Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Eddie Trunk Interviews Joel Peresman

The suspended round section? THAT'S the Hall of Fame.
On December 19th, Eddie Trunk had a very long interview with Joel Peresman, the CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

(The link takes you to part one of the interview, with links available foe the other 14 parts)

First off, I certainly see where Mr. Trunk, his listeners, and buddies who stop by, are coming from. I'm VERY vocal about the fact that Rush hasn't been inducted. I think we're closer than we're not.

Yet...What a stupid interview.

Eddie Trunk
First off, I think Trunk and his buddies have a severe misconception of what the Hall of Fame is. The Hall of Fame exhibit, itself, is simply a video presentation and a series of (admittedly cool) lighted glass plaques with the names of the inductees. There isn't a display of each inductee. There's a general museum, with relics and memorabilia, which is about the history of Rock, and then, in, literally, a separate building, is the Hall of Fame. Many of the Hall of Fame inductees have very limited display items, and a ton of non-Hall of Famers have lots of material on display.

Trunk says he refuses to visit the museum, so I guess that makes sense. 

Joel Peresman
Second, frankly, the viewpoint (understandably) is so skewed toward hard rock he doesn't seem to comprehend that there are many, many other "rock fans" who have their own favorites. Favorites that they'd fight tooth and nail to get in, too. Frankly, the backhanded jabs at Laura Nyro show nothing but ignorance, and the same elitism that Trunk spends a lot of time trying to turn back on the nomination committee.

I also take issue with Trunk's dismissive attitude toward acts like Madonna and ABBA. Yes, they are from the dance end of the spectrum of music, but they are also within the realm of "Rock and Roll." Early Rock and Roll, your Elvis, your Chubby Checker, your Little Richard, was all about getting the kids to move, to get out on the dance floor. To not see that dance music, even disco, as well as rap and hip hop, are part of the evolution of that, is just being insular and over-focused on his own interests. It's elitism, but elitism for what trunk considers the "non-elite."

The fact of the matter is, music is a wide and deep river that is filled with artists who have contributed and influenced others. In a room with 35 different people, who all have, yes, personal opinions about who is deserving, to think that those people should conform to your, or anyone's, viewpoint, is ridiculous. The job is to cast as wide a net as possible, and try to, eventually, snare and honor everyone who's deserving.

I am basically rabid with the fact that Rush should be included. It's STUPID that the band with more Gold or Platinum albums than anyone, save the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, who is cited by musicians (including Hall inductees) in multiple genres as an influence, who has continued making interesting, not to mention popular, music for almost 40 years, cannot seem to even get nominated for induction. That's a crime.

I think KISS probably deserves to be in, but I also think they've permanently damaged their legacy with Gene $immon$' rabid pursuit of the almighty dollar. Musically (I'm gonna say it), their contribution is dubious. I am not saying the music or the musicianship was bad, but it also was fairly derivative. I don't think anyone, including the members of the band, could argue otherwise. Yet, they were vastly influential in terms of image and marketing. I think I see why the nomination committee would have difficulty with how to handle them.

Deep Purple? Yes, absolutely, but who? Hasn't about 1500 musicians been in that band at one point, or another? Iron Maiden? Yes, eventually. Judas Priest? Sure.

That said, let's look at a list of what I consider heavy metal/hard rock/progressive rock acts that are already in the Hall of Fame:
  • AC/DC
  • Aerosmith
  • Black Sabbath
  • Cream
  • Genesis
  • The Kinks
  • Led Zeppelin
  • Metallica
  • Pink Floyd
  • Queen
  • Rolling Stones
  • Van Halen
  • The Who
Add to that Alice Cooper and Guns N' Roses going in this year. Can anybody truly say that any of the acts Trunk is campaigning for really deserve to be in before any of those groups? Should Iron Maiden be in before Van Halen? Or Metallica? I'd say no. Should ANY of them have been in before Black Sabbath? Absolutely not. (Though Ronnie James Dio should've gone in with Sabbath.)

You can argue about KISS and Rush, I think, but, to be fair, Rush should follow Pink Floyd. Genesis? That's a toss-up.You can also argue that it's too soon for Guns, but they did have a VAST impact.

Trunk acts like NO hard rock/progressive/metal acts are getting inducted. That's simply not true. Two acts this year alone. Trunk's, and his listener's, real issue is that the HOF inducts people from other genres over the metal acts he'd like to see in. That's not really a valid issue, it's a matter of taste, and the Hall has to serve a lot of different tastes.

To snark on Jon Landau (the head of the induction committee), and by extension Bruce Springsteen (who Landau manages - Yes, I am a Springsteen fan, as well as loving Progressive, Metal and Hard Rock), because you think he has an agenda, isn't helpful. It's also not supported by any facts. The answer isn't to change how the voting is handled (for Christ's sake, do not make a public vote out of it), but to continue to work to make the induction committee as diverse as possible. Trunk would still gripe, because that would mean people who don't think like him would get in with people who do.

Oh, and don't believe Trunk when he says he doesn't want to be on the induction committee. I could almost hear him salivating. The funny thing is, if he did get on it, he'd be exactly what he decries, a member with an agenda. The only difference is it'd be HIS agenda.

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