‘It all dies in the room’

Rob Tannenbaum had fun reporting what Jann Wenner told him about how induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame doesn’t work. No surprises, just details. The pullquote is in a paragraph noting the exclusion of Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, “and other recent pop stars”:

“It was easy enough in the beginning,” says Jann Wenner, 69, chairman of the Rock Hall Foundation and founder, editor and publisher of Rolling Stone. “But at this point, all the clear, obvious people have been inducted, and it comes down to personal taste.”

As if personal taste wasn’t clear and obvious or the inclusion of George Harrison as a solo artist wasn’t a question of questionable taste. I also enjoyed the image of Roots drummer and R&RHOF committee member Questlove working a room on behalf of Hall & Oates “like Frank Underwood works Congress.” They can handle women vamping and Lou Reed and Gene Simmons in makeup but not Brits with DX-7s and eyeliner:

They view The Cure (eligible since 2003) and Depeche Mode (since 2006) as weird outcasts from England who wear mascara, rather than post-punk and electronic pioneers who still headline festivals and sell out arenas. “You and I will die before those groups are in the Hall of Fame,” an insider predicts.

Which is why poobah Jon Landau gets the choicest line: “It all dies in the room” — does he mean the membership?

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