You know, there are so many other things to be upset about rather than the new inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Taliban slaughtering nearly 140 students in Pakistan; the militarization of our local police forces in the US and subsequent pointless murders committed by these thugs in blue; the ever present arguments against common sense and fact when discussing religion compared to scientific data; Battle of the Network Stars reruns.
There’s plenty to be upset about in the world, yet I choose to be cheesed off by a few decisions regarding 2015s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions. That’s just me. And looking at the list a good majority of them I feel are very deserved of the honor. Bill Withers, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble are all incredibly worthy of their placement in those hallowed halls that sit next to Lake Erie in Cleveland, Ohio. Lou Reed? Well this feels more like a gimme since he died last year, but I won’t deny what he’s done for rock and roll. I think more so with the Velvet Underground than on his own, but I could be completely wrong about that(I’ll never admit it.)
There are two inductees in-particular I’m a little perplexed about; Green Day and Ringo Starr. There were two nomimated artists that didn’t get inducted that I’m equally perplexed about; NIN and Kraftwerk. I guess my question on both accounts is, well, why?
Ringo Starr has already been inducted with the Beatles, and rightfully so. No question he should be in there with the Fab Four. But as a solo artist he completely should not be. Besides a few radio hits in the 70s and lots of guest spots with other artists I don’t get what constitutes him being inducted? Tell me, please. He didn’t redefine or innovate the art on his own. I like Ringo, don’t get me wrong. I think he’s a fantastic drummer and from what I can tell a pretty great guy. Seems down to earth and friendly. Here’s the thing though, if he was inducted over Kraftwerk I think that was a huge mistake. Kraftwerk essentially created electronic music. Sure, others were messing with electronics in the medium of music for years before Kraftwerk came onto the scene, but they made it into a listenable genre. Not only that but they created a visual counterpart to the music. They were true innovators. They should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with their creepy faces and IBM computers, not Ringo and his, well, drums.
Green Day. Hmm. I know a lot of people that love this band. LOVE them. I’m friends with a good portion of these folks. I’ve never disliked Green Day. I think there were usually three or four songs per album that I quite liked. Hell, they made it possible to listen to the radio and not have to turn the station back in the 90s. And there was something about Billie Jo Armstrong’s guitar sound that always appealed to me. It was this crunch that I could never quite achieve, and it was exquisite in its overdriven punk bliss.
But do I see them as being inductee material? No, not really. I always just found them to be a little too shallow for such an honor. I know they did the American Idiot thing and the 21st Century Breakdown thing, and both of those showed there was a hell of a lot more to these guys than just that pop/punk moniker. But those are just two albums. These guys are my age for Christ’s sake. I think a few more years of writing and recording are in order before they get this kind of honor. And for them to get in and not NIN? Seriously? Once again, an artist that has redefined and innovated is snubbed over an artist that, while was and still is wildly successful, hasn’t done much to push the genre forward. Up until American Idiot Green Day seemed to be doing the same thing for ten years, at least to my ears. By the time Reznor put out The Downward Spiral, his second album as NIN, he’d completely rewritten the book on electronic and industrial music. His second album was a masterpiece of anger and self-hate, and a game changer in sonic manipulation and production. Green Day’s second album was called Dookie.
I don’t know. Who’s to say who is worthy of induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? What does it really matter? Anymore this seems as pointless and vapid as the Grammys. We love the artists we love and that’s that. We don’t need a committee to tell us they’re worthy of some shitty award, or a plaque on a wall in some weird, pyramid-shaped building sitting next to Lake Erie. We know they’re great and that they deserve all the accolades in the world. We know who the true innovators and genre definers really are. We’re right and they’re wrong.
I mean I’m right and you’re wrong. Goddamn right.