Award ceremonies, particularly ones featuring celebrities, could be a publicist’s best friend … or their worst nightmare.
These events are always examined with a fine-toothed comb as press, fans, and viewers all wait for opportune moments to catch the perfect picture, or celebrity flub gone completely awry. If you’re a publicist representing an A-list client, you’ll want to be on your toes making sure all goes smoothly so someone doesn’t start a viral chain of negativity that gets blasted out to millions in the social media stratosphere.
One awards event that always has its share of excitement and drama is the yearly Rock and Roll induction ceremony. Tensions always seem high even before the musicians take the stage as the public lashes out, wondering why a critical darling who never sold any albums gets into the Hall of Fame ahead of a band still intact 45 years since their inception that still sells out stadiums worldwide. Everyone also waits with bated breath to see if their favorite yet long-since-broken-up group reunites to jam onstage for on a couple of tunes.
With that, I offer my Regan Communications PR insight for each 2014 RRHOF inductee if they want to make it through the night unscathed by mainstream and social media.
KISS – Despite 40 years and a Fort Knox worth of gold albums to their credit, KISS has been passed over by the RRHOF before. Therefore, they need to make their induction really count. That means the original foursome (Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss) must show up and don their trademark makeup to tear the house down on “Rock and Roll All Nite.” The last thing any attendee/viewer wants to see is bad blood between band members, even if Simmons literally spits blood on stage.
NIRVANA – This will be a bittersweet induction given front-man Kurt Cobain’s suicide nearly 20 years ago. However the band’s other members Krist Novoselic (bass) and Dave Grohl (drums) can seize the day by jamming alongside the front-men (and women) of every single group Nirvana has influenced since they first hit the scene 25 years ago. Though the band eventually denounced the song that made them superstars, Nirvana will make a publicist’s day from a media perspective if they play “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
HALL AND OATES – There’s no need to anticipate a gloomy induction from this mainstay duo. However, for PR sake, the public would go wild if John Oates regrew his trademark mustache for the occasion.
PETER GABRIEL – A no-show at Genesis’ RRHOF induction in 2010, Gabriel can now redeem himself by showing up, acting humble and appreciative when he accepts his award, and playing live. He is sure to whip the crowd into a frenzy if he tears into “In Your Eyes” or “Sledgehammer.”
LINDA RONSTADT – This pop chanteuse has made headlines in recent months but not for her music. Diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease that has left her unable to sing, Ronstadt can still be the hit of the evening if she shows up to accept her award. She won’t even have to give a speech – the standing ovation for her is sure to last several minutes.
CAT STEVENS – He’s spent more than half his life out of the public eye as Yusuf Islam, but Cat Stevens can still get hands clapping if he follows the Peter Gabriel PR criteria – i.e. showing up, accepting his award with humility and poise, and strapping on a guitar to sing “Wild World” or “Peace Train.” He will be sure to have his largest audience response since the mid-1970s, even if it’s just for five minutes.
Ira Kantor, Account Executive