We're all sick of the self-anointed "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame," right? Sick of their bad choices, sick of their egregious snubs, and sick of their self-important made-for-TV tux and tie galas that are the very antithesis of rock 'n' roll. That doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with paying tribute to the greatest rock 'n' rollers of all-time, but it's a lot more fun when US, the fans, the people who love this music, buy the records, and really, truly, passionately care about it get to pick who deserves the honor. And that is what the Rock 'n' Roll Freak Pantheon is all about.
The Pantheon was the brainchild of the "secret" Facebook group "Rock 'n' Roll Freaks". The purpose is to honor "artists and groups who have not been recognized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Commercial success and/or critical acclaim are not factors in choosing candidates or inductees." Rather, it seeks "to spotlight those people who embody the true spirit of rock 'n' roll in their recordings, performances, and in the lives they've lived,... the forgotten heroes, the renegades, and the free spirits who have left a unique imprint on the history of rock 'n' roll.
A series of elections were conducted during 2014 to come up with the inaugural class, including one for non-performing contributors, and sixteen names made the cut: The 13th Floor Elevatos, Lester Bangs, Johnny Burnette & the Rock 'n' Roll Trio, the Cramps, Dick Dale, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Love, the MC5, New York Dolls, John Peel, the Pretty Things, ? & the Mysterians, Paul Revere & the Raiders, the Seeds, the Sonics, and (the top vote-getter of 'em all) Link Wray.
The 2015 election is now underway and the polls close on Friday, May 22, 2015. It is comprised of two ballots, one for performers and one for the non-performing contributor category. Some of the names on the former include Hasil Adkins, Richard Berry, Captain Beefheart, Wayne Cochran, the Dictators, Esquerita, Flamin' Groovies, the Monks, the Fabulous Wailers, and Larry Williams. On the latter ballot, you'll find names like Kim Fowley, Joe Meek, Murray the K., and Greg Shaw. To see the full list of nominees and to find out how you can vote, visit the Rock 'n' Roll Freaks website.
There was no induction ceremony for the 2014 class of inductees, and while you'll never see the Rock 'n' Roll Freaks put on a spectacle as pompous and over-blown as Jann Wenner's Cleveland cabal does every year, both classes of inductees will be honored at the First Annual Freak Out Weekend in Seattle from August 7-9.
You can follow the Rock 'n' Roll Freak Pantheon on Facebook here.