The words “Gene Simmons” and “timid” don’t typically belong in the same sentence together, so it came as little surprise when, last month, the KISS frontman yet again bemoaned his band’s exclusion from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “It’s become a joke,” Simmons told Rolling Stone last month in regards to the Rock Hall. “We’ve been thinking about it and the answer is simply, ‘We’ll just buy it and fire everybody.’”
Simmons, as well as members of the KISS Army, have long lamented the induction of pop-leaning acts like Madonna and Blondie. It goes beyond comments in the press, though: In 2006, 500-some KISS diehards descended upon the Cleveland-based museum to protest the absence of Simmons, Stanley and co.
In 2009, finally, the costumed rockers got a nod. Thirty-six years after the release of their self-titled debut, the members of KISS were nominated for induction in 2010 – the first time since becoming eligible in 1999 (note: eligibility becomes possible 25 years following the act’s first album). Election by the Rock Hall’s committee of 500+ so-called “rock experts” – music industry figures, musicians, journalists, historians — escaped the act, and they’ve yet to be nominated since.
Despite a 13-year snub, there is some hope for KISS, says Jim Henke, the Rock Hall’s VP of Exhibits and Curatorial Affairs.
“My view on it is: I think you can make a good case that KISS probably should be in here [the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame],” Henke tells CBS Radio. “It’s interesting that they [KISS] keep talking about it, but I think there are a number of artists that should be inducted. Over time, artists that are overlooked when they hit eligibility are inducted. This year, for example, you see someone like the Faces/the Small Faces, or Donovan – who has been eligible for many, many years – get into the Rock Hall. And I think we’ll continue to see more of that. We’ll see what happens with the KISS’es of the world.”
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has its proverbial hands full preparing for this year’s induction of Guns N’ Roses, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Beastie Boys and more, with the ceremony to take place this Saturday (April 14) in Cleveland. But soon enough – this fall, says Henke – nominations will roll out once more – possibly with KISS’s name on it.
–Jillian Mapes, CBS Local