Rock Hall 2018: Which Band Members Were Nominated?

Bon Jovi
One of the greatest sources of controversy with the Rock Hall each year is the snubbing of particular members of inducted bands. We even made a giant list of the most egregious examples.

In an attempt to get ahead of these controversies, the Rock Hall has started releasing which members are included at the time the nominees are announced, in the hopes to get the furor out of the way by the time the inductees are announced in December. So, of the 2018 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Nominees, which members of the nominated bands made the cut? Let’s take a look:

Bon Jovi
Nominees: David Bryan, Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, Alec John Such, and Tico Torres
Who did the Rock Hall miss? Hugh McDonald has been Bon Jovi’s (unofficial?) bass player for the last 20+ years (maybe since the beginning?) and might be this year’s most egregious snub. Also, Phil X has filled in recently for Richie Sambora on guitar.
The Cars
Nominees: Elliot Easton, Greg Hawkes, David Robinson, Ric Ocasek, and Benjamin Orr
Who did the Rock Hall miss? No one.
Depeche Mode
Nominees: Vince Clarke, Andy Fletcher, Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, and Alan Wilder
Who did the Rock Hall miss? Touring members Christian Eigner and Peter Gordeno.
Dire Straits
Nominees: Alan Clark, Guy Fletcher, John Illsley, David Knopfler, Mark Knopfler, and Pick Withers
Who did the Rock Hall miss? Guitarists Hal Lindes, Jack Sonni, and drummer Terry Williams would seem to have a case for inclusion.
Nominees: Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart
Who did the Rock Hall miss? No one.
The J. Geils Band
Nominees: Stephen Jo Bladd, Magic Dick, J. Geils, Seth Justman, Danny Klein, and Peter Wolf
Who did the Rock Hall miss? No one.
Judas Priest
Nominees: Les Binks, K. K. Downing, Rob Halford, Ian Hill, Dave Holland, Glenn Tipton, and Scott Travis
Who did the Rock Hall miss? Halford, Downing, Tipton, and Hill formed the core band while they had a revolving door of drummers. Drummers Binks, Holland and Travis were included, while early drummers John Hinch, Alan Moore and Simon Phillips were left out. Short term subs, vocalist Tim Owens and guitarist Richie Faulkner, were not included.
Nominees: Michael Davis, Wayne Kramer, Fred “Sonic” Smith, Dennis Thompson, and Rob Tyner
Who did the Rock Hall miss? Early contributors Leo LeDuc, Billy Vargo, Bob Gaspar and Patrick Burrows were left out.
The Meters
Nominees: Joseph Modeliste, Art Neville, Cyril Neville, Leo Nocentelli, and George Porter Jr.
Who did the Rock Hall miss? Pretty much anyone who joined the group after 1976: Willie West, Russell Batiste, David Batiste, Sr., Brian Stoltz and Ian Neville.
The Moody Blues
Nominees: Graeme Edge, Justin Hayward, John Lodge, Mike Pinder, and Ray Thomas
Who did the Rock Hall miss? Early members Denny Laine, Clint Warwick, and Rodney Clark. Also missing is 80’s keyboardist Patrick Moraz.
Nominees: Colin Greenwood, Jonny Greenwood, Ed O'Brien, Philip Selway, and Thom Yorke
Who did the Rock Hall miss? Producer Nigel Godrich has been an indispensable 6th member and deserves some kind of recognition, even though he’s not officially in the band.
Rage Against the Machine
Nominees: Tim Commerford, Tom Morello, Zack de la Rocha, and Brad Wilk
Who did the Rock Hall miss? No one.
Rufus featuring Chaka Khan
Nominees: Dennis Belfield, Al Ciner, Andre Fisher, Chaka Khan, Tony Maiden, Kevin Murphy, Ron Stockert, Bobby Watson, Willie Weeks, and David Wolinski
Who did the Rock Hall miss? Even with 10 nominated members (so much for the rumored cap?), there are others who didn’t get named: Paulette McWilliams, James Stella, Chuck Colbert, Jr., Lee Graziano, Dennis Belfield, Nate Morgan, Richard “Moon” Calhoun and John Robinson.
The Zombies
Nominees: Rod Argent, Paul Atkinson, Colin Blunstone, Hugh Grundy, and Chris White
Who did the Rock Hall miss? They nominated the classic lineup but left off more recent band members Keith Airey, Tom Toomey, Jim Rodford, Steve Rodford and Sebastian Santa Maria.

So, did the Rock Hall get it right this year?


The 2018 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Nominees

The Rock Hall announced the 2018 Nominees this morning.

Please vote in our fan poll!

Follow us on Twitter for the latest Rock Hall news.


The 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Recap

The 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony took place on Friday, April 7th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The Induction Schedule (begins at 7:15 PM):
  1. Chuck Berry Tribute (ELO performs “Roll Over Beethoven”)
  2. Electric Light Orchestra (“Evil Woman”, “Mr. Blue Sky”; Inducted by Dhani Harrison)
  3. Joan Baez (Inducted by Jackson Browne; “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” - solo; “Deportees”, “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” - with Mary Chapin Carpenter & Indigo Girls)
  4. Yes (Inducted by Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson; “Roundabout” - with Geddy Lee; “Owner of a Lonely Heart”)
  5. 2Pac (Inducted by Snoop Dogg; "Ambitionz Az a Ridah," "I Get Around," "I Ain't Mad at Cha" and "Dear Mama" medley by Alicia Keys; “Americaz Most Wanted” with Snoop Dogg and YG; “Hail Mary” with T.I. and Treach; “Keep Your Head Up”)
  6. Journey (Inducted by Pat Monahan; “Separate Ways”, “Lights”, “Don’t Stop Believin” - with Arnel Pineda)
  7. Nile Rodgers (Inducted by Pharrell; no performance)
  8. In Memoriam
  9. Lenny Kravitz’s Prince Tribute (“When Doves Cry”, “The Cross”)
  10. Pearl Jam (Inducted by David Letterman; “Alive” - with Dave Krusen; “Given to Fly”, “Better Man”)
  11. All-Star Jam (“Rockin’ in the Free World”)

The show ended around 12:05 AM.

The 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees

The 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees were officially announced on December 20th, five days after votes were due. The Rock Hall announced six inductees in the Performer category and one Musical Excellence inductee:


Musical Excellence:

Inductees will be honored at the Induction Ceremony in Brooklyn on April 7, 2017.


Dave Grohl is on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Nominating Committee

dave grohl rolling stone
Dave Grohl has a long history with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In addition being inducted as a member of Nirvana in 2014, he has given induction speeches for Queen in 2001 and Rush in 2013. At the 2015 induction ceremony, he performed with Joan Jett & the Blackhearts and with Ringo Starr during the all-star jam. Grohl was instrumental in getting Ringo inducted that year in the Musical Excellence category, despite not formally being on the Nominating Committee.

Soon after the 2017 Rock Hall ballot was announced, Perry Ferrell revealed that Grohl told him he was responsible for getting Jane’s Addiction nominated. That led us to speculate that the Bad Brains nomination had Grohl’s fingerprints all over it as well.

Yesterday, Rolling Stone published a story about Bad Brains where H.R. confirmed that it was indeed Grohl that pushed their case.

As with other newly added Nominating Committee members such as Tom Morello and Questlove, Grohl was immediately successful in getting his picks directly on to the ballot (Nominating Committee members supposedly put forward two names each). Fresh voices seem to carry a lot of weight with the Committee, so Grohl may be most successful early in his tenure. With his experience on the Sonic Highways documentary series, he’s sure to have a long list of artists he wants to join him in the Hall of Fame.

The chances we will see artists like Motörhead, Minor Threat, Pixies or Fugazi on future ballots just went way up.


Future Rock Legends Predicts the 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees

The majority of the 800+ member Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Voting Committee is comprised of the 449 living inductees. The average inductee / voter is a white male about 69 years old (Don Henley, Ron Wood, Iggy Pop, Elton John and Sammy Hagar all fit this profile). The rest of the Voting Committee is a mostly anonymous group of artists, historians and members of the music industry. Presumably, this group is slightly younger and more diverse than the inductees, but that is just speculation based on the small number of voters who have been discovered.

In recent years it has been difficult for “younger” artists who aren’t transcendent first ballot-types to get inducted. Titans of the 80s and 90s such as Nine Inch Nails, the Cure, the Replacements, the Smiths, Janet Jackson and LL Cool J have all made appearances on the ballot, but haven’t been welcomed into the Rock Hall yet. Voters have been far more likely to induct their peers of the 1960s than their musical progeny.

Future Rock Legends predicts the five inductees of the Rock Hall class of 2017 will be:

  • Pearl Jam - A true first ballot Hall of Famer. This has been a foregone conclusion for over 20 years, back when Eddie Vedder performed with the Doors on the Rock Hall stage.
  • Electric Light Orchestra - Jeff Lynne is the only member of the Traveling Wilburys who isn’t in the Hall of Fame, but only because E.L.O. had never been nominated until this year. Given his career and the respect he holds in the industry, he should coast into Cleveland now that he’s finally been given the opportunity.
  • Joan Baez - Like Cat Stevens and Leonard Cohen before her, Baez will likely be inducted after finally debuting on the ballot (eligible for 31 years!). Also if Baez gets in, there’s the potential to get a certain Nobel laureate back to the induction ceremony.
  • Journey - Sure, the fan poll winner has been inducted every time, but that doesn’t mean that it is guaranteed. However, Journey fits in nicely with last year’s AOR-friendly class and should have enough megahits to get the nod. Fans hoping for a Steve Perry reunion at the induction ceremony should remember the Rock Hall has an abysmal record negotiating these things.
  • Chic - The Rock Hall nominated 19 artists this year, the most since 1990. We’re guessing that Chic could benefit from a diluted ballot, where it will only takes about 1/3 of the voters to get an artist into the top five.

A quick note about some of the other artists on the ballot... Tupac is one of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Artists, but like Nine Inch Nails, the generation gap might be too big to overcome this year... The Rock Hall voters have previously rejected Kraftwerk, Janet Jackson, MC5, The Cars, Yes, The Zombies, Chaka Khan, Joe Tex and The J. Geils Band. Given that they gravitate towards the fresher names on the ballot, it will be tough for one of these artists to get over the top... It’s truly remarkable that Bad Brains was nominated this year, but don’t expect to see them back on the ballot anytime soon... If there happen to be six performer inductees, we’ll predict the J. Geils Band will slip in... By pulling artists off of the Performer ballot and inducting them in other categories (Freddie King, Wanda Jackson), the Rock Hall has previously demonstrated their lack of respect for the process. Keep an eye out for what they might do in the other categories this year.

For ten years we have been conducting our own unofficial poll here which, unlike the official Rock Hall poll, requires voters to select five artists on their ballot. The results (after 2166 ballots):

  1. Kraftwerk 41%
  2. Depeche Mode 41%
  3. E.L.O. 38%
  4. Pearl Jam 37%
  5. Janet Jackson 35%
  6. MC5 31%
  7. Bad Brains 31%
  8. The Cars 30%
  9. Chic 29%
  10. 2Pac 28%
  11. Yes 28%
  12. Joan Baez 24%
  13. Journey 24%
  14. The Zombies 20%
  15. Jane’s Addiction 13%
  16. Steppenwolf 13%
  17. Chaka Khan 13%
  18. Joe Tex 12%
  19. The J. Geils Band 11%

For the record, the top five in the official Rock Hall fan poll were Journey, E.L.O., Yes, Pearl Jam and The Cars.

The Rock Hall Induction Ceremony will take place on Friday, April 7 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.


The Rock Hall Fan Poll is a Mess (Again)

Not a normal vote curve
After last year’s epic fan poll debacle, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame tried to fix things this year. They outsourced the fan poll to Votem, a “revolutionary mobile voting platform,” that makes bold promises on its website:
Multifactor authentication ensures votes are cast legitimately, while top-of-the-line encryption protects fan voter privacy and anonymity.

Featuring 100% accuracy and transparency throughout the entire fan vote process, Votem removes any potential for human error or controversy caused by miscounting or mishandling votes.

Well, after a relatively uneventful first six weeks of voting, today the Rock Hall made up for lost time by releasing over 575,000 new votes today that were “cached in the voting system.” They also arbitrarily decided to extend the voting deadline by 10 days to December 15th.

The Rock Hall updated the vote totals after an internal “audit,” likely prompted by a tweet from Journey which suggested the poll may have been “hacked” after their lead over E.L.O. shrank from 5,000 votes to 2,000 votes over the course of a week.

What kind of polling operation holds onto 40% of votes for a month and then releases them all at once with little explanation? Certainly not one that supposedly features “100% accuracy and transparency.” This is the same “transparent” poll that didn’t show vote totals for over a week after voting started. This is the same poll that promises “voter privacy and anonymity,” but then sneakily registers you for the Rock Hall newsletter when you vote with your email address.

This is the same polling company that is supposed to “remove any potential for controversy.” (Did the Rock Hall actually pay for this service?)

As Steve Miller said about the Rock Hall back in the spring, “I think it’s time for the people running this to turn it over to new people, because it doesn’t need to be this difficult.”

Votem did not respond to questions regarding their poll methodology.

Update: The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame offered up additional details about the vote increase, also insisting that the poll had not been “hacked.” The Rock Hall shared their own graph of results for the month of November, which shows the extra votes distributed over the course of the month.


Iconic Rock Talk Show thinks this whole thing could have been handled better.


What Does Rock & Roll Look Like?

In 1986, Canadian artist Michael Keirstead created the “The Jam Part I - A History” to illustrate “the musical influences that shaped the evolution of Rock music.” It’s a fantastic piece filled with Rock & Roll Hall of Famers from the 1950s through the 1970s. Here is who is on the poster (everyone is in the Rock Hall except those that are linked):
  • John Paul Jones
  • Jimmy Page
  • Robert Plant
  • John Bonham
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Nick Mason
  • Rick Wright
  • David Gilmour
  • Roger Waters
  • Elvis Presley
  • Marc Bolan
  • Jim Croce
  • Chuck Berry
  • Little Richard
  • Buddy Holly
  • Jim Morrison
  • Kin Hensley
  • Pete Townshend
  • Keith Moon
  • Roger Daltrey
  • John Entwistle
  • Janis Joplin
  • Brian Jones
  • Mick Jagger
  • Ron Wood
  • Charlie Watts
  • Bill Wyman
  • Keith Richards
  • Jon Lennon
  • Yoko Ono
  • George Harrison
  • Ringo Starr
  • Paul McCartney
  • Alice Cooper
  • Grace Slick
  • Muddy Waters
  • Bill Haley
  • Johnny Winter
  • Don Everly

Keirstead followed up that work with “The Jam Part II - Long Live Rock & Roll” which continued the project showing the following decades of rock stars (with a slightly more Canadian bias).

Here are the people illustrated (this time Hall of Famers are linked - most are not in the Hall of Fame yet):

For many rock fans, this is what the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame should represent (even if it happens to be almost entirely white). If the Rock Hall also saw it that way, they might even have a chance to induct most of those people. But that’s not the way the Hall of Fame wants to represent rock and roll. They choose a far more ambitious path -- to include many of the different branches that sprung from the roots of rock and roll, including disco, electronic music, pop, and most controversially, hip hop. That makes their task exponentially more difficult. It’s hard enough to properly honor and represent the most important artists of one genre, but to try to capture the essence of popular music from the past half-century becomes an impossible task. There will inevitably be important artists who get left behind which leaves fans of all genres eternally frustrated. The current format of inducting just five artists per year does a huge disservice to their mission “to celebrate the musicians who founded, changed and revolutionized rock & roll,” when their definition of rock and roll includes an ever-expanding number of artists and genres. The Rock Hall has created an intractable problem.


The 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Nominees

The Rock Hall announced the 2017 Nominees this morning.

Please vote in our fan poll!

Much more to come.


Using VH1's 100 Greatest Hard Rock Artists as a Predictor for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Back in 2000, VH1 compiled a list of the “100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock.” Although the exact methodology is unknown, the list was “selected by a panel of rock artists that included Pat Benatar, Def Leppard's Joe Elliott, Ozzy Osbourne, Scott Ian and John Bush of Anthrax, Korn's Dave Silveria, Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler, Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple, Dave Grohl of Nirvana/Foo Fighters, Mike Bordin of Faith No More, Skid Row's Sebastian Bach, Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea, Yngwie Malmsteen, Lita Ford, and Geddy Lee of Rush.”

Because the “hard rock” genre definition seems pretty loose here, 34 of the 100 are Rock & Roll Hall of Famers (Update: As of 2017, 36 have been inducted). Apparently, the difficulty for the remaining artists is just getting on the ballot. Only five of the remaining 66 artists have ever been nominated: Nine Inch Nails, MC5, New York Dolls, Bon Jovi and Yes (Update: Yes was inducted in 2017).

Although the Rock Hall doesn’t primarily focus on hard rock, in the last four induction years Deep Purple, Cheap Trick, Green Day, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, KISS, Nirvana, Rush and Heart have all been inducted. Just give them another 30 years to induct the rest.

Here is the full list (linked artists are not in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame):

  1. Led Zeppelin
  2. Black Sabbath
  3. Jimi Hendrix
  4. AC/DC
  5. Metallica
  6. Nirvana
  7. Van Halen
  8. The Who
  9. Gun N' Roses
  10. KISS
  11. Aerosmith
  12. The Sex Pistols
  13. Queen
  14. Soundgarden
  15. Pink Floyd
  16. Cream
  17. Ramones
  18. Ozzy Osbourne
  19. The Clash
  20. Alice Cooper
  21. Pearl Jam 
  22. Deep Purple
  23. Judas Priest
  24. Iron Maiden
  25. Cheap Trick
  26. Motörhead
  27. Iggy Pop
  28. Rush
  29. Mötley Crüe
  30. Red Hot Chili Peppers
  31. Def Leppard
  32. The Doors
  33. Rage Against The Machine
  34. Alice In Chains
  35. Jane's Addiction
  36. Frank Zappa
  37. The Yardbirds
  38. MC5
  39. Neil Young & Crazy Horse
  40. Stone Temple Pilots
  41. Ted Nugent
  42. The Kinks
  43. Nine Inch Nails
  44. ZZ Top
  45. Pantera
  46. Scorpions
  47. Rollins Band
  48. Janis Joplin
  49. Smashing Pumpkins
  50. Slayer
  51. Thin Lizzy
  52. Faith No More
  53. Korn
  54. Sonic Youth
  55. Blue Öyster Cult
  56. White Zombie
  57. Heart
  58. Anthrax
  59. Bad Company
  60. New York Dolls
  61. Jethro Tull
  62. Ministry
  63. Boston
  64. Steppenwolf
  65. The Cult
  66. Joan Jett & The Blackhearts 
  67. The Rolling Stones
  68. Hüsker Dü
  69. Megadeth
  70. Living Colour
  71. Lynyrd Skynyrd
  72. Foo Fighters
  73. Twisted Sister
  74. Pat Benatar
  75. Spinal Tap 
  76. Bon Jovi
  77. Hole
  78. Marilyn Manson
  79. Ratt
  80. Green Day
  81. Pixies
  82. Queensrÿche
  83. King's X
  84. UFO
  85. Whitesnake
  86. Foreigner
  87. King Crimson
  88. Tool
  89. Lita Ford
  90. Rainbow
  91. Danzig
  92. The Black Crowes
  93. Lenny Kravitz
  94. Yes
  95. Fugazi
  96. Meat Loaf
  97. Primus
  98. Mountain
  99. Bad Brains
  100. Quiet Riot

Tom Morello's 2003 Speech Inducting The Clash into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

When Tom Morello passionately inducted KISS into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, it was widely hailed as one of the best induction speeches in recent history. One of the reasons it was so great was that Morello clearly had a personal connection to the band’s music and was a vocal advocate for their induction.

In 2003, Morello (and the Edge, in a separate speech) had the opportunity to induct another one of his greatest influences, The Clash.

I had the good fortune to see The Clash at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago when I was a teenager. It was an experience that changed my life. Even before the first note was played, the transformation began. I bought a t-shirt in the lobby. I was used to buying heavy metal t-shirts that had lots of pictures of garish wizards and dragons on them. But this Clash shirt was very different. It just had a few small words written over the heart. It said “the future is unwritten.” And when I saw the Clash play, I knew exactly what that phrase meant.

The Clash perform with passion, commitment, purpose, righteousness, and an unflinching political fire. There was such a sense of community in the room, it seemed like absolutely anything was possible. I was energized, politicized and changed by The Clash that night. And I knew that the future was unwritten and maybe we fans and that band would maybe write it together.

Joe Strummer was even playing through the same little amp I used when I was a high schooler. They proved to me that you didn’t need a big wall of Marshall stacks and a castle on a Scottish loch to make great rock and roll music. All you had to do was tell the truth and really, really, really mean it. I’d never seen a better band before that night and I’ve never seen a better band since. That’s very true.

The Clash were one of those rare bands that were greater than the sum of their parts, and yet the parts were awesome. Mick was the brilliant arranger and tunesmith, always looking forward musically. Let’s hear it for Mick. Right on. Always looking forward musically and pushing the boundaries of what was possible for a punk band, of what was possible for any band. Paul was just so damn cool looking. And as you’ll see, he’s still so damn cool-looking tonight. He’s running it like a pimp. And the image of him smashing the bass on the cover of London Calling, sums up the fury and beautiful force of the band. He also wove in the reggae influence that completed that Clash chemistry -- of three chords, a funky groove and the truth.

Terry Chimes provided the cavalry charge beats that propelled some of their early anthems, but it was Topper that made it all possible with his drumming. He effortlessly, and with great originality and skill, steered the band through genres undreamt of by their peers.

But really, they had no peers. Because at the center of the Clash hurricane stood one of the greatest hearts and deepest souls of 20th century music. At the center of the Clash stood Joe Strummer.

Joe Strummer died on December 22nd, 2002. But when Joe Strummer played, he played as if the world could be changed by a three minute song. And he was right. Those songs changed a lot of people’s worlds forever, mine at the top of the list. He was a brilliant lyricist with anger and wit always stood up for the underdog. And his idealism and conviction instilled in me the courage to pick up a guitar and the courage to try to make a difference with it.

In the great Clash anthem White Riot, Joe sang, “are you taking over? / or are you taking orders? / are you going backwards? / or are you going forwards?” And when I heard that, I wrote those four lines down, I put them on my refrigerator, and I answer those four questions for myself every single day. And to this day, I still do.

Joe Strummer was my greatest inspiration and my favorite singer of all-time and my hero. I miss him so much and I was looking forward to him standing on this stage and rocking with his friends tonight. And I know that he was too. I’m grateful though to have the tremendous legacy of music that the Clash left behind, cause through it, Joe Strummer and the Clash will continue to inspire and agitate well into the future. In fact, the Clash aren’t really gone at all. Because whenever a band cares more about its fans than its bank account, the spirit of the Clash is there. Whenever a band plays as if every single person’s soul in the room is at stake, the spirit of the Clash is there. And whenever a stadium band or little garage band has the guts to put their beliefs on the line to make a difference, the spirit of the Clash is there. And whenever people take to the streets to stop an unjust war, the spirit of the Clash is definitely there.

Tonight, we will honor the Clash, and Joe Strummer, with toasts and applause, but the best way to honor them is by putting the Clash’s philosophy into practice. By waking up each morning  knowing that the future is unwritten, and that it can be a future where human rights, peace and justice come first. But it is entirely up to us. To me, that’s what the Clash was all about.

They combined revolutionary sounds with revolutionary ideas. Their music launched thousands of bands and moved millions of fans. And I cannot imagine what my life would have been without them.

During their heyday, they were known as the only band that matters. And 25 years later, that still seems just about right to me.

Tom Morello Inducts the Clash into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Library and Archives, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

As a prominent member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominating Committee, Morello, like Stevie Van Zandt and Robbie Robertson, will likely be called upon again to deliver additional induction speeches in the future.


Steve Miller Exposes the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Calls for a Change in Leadership

The biggest news to come out of the 2016 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony was Steve Miller’s harsh words for the institution and its organizers. In the press room after his performance, Miller unloaded:
The whole process is unpleasant. The whole process needs to be changed from the top to the bottom. It doesn’t need to be this hard. There is nothing fancy going on out there that requires all of this stuff.

They need to get their legal work straight. They need to respect the artists they say they’re honoring, which they don’t. I don’t have any of my paperwork signed, I have no licensing agreements with these people. They’re trying to steal footage. They’re trying to make me indemnify them.

When they told me I was inducted they said, “You can have two tickets - one for your wife and one for yourself. Want another one? It’s $10,000 - sorry that’s the way it goes.” I said, “I’m playing here. What about my band? What about their wives?” They make this so unpleasant.

They came this close - [publicist asks Miller to wrap it up]

No, we’re not going to wrap this up - I’m going to wrap you up. You go sit down over there and learn something. Here’s what you need to know. This is how close this whole show came to not happening because of the way the artists are actually being treated right now. So I’ll wrap it up.

In a separate interview with AP, Miller had further thoughts:

It wasn’t very overwhelming. It was kind of like a lazy kind of night with a bunch of fat cats at the dinner table.

It’s not a real pleasant experience, to tell you the truth. The reason it isn’t is because they make it so difficult for the artists. I think it’s time for the people running this to turn it over to new people, because it doesn’t need to be this difficult.

I don’t know why I was nominated for this, because i’ve said this about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for 30 years and I don’t get along with the people who run it. When I found out about it, I felt like I was in a bullshit reality TV show.

Miller also said, "My fans take it seriously. I really didn't want to show up... You tell me what the hell is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and what does it do besides talk about itself and sell postcards?”

Some of Miller’s criticism of the institution came out during his eight minute acceptance speech on stage:

And to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I’d thank you for your hard work on behalf of all musicians. And I encourage you to keep expanding your vision. To be more inclusive of women and to be more transparent with your dealings with the public. And most importantly, to do much more to provide music in our schools.

If you follow the dealings of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, none of this is news. We have been documenting the Rock Hall’s issues with women, transparency and treatment of artists for years.

Artists have been complaining about the Rock Hall for decades too. In 1997, Neil Young boycotted the ceremony for similar reasons that Steve Miller outlined above:

Young, who was inducted as a member of Buffalo Springfield, boycotted the performance because of a dispute with the rock hall over its refusal to provide him with enough free tickets to bring his family to the $1,500-a-plate dinner.

In a letter to the rock hall, VH1, Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun and his Buffalo Springfield bandmates, Young also said he was upset with the rock hall's decision to sell broadcast rights to VH1, feeling that featuring the ceremony on TV commercialized and cheapened it.

”The VH1 Hall of Fame presentation has nothing to do with the spirit of rock 'n' roll," wrote Young. "It has everything to do with making money. Inductees are severely limited in the amount of guests they can bring. They are forced to be on a TV show, for which they are not paid.”

Let’s also not forget the Sex Pistols letter.

What makes Steve Miller’s statements so important is that he decided to step on the neck of the Rock Hall on the night he was being inducted. Usually any bad feelings get pushed to the side on a night filled with so much positive energy from your peers and fans, but Miller knew that his words would carry the most impact at that moment.

The question now is, will this actually change anything? The Rock Hall has been mismanaging artist relations for years, which has led to numerous lost opportunities for induction ceremony reunions (including two this year alone). When will the Rock Hall board wake up and realize that this isn’t working on nearly every level? The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation’s primary responsibilities are running the induction process, organizing the induction ceremonies and raising money. How much more failure in each of these areas is the Rock Hall willing to endure?

Steve Miller said, “I think it’s time for the people running this to turn it over to new people, because it doesn’t need to be this difficult.” We agree.


E-Rockracy: Public Image, Damaged: The Rock Hall's Public Perception Problem

Before last night’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, fellow Rock Hall follower Eric Layton wrote a great piece about the increasingly damaged institution. After the Ceremony last night, 2016 inductee Steve Miller echoed many of these sentiments. Reposted here with permission.

As the stars converge and the hype builds for the 31st Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Brooklyn tonight, it's important not to lose sight of an inescapable fact: By any measure, the Rock Hall is an American institution with a tarnished public image. Sad to say, but it's lost hearts and minds. When tickets for your annual watershed gala event are going on StubHub for $12, and the simulcast of said event at the museum isn't sold out, well, those are bad omens.

There's an acute public perception problem here, and the reasons go beyond why your favorite band isn't in the hall yet; in fact, let's please put those reflexive, tiresome, moody blues to rest for now. In considering the Rock Hall gestalt, there are two entities that feed off each other. First there's the museum in Cleveland, which opened in 1995 and is an exceptionally-curated music fan pilgrimage. Secondly and most significantly, there is the organization that spearheaded the museum, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, NYC-based and formed in 1983 by the late Ahmet Ertegun, Jann Wenner, Seymour Stein, Jon Landau, and others to recognize achievement in popular music.

That mission sounds simple enough. In fact, the early years, marked by the privately-held induction ceremonies at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City, were a relatively non-controversial, celebratory breeze. Elvis! Chuck Berry! Bob Dylan! Aretha! The Beatles! But as decades have gone on, and as Wenner has dubiously claimed "all the no-brainers" are inducted, it seems that myriad issues have cropped up that threaten to irrevocably damage the very idea of "The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame." These issues include, but are not necessarily limited to, transparency, communication, gender equality, credibility, common sense, and conflicts of interest:

  • Transparency - Most people that follow the hall closely, as well as casual observers/everyday rock fans, get a sense that most major Rock Hall decisions are being made behind closed doors. This is a non-profit that is driven by donations, but the institution seems to act with impunity and zero accountability. Does anyone on the outside, let alone donors, know what's going on? Sure, financial numbers get disclosed.  But missing is the basic information that would actually matter to the populist masses the Hall is purportedly courting to buy memberships and tickets to the museum/induction ceremonies. The most corrective measure the Hall could take toward transparency would be to disclose the vote counts that decide who gets inducted. A press release is issued, and news outlets and social media are abuzz on announcement day, but it seems no one truly questions the results. (Does anyone truly believe that Steve Miller got more votes than Janet Jackson? That's not to take sides in support of either, but most fan polls outside the Rock Hall's bot-corrupted fan vote had Janet well ahead, and you'd think there would be at least some parallel).
  • Communication - The fact that most people believed that N.W.A. would perform at the induction ceremony tonight, only to be highly disappointed yesterday when they saw Ice Cube's interview in the New York Times saying they weren't performing due to disagreements with the organizers, is a prime example of the Rock Hall dropping the ball when it comes to communication. How long was this known? It certainly wasn't in the Hall's best interest to disclose that fact. Going broader in terms of the 2016 ceremony, why are there only five performer inductees this year? Previous years have had quite a few more. A sixth slot could have gone to a deserving artist like Yes. Again, there are no real answers from the Hall, just speculation across the board that maybe they're trying to shorten what have been admittedly long ceremonies.
  • Gender Equality - There's not a single female inductee this year, not even a single announced presenter tonight that is female. Furthermore, per the essential Rock Hall resource Future Rock Legends (, "Of the 547 Rock Hall voters we have on our unofficial list, 9.3% are women." Expanding the voting body to include more women is urgent, crucial, and ridiculously overdue. 
  • Credibility - The Hall-run, official fan vote for the 2016 induction class was an abject disaster. Overtaken by bots and registering an inhuman 160,905,154 votes, it's exhibit A for the Hall to come up with a more secure, credible fan voting system. (And yes, Chicago fans, the point is taken that you are passionate, and that you voted a bunch. But you didn't vote 37 million times, as the official Rock Hall fan vote would have us believe.) This needs to be fixed before the next set of nominees is announced.
  • Common Sense - When choosing which band members to induct (or not induct at all, as in tonight's Steve Miller "sans Band" scenario), the committees apparently need to do more research, consult the bands, and use some common sense. In the case of Deep Purple, vocalist Red Evans is being inducted, but bassist Nick Simper was excluded, which is confounding as they played on the same records and were in the band at the same time. Yet every drummer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers was inducted? Inconsistency at best.
  • Conflicts of Interest - The late Bert Berns is being given the Ahmet Ertegun Award for Lifetime Achievement tonight, an honor that is apparently determined not by voting but via the unilateral decision of a nomination committee. Steven Van Zandt and Paul Shaffer are producing a Broadway musical about Bert Berns, and they are both on such a committee. The red flags being raised here, justifiably so, are conflicts of interest, and the overarching sense that the Rock Hall insiders are just going to do whatever they want. Berns, a storied '60s producer, record man and songwriter, has accomplishments that have more than earned him this honor, but it's too bad his induction has this shadow of impropriety over it. 

In closing, the Sex Pistols' Johnny Rotten, upon learning of his band's induction, fired off a burning missive to the Hall in 1996, calling it a "piss stain." He added, "Your anonymous as judges but your still music industry people (sic)." Maybe Rotten's was among the first hearts and minds lost.

That doesn't mean the Rock Hall can't course-correct and win back those that still believe in a credible, well-executed, and balanced recognition of musical achievement. Fixing these issues isn't just the right thing to do; it may even secure the Rock Hall's long-term future.

by Eric Layton -- originally posted on E-Rockracy on 4/8/2016


Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Nominating Committee Changes

To follow up on the big Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Nominating Committee shakeup from last year, we now know which members were ousted and who remains.

The 13 members who were let go:

MemberYears on the Committee
Bill Adler17
David Bither14
David Dorn2
Gregg Geller26
Bob Hilburn28
Brian Keizer9
Arthur Levy26
Joe Levy15
Joe McEwen26
Bob Merlis24
Claudia Perry17
Roy Trakin13

We list the 28 survivors on our Nominating Committee page, and it should also be noted that they did not add any new members to add a fresh perspective.

It seems unlikely there would be another major change in the Committee this year unless there is disruption in the leadership of the Rock Hall Foundation.


Open Questions about the 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductions

On December 17th, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced the 2016 performer inductees: Cheap Trick, Chicago, Deep Purple, Steve Miller and N.W.A. Here are some open questions about this year’s induction class that hopefully can be answered by those in charge of process: Rock Hall Foundation President and CEO Joel Peresman, Rock Hall Museum President Greg Harris, Nominating Committee Chairman Jon Landau, and Rock Hall co-founder Jann Wenner. (Transparency and accountability are two of the tenets of non-profit organizations.)
  1. This year’s performer class includes only five artists, down from the six that have been inducted in recent years. Given the backlog of deserving artists, why the reduction?
  2. Was the number of inductees reduced to shorten the length of the induction ceremony?
  3. If so, why did you schedule the induction ceremony at Barclays Center the day before a hockey game? The last time the ceremony was at Barclays, you had to cancel the end of show jam session because of the curfew.
  4. Regarding the inducted members of Deep Purple, can you explain the rationale for how vocalist Rod Evans can be inducted but bassist Nick Simper is not, despite being in the band during the same era (1968-1969) and performing on the same albums?
  5. We have our theories, but can you explain why Steve Miller has been inducted solo, with no one else from the Steve Miller Band?
  6. Do bands with a complicated membership history have a disadvantage in getting nominated or inducted?
  7. Who were the “experts” you used to determine which members of the inducted artists got in?
  8. The official fan poll effectively ended on October 15th after you instituted limits to protect against volume voters (human or otherwise). Why was the fan poll created with no protective measures in the first place?
  9. When it was determined that the fan poll had fatal flaws, why wasn’t the poll scrapped in favor of a new, secure poll?
  10. Why did you create a poll with unlimited voting (that has almost zero impact on the actual results) that takes advantage of fans’ passions for their favorite artists by wasting their time?
  11. Did the fan poll last year have similar unusual voting activity?
  12. It has been reported that the Voting Committee was expanded this year. How many new voters were added? How many of the new voters are women? (Of the dozen or so new voters we have seen, none are women.)
  13. One of the new voters this year is Howard Stern Show producer Gary Dell’Abate (aka Baba Booey). What are the qualifications for becoming an official voter?
  14. Speaking of women, of the 25 people inducted in the Class of 2016, zero are women. Do you feel the Rock Hall has a gender diversity problem? If so, how do you plan to address it?
  15. Some of the members of the Nominating Committee have recently complained that the Voting Committee isn’t knowledgable enough about the broad history of rock and roll, and ignores the clear wishes of the Nominating Committee (Chic is example #1). Are there plans to change the composition of the electorate (most of whom are Rock Hall inductees) that would be more in line with the Nominating Committee’s views of rock and roll?
  16. Speaking of voters, how many of the over 800 ballots were actually returned this year?
  17. Who counted the votes and will you release the voting totals?
  18. Official ballots were due from voters on December 15th, but it seems clear that the inductees were determined and notified prior to the voting deadline. Given the reported low return rate of ballots, how could you be sure late ballots wouldn’t change the results?
  19. Only inductees in the “performer” category were revealed. When will inductees in the other categories be announced?
  20. The induction ceremony locations were previously going to be on three year cycles between New York, Cleveland and Los Angeles. This year was to be an L.A. year. Why was the L.A. ceremony scrapped? Are there currently plans to return to L.A.?

If you have additional questions about the Rock Hall process that go beyond the usual “why isn’t [my favorite artist] in the Rock Hall?”, leave them in the comments.


The 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees

The 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees were officially announced on December 17th, just two days after votes were due. So far, only inductees in the Performer category have been announced. Additional inductees in other categories may be announced in late January.


Inductees will be honored at the Induction Ceremony in Brooklyn on April 8, 2016. Tickets go on sale to the public in February.


Future Rock Legends Predicts the 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees

The 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction class will be announced on Thursday, December 17th. Greg Harris, President of the Rock Hall Museum, indicated in October that there would be five performer inductees this year, bucking the recent trend of inducting six. Reducing the number of inductees isn’t going to help alleviate the ever-increasing backlog of deserving artists, but it would make it easier for HBO to edit down the ceremony (recently running well over five hours).

Instead of trying to forecast who the voters selected, let’s examine this from the standpoint of a television production (as Rock Hall Nominating Committee member Dave Marsh recently put it, “that tail wags that dog every year”). With that in mind, Future Rock Legends predicts the following five artists will be 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees:

  • N.W.A - This is N.W.A’s fourth consecutive nomination, and the second straight year they have been the only hip hop artist on the ballot. The film based on their career, Straight Outta Compton, was a huge hit (fifth largest August opening weekend ever) and their stock will never be hotter than it is right now.
  • Janet Jackson - Speaking of artists who have had a good year, Janet Jackson has enjoyed a career resurgence after releasing a critically acclaimed album and launching an arena tour. Janet also happened to finish first in our unofficial Rock Hall poll, appearing on 48% of voters ballots.
  • Chicago - The Rock Hall hasn’t set the date or the venue for the 2016 induction ceremony, except to say it will be in New York in April. Chicago is touring this spring, and are scheduled to wrap up that leg of their tour at Madison Square Garden on April 18th. Hmmm... (a side note to this: Yes is beginning a UK tour on April 27th. Chic is potentially playing Coachella this year April 15-17 and 22-24. Chicago is on tour in early April. Steve Miller Band is touring extensively next year, but is on a break for all of April. If you don’t think the Rock Hall and HBO consider this stuff, you’re crazy. Never forget it’s a show to raise money for the non-profit Rock Hall Foundation. They aren’t going to induct an artist who can’t make it because they’re on tour, if they have other options available. Disinterested artists like Deep Purple are also hard to induct if the Rock Hall isn’t sure if they will show up for the ceremony.)
  • Steve Miller - At the induction ceremony, the Rock Hall likes to pair up an inductee with another rock star or two for the performances (think Miley Cyrus / Joan Jett, Chris Martin / Peter Gabriel, Stevie Wonder / Bill Withers). Perhaps Ace Frehley can finally perform on the Rock Hall stage and join Steve Miller for a performance of “The Joker.”
  • Nine Inch Nails - One of the truisms of our site is that every artist on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time is in the Rock Hall or will be when they become eligible (except for Gram Parsons -- it seems the Rock Hall forgot he hasn’t been inducted yet). Nine Inch Nails is #94 and should be inducted.
  • If there are six inductees, Chic is our pick.

We conduct our own unofficial poll here which, unlike the official Rock Hall poll, requires voters to select five artists on their ballot. The results (after 2253 ballots):

  1. Janet Jackson 48%
  2. Chicago 46%
  3. N.W.A 45%
  4. Deep Purple 44%
  5. Nine Inch Nails 39%
  6. Chic 33%
  7. The Cars 33%
  8. Yes 33%
  9. Steve Miller 32%
  10. Cheap Trick 32%
  11. The Smiths 32%
  12. The Spinners 27%
  13. Chaka Khan 27%
  14. Los Lobos 19%
  15. The J.B.’s 9%

For the record, the top five in the corrupted official Rock Hall fan poll were Chicago, Yes, The Cars, Deep Purple and Steve Miller. Rock Hall, please get it together next year. This year’s poll was an embarrassment. Also, try not to brag about the phony inflated vote totals.

One final prediction: the venue for the induction ceremony hasn’t been announced yet, but we’ll predict it will be at Radio City Music Hall this time. Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden would be difficult to book since the NHL and NBA playoffs begin in mid-April. (How long do these venues need to hold those dates? Until the teams are officially eliminated from the postseason?)


The Evolution of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ballot

2008 Ballot

2009 Ballot


2010 Ballot


2011 Ballot


2012 Ballot


2013 Ballot


2014 Ballot



A complete look at the 2014 ballot at

2015 Ballot


2016 Ballot




Charles Crossley, Jr. breaks down the 2016 Rock Hall Nominees

Here is Rock and Roll Hall of Fame expert Charles Crossley, Jr’s detailed analysis of the 2016 nominees (reposted here with permission from his message board):

Here's my yearly analysis of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominee Ballot.  Each year, the nominating committee (I refer to them as the "nomcom") select a group of acts eligible for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Acts are eligible 25 years after their first national release.  The nominating committee is composed of rock critics, music industry executives, managers, a few musicians, one or two music historians and a few people I’m not sure who they are. . . .  Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone magazine is Chairman of the R&RHoF, Joel Peresman is CEO of the R&RHoF Foundation, Greg Harris is CEO of the R&RHoF Museum, and Jon Landau, manager of Bruce Springsteen, is President of the R&RHoF Nominating Committee.   The Foundation oversees the Museum, the Library and Archives, the nominating and induction processes, fundraising and the induction ceremony, its biggest fundraiser. 
It seems many people define rock as “white boys playing loud”, with maybe a few exceptions that seem to prove the rule.  Many others have a broad definition of rock using one rule of thumb or another.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame uses a broad definition, pointing back to the beginning of rock in the late 40s on.  Personally, I define rock from the perspective of Alan Freed, the disc jockey who popularized the term “rock and roll” to refer to the music rather than just sex.  Freed played what we would call early R&B and doo wop, and called that “rock and roll”.  I define rock and roll as any music Freed played and any music that is derived from what Freed played.  And that covers a lot of music. . . . 
My analysis started as a reaction to many theories about who the nomcom nominates.  People have written that the nomcom nominates this type of act or that type of act.  The analysis has now grown beyond a tool of disproving theories to just being plain interesting. 
So, first, let’s look at this year’s R&RHoF
nominee ballot:

*The Cars
*Cheap Trick
*Deep Purple
*Janet Jackson
*The J.B.'s
*Chaka Khan (Note: this is as a soloist, not as a member of Rufus)
*Los Lobos
*Steve Miller (Note: unless the R&RHoF changes its mind, this is just Steve Miller, and not the Steve Miller Band)
*Nine Inch Nails
*The Smiths
*The Spinners

Next, let’s look at the
subgenres represented. 

Note:  artists don’t like being labeled by subgenres or styles.  It’s not how they usually look at creating music, and they see it as a type of pigeon-holing that keeps people from hearing their music.  That said, fans, radio stations and retailers use subgenres or styles to help them sort through the myriads of acts to find acts that to them seem similar.  I don’t mean to offend any artists, but please understand – this is how fans view music acts.

2 – Alternative
1 – Dance pop
1 - Disco
1 - Funk
1 – Jazz rock
1 - Metal
1 – New wave
1 – Philly soul
1 – Pop rock
1 – Power pop
1 – Progressive rock
1 - Rap
1 – Roots rock
1 – Soul

Next, by
members, including birthplaces. Asterisks (*) indicates members who will most likely be inducted, either because they appeared on two important recordings or because, in the case of Nine Inch Nails, they were Trent Reznor (yes, I'm blunt).... Any members not listed did not appear on a major recording. ??? indicates unknown birthplace or birthdate

The Cars
*Ric Ocasek - lead vocals, rhythm guitar (B. 23 Mar 1944 in Baltimore, Maryland)
*Greg Hawkes - lead guitar (B. 22 Oct 1952 in Fulton, Maryland)
*Elliot Easton - keyboards (B. 18 Dec 1953 in Brooklyn, New York, New York)
*David Robinson - drums (B. 24 Apr 1949 in Maiden, Massachusetts)
*Benjamin Orr - bass, lead vocals (B. 08 Sep 1947 in Lakewood, Ohio - d. 03 Oct 2000 in Atlanta, Georgia of pancreatic cancer at the age of 53)

Cheap Trick *Robin Zander- vocals, guitar (B. 23 Jan 1953, Beloit, Washington)
*Tom Petersson- bass (B. 09 May 1950, Rockford, Illinois)
*Rick Nielsen- guitar  (B. 22 Dec 1946, Elmhurst, Illinois)
*Bun E. Carlos- drums (B. 12 Jun 1950, Rockford, Illinois)
Randy “Xeno” Hogan – vocals (B. 02 May ???, Rockford,Illinois)
Ken Adamany – keyboards (birthdate ???, birthplace ???)
Stu Erikson – bass (birthdate ???, birthplace???)
Pete Comita – bass (birthdate ???, birthplace ???)
Jon Brant – bass (B. 20 Feb 1954, Chicago, Illinois)
Daxx Nielsen – drums (B. 12 Aug 1980, birthplace ???)

Chic *Bernard Edwards- bass (B. 31 Oct 1952, Greenville, North Carolina-D. 18 Apr 1996, Tokyo, Japan of pneumonia)
*Nile Rodgers- guitar (B. 19 Sep 1952, Greenwich Village, New York, New York)
*Tony Thompson- drums (B. 05 Nov 1954, Queens, New York, New York-d. 12 Nov 2003, Encino, California of kidney cancer)
*Norma Jean Wright- vocals (B. ??? in Ripley, Tennessee, R. in Elyria, Ohio)
*Luci Martin- vocals (B. 10 Jan 1955, The Bronx, New York, New York, R. in Queens, New York, New York)
*Alfa Anderson- vocals  (B. 07 Sep 1946, The Bronx, New York, New York)



Rock Hall Nominating Committee Member Dave Marsh Opens Up About the Induction Process


Notorious KISS antagonist and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominating Committee member Dave Marsh, recently gave an interview to L.A. Radio Sessions, in which he revealed many of his frustrations with the induction process. A portion of the interview was posted on YouTube. Here is our transcript, lightly edited for clarity:

LA Radio Sessions: Let’s talk a little about the procedure, because people forget from year to year. I hear all these wide accusations that it’s all a Rolling Stone magazine Hall of Fame and this and that.

Dave Marsh: I’ve been on the Nominating Committee for more than 20 years and Jann wouldn’t have me in the magazine if I had a gun to his head. And I probably wouldn’t be in the magazine if you had a gun to my head! There are a couple of people from Rolling Stone, as there should be, in every version of the Committee, which did change shape and get a little smaller this year.

LA Radio Sessions: Can we talk about that at all?

Dave Marsh: There was a perception that it was too big and we were spending a lot of time just naming names and then voting on them and not having enough of a discussion. And the whole process… it’s actually... this is one of those moments where it’s unfair to a given individual who everybody, or almost everybody, slams all the time, because it was his perception. But that’s not anybody’s business outside of the Committee, so I can’t talk about it. I think that’s a broad enough hint. [Ed. Note: he is surely talking about Jann Wenner]

Whether you want to go out to dinner with somebody or not is irrelevant if they perceive something and help you make it better. And this is a slightly different approach and I think it’s a much better ballot than the last couple of years. Last year had a very good result off a relatively weak ballot, I think. This year, it’s much more difficult for the voters to make a mistake. And before we go any farther, let me say this, ok? This is… this is a hard thing to say, because I have a real commitment to this institution. And I think it was a wise and important thing to create it. But. The fact of the matter is, it is the only hall of fame in the world that convenes a group of experts to make its ballot and then gives the voting over to people who know less than a smidgen as much as the people who are in that room. It’s an insipid process. It really is.

That’s not the first time a Nominating Committee member has criticized the choices of the Voters, the majority of whom are Hall of Famers. Marsh seems to think that this year’s ballot is deep enough that no matter who the voters choose, it will be a solid induction class.

Dave Marsh: The first Rock and Roll Hall of Fame classes, the first couple years, there were 10, 15 people that got in… What were you going to do, say “yes” to Chuck Berry and “no” to Buddy Holly? But it’s not like there isn’t still the wealth of… some of the people are more obscure and some of the people are more controversial... and keeping the tent as big as it needs to be is a continuing problem. But in the end, doing it five people a year is just completely frustrating. And it takes something that could be really, really great. And because they pay for the event with the TV show, I guess, I’ve never been able to figure it out on any other basis, that tail wags that dog every year.

This is a startlingly frank admission from a member of the Nominating Committee, acknowledging the influence the Rock Hall’s television partners (currently HBO) have over the process.

Dave Marsh: It’s kind of heartbreaking because… one of the things that happens is simple. People die. Darlene [Love] could have died without getting in the Hall of Fame. This has been such a holocaustal year for great musicians dying, that’s really foremost in my mind. Everybody is getting older. It’s not just those early British invasion bands who have turned 70, hell, the early British invasion bands are worrying about 80! It’s a few years off, but it’s going to happen. If you were born in ‘38 or ‘39 it’s gonna happen. Sam Moore will be 80 this year. So you’re going to start losing people that you shouldn’t lose without honoring them while they’re alive. And the longer you wait, the fewer people who actually remember how great something was.

And I’ll just use, because they’re on the ballot, and because it’s been an ongoing conversation, and because it’s the strangest area where the Hall of Fame’s inductees are weak… is hard rock bands. And the notion that Deep Purple [Ed. Note: keyboardist Jon Lord died in 2012], who are a great band by any definition of rock and roll. They made record after record. I know I took them for granted for way too long. And there’s a bunch of people like that, whether it’s somebody whose style is pretty much forgotten and discarded, like Marc Bolan, who is not on the ballot, and to the best of my knowledge has never been on the ballot, but who was the spirit of rock and roll. I would say in historical terms, one of the luckiest things that ever happened to David Bowie was Marc Bolan’s car crash. I don’t mean that to say anything mean about David exactly, but Marc was just something extraordinarily special. And when you’ve got a process that won’t even let you get around to that fact, because there are other even bigger problems that have to be addressed... It’s frustrating. Not because anybody wants it to be frustrating.

Then you got the whole problem… this is something for which radio needs to be taken to task, and particularly the genuinely evil Lee Abrams period. This continuing confusion about what the relationship between white rock and black rock ought to be, or is. And make no mistake, you have to talk about it like that, they have the same root. And they travelled at some points, and the paths have diverged quite extremely, and then again they always come back together. The musicians always know what the connection is. You never have any trouble explaining that to a musician, or at least not a musician who is worth talking to. So these are the all the limits within which that ballot got created.

I say this partly because I’m tired of pretending a whole bunch of things… it’s the Cream magazine person in me that wants to say, hey, there’s right, there’s wrong. Yes, we will never agree with anything the way we all agreed on Elvis. Yes, the same thing should be true of James Brown, and it never will be. And that we need to reckon with. We also need to reckon with the fact that people think they know the history of rock and roll, and I will tell you right now, 750 people are going to get this ballot, there are not 750 people in the world, on the surface of the earth, who can adequately comprehend what has happened since 1955. It’s just simply, you know… God knows, if you stick me in with a bunch of electronic acts, or those brit-pop things from the Duran Duran period, or there’s all kinds of nooks and crannies or sometimes rivers, that missed me.

LA Radio Sessions: Right, of course. Missed all of us.

Dave Marsh: I remember talking to Jon Landau, who is one of the original rock critics who is still alive that I’m closest to, and him saying to me at a certain point, “You know, it’s all going to be different now.” And we were up to about 1966 or 1967. And I thought about it as a person who didn’t much care for what came out of San Francisco, give or take Sly and Creedence. And yeah, it’s going to be different, we’re not going to agree the way we used to. And that’s what he was thinking about too. So when we talk, yes I’m on the Nominating Committee, no, I’m not a person who agrees with everything the Nominating Committee does, or with all the ways in which it’s compelled to do its job, but at the same time, I’m very proud to be part of it. And the institution, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, is not a bad idea, it’s a very good one. Because somebody needs to do this. And we need always to be criticizing ourselves and each other and having people outside the process doing the same thing.

The only thing I can add to that is that I believe this to such a point that after about six months I realized that I should have been been supporting KISS getting into the Hall of Fame all along, for the simple reason that now all those idiots have to shut the f**k up about it. [laughter] I went, “Oh, really? This all dies down? I should have voted for them!”

It’s always fascinating when Nominating Committee members speak on the record about the induction process. It is nice to hear that they can be as frustrated with the system as their critics, but it also seems clear that any major changes will have to come from the top.