Saturday, April 20, 2024

Rock Hall of Shame: $400K CEO and No Donations to MusiCares, Indigent Musicians, Etc


The Rock and Roll Hall of Shame is inducting their newest class tonight in Cleveland. You do know that they’ve been hyping Ringo Starr’s induction. Ringo is not getting in as a regular member. For years Jann Wenner and friends kept him out as a solo member even though Lennon, McCartney and Harrison were all in.

Finally, Paul McCartney put his foot down. Ringo was not on this year’s ballot. His induction was not open to a vote. It was McCartney who insisted that Wenner et al put Ringo in. He goes in as a Lifetime Achievement member. He’s the only winner in 27 years to be inducted for “Musical Excellence.”

I don’t disagree that Ringo should be in the Hall of Fame. As as a drummer he is par excellence. Plus, his hits– “It Don’t Come Easy,” “Photograph,” “The No No Song,” “Oh My My,” “Back off Bugaloo”– are radio staples and little masterpieces. Good for Paul, for being so loyal.

Elsewhere the Rock Hall of Shame continues to charge big money for tickets and does nothing to help anyone. They don’t give even a small donation to MusiCares or any other group that supports indigent or ailing musicians. They don’t even have an education fund. They pay their CEO Joel Peresman 400,000 a year. The total salaries listed on their 2014 Form 990 tax filing — $524,839– actually EXCEED the amount they gave to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland. That amount in 2014 was 421,250.

The Hall of Fame Foundation claimed total assets of $11 million in 2014. Remember this is all separate from the actual Museum in Cleveland. This is just Jann Wenner’s New York based fiefdom. Yes, he’s the same Jann Wenner whose magazine, Rolling Stone, just retracted that infamous campus rape story.

I did get a laugh listening to a promo for the Rock Hall on WCBS FM, which is promoting the induction ceremony. In the ad they make a big deal of last years inductees including “The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein” and the Rolling Stones’ manager Andrew Loog Oldham. Hah! At last year’s ceremony, Oldham boycotted and didn’t show, Epstein was given a two minute nod that almost no one heard.

Still not in the Rock Hall: Sting, Bon Jovi, Chubby Checker, Carly Simon, Chicago, the Moody Blues, Billy Preston, Mary Wells, Bryan Ferry, Carole King (as a performer), KISS, Rufus and Carla Thomas, Nile Rodgers and Chic, Deep Purple, Three Dog Night, the 5th Dimension, and most glaringly– Peter Wolf and J Geils Band. Wolf will appear Saturday night as a presenter. For years Wenner has dangled the induction carrot in front of him, and done nothing. They are like Charlie Brown, Lucy and the football. It’s sad. J.Geils should have been in years ago.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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