Tuesday, March 31, 2009

KISS Missed?

What New York City rock band most deserves an invitation to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which will hold its 2009 Induction on April 4?

Larry Getlin's CityScoops article "Why the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Misses the Point About Rock & Roll" (Feb 09) argues that
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, there is no denying that KISS—whose members hailed from Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx; whose guitarist drove a New York City cab; whose bassist was, amazingly, a New York City schoolteacher; and who found a key member through an ad in the Village Voice, the archetypical New York City band origin—had an enormous influence on rock music. With twenty-four gold records (more than any American rock band in history except Aerosmith), KISS influenced a generation of rockers to not only ply on the face paint for Halloween, but also to earn their teenage “chops” by wailing out on guitarist Ace Frehley’s licks in front of a mirror on broomsticks or tennis racquets, collectively inventing the current hipster craze of “air guitar” in the process.

KISS is responsible for millions upon millions of rock-loving Americans understanding the feeling of passion and power that rips through you when a song kicks in; when a chorus sails; when a band hits the stage in an explosion of fire and fury. For that alone—their twenty-four gold records aside—their place in rock history is secure. And yes, throughout their ten years of eligibility (a band is eligible for the Hall twenty-five years after their debut release), they have been denied entrance to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
I haven't been sold on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (I haven't yet been to it or its Annex NYC), but I do note that Joan Jett—one of the best performers I've seen—has not yet been admitted to the pantheon even though she (like KISS's Peter Criss, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley and ) was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame (LIMHOF), and that no less an authority than John Lydon has written that "Next to the SEX PISTOLS rock and roll and that hall of fame is a piss stain."

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