Since its conceptualization in 1983, its first set of inductees in 1986 and its physical manifestation in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1995, the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame has always been under attack for its unending love of baby-boomer rock acts and not much else. In recent years, however, the Rock Hall nominating committee — now consisting of such notable musicians as Tom Morello, Amir “?uestlove” Thompson and Dave Grohl — has made big in-roads into modernizing the Hall by nominating musicians that are more relevant with younger audiences. This year, the field is 15 strong, with some nominees whose careers started as recently as the early ‘90s. We figured there’d be no better time to than now to check in with Patrick Kindlon, frontman of ‘90s post-hardcore revivalists Drug Church — whose new album, Cheer, kicks all kinds of ass — to see which of the following acts actually deserves to make the Rock Hall. It should not shock you in the slightest that Kindlon, never one to hide his true feelings about any topic, had plenty of things to say.
What are your thoughts about there being a hall of fame for rock and roll?
The people that were ground floor for rock and roll, if they’re not dead, they’re of the age that they want to believe that things can be immortal, and that people will care about rock music for more than a few generations. You gotta give it to old people: They want to believe in something. It’s better than Jesus, I suppose. It’s a very novel idea to modernize the Rock Hall in 2018 as rock and roll is practically obsolete.
Have you ever been to the Rock Hall?
I have not.
It’s free for touring musicians. Would you ever go?
I’ll be honest with you, I’ll go to anything that’s free. I’m not picky with my time.
Really, really great moments in the catalog. I actually have a love for some of the late-period stuff, I think it’s really underrated. Not the most rockin’ of acts, though. [Laughs.] Robert Smith blazed his own path, though, and we should give him credit for that. And his commitment to a singular hairstyle is impressive. I guess I have no objection.
Do you think 311’s cover of “Lovesong” has helped or hurt their chances?
If I had to guess, the over-50 members of the Rock Hall voting committee are people who listen to what I like to call “landscaper radio.” They definitely have heard that cover and like that cover.
So if the Cure gets in, does that open the door for 311 to be inducted? They’re already eligible.
From your lips to God’s ears.
A truly atrocious band, but also emblematic of a time period, and the fact that they haven’t made it in yet is maybe a sign people want to forget that period. So yes, they’re bad. I don’t know if being bad precludes you from being a member of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, though. Hysteria’s sales numbers are absurd. It touched more lives than the Bible. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” was unavoidable in the strip club milieu. If Journey’s in, then Def Leppard needs to be in.
I am rigidly anti-costume. I have no interest in kooky hats. But these guys could actually write a song. When I was in high school, I loved Are We Not Men?. I think they’re enjoying a renaissance with the cool kids right now, and they were trailblazing in bringing weirdness to radio. They wouldn’t be a first-ballot inductee for me, but I do like them.
Does it change your feeling knowing their hats are called energy domes? I mean, Snapcase had a song called “Energy Dome.”
It doesn’t change much, because they’re still shitty pieces of plastic, but god bless ’em anyway.
Kind of above-average pop music. She was relevant when I was growing up. Does she deserve a spot in the hall of fame? Well shit, I already said Def Leppard did for being so ubiquitous and massive, and certainly Janet Jackson was that, so I guess… She’s not a first ballot though.
This is her third time being nominated.
Ah, damn. Now I feel bad. Flip a coin.
Should the Rock Hall have a “three strikes and you’re out” rule to weed out some of these perennial also-rans?
Nah. We’re not even gonna have rock in three years, so we’re gonna eventually have to nominate Bad Company or something. Janet can wait for an eighth ballot.
This is tough. Pioneering work, influenced a ton of things to come, and you want to give them their respects, but how many Kraftwerk fans are in the Rock Hall voting panel? How many of those 600 voters have listened to Kraftwerk in the past five years? Maybe 10? I think if they get in, it’s gonna be on a, “Hey, we need to seem smart” vote rather than a “Hey, I mean this from my heart vote.” Really, they need to put forth the idea that, “Hey, this isn’t just the Ted Nugent hall of fame, this is the better idea of popular music hall of fame.”
Ted Nugent actually just made headlines because he was bitching about how he’s never been nominated for the Rock Hall. Should the Nuge get a nomination?
That’s fucking absurd. He should be nominated. If we’re giving it to fucking Def Leppard, then yes.
LL COOL J
Kraftwerk has only been nominated five times in 23 years of eligibility. However, the next nominee, LL Cool J, has been nominated five times in nine years. Can you explain to me the Rock Hall’s fascination with Ladies Love Cool J?
That explains a lot. It tells us that all the voters were probably 18 in 1984, maybe? He was iconic for a genre that was blowing up and he was a crossover star, which is what probably means the most for that voting group. He probably sends out gift baskets to all the voters, too. He’s probably doing some real lobbying for his cause, because I can’t see anyone having that strong of a feeling for LL Cool J’s music.
The Rock Hall nominating committee about 30 people, where as the voters number around 600. At what point does the nominating committee say, “Enough is enough, we’re never going to nominate LL Cool J again”?
I would say never. Just put him on an infinite loop. He’s the flying Dutchman of potential nominees. He just has to live this every year until it stops.
Is it possible there’s just a lot of NCIS fans on the committee?
If MC5 gets in, then this is gonna be the year that Devo and Kraftwerk gets in too — it’ll be the statement year for all the cool shit. Def Leppard is not cool. No young person is looking at Def Leppard with aspirations of being like them. But for the Burger Records crowd, MC5 is hugely important. They want to pretend their bands don’t sound like Jet, they sound like MC5.
Wayne Kramer just spent the past two months on the MC50 tour, celebrating the MC5’s 50th anniversary, where he performed Kick Out The Jams in its entirety every night with an all-star band that included members of Soundgarden, Faith No More and Fugazi. Does that help their cause?
No. While that’s fun, and I would go see that for free, most of the Rock Hall voters are boomers. They don’t know who Fugazi is.
None of those bands have been nominated before, either.
Not even Soundgarden? That’s crazy.
They put in Nirvana in 2014 and Pearl Jam in 2017. Maybe Soundgarden’s time will be 2020.
That’s insane that Pearl Jam is getting in there before Soundgarden. And I like Pearl Jam much more than Soundgarden. But that’s fucking crazy.
She shouldn’t be inducted, but she will be. On her own merits, she doesn’t have the catalog nor the innovation. But it’s more about her as a figure.
No. Not getting in. [Laughs.]
That’s a torture band. Do I like pretentious twits imposing their will onto a record-buying populace of morons? Yes. I wish I dreamed that big. I admire it. But musically, is it good? It’s not remotely good. It’s aging like cabbage in the sun. I think we’re going to be embarrassed by Radiohead in a couple of years the same way people are embarrassed by U2 now. I’d definitely rather step on a nail than listen to their music. I have a friend who works in a place where music, film and television intersect. He is responsible for making bands bigger, in a way. He gives them a public visual platform that most of the people reading this would be familiar with. And he doesn’t know of any music that is in NME or Mojo or on Pitchfork or wherever, nothing that isn’t being talked about by the same 14 people. Radiohead is an important band to him. He would be on the young end of voters. He might actually be a voter. It’s the one band that people who are 50 remember the name of.
I always enjoy when you live-tweet a deep-dive of a band’s catalog when you’re on long van rides. Would you ever do that with Radiohead?
I dunno, man. The Tool discography broke me in half. I’m getting pre-PTSD just thinking about listening to Radiohead. So yeah, I would do it, but only because I hate myself.
RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE
Another name that olds can remember, so at least they can still get the senile vote. Do old people respect guitar playing? I don’t know. Rage Against The Machine, for two records, was a pretty raging act, and that’s coming from a guy who has gone back and forth on the band being worth anything. Their records were hot, heavy and well produced. They were fucking huge, too. Y’know what? I’m gonna call them one of the last relevant guitar acts. Just by virtue of that, they deserve to be in there.
Three-quarters of Rage Against The Machine are now touring as Prophets Of Rage, alongside Chuck D and B-Real.
I don’t know if anyone outside of the European festival circuit has ever heard of that.
They actually spent the summer opening for Avenged Sevenfold all across America.
That’s when you should jerk the wheel of the tour bus right off the bridge.
It’s lame dad rock of the best variety. I like this band a lot. Not rockin’. Not remotely rockin’. I don’t see them making it, though.
RUFUS FEATURING CHAKA KHAN
No, they won’t get in. But it will get more votes than they would anticipate. Have you ever been to one of those old-people shows? Those package tours full of people who would have never toured together when they were relevant but now they can fill a casino? It’s all old people, and they’re having a grand old time. I could see Rufus going over big with that voting bloc. But they’re not getting in.
[Sighs.] Yeah, I guess he’s Rock Hall worthy. I personally don’t think his catalog warrants this — I guess I’m saying I don’t think his music is good enough — but there’s no way to debate that this dude has been on a singular path, doing his own thing, longer than I’ve been alive. He seems like a really likeable person, and weirdly, I have a Todd Rundgren insider in my circle who tells me he is a nice person, but I don’t know if being nice and putting out a bunch of records should get you in. If putting out 100 records is all it took, then shit, I should be in the Rock Hall.
He also attempted rapping in the ‘90s.
I take it all back — he deserves to be ushered in on a golden throne.
I’m kind of shocked they’re not in already. It’s actually amazing they’re not in. Yeah, they get in. Let the few remaining dudes who are still alive in this band enjoy a brief moment of happiness before they have to go get dialysis or whatever.
If you had to go fill out your own ballot and pick five of these acts to be inducted in 2019, who would they be?
LL Cool J five times.
Drug Church would be eligible for the Rock Hall in 2036. Will Drug Church still be a band in 2036?
I’ll be dead. But I’m sure somewhere in record contract I signed away the rights to be a hologram, so the hologram version of me will still be in the band.
Is your death going to help your band’s chances in making the Rock Hall?
I hadn’t thought about it before, but it can’t hurt. Unless they drag our legacy through the mud putting out increasingly wack albums after finding a new vocalist at a Kroger stocking shelves or something. Otherwise, yeah, I’d say my death wouldn’t hurt.
Who would you like to induct Drug Church into the Rock Hall?
Well that’s easy: LL Cool J.
Catch Drug Church on tour with Gouge Away, Heart Attack Man (^) and Seattle’s New Gods (%):
November 16 Denver, CO @ Hi Dive ^
November 18 Chicago, IL @ Cobra Lounge (Matinee) ^
November 19 Cleveland, OH @ Mahall’s ^
November 20 Pontiac, MI @ Pike Room ^
November 26 West Haven, CT @ The Cave %
November 27 Boston, MA @ Great Scott %
November 28 Brooklyn, NY @ Alphaville %
November 29 Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie %
November 30 Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter %
December 1 Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506 %
December 2 Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade %
December 3 Gainesville, FL @ Loosey’s %
December 4 Orlando, FL @ Will’s Pub %