Thursday, October 11, 2012

KISS and the Hall of Fame

Last week someone asked what I thought of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame not nominating KISS again.  To, I believe, their disappointment, I admitted that I didn’t think much of anything about it.

Oh, I know the routine.  Every year, this happens and every year us KISS fans are supposed to fall into the same old song and dance.  “KISS deserves to be in there more than those acts!”  Which is then followed by the usual “It’s just as well!  The Hall of Fame doesn’t deserve KISS!”  Kind of the whole spectrum of what kids do when they can’t get on the team they want at school.  As effective of an argument it is, we might as well be saying, “Well, KISS didn’t want to play hopscotch with them anyway!”

On general terms, I can sympathize with the arguments against the selection process.  It is amazing how there are always at least two acts mentioned that seem to be there more because they’re “hip” rather than because they did anything that contributed to the success of rock music through the years.  Then again, that’s a personal perspective – I know I could rattle off some names here of who I think fits into the category of those not deserving such recognition, and within five seconds someone would say, “Whoa! What a minute!  That guy really did make a difference and here’s why …”  Then they’d be able to rattle off good reasons to prove me wrong followed by a comment about how I’m an idiot.  (Which is why I didn’t mention any names here … I’m too smart for that game.  So Madonna is safe from my rants for now.  Opps.)

But getting back to my point – even some of the people nominated make the point that the nominations don’t always make sense.  Take this quote from Nile Rodgers after hearing Chic was nominated again:

"We formed CHIC based on influences from two distinctive bands of our era: the sophistication of Roxy Music and the anonymity of KISS (before they removed their make-up and Gene Simmons became a famous TV star). Neither of those bands are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame either. I Guess We All F***'d Up?"

Some artists and definitely fans howl and jump up and down about not being nominated – not just KISS fans, there’s plenty of others that we all have heard from over the years – but you know the real funny part?  Once such artists do make it in, you never hear another thing about it.  In fact, then it’s suddenly like “Hey, my favorite artist is in there now, so it’s cool whatever they want to do.”

We’ve got to admit it, it works the same with KISS in other ways.  Many times the band has talked about how they don’t like Rolling Stone magazine, or how they don’t care if they make it into the Hall of Fame.  Along those lines, you usually hear something about how it’s all the doing of Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone in keeping them out.  Yet, what do we see on the cover sticker of the new Monster album just released by KISS?  A favorable quote about the album from a Rolling Stone review.  It’s all about who can help who and when in this game, really.  If yesterday’s enemy can lend you a hand, then we can all be friends for a day and go back to accusing each other of things tomorrow.  Way it goes.

I’ve been to the Hall of Fame and it’s nice.  Lots of artifacts from days gone by; plenty of history there.  In those halls at the museum, you see things from many artists that have never been nominated by the Hall of Fame, including KISS.  Because of that, I feel most of this concern or anger about the band not being nominated seems a bit shortsighted.  Sure, there’s no plaque on the wall for them, but their history is presented throughout the place.  The only thing missing is the bad dinner and a chance to mumble words of appreciation at a podium for a couple of minutes … although I’m sure that’s coming.

The problem is that the Hall of Fame knows where their bread is buttered and would want to see KISS as Simmons – Stanley – Frehley – Criss.  That’s who they would want for the ceremony and to put into the Hall, simply because that is who the general public remembers as being the band back in their glory days of the 1970s.  Yes, Thayer and Singer have been there for years, and nothing against them, but it comes down to the names pushed into our memory back in the ‘70s by the constant media machine that was KISS in those days.  The Hall of Fame is going to want those four guys on that stage accepting that award.  The problem is that we have KISS with a new album and tour right now and into next year, along with another round of Gene and Paul saying “No, we’re not going to do anything with those guys ever, ever again” in interviews.  So, the timing isn’t right and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a case of the Hall of Fame making hints to the band “we’re thinking about this,” and KISS strongly hinting back, “now’s not the time.”

But I can’t shake the feeling that we’ll see them in there the next time around.  February 2014 marks the 40th anniversary of the release of the band’s first album, just a few weeks before what would be the next big Hall of Fame celebration after this coming one. And everyone will be buddy-buddy again, at least for the sake of the ceremony.  And the band will play "Rock and Roll All Nite" (maybe with Singer playing and Criss on a stool, but still ...), and everyone will be happy – the band and fans alike

Does that make it all a big gimmick to tie into promoting album sales and the media?  Yep, but can’t blame the Hall of Fame for playing the game.  It’s all rock n’ roll, y’know!

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