FOREIGNER's JEFF PILSON Says 'Certain Hip-Hop Artists Deserve To Be In' ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME

March 9, 2024

FOREIGNER bassist Jeff Pilson says that he and his bandmates are "very excited" about the group's nomination for induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

Last month, it was announced that FOREIGNER is among the nominees for the Rock Hall's Class Of 2024.

To be eligible for this year's ballot, each nominee's first single or album had to have been released in 1999 or earlier.

Eligible since 2002, FOREIGNER has had a huge number of rock hits, including "Cold As Ice", "Double Vision", "Hot Blooded", "I Want To Know What Love Is", "Juke Box Hero" and "Urgent", and has been nominated for three Grammy Awards, with no wins.

According to the Hall Of Fame, the FOREIGNER members that would get inducted include only the classic-era musicians Mick Jones, Lou Gramm, Dennis Elliott, Ed Gagliardi, Al Greenwood, Ian McDonald and Rick Wills.

Pilson, who has been a member of FOREIGNER since 2004, discussed the band's nomination in a new interview with He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "We're very excited about it. And we've gotta remind people they can go to the web site for the Rock Hall and they can vote [as part of the fan vote], and you can vote every day. So, please get on there and vote for FOREIGNER… It is looking good. I know we often do, like, number one or two — I guess number two most of the time — as far as the fan vote and that's great news. And that means the fans are continuing to call. So please do that, because I really think that original band deserved to be in the Rock Hall a long time ago. So it's amazing that it's happening, and we're very excited about it."

Asked for his opinion on the trend of the Rock Hall honoring non-rock artists including Eminem, Missy Elliott, Whitney Houston, Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson in recent years, and whether he thinks those acts should be allowed into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Jeff said: "Well, it depends on their body of work. I think certain hip-hop artists do deserve to be in there, because they sort of represent the rock and roll of their generation in many ways. It may not be music that I necessarily listen to or whatever, and I'm a rock and roll fan, but I respect what they do and I respect that it has kind of that rebellious nature that rock and roll has. So, yeah, I think it's okay. If it's somebody that doesn't have anything to do with [what the Rock Hall represents]… I can't think of examples offhand, but there are examples I've heard of people, like, 'Wow, they're in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame? That seems odd to me.'"

Back in 2017, Gene Simmons made negative comments about the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame inducting rap artists, saying that hip-hop acts do not belong in the institution. The KISS bassist/vocalist told "There are people from different genres that I don't believe belong in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. There's disco and rap and all kinds of stuff. And I highly respect rap, but on the day LED ZEPPELIN gets put into the Hip-Hop Hall Of Fame, is the day I will personally accept rap artists as being brought into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. It just ain't the same thing. You go to Apple Music, and you go to different genres and you type in 'rock,' you're not gonna find a single rap band in that category. Likewise, if you look at hip hop or rap, you're not gonna see AC/DC or KISS in the list in there."

Simmons originally took issue with hip-hop acts — and other non-rock artists — being inducted into the Rock Hall Of Fame during a 2014 interview with He stated at the time: "It's really back-room politics, like Boss Tweed. A few people decide what's in and what's not. And the masses just scratch their heads. You've got Grandmaster Flash in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame? RUN-D.M.C. in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame? You're killing me! That doesn't mean those aren't good artists. But they don't play guitar. They sample and they talk. Not even sing!"

He continued: "If you asked Donna [Summer], 'What kind of artist are you?', do you think she would say 'rock?' If you asked Madonna, 'What kind of artist are you?' do you think she would say, 'Oh, rock!' So what they hell are they doing in the Hall Of Fame? They can run their organization any way they'd like, but it ain't rock! It just isn't! If you don't play guitar and you don't write your own songs, you don't belong there."

In 2016, SLIPKNOT singer Corey Taylor was asked by Loudwire Nights for his opinion on Simmons's comments taking issue with hip-hop acts — and other non-rock artists — being inducted into the Rock Hall. He responded: "I see what Gene's saying, and, you know, I'm old-school guy as well; I get it. But at the same time, the more I look at what N.W.A. did, man, I mean, they influenced me, and I'm a rock and roll guy. So how do they not deserve to be in there? To me, bands like that, bands like RUN–D.M.C., it's a different type of band, but it's a band, man. I mean, that's straight up. So I can see both sides of it."

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