Alright. It is Tuesday, and I am fired up today, my friends. I have had two travel-mug sized cups of coffee, I’ve listened to the list of nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and I am ready to comment. Get yourself a beverage and strap yourselves in, because it’s about to get rocky.
First of all, allow me to rip off the bandaid now. No, Duran Duran wasn’t nominated this year. Let’s all just take a collective, cleansing, breath. I need one, don’t you? While you’re deep breathing, here’s the list:
The Doobie Brothers
The Notorious B.I.G.
Nine Inch Nails
Rufus feat. Chaka Khan
The fact is, not everyone can get nominated, and not everybody can get in. There are many noteworthy acts on this list, and about half are first time nominees. One of them – the Dave Matthews Band – is not only a first time nominee, but also a first time eligible.
On a purely personal note, I am thrilled that Depeche Mode was nominated, love seeing Kraftwerk on the ballot again, and I’m hoping that Pat Benatar gets in. I’ve already voted, and if you haven’t, DO IT. Just go to Google and type in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
It is very hard to look at this list and not notice the glaring omission. Yes, we ARE that biased. Of course we are. We all know Duran Duran should be on that list. I listened to Feedback this morning in hopes of getting a better understanding of why they’re not. It comes down to two glaring problems in neon lights for Duran Duran.
First of all, there is a nominating committee that gets together on a single day (in person, no call-ins!). This committee is made up of critics and musicians, and they each bring the name of a possible nominee that they feel is worth making the case to include on the ballot. This is also where it gets political. People posture for their chosen favorite, they consider genres, whether the bands/people they choose are enough to get fans interested, and that sort of thing. I’m not going to mince words here though – as long as there are critics deciding who is going to be included on the ballot, the bands who are truly the most “worthy” by the people who listen to them will never really be considered.
I think even our band knows this. Likely, this doesn’t make them nearly as angry and fired up as I am today. They’ve had 40 years to practice tempering themselves. I’ve had…well, nine. (I am a slow learner) While my UK friends will patiently remind me that this is only an “American” thing and that it probably doesn’t matter to Duran Duran – the fact is, the American music scene is the biggest in the world. This is the country that, historically speaking, bands have worked incredibly hard to break. Even The Cure says they’re excited to vote this year, according to Lori. However, none of that matters to me as much as what I’m about to say.
I am sick to death of the inherent sexist BS that pervades music, whether you’re an artist, or you’re a fan like me. Even as the nominees were discussed on Feedback today with Joel Peresman (CEO and president of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation), and Alan Light (rock journalist, critic and host of Debatable on SiriusXM radio), the subject of Duran Duran came up. While they refused to comment one way or another if the band had even been mentioned during the behind-closed-door discussion of nominees, Alan Light commented that the band “really isn’t thought of” in the same way as the other bands on the lists. He inferred that the audience was somehow different, and they weren’t really seen as “rock”. Quite frankly – the overall discussion felt very dismissive at times, despite Lori Majewski’s valiant efforts to be heard.
I could…and did…write a lengthy essay on the obvious sexism, before I deleted it all and started over here. FM radio, pop from the 1960’s forward, even the Sgt. Pepper’s album by The Beatles….it all takes part. Suffice to say, we have work to do. Even Duran Duran sees it, that’s why they are so eager to share that they appeal to guys now, as if they never did before! I am one of those little girls who fell in love with Duran Duran. Chances are, if you’re female and reading – you are too. Collectively, we little girls are the band’s biggest supporters, and comprise the sharpest double-edged sword possible.
So that’s where we are, folks. Sure, the Rock Hall had some turn over this year. I won’t say I’m sorry that Jann Wenner has left his post, although he’s still on the Board, I believe. It just isn’t enough. I heard Lori continuing to ask if anything had changed on the Board this year or if the nominating group had changed – unfortunately the answer was no, not much. (one female added. Really? One??)
We have a long way to go before the discussion of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is about the music. Somebody should write a book.