By Jon Wiederhorn
Kiss singer Paul Stanley has called the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame “tainted, corrupted and distorted” on the eve of the band’s induction.The New York band have been eligible for the last 15 years, but were only accepted after a huge push from their fans. Speaking exclusively to Classic Rock, Stanley explains just why he’s unimpressed by the accolade – and whether Ace Frehley and Peter Criss are invited.
Did you feel honoured at being inducted in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame?
No, it was done begrudgingly and because it had become absolutely ludicrous that they were choosing to ignore us. At the end of the day most people don’t realise that the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame was a privately created establishment and that it has a self-appointed board. It’s a perfect case of perception becoming reality. People heard ‘Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame’ and gave it credibility. So whether it deserves the title has to be weighed against who it inducts. So was it an honour to be nominated? No. It means a lot to the fans and I understand it because it’s validation for them. So for that reason I accept graciously and accept on their behalf.
My feelings and my ambivalence about the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame hasn’t changed any. Their attitude is elitist and it doesn’t reflect the public. It reflects a small group who dictate who meets the criteria that they set up as ‘rock and roll’. I’ve always felt the spirit of rock and roll meant not only ignoring your critics, but ignoring your peers and going your own way. I think we’ve done that pretty much with few exceptions for 40 years. So that same criteria that kept us out has not gotten us in. I scratch my head a little and I also take issue with a certain arrogance within that group.
Nonetheless I look at some of the inductees and any club that has Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and The Who and the Beatles and the Stones is company I don’t mind being in and my feelings have nothing to do with any of them, it purely has to do with a system which I think is tainted, corrupted and distorted.
Are you looking forward to playing it?
Honestly, I have no plans at the moment to do anything, and that includes playing with Ace and Peter or anyone else. My plan at the moment is to go and accept the award. Anything else, we’ll see how it unfolds or unravels. It was interesting to me, or offensive to me, that when the question was broached with the hierarchy about inducting additional members it was shut down immediately as ‘a non starter,’ which to me is arrogant. People who sit behind desks need to respect the people who are actually either inductees or possible inductees into this so-called hallowed organization.
So the fact that there are 30 or 40 or 50 or some absurd number of Grateful Dead members all inducted, the fact that all of the Chili Peppers, including people who played on early albums that never amounted to very much are not inducted, the fact that John Rutsey, the drummer on the first Rush album is not inducted, the fact that Rob Trujillo, who’s a great guy but didn’t play on any of the classic Metallica albums, was inducted after being in the band six years makes me wonder exactly what are the rules? If the rules don’t apply to everybody then they’re not rules.