Rock Hall Spectacular! Clive on Whitney, Geiger on NIN, C.J. Wallace on Biggie, Light & Solters on Azoff, Captain Sensible on T. Rex & More

Pollstar has unveiled its 2020 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Special featuring honorees and industry heavyweights discussing this year’s inductees. This issue spotlights the legendary Clive Davis discussing his muse Whitney Houston; Jon Landau in conversation with journalist Roy Trakin; Cornerstone’s Rob Stone on The Notorious B.I.G. along with Biggie’s son C.J. Wallace; power agent Marc Geiger on Nine Inch Nails, CAA head of music Rob Light and Scoop Marketing’s Larry Solters on music exec extraordinaire Irving Azoff; The Damned’s Captain Sensible and Simon Napier-Bell on T. Rex; Chvrches’ Lauren Mayberry on Depeche Mode; and Pollstar contributor editor Holly Gleason on The Doobie Brothers. As well Pollstar interviewed Joel Peresman, President & CEO of the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Foundation and Nwaka Onwusa, the Rock Hall’s director of curatorial affairs on the new exhibition “It’s Been Said All Along: Voices of Rage, Hope and Empowerment.” This special Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Special is timed to this year’s induction ceremony, which takes place Saturday Nov. 7 and airs on HBO.

Q’s With Jon Landau, The Rock Hall’s 2020 Ahmet Ertegun Honoree (And The World’s Most Successful Ex-Rock Crit)
Jon Landau saw the future of rock ‘n’ roll and its name was Bruce Springsteen, but it also turned out to be his destiny as well and helped him win this year’s Ahmet Ertegun Award for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

C.J. Wallace And Rob Stone Discuss The Legacy Of The Notorious B.I.G.

Known as The Notorious B.I.G., Biggie Smalls, Frank White or his given name, Christopher Wallace, many call him the best to have ever done it. The legendary rapper from Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn had a meteoric rise to fame during what many consider a golden age of hip-hop, going from relative unknown, to one of the biggest artists on the planet, to a tragic death at the age of 24 all in the span of about three years. READ MORE

Notorious B.I.G.
Raymond Boyd / Getty Images

Biggie Smalls at the International Amphitheatre in Chicago, in April 1995.

Clive Davis Reflects On Whitney Houston Ahead of Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction

“You’ve either got it or you don’t have it,” Clive Davis told Merv Griffin on June 23, 1983, as the record executive introduced the then-19-year-old Whitney Houston to the TV host and to the world. “She’s got it.” READ MORE
Rob Light and Larry Solters on Irving Azoff’s R&R Hall of Fame Ahmet Ertegun Award
Though he is co-founder of Oak View Group, Pollstar’s parent company, Irving Azoff, this year’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Ahmet Ertegun Award honoree, declined our request to be interviewed here. Instead, he connected us with two esteemed industry execs who well know the 72-year-old music executive, but in different ways: CAA’s Head of Music Rob Light has known Azoff well for more than 20 years (though their relationship may have started out on rocky footing); and Scoop Marketing’s principal Larry Solters, who has worked alongside the music industry titan for 45 years with front-row seats to what’s been an extraordinary show. READ MORE

Marc Geiger Talks Nine Inch Nails: The Upward Spiral As Reznor Gets His Due
In Nine Inch Nails, the industrial band formed and led by Trent Reznor, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has found the rare combination of influential, independent and massively popular, inspiring generations of fans and musicians alike. READ MORE 

t. rex
Michael Putland / Getty Images

T. Rex

The Damned’s Captain Sensible On Their 1977 Tour With T. Rex
It seems all but impossible now, but 43-years ago, in 1977, “the year that punk broke” (mostly), two phenomenal bands from different genres and generations rather unexpectedly toured together. The glam, iconic and hugely influential rock band T. Rex led by Marc Bolan brought along the younger, awesome and blistering punk band The Damned. READ MORE

T. Rex’s Rock Hall Induction By Marc Bolan’s Former Manager Simon Napier-Bell
Marc Bolan would have loved his induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. It’s where he thought he belonged even before he’d had his first hit. READ MORE

Lauren Mayberry on Depeche Mode: Cosmic Synth Pioneers Bridge Cultural Gap Amid British New Wave
Chvrches vocalist and percussionist Lauren Mayberry inducted Depeche Mode into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. She told Pollstar, “The first thing I think of when I think of Depeche Mode are their fans. They are notoriously beloved. Depeche fans mate for life and it’s because the music is so special. The melodies are so rich but there’s always enough darkness, sonically or lyrically, to create their own unique balance. There’s an honesty in everything they do and I think people connect with that.” READ MORE

Doobie Brothers
Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

Doobie Brothers

The Doobie Brothers Keep On Rollin’ To The Rock Hall

In just nine short years, the Doobie Brothers became one of the most enduring bands by deftly straddling AM and FM radio. Whether the Cajun stomp of “Black Water,” the revved-up surge of “China Grove” or the Motown-dusted soul balladry of “What A Fool Believes,” they forged a euphoric take-it-on-the-road freedom. Put down the windows, turn up the volume, press the accelerator just a little harder. READ MORE  

Lead Off: It’s (Not) Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It): Biggie And Whitney Continue Rock Hall’s Trend Away From Rock Proper

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has always been about more than rock and roll. The vaunted institution’s inaugural class, inducted in 1986, featured founding rock fathers like Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley – but also Godfather of Soul James Brown, Genius of Soul Ray Charles, and King of Soul Sam Cooke. Rock and roll, after all, has always been more ethos than aesthetic, as Rock Hall chairman John Sykes told Rolling Stone in 2019. READ MORE

Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails
Scott Legato /
– Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails
DTE Energy Music Theatre, Clarkston, Mich.

Q’s With President & CEO of Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Foundation Joel Peresman From Concert Security Guard To The Rock Hall
Joel Peresman has had quite a career trajectory, from working as a concert security guard for Pittsburgh promoter Rick Engler to becoming president and CEO of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. Along the way he worked at Austin City Limits, William Morris Agency, International Talent Group, Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall before landing at the Rock Hall Foundation in 2005. Here, Peresman helps define what “rock and roll” means in this day and age. READ MORE  

Nwaka Onwusa On New RRHOF Exhibit ‘It’s Been Said All Along: Voices Of Rage, Hope & Empowerment’
Nwaka Onwusa knew the power of music to affect change long before she joined the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame just more than a year ago as director of curatorial affairs. She was appointed in September to vice president and chief of curatorial affairs, after playing a role in developing various Rock Hall exhibits, including “Induction All Access: Photography by Kevin Mazur” and “The 2020 Hall of Fame Inductee Exhibit.” Onwusa is now making an indelible mark with a new Rock Hall exhibit, “It’s Been Said All Along: Voices of Rage, Hope and Empowerment,” highlighting artists’ voices for change in messages of equality, respect, and empowerment for people of color. READ MORE