Dee Snider Calls Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ‘Elitist A–holes’

Dee Snider had some harsh criticism for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, claiming the institution is run by “elitist assholes” in a tirade posted to Twitter.

The Twisted Sister frontman’s main source of contention seems to stem from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s attitude toward metal and hard-rock bands. In the singer’s opinion, too many deserving artists from those genres have been overlooked.

“The RnR Hall committee members are arrogant elitist assholes who look down on metal and other bands that sell millions because we’re not their definition of cool,” Snider proclaimed. “The fan vote is their ‘throwing a bone’ to the peasants. I want to say FU, but I want them to have to deal with us!”

While the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has enshrined several notable metal and hard-rock bands – including Metallica, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple – many acts, such as Motorhead and Judas Priest remain on the outside looking in.

When one follower suggested to Snider that the HOF “caters to the masses,” the rocker responded: “If they were catering to the masses, they would have the biggest-selling bands. Corporate rock bands that sell tens of millions are ignored because they aren’t ‘cool.’”

In further tweets, Snider insinuated that the Rock Hall should really be called the “Music Hall of Fame” given its induction of artists from genres outside the genre. The Twister Sister frontman also accused Jann Wenner, cofounder of Rolling Stone and one of the Hall’s founders, of having too much power over nominees and inductions. “Jan Wenner … has been the puppet master since day one. If it ain’t in Rolling Stone, it is hard pressed to get into the Hall of Fame!”

Snider isn’t the only classic rocker to voice displeasure with the Hall of Fame. Bruce Dickinson, singer for Iron Maiden, has routinely denounced the institution, likening it to a “mausoleum” and claiming it’s “run by a bunch of sanctimonious bloody Americans who wouldn’t know rock ’n’ roll if it hit them in the face.” Maiden are a first-time nominee in 2021, though Dickinson has insisted he’d reject induction if he was offered it.

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Surprise Leader Revealed After First Week of Rock Hall Fan Voting

The first week of fan voting has presented an interesting Rock & Roll Hall of Fame front-runner: late Afrobeat trailblazer Fela Kuti.

Since the announcement of his nomination, Kuti has amassed a little less than 140,000 fan votes, according to the Rock Hall’s current standings. He’s followed by Tina Turner in second place, with roughly 108,000 votes, and Foo Fighters in third with a little over 80,000 votes.

The announcement of Kuti’s nomination was promoted on his social-media accounts with a link to the voting site. Kuti’s fans quickly rose to the challenge, sending him surging ahead the competition.

Because there are several weeks left of fan voting, there’s still time for a shift in the front-runner – results for the 2021 Rock Hall class won’t be officially announced until May – but with this initial leap, Kuti’s increases his chance of induction. (The fan ballot will include the top five vote-getters and is tallied with more than 1,000 official ballots submitted by historians and artists.)

You can see the current standings below.

Kuti, a Nigerian-born multi-instrumentalist who studied music in London, spent a number of years touring around the world, including the U.S., where he picked up influences of funk icons like James Brown and Sly Stone, as well as elements of jazz and soul music, that he incorporated into his traditional West-African background. As his sound developed, his popularity across Africa rose.

The son of politically active parents, Kuti utilized his platform to note the shortcomings and corruption of his home country’s government, invoking effective social and political change. He spent nearly two years in prison for his activism, sparking outrage from fellow musicians like Ginger BakerDavid Byrne and Herbie Hancock. After his release in 1986, he continued to tour the world, participating in various benefit concerts and human-rights awareness campaigns. He died in 1997 at the age of 58 due to complications from AIDS.

“I’m not working for any selfish reason or ulterior motives; I’m working for the improvement of my fellow man,” he told Spin in 1986, just a few months after his release from prison. “So, I have nothing to fear. I suffered a lot, but I feel fine now. I’m happy for the suffering, because I believe it’s opened the eyes of many people. I have accomplished so far two things: People finally know the honesty of my struggle and the potentially of my leadership. People now want to hear what I’m saying.”

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Former Iron Maiden Guitarist Didn’t Expect Rock Hall Namecheck

Former Iron Maiden member Dennis Stratton admitted he hadn’t expected to be included in the band’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nomination.

But the guitarist — who joined the band in December 1979 and appeared on their self-titled debut album, before disagreements led to his departure in October 1980 — found his name alongside Bruce Dickinson, Steve Harris and others in the prospective listing for the Class of 2021.

“The first reaction … is that I thought, ‘Well, it’s not going to include me,’” Stratton told Total Rock Radio in a new interview. “I’ve never had a lot of luck when it comes to Maiden and certain things that have gone on over the years, like the gold discs from the first album. … I think I got two, three gold discs, and there should have been about 20.”

He added that the only reason he’d heard about Maiden’s 40th anniversary release was because he kept in touch with Harris — mainly because they’re both big soccer fans. “It was only down to Steve texting me … that they actually, the office actually sent me a copy,” he said.

Stratton described his appearance in the nomination, alongside fellow former members Clive Burr and Paul Di’Anno, as “a bit of a shock,” continuing: “[T]o include me and the other two … it’s quite a nice gesture … very, very exciting in my point of view.”

He wondered if previous comments from Dickinson and Harris — both of whom have dismissed the idea of the Rock Hall’s importance in the past — would be used to “punish” Maiden in the official voting process. But he was much more positive on the subject of the public poll, saying: “I imagine once South America starts voting … the votes will mean a lot … they will just go absolutely potty.”

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Todd Rundgren on Rock Hall Nomination: ‘I Don’t Care About It’

Todd Rundgren is among the 16 artists nominated for a potential Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2021. But he’s not concerned either way about receiving the honor.

“It’s no secret that I don’t care about it,” he told Billboard after learning the news. “It doesn’t matter how many times they nominate me. It’s not gonna make me care.”

Rundgren called the Rock Hall “an industry invention” and argued that “true halls of fame are for retirees and dead people, because your legacy has been established.” He added, “I’m too busy working to worry about my legacy — and plan to continue working until whenever.”

The artist also criticized the nominee list — and the Hall’s overall broadened genre scope.

“I’m a big Dionne Warwick fan, but name me one Dionne Warwick rock ‘n’ roll song,” he said. “While I’m aware of Fela Kuti, I can’t name a single musician who’s ever cited him as a principal influence. Year by year it makes even less sense, so why would I be more excited about it or suddenly change my mind? Why don’t they just start inducting blues guys? Why do they have to go to Dionne Warwick or Mary J. Blige?”

He also took issue with how the Hall handled its fan voting process in 2019, following his first nomination. “They run this scam called the fan pool … but most fans don’t realize that their votes count for absolutely nothing,” he said, saying his listeners were “duped.”

“The top five nominees from the fan votes are turned into one additional ballot that’s counted in addition to the 1,000-plus by artists and music industry professionals,” he continued. “So the first time I got nominated all my fans, who all these years have been like, ‘Geez, you’ve got to be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame!,” they all stepped up and bumped me up to No. 3 in the fan pool – by a pretty wide margin. And then when the actual inductees were 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 … they essentially hosed my fans.”

The 2021 Rock Hall nomination class also includes Warwick, Kuti, Blige, Foo FightersIron Maiden, the Go-Go’sDevo, the New York DollsRage Against the MachineCarole KingChaka Khan, Kate BushJay-ZLL Cool J and Tina Turner.

Rundgren spoke to Billboard from Chicago during a rehearsal break from his virtual Clearly Human Tour, which kicks off Sunday. The “trek” will include 25 performances tailored for different U.S. cities, each including local landmarks on the video wall to enhance the vibe.

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Former Iron Maiden, Foo Fighters Members Left Off Rock Hall List

If Iron Maiden and Foo Fighters are inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, three of those bands’ former members won’t have their names added to the plaques.

Onetime Iron Maiden singer Blaze Bayley, whose five-year stint as Bruce Dickinson‘s temporary replacement included the albums The X Factor and Virtual XI, was left off the list of nominated band members along with founding drummer Dennis Stratton, who departed the group before it recorded its self-titled 1980 debut album and not eligible for induction.

Two former short-term members of Foo Fighters – drummer William Goldsmith and guitarist Franz Stahl – are also excluded from the new list of nominees, with only the band’s six current members eligible for induction. The Dave Grohl-fronted band’s self-titled 1995 debut was a one-man effort, with the former Nirvana drummer playing every instrument. Goldsmith joined the group for the subsequent tour but played on only a handful of songs on the Foos’ next album, The Colour and the Shape, before leaving in 1997. He cited Grohl’s intense perfectionism as the reasoning for his departure.

“Dave had me do 96 takes of one song, and I had to do 13 hours’ worth of takes on another one,” Goldsmith said in a 1998 interview. “It just seemed that everything I did wasn’t good enough for him or anyone else.”

Goldsmith’s replacement, Taylor Hawkins – who is nominated for induction alongside Grohl, bassist Nate Mendel, keyboardist Rami Jaffee and guitarists Pat Smear and Chris Shiflett – has emphasized the decision was purely Goldsmith’s. “The first drummer for the Foo Fighters buckled under the pressure and still blames Dave for that,” Hawkins said in 2018. “It’s like, no, dude, and Dave never fired him, by the way. Just so we’re all clear: Dave never fired him.”

Former Foo Fighters guitarist Franz Stahl also didn’t make the ballot cut. Stahl joined in 1997 to replace original guitarist Pat Smear (who rejoined the band in 2005) but stayed only a couple years and played on just a handful of tracks, including the single “Walk After You.” Stahl was let go from the band right before the release of the Foo Fighters’ third album, There Is Nothing Left to Lose, due to creative differences.

“It just seemed like the three of us were moving in one direction, and Franz wasn’t,” Grohl said at the time. Stahl was upset, but in the 2011 Foo Fighters documentary Back and Forth, he called his time with the band as “the best years of my life.”

Iron Maiden are also up for their first nomination this year. The current lineup of singer Bruce Dickinson, bassist Steve Harris, drummer Nicko McBrain and guitarists Adrian Smith, Dave Murray and Janick Gers is on the ballot, along with former members Paul Di’Anno (singer), Clive Burr (drummer) and Dennis Stratton (guitarist). Bayley joined the group in 1994 after Dickinson left to pursue a solo career. When Dickinson returned five years later, Bayley was out. “It was a shock to leave Iron Maiden,” Bayley said in 2019. “The odd thing is Bruce is such a lovely, lovely bloke, and he’s always been very supportive of my career.”

Watch Blaze Bayley Talk About Iron Maiden

The other bands up for 2021 Rock Hall nomination this year pretty much reflect their original lineups. Rage Against the Machine will include singer Zack de la Rocha, bassist Tim Commerford, guitarist Tom Morello and drummer Brad Wilk.

If Devo are voted in, the group’s two pairs of cofounding brothers – Mark and Bob Mothersbaugh and Gerald and Bob Casale – will be inducted along with original drummer Alan Myers.

The nominated members of the Go-Go’s haven’t been specified, but it’s expected to include their classic lineup of guitarists Charlotte Caffey and Jane Wiedlin, singer Belinda Carlisle, drummer Gina Schock and bassist Kathy Valentine.

And while singer David Johansen is the only surviving member of New York Dolls, who are up for their second nomination, his late bandmates bassist Arthur “Killer” Kane, guitarists Johnny Thunders and Sylvain Sylvain (who died just last month) and drummers Jerry Nolan and Billy Murcia are included on the ballot.

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Foo Fighters, Iron Maiden, Go-Go’s Lead 2021 Rock Hall Nominees

Foo Fighters, Iron Maiden and the Go-Go’s are among the 16 artists nominated for possible induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year.

Those three first-time candidates are joined in this year’s class of nominees by Todd Rundgren, Devo, the New York Dolls, Rage Against the Machine, Carole King, Chaka Khan, Mary J. Blige, Kate Bush, Jay-Z, LL Cool J, Fela Kuti, Tina Turner and Dionne Warwick.

“This remarkable ballot reflects the diversity and depth of the artists and music the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame celebrates,” John Sykes, chairman of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, said in a press release. “These nominees have left an indelible impact on the sonic landscape of the world and influenced countless artists that have followed them.”

To be eligible for induction, an artist must have released their first commercially available recording at least 25 years prior to the year of the nomination. Foo Fighters’ self-titled debut was released in 1995, making this the first year they could have been nominated.

Fans will be able to vote for their favorite nominees on the Rock Hall’s website starting today through April 30. The results will count as one ballot among the more than 1,000 ballots sent out to artists, historians and members of the music industry. Only one of the five leading artists from the most recent fan vote, the Doobie Brothers, was inducted last year.

The 2021 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees will be announced in May. This year’s induction ceremony is scheduled to be held live in Cleveland on an as-yet unspecified date in the fall.

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