The 29th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony took place on April 10, 2014, at Barclays Center in New York City's Brooklyn borough. HBO will premiere an edited version of the show on May 31, 2014. In 2014, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees in 2014 were Kiss, Nirvana, Cat Stevens, Daryl Hall and John Oates, Linda Ronstadt, Peter Gabriel, the E Street Band, Brian Epstein and Andrew Loog Oldham. Here is what this artist had to say backstage during a brief press conference in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame press room.
You were one of the biggest champions to have Kiss inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — and you presented their induction speech. Why do you think it was so it was so important to have them inducted?
The way I look at it is that every garage band and stadium band has beats. There’s nothing special about that. Tonight is about what is special about the awesome band that Kiss is and was. The four original members rocked my world and how they rocked my world since. The other stuff doesn’t matter.
What was your role in getting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to induct Kiss?
I’ve been a vocal proponent of Kiss. I think the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame should be just like the Baseball Hall of Fame or Football Hall of Fame — something that youngsters aspire to when they pick up an instrument or a microphone. I think the Hall, in the past, for fans of hard rock and metal, our heroes have not been represented.
I think with last year’s induction of Rush and this year’s induction of Kiss — and who knows maybe next year with Deep Purple or Iron Maiden or Judas Priest, the Rock Hall will come to better reflect one of the strongest limbs in the tree of rock, which is hard rock and metal, and it will continue to make it a more legitimate or authentic institution.
Everyone who plays music wants to be in [the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame]. I think it’s a huge stride in that direction. Tonight’s not just a great night for Kiss. It’s a great night for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
What’s it like touring with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, who are also here tonight?
I’m on tour with them right now. There’s a potential jam at the end of the ceremony that I hope to be a part of. We’ll see.
Who did you speak to behind the scenes to convince the voters to induct Kiss in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
It hasn’t been so much behind the scenes. I’ve been doing it in person and in the press for a long time, talking about the Hall should represent the genre of music that made me love rock and roll: hard rock and heavy metal. And Kiss is the flagship of that.
They were my first favorite band. They should have been in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the first year [that Kiss was eligible]. Kiss didn’t change for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame changed for Kiss. And it’s changed for the better.
It’s a much better institution now and more broadly representative of the passions of music fans around the globe. It’s headed in the right direction. I’m very proud of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
What did you do to prepare your induction speech about Kiss?
Well, in addition to listening to an extensive amount of Kiss in preparation for this, the first song that ignited my Kiss influence was “Detroit Rock City.” It was a song that I tried to learn on guitar semi-successfully as a 12-year-old. Ace Frehley was my favorite guitarist. I fell in love with “Detroit Rock City.”
What were the main reasons why so many Rock and Roll Hall of Fame voters resisted having Kiss inducted?
The reasons for keeping Kiss out of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame were the same reasons given when I was 12 years old or 15 years old in junior high or high school. You either get it or you don’t. Music is an entirely subjective medium. You can’t put objective criteria on it.
Record sales applied to the first artists in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but as I said in the speech tonight, Kiss was our generation’s Beatles. They were our generation’s Elvis. They were our generation’s Rolling Stones. [Kiss] made everyone who loved that band pick up an instrument.
Also, it was a conscious act of rebellion to be a fan of Kiss. You immediately put yourself in opposition of authority figures and parents and other kids in your school who wanted to beat your ass when you wore a Kiss T-shirt. So you had to stand up for yourself and what you believed in at a very young age. That made an impression on me later in my career.
How hard or easy was it for you to write your induction speech about Kiss? How long did it take you to write it?
The speech was surprisingly easy to write. I just wrote my experiences. Kiss was my first concert. Kiss was the first band that I loved. This was the band that made me love rock and roll. I said what I felt.
Also, in kind of a proselytorial way, it took apart the arguments that the Hall had against Kiss being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which are paper-thin. The only thing to remember is that Kiss is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame where they belong all along.
Rage Against the Machine will be eligible to be inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016. What do you think about that possibility?
We’ll worry about that when the time comes.
For more info: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame website
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