According to the powers that be at Variety, Rolling Stone magazine founder Jann Wenner has been removed from the board of directors of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame after his controversial comments about black and women artists.
Jann was questioned about solely using interviews done with white male musicians for the book in an interview with The New York Times journalist David Marchese to promote his new book “The Masters” featuring conversations Wenner conducted during his time at Rolling Stone.
“In the introduction, you acknowledge that performers of color and women performers are just not in your zeitgeist. Which, to my mind, is not plausible for Jann Wenner. Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Nicks, Stevie Wonder, the list keeps going — not in your zeitgeist?” Marchese asked.
“When I was referring to the zeitgeist, I was referring to black performers, not to the female performers, okay?” Wenner responded, saying, “Just to get that accurate. The selection was not a deliberate selection. It was kind of intuitive over the years; it just fell together that way. The people had to meet a couple criteria, but it was just kind of my personal interest and love of them. Insofar as the women, just none of them were as articulate enough on this intellectual level.”
Marchese : “Oh, stop it. You’re telling me Joni Mitchell is not articulate enough on an intellectual level?” adding, “I’ll let you rephrase that.”
“It’s not that they’re not creative geniuses. It’s not that they’re inarticulate, although, go have a deep conversation with Grace Slick or Janis Joplin. Please, be my guest,” Wenner said. “You know, Joni was not a philosopher of rock ‘n’ roll. She didn’t, in my mind, meet that test. Not by her work, not by other interviews she did. The people I interviewed were the kind of philosophers of rock.” He added: “Of black artists — you know, Stevie Wonder, genius, right? I suppose when you use a word as broad as ‘masters,’ the fault is using that word. Maybe Marvin Gaye, or Curtis Mayfield? I mean, they just didn’t articulate at that level.”
Asked how he could make such statements without having given those artists a chance, Wenner said: “Because I read interviews with them. I listen to their music. I mean, look at what Pete Townshend was writing about, or Jagger, or any of them. They were deep things about a particular generation, a particular spirit and a particular attitude about rock ‘n’ roll. Not that the others weren’t, but these were the ones that could really articulate it.”
Later, Wenner added: “You know, just for public relations sake, maybe I should have gone and found one black and one woman artist to include here that didn’t measure up to that same historical standard, just to avert this kind of criticism. Which, I get it. I had a chance to do that. Maybe I’m old-fashioned and I don’t give a [expletive] or whatever. I wish in retrospect I could have interviewed Marvin Gaye. Maybe he’d have been the guy. Maybe Otis Redding, had he lived, would have been the guy.”
Just A day after The New York Times interview was published, the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame announced that Wenner has been shown the door.
“Jann Wenner has been removed from the Board of Directors of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation,” a statement from a rep reads.
Pay in mind, Wenner founded Rolling Stone in 1967 and served as its editor or editorial director al the way until 2019. He is also a co-founder of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, which was launched in 1987. The only metal or metal-adjacent acts to have made it into the Rock Hall so far have been BLACK SABBATH, LED ZEPPELIN, METALLICA, AC/DC, JUDAS PRIEST, KISS, VAN HALEN, RUSH, GUNS N’ ROSES, and DEEP PURPLE.
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.
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