Former IRON MAIDEN guitarist Dennis Stratton has commented on the band's nomination for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame's class of 2021. The top vote-getters will be announced in May and inducted in a Cleveland, Ohio, ceremony in the fall.
According to the Hall Of Fame, the IRON MAIDEN members that would get inducted include the current lineup of singer Bruce Dickinson, bassist Steve Harris, drummer Nicko McBrain, and guitarists Adrian Smith, Dave Murray and Janick Gers, along with Stratton, former singer Paul Di'Anno and former drummer Clive Burr.
Asked by the "Neil Jones Rock Show" on TotalRock what his first reaction was to being nominated for the Rock Hall, Dennis said: "The first reaction, I've gotta be honest with you, is that I thought, 'It's not gonna include me.' Funny enough, I got a message on the LIONHEART group message from [the person] who does all our graphics, the artwork, and he said to me, 'Have you looked online? You've been nominated with the band.'"
The current LIONHEART guitarist continued: "I've never had a lot of luck with MAIDEN and certain things that have gone on over the years, like the gold discs from the first album. I never actually got what I was due. I think I got two [or] three gold discs, and there should have been about 20. And I never actually get anything, you know. It was only down to Steve Harris texting me about the re-release [of the first album], which was the 40-year anniversary, that the office actually sent me a copy of the of the 40-year anniversary picture disc. So I was happy about that. But this was a bit of a shock, because to include me and the other two, Clive and Paul, it's quite a nice gesture, from my point of view — very exciting, in my point of view."
Stratton also talked about the fact that former IRON MAIDEN singer Blaze Bayley, who fronted the band from 1994 until 1999 and appeared on two albums, "The X Factor" and "Virtual XI", was not included in the list of members who will enter the Rock Hall should MAIDEN get inducted.
"I noticed that afterwards," he said. "Because I went on Facebook, and when I saw that, I thought, well, that's gotta be down to the organizers of this event. But when I found out it involves certain years, they have to draw a line somewhere, don't they? They make the rules, so I don't know. I'd be surprised if we get involved with it, if we do get inducted, because after a couple of [disparaging] things that Bruce had said [about the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in the past], I'm a little bit thinking, well, are [the organizers] gonna look at them quotes, and are they gonna punish us [for what Bruce had said]? I don't know. I'm just very excited to be actually nominated."
Stratton was a member of MAIDEN for less than a year, but he nonetheless made a vital contribution to the band's classic first album.
To be eligible for this year's ballot, each nominee's first single or album had to have been released in 1995 or earlier.
A voter pool of more than 1,000 artists, historians, journalists, and members of the music industry will select the new class. Fans also have a chance to take part in the process by voting at Rockhall.com or at an interactive kiosk at the museum in Cleveland. Their selections will count as a single "fan ballot" that gets tabulated along with the others.
Dickinson made headlines in 2018 when he referred to the Rock Hall as "an utter and complete load of bollocks" during a spoken-word gig in Australia, insisting that the Cleveland-based institution is "run by a bunch of sanctimonious bloody Americans who wouldn't know rock and roll if it hit them in the face."
Bruce later told The Jerusalem Post that he was "so annoyed with that coverage because they took my statement out of context to make it seem like I was upset that we weren't in the Hall Of Fame.
"I'm really happy we're not there and I would never want to be there," he continued. "If we're ever inducted, I will refuse — they won't bloody be having my corpse in there.
"Rock and roll music does not belong in a mausoleum in Cleveland," Bruce added. "It's a living, breathing thing, and if you put it in a museum, then it's dead. It's worse than horrible, it's vulgar."
Two years ago, Harris said that he didn't care that IRON MAIDEN has yet to be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame despite the fact that it has been eligible since 2004.
"I don't mind that we're not in things like that," he told Rolling Stone. "I don't think about things like that. It's very nice if people give you awards or accolades, but we didn't get into the business for that sort of thing. I'm certainly not going to lose sleep if we don't get any sort of award, not just that one, any award. I don't think we deserve to have this or that necessarily. With what we do, whatever comes of it is great. Whatever doesn't come of it is great, too."
Even though artists are eligible for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame 25 years after the release of their first album or single, iconic hard rock and metal groups like MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST and MOTÖRHEAD have yet to be recognized by the institution, which inducted GUNS N' ROSES in that band's first year of eligibility.
Harris previously said that he wasn't concerned about whether IRON MAIDEN will eventually be inducted into the Rock Hall. "I don't really think about it, to be honest. I think awards are things that are nice to have when you get them, but it's not something you're really striving for — it's not what it's about it," he said. "It's never been about that. It's aways been about just trying to make good music and go out and play good live shows, and that's it, really. Hopefully people will appreciate it. It's probably nice when people give you awards — don't get me wrong; I think it's great — but it's not something that you would lose sleep over if you didn't get any.
"It's the way that I am," Harris added. "I don't know. Maybe the rest of the guys [in the band] might think differently to me, but that's the way I think. It's not that I don't care about [awards]. It's just… And it's not that they're not meaningful when you do get 'em — it's nice. But I certainly don't worry about it or anything like that. I think other people are the ones that make a bigger deal out of it than us, about whether we got one or not."
Having been eligible for induction for more than a decade and a half, IRON MAIDEN is one of the biggest bands on the planet. Since the release of their self-titled debut album, the British heavy metal legends have released a further 15 full-length studio records, and sold over 100 million copies.
Rock Hall rules state that artists become eligible a quarter century after their first records were released, but the Hall also claims that other "criteria include the influence and significance of the artists' contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock 'n' roll," which is, of course, open to interpretation.
Eligible for induction since 1999, KISS didn't get its first nomination until 2009, and was finally inducted in 2014.
DEEP PURPLE was eligible for the Rock Hall since 1993 but didn't get inducted until 2016.