MAKE THE ROCK HALL "WEIRD"

Press Stuff

Two Cleveland fans boost support for Duran Duran and Weird Al in the Rock Hall

by Diane DiPiero
Yahoo! News/Yahoo! Contributor Network
March 30, 2011

The way Greg Method sees it, if Alice Cooper was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on March 14, "Weird Al" Yankovic can get in there, too.

"Weird Al is rock and roll's foremost satirist," Method says, speaking of the singer whose spoofs include "Eat It" and "Like a Surgeon."

"He has been at the top of his game for over three decades and his name is invariably the first and only one that comes up when the subject of humor in popular music is discussed," Method adds.

Longevity alone might make Yankovic a contender for admission to the Rock Hall, but Method says talent is the real reason he should be inducted. "If he had never come along, then there would be this very big hole in the rock and roll spectrum," he says.

Kirk Harrington feels the same way about his favorite band, Duran Duran.

So sure was Harrington that the alternative-pop rock band, famous for 80s songs like "Hungry Like the Wolf" and "Rio," should be inducted, he began an online campaign two years ago to gain support for his cause. Duran Duran to the Rock Hall, or DDTTRH, has a Facebook page, a blog and has gotten endorsements from a number of '80s musical bigwigs, including Nile Rodgers.

Method has his own campaign that he's operated for a few years. Make the Hall "Weird" is part of a website he operates called All Things Yank [sic], which is chock full of information on the satirical singer. (For those Weird Al fans out there, you can order online a "Make the Rock Hall Weird" t-shirt, featuring a caricature of Yankovic playing the accordion, for $24.)

Both the Weird Al and Duran Duran campaigns have fans from around the world. Each has its roots in Cleveland, where both Method and Harrington live, and where, coincidentally, the pyramid-shaped, glass-encased Rock Hall stands.

"I think it's funny that there are campaigns like ours and the Duran Duran effort actually based here in the same city as the [Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & Museum]," says Method. "If anything, it's great accidental symbolism, considering the campaign the city produced to get the Rock Hall in the first place."

DDTTRH recently connected with Make the Rock Hall Weird, and the two support each others efforts.

How close have they gotten to gaining support from the Rock Hall?

"Well, at one point we were on the Rock Hall's Christmas card list," Method notes wryly. "I guess that's better than a cease and desist."

Harrington and his team took their argument for Duran Duran all the way to the CEO of the Rock Hall, Terry Stewart. He replied with a lengthy letter explaining the nomination and voting process, as well as why Duran Duran had yet to be selected as an inductee.

"First of all, the only reason that Duran Duran have not been inducted is that they did not get enough votes to date to make the final ballot, or, upon making the ballot, they did not get enough votes," Stewart wrote in part. "There are no conspiracies and no one has veto power."

Harrington doesn't blame Stewart or the Rock Hall for what he and other Duran Duran fans consider a grave oversight. "One of my rules with this is that there is no Rock Hall bashing," he says. "I love the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame."

Duran Duran and Yankovic are actually in good company, with Heart, Peter Frampton, Joan Jett, Kiss, Yes, and Warren Zevon among other seasoned acts that have yet to join The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, and Aretha Franklin in the hallowed hall.

There might be hope for all of them. Method believes that fan efforts such as his and Harrington's have helped somewhat nontraditional rock and roll artists like Cooper and Neil Diamond, both of whom were inducted this year. "Seemingly, these very loud efforts in general are starting to make a difference," he says.

So they keep plugging away, and in the process, finesse the art of online marketing and social media. While DDTTRH isn't the only Duran Duran/Rock Hall online campaign out there, Harrington and his team (they recently restructured the organization so that Harrington no longer plays a lead role) have gone to great pains to make theirs stand out. "What makes us unique is that we do artist interviews," Harrington says. Articles on bands influenced by or supportive of Duran Duran can be found on the DDTTRH blog.

The Weird Al and Duran Duran campaigns look to another year of getting their messages out, perhaps strongly enough that they reach and influence those who decide who gets into the Rock Hall. The founders of these online campaigns say they'd be elated if their dreams were realized.

"If Al was even to get nominated, let alone inducted, I would most likely shriek and faint like Ned Flanders," Method says.

How fitting it would be if Duran Duran and Yankovic were nominated and inducted in 2012, when the Rock Hall induction ceremonies take place in Cleveland, after having been in New York for several years. Indeed for Harrington and Method, it would be music to their ears.


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