Tom Nawrocki's career included several years as an editor at Rolling Stone magazine. He also writes about music on the Internet at both his own site and at more professional sites for many years now. He is also a voting member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Nawrocki's personal blog, Debris Slide, had been dormant for a long time but he has recently revived it to offer his insights on how he will complete his ballot for those artists currently nominated for induction into Cleveland's much maligned museum.
You can tell Nawrocki takes his voting privilege very seriously and while I don't agree with all of his points he is more than qualified to be among the people who may cast a ballot. Many of us often think lunatics run the hall but after reading Nawrocki's thoughtful posts it's possible that the decision makers are not asylum escapees after all.
Nawrocki's initial post is about first time nominee, Chicago. I've always longed for their induction into the hall but I have to admit he makes a very strong case for why he is voting thumbs down on the jazz-rock pioneers. He wrote that at one time Robert Lamm's band would have been an obvious choice but during the second half of their career they may have played themselves out of the hall. You can read his reasoning here.
In Nawrocki's post about why Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails will not be getting his vote he wrote, "....one factor that is a deal breaker for me, at minimum, is that I have to enjoy listening to their music. I would never vote for an artist I wouldn't want to listen to, and I don't think that's an unreasonable standard." For me this isn't entirely true and I'm not pushing for Reznor's induction (I hate Nine Inch Nails too) but personal tastes should not be the overriding factor regarding election. While I do believe it's impossible to avoid favoring musicians you love an artist's overall accomplishments should be the primary factor. Fortunately, Nawrocki made a good case otherwise for his no vote for Reznor so I'm happy.
I've always disliked Elvis Costello, mostly due to his very unattractive voice, but for a whole host of reasons I believe he belongs in the hall. I loved the now defunct Celtic-rock band, Black 47, for a long time. I think way more of them than I do Costello yet I truly believe he deserves to be in and New York City's favorite Irish band does not. They're influence is minimal beyond fans of Irish music and they never acquired any sales figures to write home about. It is possible to dislike The Beatles but even the haters can't deny their musical influence and cultural impact so, of course, they are members. Voters need to go beyond personal taste when casting their votes.
All of Nawrocki's posts on this subject have been really good reads. You can find them here.