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September 29, 2010

On to 2011!

Wow, what a day yesterday was for the big news, huh? Can hardly believe it that after all these years Southwest and AirTran are merging!

Oh, and the nominees for the 2011 induction class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame were announced.

Unfortunately, for the seventh straight year, Weird Al did not make the cut...even though he won Rolling Stone's own Rock Hall readers poll last fall...and even though he routinely tops the write-in option in the Cleveland Plain Dealer's readers poll...and even though he is the most successful rock parodist in music history, one that has sold more records than 108 of the 169 acts already inducted into the Rock Hall.

But, to the Rock Hall's credit, the news isn't all that bad. In fact, like last year with Kiss's surprise nomination, we can score another one for oft-snubbed artists, as for the first time ever (and after fifteen years of eligibility) Alice Cooper has finally been nominated for induction!

Joining Alice as first-time nominees are perennial hair rockers Bon Jovi, acclaimed singer/songwriter Neil Diamond, mellow '60s rocker Donovan, raw-voiced legend Tom Waits, and Polynesiantown star Dr. John. Interestingly, it should be noted that not a single artist who first became eligible this year was nominated.

Nominees returning from previous years include Beastie Boys, Chic, the J. Geils Band, LL Cool J, Darlene Love, Laura Nyro, Donna Summer, Joe Tex, and Chuck Willis. About half of the artists on that list have been nominated numerous times in the past, making the list very bottom-heavy as far as dead weight goes. Really, Laura Nyro? Darlene Love? Chic? Nothing against them, but there are a number of other artists--from 1985 and before--that probably could have been given a shot on the ballot instead of having these routinely rejected acts turn up yet again.

It seems as if reaction around the 'Net has been mixed at best...of course. At this point it has almost become a cliche for people to gripe about and ridicule the choices. A quick scan of the usual places can already result in folks questioning how "rock and roll" Neil Diamond and Bon Jovi really are. It's such a silly debate to even get into every single year, especially as it seems the majority of complainers won't consider anything but Kiss or Rush to be "rock and roll." Sometimes we'll get a criticism like "Oh yeah, Weird Al, riiiight...that's not rock and roll" or whatever, but really, by now, ANY artist is going to get that question from someone. One hopes that the Rock Hall isn't avoiding nominating Al out of fear of mockery. Some people are going to complain regardless of who's nominated, funny material or not.

It seems as if the one unanimous opinion is that Alice Cooper's nomination has been a long time coming. It is certainly optimistic for our cause, as following Kiss's nomination last year and now Alice's, it seems as if every year we'll be seeing a nomination for a, for lack of a better phrase, "fan-favorite" act. That may very well be unintentional, but after so many years of neither Kiss nor Alice receiving so much as a nomination, it's hard not to wonder what has prompted this back-to-back recognition. Might all these fan bases finally be wearing the Rock Hall down?

If you were among the fans who volunteered to contact individual members of the nominating committee over the summer, we thank you so much for your help. There are still a number of committee members yet to be contacted, so let's try to get a jump on next year! Remember, we need you to send not only a personal letter to committee members but also a copy of the recent Essential "Weird Al" Yankovic compilation (either the normal one or the new 3.0 version).

In the meantime, though, we have two (or maybe even three) tasks that we want every fan to participate in. They're quick, they're free to do, and they'll help get our point across!

Cleveland's Plain Dealer--the Rock Hall museum's hometown newspaper--has started its annual unofficial Rock Hall readers poll, which asks...um, readers...who they want to see...um, in the Rock Hall. Ahem. As it often does in the past, the poll has a write-in option, and in previous years Al has routinely topped the write-in portion of the poll. This year will be no different!

The poll will run until October 11. Just vote once; don't do anything fishy like vote numerous times from numerous computers. But, by all means, spread the word! Tell everyone you know! Post the link on your Twitter and Facebook! http://www.cleveland.com/popmusic/index.ssf/2010/09/bon_jovi_neil_diamond_and_alic.html#poll

The poll page is inviting comments, but it's not necessary to vote. It's mostly in case you want to submit a soundbyte for use in the eventual article about the results. Be warned, though, that the comments are quickly turning extremely argumentative, combative, and just plain old ugly. Weird Al fans are above that. If you must leave a comment, then speak your peace, don't argue, and quickly move on. (If you plan on leaving a comment, you must register to the Cleveland.com web site first: https://signup.cleveland.com/register/?return_to=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cleveland.com%2Fpopmusic%2Findex.ssf%2F2010%2F09%2Fbon_jovi_neil_diamond_and_alic.html)

Speaking of polls, last year Rolling Stone ran its first ever Rock Hall readers poll online. This was quite monumental because of the Rock Hall's close, incestuous affiliation with Rolling Stone, so clearly any results would get relayed back to the Rock Hall. Last year, Al BURIED the competition, earning more votes than Alice Cooper, the Moody Blues, and others. The magazine has yet to announce any similar poll for this year, but as soon as they do, we will of course post the information here and urge you to vote with the same fervor that you did last year.

And on October 23--Al's 51rst birthday--we will be hosting our second annual Make the Rock Hall "Weird" Tweet-In on...well, Twitter. Throughout the day, we will be asking fans to send tweets to the Rock Hall's official Twitter account (@rock_hall) to demand Al's induction. This is just symbolic and for fun...think of it like the march to the museum the Kiss Army did a few years ago, only digitally and less clown white. And if you haven't yet, be sure to follow our campaign on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/rockhallweird).

Meanwhile, we are proud to announce that Yankoheit 27, our feature-length documentary, is finished, done, completed! Early feedback from our close, personal friends has been quite positive, and we hope everyone will get a chance to see it and enjoy it. It is a celebration of Al fandom as much as it is of Al's career.

As for the "when," well...the movie is currently being shopped around on the film festival circuit, and we are looking at an early 2011 release. We are trying to get the movie submitted for consideration to all of the major festivals across the country, and that is where you come in.

We are NOT asking for donations. If you have spare money just for donating purposes, please contribute to the Weird Al Star Fund (http://www.weirdalstar.com). As for our campaign, though, we do need to raise funds, as it costs money to submit projects to festivals. Over the years we have posted Al-related product links both here and on our parent site, All Things Yankovic, and we receive a tiny but much-appreciated commission for sending you to said product with said link. That is essentially what we're asking of you; just continue shopping online for products (Al-related or otherwise) as you normally would, but please use our links so we can keep receiving such commissions.

Below are links to some of the major online stores. If you plan to shop at any of these places--especially with the holiday shopping season rapidly approaching--please use the following links to get there. If you'd like, you can even bookmark these links to make it easier for you...just right-click on each link and follow your browser's bookmarking/favoriting instructions. We ask that you do this way because these are more or less redirect links, and we cannot guarantee that a visit will be still be "read" the right way if you were to open a link, go to the web site, and then bookmark it.

Amazon
DeepDiscount
iTunes
Cafepress
eBay

Again, don't feel like you have to go out of your way to shop online...but if you do, we would be eternally grateful if you used the above links.

There are a couple of ideas floating around for our next major campaign project, and if Al releases his new album soon (knock on wood) then we of course would want to do a project that utilizes the expected corresponding tour. But for the time being, we ask that you continue writing to individual members of the nominating committee, and hopefully we'll be spending the first half of next year heavily promoting Yankoheit 27.

Right now, though, go vote in the Plain Dealer readers poll!