Twisted Sister Guitarist: Rock Hall Has ‘Zero Understanding’ About What Heavy Metal Is About

Alfred Nitsch, CC BY-SA 3.0 AT , via Wikimedia Commons
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There’s not a lot of love for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame these days.

As of late, numerous musicians have criticized the Hall’s lack of heavy metal representation, as Iron Maiden was once again snubbed from entering.

The latest to call out the Rock Hall is Twisted Sister guitarist Jay Jay French, who was recently inducted into the Heavy Metal Hall of Fame.

In an interview with Ultimate Guitar, French speaks on what being inducted into the Metal Hall of Fame means to him, saying,

“It’s always wonderful to get that sort of recognition. We’d already gotten that sort of recognition on Long Island as they featured us in the Long Island Music Hall of Fame. We were huge on the local bar scene, and I’m sure we affected thousands of kids’ lives during that time. All that is great, and it’s always an hour to be honored. I’m proud of it, and glad heavy metal is getting its due, too.”

French also zeroes in on how the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame doesn’t understand what’s happening in metal, saying,

“History is gonna tell that story. I certainly can’t tell it. It’s always been derided. As you know, the critics have never really warmed up to it. Even back in the days of Led Zeppelin, those guys couldn’t get the respect they deserved. In the early days, I remember seeing Led Zeppelin headline the Fillmore East, and believe it or not, the Woody Herman Orchestra was the special guest that night. Think about that for a second. Why do you have a jazz orchestra as a special guest? Well, the review in the New York Times ripped the whole thing and focused on that instead of Zeppelin.

“So, there’s always been a lack of respect. I think the problem with critics and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is that they refuse to acknowledge that heavy metal probably was what kept the live music industry going in the ’80s. It never gets its due. Just look how long they made KISS wait. There’s zero understanding of what the genre is about. How do you not acknowledge a band that made such an impact as KISS? It’s silly, it’s stupid, and it’s ignorant.”

He concludes the interview speaking about returning with Twisted Sister, saying,

“When we walked off stage for the last time in 2016, we felt good about it. In truth, I thought that the last time would have come a lot sooner. But this time, it was nice to be in the same room and do it all again. And, of course, A.J. [Pero] is no longer with us, but it was still pretty special. But A.J. wasn’t with us toward the end anyway. We did two solid years of performances after he died, with Mike Portnoy filling in.

“Anyway, just before we were supposed to rehearse the induction, our guitar player Eddie Ojeda said he had COVID and couldn’t travel. So, that was a little bit stressful for about half an hour until we realized there was a way to handle it. And that was Eddie’s guitar tech, Keith [Robert War], who was out in Los Angeles and is a great player. We just called him, and he flew in from L.A., and as soon as he got there, we knew we were golden.”

Check out other artists snubbed by the Rock Hall below.

10 Snubbed Artists Who Need to Be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame