Did the Kiss Induction Start a ‘New Era’ for the Rock Hall?
Most of us are never going to have any real idea what goes on behind closed doors at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but a new Billboard report purports to shed a little light on the occasionally contentious nomination process — and suggests that when Kiss were inducted in 2014, it signaled a lasting change in the way the Hall picks its honorees.
Unsurprisingly, the article describes a lot of heated disagreement regarding Kiss over the years. "Whenever Kiss was mentioned, 'there were fireworks,' says one attendee. Several people in the room recall hearing the phrase 'over my dead body.'" Their eventual induction is credited to Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, who's said to have delivered "a rant" supporting the group in his first meeting after joining the committee in 2013, but it also points to the fact that, as Rock Hall chairman and Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner puts it, "At this point, all the clear, obvious people have been inducted, and it comes down to personal taste."
This shift, along with what Wenner describes as "a conscious effort to diversify" a 41-member nominating committee that one anonymous veteran derides as "too old, too male, too white, too rich," has led to some new blood behind the scenes — such as Morello and Questlove — that's already led to Rock Hall inductions that some once believed would never happen, like Kiss or Hall & Oates. But as the report also points out, this year's inductees raised just as many eyebrows as years past, and there remain plenty of worthy acts who continue to be ignored.
Kiss co-founder Gene Simmons, meanwhile, maintains his scornful attitude toward the Hall now that he's a member. "Patti Smith is in before Deep Purple?" he points out in the report. "Talking Heads, but not Yes? It started as a great idea, but it has become a sham."
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