Column, Music, Arts

Channing Falls Just Short Of ‘Nirvana’ And Rock Hall Of Fame

If you’re having a good day and don’t want to read about some majorly disappointing material, stop here. Otherwise, get ready to board the next train to Bummer City-and that line ain’t got no stops.

So, it was announced this year that the iconic grunge band Nirvana is going to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the ceremony next month. Basically everyone knows Nirvana as the three-piece group consisting of Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl, and Krist Novoselic, but there’s one other player: Chad Channing, the group’s drummer during the recording of Bleach, Nirvana’s first-ever LP. Channing left the group in 1990, just a year before the band’s earth-shattering break-out hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Channing’s drumming appears on Nevermind in the track “Polly” (fun fact: this is Bob Dylan’s self-proclaimed “favorite Nirvana song”), which was recorded while he was with the band. Some other Channing-inclusive songs have been recycled for anthologies such the 1992 compilation albumInsecticide and several of the band’s live LPs.

Long story short, a rumor began circulating that Channing was going to be honored with Nirvana by the Hall of Fame, and it picked up some serious speed. The original source was Future Rock Legends, a blog that exclusively follows Rock Hall news. Other media outlets started asking Channing how he felt about his pending-induction. In an interview with, Channing’s response to these questions was heartwarming: “When I told me  daughter about the induction, she was super excited for me! So much of my excitement about it is for her.” Nirvana’s management even got him a ticket, and Channing officially announced that he would be present at their request.

Pack your bags, folks, we’ve got a one-way ticket to Downer Town!

At the beginning of this week, Channing was informed via text that he would actually not be honored with Nirvana at the ceremony. “Can you tell whoever looks after Chad Channing that he isn’t being inducted,” read the message received by Nirvana’s manager, “It is just Dave, Krist and Kurt.”


To get somebody’s hopes that high up only to be dashed in such a terse and impersonal way feels seriously wrong. I sincerely hope that Channing’s newest project, Before Cars, has a really great year to make up for this disappointment.

But I also want to talk about the decision itself.

You can’t totally blame the Rock Hall for this situation. For starters, it wasn’t the one who directly released the false information. While Future Rock Legends may have seemed reliable enough for Nirvana’s management and a number of music news sources, the site itself claims no association with the actual Hall of Fame. Some of its information is speculative, as it claims to be based on voter polls and historical precedent. Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that giving Channing a spot in the Hall for his participation in Nirvana would be a bit like bringing Pete Best in for The Beatles: While he may have been with the band during its formative years, he wasn’t present for what made the group what it’s known for today.

That said, Best wasn’t the original drummer for “the Beatles”-he technically only played with “The Quarrymen,” since the group had not made that transition yet. Plus, since Nirvana only ever recorded three studio albums before Cobain’s suicide, Channing has the distinct honor of being drummer for one third of the band’s LPs. Heck, Ronnie Wood is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the Rolling Stones, and he can hardly claim that much, as he didn’t even join them until 12 years into the group’s career. He’s not even on Exile on Main Street, for crying out loud!

I also totally blame the Rock Hall for the way it handled the correction. What on earth were these people so busy with that they couldn’t give the guy a freaking phone call? Literally anything is better than “I texted him to tell you”-everyone knows that.

The takeaway of this story, for me at least, is that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is stupid. It inducts popular acts and artists with relatively little consideration given to their part in rock history. Grunge is a shoot-off of punk music anyway, so you can tell it’s reaching outside of its genre for big names to keep this schtick going. What’s next: inducting ABBA?

Yeah, I went there.

…Ronnie Wood wasn’t even on Beggar’s Banquet.

March 19, 2014