Sunday, October 11, 2015

Ex-NomCom Roy Trakin on the 2016 Rock Hall Ballot

Former NomCom member Roy Trakin on the 2016 ballot:

"Make no mistake about it. While admitting I’ve been booted off the nominating committee for the second time, it’s also clear that the RRHOF is no philanthropic organization, but a self-serving entertainment enterprise that is just as concerned with selling tickets to its overpriced induction ceremony as it is attracting eyeballs to its resultant TV program, which migrated to HBO the last couple of years. That said, it’s not surprising this year’s list is chock-full of long ignored, populist nominees like Chicago, Steve Miller, Yes, Janet Jackson, Cheap Trick and Deep Purple; influential West Coast candidates N.W.A. and Los Lobos; R&B acts The J.B.’s, The Spinners and Chaka Khan; disco progenitors Chic, and ‘80s post-punk stalwarts The Smiths, Nine Inch Nails and The Cars.  Can Bon Jovi, The Moody Blues, Kraftwerk, Roxy Music and the New York Dolls be far behind?  The very notion rock ‘n’ roll was built on, that it is meant to be inclusionary, sort of runs diametrically opposed to the idea of a Hall of Fame as an exclusionary echelon for only the elite. That said, this year’s crop of potential inductees includes something for everyone, but if I had to pick seven, it would have to start with N.W.A. and Los Lobos, two deserving groups whose influence has been immense for both hip-hop and the melting pot represented by traditional Mexican music, blues and rock. From there, it gets a little tougher.  Steve Miller’s odyssey from Chicago to San Francisco reflects the path from the blues to psychedelic rock, and on his early albums there alone, deserves recognition. Similarly, it’s hard to argue with Cheap Trick, whose only conceivable downside – their cheeky, often self-deprecating sense of humor -- makes them all the more deserving, at least in my book. Similarly, it’s hard to deny the presence of Deep Purple in a Rock shrine, if for nothing else than creating one of the most indelible riffs in history in “Smoke on the Water.”  Being in New York during the ‘80s, it’s hard to deny the influence of Chic in joining disco and punk, especially for the groundbreaking work of Nile Rodgers and the late Bernard Edwards, an idiosyncratic choice, but hey, that’s what it’s all about, right?  That leaves one slot left, and for me, it comes down to a toss-up between Janet Jackson, The Smiths, Nine Inch Nails and The Cars, all of whom you can make a good case for.  My personal pick among that group would be The Smiths, but it’s hard to argue against the formidable Twitter following that has been touring Ms. Jackson. In making her comeback this year, it’s only appropriate she get the nod over The Smiths, whose legacy – at least IMHO – as somewhat been tainted by the ongoing war between Morrissey and Johnny Marr.  Now, if they were willing to bury the hatchet, that would be another story, but if i9t means another ugly Creedence Clearwater Revival situation, I’d rather go with the artistic nasty than the real one."
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