistols famously sent the Hall a letter telling them in no uncertain terms that the band would rather gargle raw sewage than waste an afternoon having other musicians sing their praises.
And then there’s the fact that the induction committee can’t seem to agree on what rock is. The Hall is notoriously finicky when it comes to inducting prog rock artists, so legendary and influential acts like the Moody Blues and Rush have to sing in the wings and deal with it. Metal artists like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden remained snubbed, despite offering some of the biggest, loudest, awesomest music (in my unbiased opinion) of the past fifty years.
Hell, Weird Al Yankovic has a damn fan campaign to get him inducted. You might laugh but consider this: how many artists can claim to have been consistently, chart-toppingly popular for (going on) forty years?
Yes, it really has been that long since Weird Al started doing his thing. He’s the crazy uncle of rock and roll, the court jester in the kingdom of music. If anyone can make a silly, overblown, decadent ceremony entertaining, it’s him.
And that’s the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in a nutshell, isn’t it? It’s a joke but it’s just not funny. Let Weird Al in and maybe we can, at long last, reach the punchline and move on.
(Photo courtesy of Green Day’s Facebook)