While most of the music world at large debating the Grammys’ exclusion of late rapper XXXTentacion as part of their In Memoriam segment at last night’s 61st annual awards show, the metal world is rallying behind the snub of Pantera, Damageplan and Hellyeah drummer Vinnie Paul, who passed away last year of a heart attack at just 54 years old.
Paul was on an initial shortlist of some 400 names the Grammys published but failed to make the cut to be included in the TV broadcast. Aretha Franklin, Mac Miller, Avicii, Nancy Wilson and Carol Channing were some of the notable artists included amongst 50 or so to make the final reel, many of whose names you will surely not recognize. All That Remains guitarist Oli Herbert also made the Grammys shortlist but did not make the on-air broadcast.
Metal getting the shaft in the In Memoriam segment at the Grammys is nothing new: Slayer’s Jeff Hanneman didn’t get a mention when he died in 2013, and the Grammys dissed Dave Brockie and Wayne Static, who both passed in 2014.
It’s no surprise that metal doesn’t get the Grammy love it deserves — the lone metal award has been relegated to a pre-broadcast ceremony for years now — but it still hurts a little that a figure as iconic as Vinnie Paul couldn’t garner a nod. Still, Paul (and Hanneman, and Brockie, and Static) live on in our hearts, mainstream recognition be damned.
Academy president Neil Portnow told Rolling Stone how the people included in the broadcast In Memoriam segment are selected:
“I will tell you it’s a daunting challenge. We track those that we lose in our industry in any given year and then we have a process by which we go through it. Our on-air in memoriam — we’re lucky if we wind up [featuring] 10 to 15 percent of those we lose. Because it’s always hard choices. All of that is to say, I don’t have any answers for you now, but obviously artists who were prominent and well-known by the public are people who are recognized and we’ll just wind up having to see how it plays out.”
Indeed, we’ll just wind up having to see how it plays out next year.
Meanwhile, congrats to High on Fire for picking up that Grammy for Best Metal Performance! Definitely didn’t see that coming. You can watch the band’s acceptance speech below. - MetalSucks