TOM MORELLO Says ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME 'Has Become More Democratic' In Recent Years
May 22, 2023
In a new interview with Brazil's A Rádio Rock, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE guitarist Tom Morello commented on the fact that his band will be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame this year. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "It's great. And we were nominated five times, and so I was pleased that we finally got in on the fifth one.
"I like the idea that there's a place like the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame that pays attention to the accomplishments in multiple genres for things artists have done," he explained.
"Over the course of the last few years, I think the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame has become more democratic. Hard rock artists, which were normally kind of marginalized — from RUSH to KISS to JUDAS PRIEST to even Stevie Ray Vaughan, which had trouble getting in — now are welcomed in. So I think it's a nice home for RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, to be joining some of my favorite bands: BLACK SABBATH, AC/DC, PUBLIC ENEMY, THE CLASH. That's pretty good company to be in."
Just hours after the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame announced this year's inductees on May 3, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE released a statement thanking the Rock Hall for the induction, and recounting the long, radical journey that led up to the honor.
"It is a surprising trajectory for us to be welcomed into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame," Morello, vocalist Zack De La Rocha, bassist Tim Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk wrote.
"In 1991 four people in Los Angeles formed a musical group to stand where sound and solidarity intersect. We called ourselves RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE. A band who is as well known for our albums as we are for our fierce opposition to the US war machine, white supremacy and exploitation. A band whose songs drove alternative radio to new heights while right wing media companies tried to purge every song we ever wrote from the airwaves. A band who wrote rebel songs in an abandoned, industrial warehouse in the valley that would later dethrone Simon Cowell's 'X Factor' pop monopoly to occupy the number 1 spot on the UK charts and have the most downloaded song in UK history. A band who funded and organized delegations to stand with Mexican rebel Zapatista communities to expose the Mexican government's war on indigenous people. A band whose experimentation in fusing punk, rock and hip hop became a genre of its own. A band who shut down the NY Stock Exchange for the first time in its history. A band who was targeted by police organizations who attempted to ban us from sold out arenas for raising our voices to free Mumia Abu Jamal, Leonard Peltier and other political prisoners. A band who sued the US State Department for their fascist practice of using our music to torture innocent men in Guantanamo Bay.
"Many thanks to the Hall Of Fame for recognizing the music and the mission of RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE," the band added. "We are grateful to all of the passionate fans, the many talented co-conspirators we've worked with and all the activists, organizers, rebels and revolutionaries past, present and future who have inspired our art."
In addition to RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, Willie Nelson, Missy Elliott, Kate Bush, George Michael, Sheryl Crow and THE SPINNERS will be inducted during a ceremony held in Brooklyn on November 3. Chaka Khan, Al Kooper and Bernie Taupin will be honored with the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame's Musical Excellence Award. Meanwhile, DJ Kool Herc and Link Wray will receive the Musical Influence Award. The late creator and host of "Soul Train" Don Cornelius is this year's recipient of the Ahmet Ertegun Award, which honors non-performing industry professionals.
The induction ceremony will be held at the Barclays Center. Details of the TV broadcast will be announced at a later date.
RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE's Rock Hall induction will come after the band appeared on six ballots.
"There's a funny mix of people that do the voting," Morello told Rolling Stone in March. "It's people that are already in. There's an age component. There's a leaning mainstream component as well…If you saw any of the RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE shows last summer, you'd be hard-pressed to make an argument against us."
Speaking with Rolling Stone in March, Morello said he didn't know if the band would perform at the ceremony if they were inducted. "I will definitely be there. Beyond that, we haven't discussed that…I would hope so, though."
To be eligible for this year's ballot, each nominee's first single or album had to have been released in 1998 or earlier.
The 2023 class was chosen by a group of over 1,000 artists, historians, and members of the music industry the Rock Hall has selected as voters.
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 IRON MAIDEN and MOTÖRHEAD have yet to be recognized by the institution, which inducted GUNS N' ROSES in that band's first year of eligibility.
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.
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