By Brian Ives
Gene Simmons will no longer get to field the question that he is most frequently asked: How does he feel about KISS, one of the most influential bands of the past four decades, not being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame?
The induction ceremony will take place at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on April 10 and will be open to the public. An on-sale date has yet to be announced.
One thing Simmons will still be able to gripe about: the fact that it took KISS fourteen years to be inducted (they were first eligible to be voted in in 1999, 25 years after the release of their 1974 self-titled debut), but Nirvana was inducted the minute they were eligible: their debut single, “Love Buzz,” was released in 1988. One question Simmons is sure to field often in the coming weeks: whether or not he and Paul Stanley will perform with former members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss at the induction ceremony (he told Radio.com that they would not).
The Hall of Fame has not announced which members of each band will be inducted. In the case of KISS, the obvious choices are the founding members. However, Criss first left the band in 1980 and Frehley in 1982, and a number of guitarists and drummers have passed through the ranks since then: among them, Criss’s immediate replacement, Eric Carr, who died in 1991 after a battle with cancer.
In the case of Nirvana, frontman Kurt Cobain, bassist Krist Novoselic and drummer Dave Grohl are easy choices. But Grohl didn’t join until 1990, and wasn’t on their classic debut album, 1989’s Bleach. So, it’s possible that earlier drummers Chad Channing or Dale Crover, both of whom played on that album, may be included. Additionally, guitarist Pat Smear never played on a Nirvana studio album, but was with the band for their last tour, so he played on their classic MTV Unplugged In New York.
Gabriel now joins a fairly elite group of musicians who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame twice: he is already a Hall of Famer as a member of Genesis (they were inducted in 2010, although Gabriel didn’t attend the ceremony). Other two-time inductees include John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Michael Jackson, Curtis Mayfield, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Neil Young.
The inclusion of the E Street Band may raise some eyebrows, but no, they aren’t already in the Hall Of Fame. Due to a technicality of sorts, they have never been inducted. Up until 1986, Springsteen’s albums had all been released under his own name. Live 1975-1985 was the first album actually credited to “Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.” So, when Springsteen was inducted in 1999, 25 years after his debut 1973’s Greetings From Asbury Park, New Jersey, his band wasn’t included. In contrast to, say, Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers, who were inducted with their frontman in 2002.
As with KISS and Nirvana, no announcement has been made regarding which members of the E Street Band will be included: will former drummers Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez and Ernest “Boom” Carter be included, or just Max Weinberg? Is later day violinist Soozie Tyrell an official member? But this induction also means that guitarist Steven Van Zandt, who has long campaigned for other artists to be included in the Rock Hall (very famously the Rascals, but also Darlene Love, the Dave Clark 5, the Hollies and the Small Faces) will finally be a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer himself.
Some of the artists who didn’t make the cut this year include hip-hop legends N.W.A. and LL Cool J, disco group Chic, progressive rock icons Yes and garage rock underdogs the Replacements.
If you’re not able to make it to Brooklyn for the ceremony, it will air on HBO in May. And of course, the debate of who should have been inducted will continue for years to come.