Legendary Guitarist Attacks Top Rock Hall of Fame Name

Variety reported that Rolling Stone magazine founder Jann Wenner was removed from the board of directors of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame due to his controversial comments about black and women artists.

In an interview with The New York Times journalist David Marchese to promote his new book “The Masters” featuring interviews Wenner conducted during his tenure at Rolling Stone, Jann was asked about using interviews he’s only done with white male artists for the book.

“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. “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 reacted:

“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.”

He was then 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.”

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.

Wenner has now apologized and issued a statement regarding the same. On Saturday, Wenner said in a statement:

“In my interview with The New York Times, I made comments that diminished the contributions, genius, and impact of Black and women artists and I apologize wholeheartedly for those remarks.

Legendary guitarist Joe Bonamassa tweeted, “This man has done more to bring down the credibility of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame than anyone else. He has been punitive, elitist and frankly kept artist out of the hall over petty grudges and ego. This is a good thing.”

About Bishal Roy

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