TWISTED SISTER guitarist Jay Jay French has slammed the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, calling it an "elitist" institution which has failed to recognize some of the biggest and most influential artists of the 1980s.
Even though artists are eligible for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame 25 years after the release of their first album or single, iconic hard rock and metal bands like JUDAS PRIEST, IRON MAIDEN and MOTÖRHEAD have yet to be recognized by the institution, which inducted GUNS N' ROSES in that group's first year of eligibility.
The Rock Hall didn't induct BLACK SABBATH until 2006, and METALLICA followed three years later.
Asked by Cassius Morris of "The Cassius Morris Show" for his opinion of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Jay Jay said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I'm not happy with it. I went to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame years ago and thought it was the worst-curated piece of shit I'd ever seen. I didn't understand it. I said to myself… Here's what I said to myself… I'm a New Yorker, so I should understand the super-hip new York downtown, why Patti Smith… Look, screw that. The fact of the matter is that the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is in Cleveland. Cleveland's in the Midwest. How do you not have KANSAS, how do you not have REO SPEEDWAGON, how do you not have Bob Seger — how do you not have bands that kept fucking rock and roll alive in the '80s? How do you not have [JUDAS] PRIEST, how do you not have [IRON] MAIDEN, how do you not have the artists that kept this whole fucking business alive because it was so hip for you to say we suck, it was so hip to go, 'The '80s sucked.'"
He continued: "I've got news for you all: the '80s not only didn't suck, but the '80s, in terms of the kids around the world — South America, Europe, Japan, the Far East, India — they fill stadiums today because of the music that we created back then. And if that music is that damn important, then why the hell do we not have the respect of being acknowledged by the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame? That's what annoys me. It's not that THE BEATLES shouldn't be [there]; of course they should be there, of course a lot of these acts should be there, but so should about 30 or 40 other acts that are actually responsible for the propagation and the continuation of the kind of music that we grew up [on], that I played and that inspired you. And until that's recognized, I don't respect that. I just think it's completely misguided and totally elitist and really fucked up."
Last month, Jay Jay's TWISTED SISTER bandmate Dee Snider also criticized the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, calling the Rock Hall committee members "arrogant elitist assholes who look down on metal and other bands that sell millions because we're not their definition of cool." When one fan suggested that the Rock Hall "caters to the masses," Snider 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'. The fact is the RnR Hall of Fame is struggling. Was it crowded when you were there? It wasn't when I went."
Dee also repeated the long-running complaint that the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame subscribes to Rolling Stone magazine's canon of rock history, seeing as Jann Wenner is a co-founder of both. "Jan Werner (founder is Rolling Stone) has been the puppet master since day one," he wrote. "If it ain't in Rolling Stone it is hard pressed to get into the Hall of Fame!"
Rock Hall rules state that artists become eligible a quarter century after their first records were released, but the Hall also claims that other "criteria include the influence and significance of the artists' contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock 'n' roll," which is, of course, open to interpretation.
Eligible for induction since 1999, KISS didn't get its first nomination until 2009, and was finally inducted in 2014.
DEEP PURPLE was eligible for the Rock Hall since 1993 but didn't get inducted until 2016.
JUDAS PRIEST was on the ballot for Rock Hall induction last year, but failed to receive enough votes to make the class of 2020.
Having been eligible for induction since 1999, PRIEST was previously on the ballot for the 2018 class of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, but was ultimately left out of the inductee list.