Gene Simmons disagreed with Ice Cube’s declaration during N.W.A.’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction Friday, and the KISS bassist has been taking about it ever since.
“The question is: Are we rock and roll? I say you’re (damn) right we’re rock and roll,” Ice Cube stated at the podium as the seminal gangster rap group made their acceptance speeches, according to Blabber Mouth.
But on Saturday, KISS frontman Gene Simmons tweeted his disapproval, asking the rapper to let him know when Jimi Hendrix will be inscribed in the Hip-Hop Hall of Fame.
It’s not the first time Simmons complained about the politicking behind the selections or questioned whether hip-hop acts — or any non-rock artists — belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“It’s really back-room politics, like Boss Tweed,” Simmons said during a 2014 interview. “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 didn’t single out rap artists but he made it clear he holds a rather orthodox view on who belongs in the Rock Hall of Fame.
“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 that 2014 interview, Simmons also raised some of the same issues that new inductee Steve Miller complained about Friday in the press room — namely the Hall of Fame organizers’ restrictions on which band members can be inducted and which can attend the ceremony.
Simmons said that when KISS learned they would be part of the Hall of Fame’s class of 2014, he and the other band members were taken aback by what the organizers told them.
“Our contemporaries, the Eagles, are in the Hall of Fame, and every single member that has been in the Eagles is inducted. And so when they offered the induction to us, we graciously said thank you. But then they said, “Only [founding members] Ace [Frehley], Paul [Stanley], Peter [Criss] and Gene get to be in.” So we said, “OK, thank you.” And so we called up [former members] Ace and Peter and said, “Congratulations, we’ll proudly stand alongside you, accept the award.”
This slight played into the band’s decision not to perform at their own induction.
“We said, ‘You’re not going to honor [current guitarist] Tommy [Thayer] and [current drummer] Eric [Singer], who have been in the band for twenty years, two and a half times longer than the original lineup. And they’re supposed to stay home?’”