Todd Rundgren on Rock Hall Nomination: ‘I Don’t Care About It’
"It's no secret that I don't care about it," he told Billboard after learning the news. "It doesn't matter how many times they nominate me. It's not gonna make me care."
Rundgren called the Rock Hall "an industry invention" and argued that "true halls of fame are for retirees and dead people, because your legacy has been established." He added, "I'm too busy working to worry about my legacy — and plan to continue working until whenever."
The artist also criticized the nominee list — and the Hall's overall broadened genre scope.
"I'm a big Dionne Warwick fan, but name me one Dionne Warwick rock 'n' roll song," he said. "While I'm aware of Fela Kuti, I can't name a single musician who's ever cited him as a principal influence. Year by year it makes even less sense, so why would I be more excited about it or suddenly change my mind? Why don't they just start inducting blues guys? Why do they have to go to Dionne Warwick or Mary J. Blige?"
He also took issue with how the Hall handled its fan voting process in 2019, following his first nomination. "They run this scam called the fan pool ... but most fans don't realize that their votes count for absolutely nothing," he said, saying his listeners were "duped."
"The top five nominees from the fan votes are turned into one additional ballot that's counted in addition to the 1,000-plus by artists and music industry professionals," he continued. "So the first time I got nominated all my fans, who all these years have been like, 'Geez, you've got to be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame!," they all stepped up and bumped me up to No. 3 in the fan pool - by a pretty wide margin. And then when the actual inductees were 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 ... they essentially hosed my fans."
The 2021 Rock Hall nomination class also includes Warwick, Kuti, Blige, Foo Fighters, Iron Maiden, the Go-Go's, Devo, the New York Dolls, Rage Against the Machine, Carole King, Chaka Khan, Kate Bush, Jay-Z, LL Cool J and Tina Turner.
Rundgren spoke to Billboard from Chicago during a rehearsal break from his virtual Clearly Human Tour, which kicks off Sunday. The "trek" will include 25 performances tailored for different U.S. cities, each including local landmarks on the video wall to enhance the vibe.