Nirvana, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame…Minus Chad Channing

Posted: March 19, 2014 in Nirvana News

http://pitchfork.com/news/54358-nirvanas-bleach-drummer-chad-channing-wont-be-inducted-into-rock-hall-of-fame-finds-out-via-text-message/

The article is phrased in the language of disappointment, built to emphasise that someone is being let down or not being treated right – hence the quotation about how much he was looking forward to it, the point about the text and so forth. That’s infotainment for ya!

Another way of looking at it would be that what is being commemorated is not ‘Nirvana’ as a full historical entity – in which case why draw the line at inviting Chad? Why not invite Aaron, Dave Mk.1, Dan, Dale, Jason, Pat…? The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame sells peak fame, not the years of puttering along, so realistically the induction is a celebration of two things; the Smells Like Teen Spirit single and the Nevermind album – nuance and the kind of ephemera that keeps fans occupied is far less relevant than than the one song most everyone in the world remembers plus that ‘album with the baby on the front’ that tens of millions of potential Hall of Fame customers purchased. In a way, what’s being celebrated is two spikes in attention, not even the full two and a half years of fame (let alone the full winter 1986-spring 1994 band), just the explosion around Nevermind and Teen Spirit in late 1991-early 1992, then Cobain’s elevation to sainthood in 1994.

An argument could be made about Chad’s contribution but what metric to use? Grohl serves 41 months compared to Chad’s 24, Grohl plays 207 shows compared to Chad’s 140, Grohl records 59 songs over 7 recording sessions while Chad records 35 over 6 sessions – again, if the other drummers are excluded because they’re not around long or they don’t play much then it becomes tenuous arguing Chad ‘did enough’ he should be there. An argument based on quantity doesn’t really cut it.

A different argument would be that Chad lay down the drum patterns in studio subsequently followed by Grohl on around half of Nevermind thus making him a contributor – unfortunately that again opens up the door to inviting others given Polly was first attempted either with Aaron or Dave Mk.1. It’d also make it hard to exclude the others given a lot of the work on Bleach was first created by Aaron or Dave though subsequently recorded formally by Chad. Too many blurred lines to exclude anyone unless everyone is excluded apart from the guy who has become most comfy alongside the LA/NYC rock tradition and business.

That’s where the shame is really, having true representatives of the late Eighties’ North-West underground on stage would be a joy – guys who really did slog it out for no thanks and no cash in the times when Seattle was barely mentioned in a musical context so the people making music there had to love it very much to want to make something happen. It’d be a nice contrast seeing Aaron’s weathered rock look, Dave’s everyman expression, Chad’s ‘pixie of eternal youth’ walking out past the applauding suits. That would have been a real statement saying that Nirvana really had broken the line between underground and mainstream – instead the ceremony will be a reminder that the barricades were rolled back across the path soon enough with those deemed less able to commoditised ignored.

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Comments
  1. Erik Berry says:

    A band is eligible when 25 years pass after their first release. It’s 1989’s “Love Buzx” for Nirvana. The drummer for the qualifying track is not being inducted, which I think is pretty messed up.

  2. Brutus The Barber says:

    It’s ironic that Kiss are not going because Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame only want to induct the original members and yet with Nirvana they don’t want to induct Chad the drummer on Nirvana’s first single and first album!

    Feel sorry for Chad he was in Nirvana for over 2 years not someone who was briefly in Nirvana or played a handful of shows. He was a proper member of Nirvana for a sustained period of time in Nirvana’s brief history.

    I have never understood Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame as organisation anyhow . It’s lame , odd , and a slightly creepy self appointed parasitic type of business.

    John Lydon tolkd them to fuck off and just sent an abusive letter to them after the other members of Sex Pistols were expected to pay for their own seats or induction or something equally lame as that.

    I would hope in a way Krist and Dave (who surely has clout at these type of events?) would somehow dictate to this lame organisation rather than other way round

    • nsoulsby says:

      Yeah, I can imagine if Kiss AND Krist/Dave said “no way” then there’s no way this could happen…I mean, the WHOLE class of 2014 of any note saying ‘no way’? How could that not have an impact…?

      Thing is…It does make me give C Love more credit in her battles with Krist/Dave over the years if Dave/Krist are not putting up a fight…

  3. gram says:

    i’m so pissed that canning isn’t part of the HOF , and actually bleach is my favorite nirvana record, nevermind was ugh.. too mainstream it had a few songs i liked but overall it disappointed me , in utero was a bit better at least they were trying to crawl away from mainstream sound , i think albini helped on that one, well i’m sorry chad canning wasn’t added but whatever happened between cobain and canning we’ll never know , i heard cobain was always giving chad shit cause he wasn’t contributing to making songs or anything like that but hes the drummer after all and theres that one time kurt threw his guitar at cannings drum set then again same thing happened to grohl

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