Rock Hall President & CEO Joel Peresman on the Eddie Trunk Radio Show


On December 19th, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation President & CEO, Joel Peresman, sat down with outspoken Rock Hall critic Eddie Trunk for a long radio interview. Here are some (paraphrased) revelations from the chat:

  • Joel Peresman is not a member of either the Nominating Committee nor the Voting Committee. When Trunk repeatedly asked about famous Rock Hall snubs Rush, Kiss, and Deep Purple, Peresman agreed they should be in, but there was nothing he could do about it.
  • Peresman’s involvement in the induction process is limited to administering the process and counting the votes. He claims he has no power to change the members of the Nominating Committee or change the induction process. Peresman implied the process is controlled exclusively by the Nominating Committee chairman (and Bruce Springsteen’s manager), Jon Landau. Peresman also downplayed Jann Wenner’s role in the process.
  • Even if Peresman did have the ability to change the process, he wouldn’t do much. The only changes he mentioned were potentially expanding the 600+ member Voting Committee to include more young voters. When pressed about giving the fans a vote, he thought that was a possibility, but the fan preferences would only be a small part of the voting tally, similar to the Heisman Trophy system, where fans get one vote out of 926. Peresman said there was no way the fans would be able effect the nominating process. Peresman also brushed off the suggestion of term limits for the Nominating Committee members, or the possibility of releasing vote totals.
  • Eddie Trunk continually pressed Peresman about the process, asking if there are so many obvious artists who should be inducted, or at least nominated, isn’t that a symptom of a broken system? Peresman admitted there are many deserving artists, but he feels the system is basically fine.
  • Eddie Trunk asked Peresman about a rumor that he had heard directly from a Nominating Committee member, that as a condition of a Kiss induction, the band demanded some sort of financial compensation. Peresman flatly denied the rumor. Kiss was nominated in 2010, but did not get inducted.
  • Peresman said the reason they don’t make the Nominating Committee members public, is because the members don’t to be hassled by fans. Peresman doesn’t have a problem with members acknowledging they are on the committee if they choose. (Of course, we have listed all of the members on our website now for years.)
  • VH1 honcho, and Nominating Committee member, Rick Krim, called into the show to discuss the process. Krim acknowledged that this year was his third on the committee, and that he has pushed for Rush each year. He also has lobbied for Chicago, Yes, and Heart.
  • Krim admitted he was unaware of how the nominating process worked the first year he joined. He also claims he had never heard of Wanda Jackson when her name came up at the meeting, but was quickly convinced she was deserving of induction. Jackson was inducted in 2009, and Krim was not listed as being on the Committee that year. (As Tom Lane mentioned on Twitter, “Shouldn't a Rock Hall NomCom member know about all genres of music, from the early days of Rock (and pre-Rock) to today's music? I say yes.” )
  • Joel Peresman discussed that an artist’s influence on other artists was the primary criteria for the Rock Hall. He admitted to studying the returned ballots from the Voting Committee to see who past inductees voted for. He used the example of looking at Bono’s ballot to see who was important to him. He implied this could influence who gets nominated again.
  • A caller asked Peresman about why the Small Faces and Faces were nominated together when they were two different bands with distinct sounds. Peresman admitted that individually they probably wouldn’t have been nominated, but it “made sense” to put them together on the ballot. (Sorry, Mr. Peresman, but that makes NO sense.)
  • Eddie Trunk asked about the status of a potential Guns N’ Roses reunion at the induction ceremony. Peresman said he had heard from representatives of all five original members that they would be there. Slash later issued a denial on Twitter, “For the record, I didn't RSVP, or in any way commit to attending the RRHF. I don't appreciate people putting words in my mouth.”
Unfortunately, Eddie Trunk didn’t ask Peresman about the oddities of Freddie King’s induction or the conflicts of interest on the committee, but it was overall it was a very good interview. Joel Peresman deserves credit for taking the time to sit down with one of the most outspoken Rock Hall critics. Eddie Trunk has now set his sights on trying to talk to Jon Landau, since he apparently holds all of the power over the induction process.
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