Chris Jericho watched last night's Grammy awards ceremony, and his takeaway was that the show should have focused more on deceased 80s rocker and innovative guitar virtuoso Eddie Van Halen. Jericho took to Twitter to decry the decision not to feature Van Halen in a tribute, and to preemptively refuse any future nominations from the academy.
"Hey@RecordingAcad …no tribute to @eddievanhalen tonight?" Jericho tweeted. "You and your bullshit awards can GO F**K YOUR ASS!! And don't ever try to give my band a nomination. I'd rather win a @RazzieAwards … #F**kOffGrammys #Grammys"
It's tempting to look at the above tweet and come to the conclusion that the funniest thing about Jericho's tweet is the suggestion that The Grammys would ever consider nominating his 80s rock tribute band, Fozzy, for a Grammy in any category. But actually, the funniest part is that Jericho isn't even correct about The Grammys snubbing Van Halen. In fact, Van Halen was paid tribute to during the show's remembrance of the many musicians and other industry persons who passed away in the previous year. A guitar was shown on an empty stage while a video of Van Halen playing in his signature style was shown on a screen behind it. "Apparently, you can f**k your own ass," one person responded to Jericho on Twitter along with a photo of the tribute.
Chris Jericho wasn't the only person to take issue with the Van Halen tribute, though he was the only one to deny its existence. Radio host and heavy metal historian Eddie Trunk offered a more nuanced criticism of the Grammys tribute and why it should have been better.
"So in a more than 3 hour show this is all the @recordingacademy #grammys could muster for an ICON?!" Trunk wrote on Instagram. "I am beyond outraged and disgusted. New lows even by Grammy standards!! They had 5 months to do something! @wolfvanhalen had a # 1 rock song that he could have played. Could have had a guitarist do Eruption. Could have said his name in the open when you did mention artists who died. This is pathetic! But sadly expected with this organization who are nothing but a popularity contest. Lost for rock since they gave Tull the Grammy over Metallica. But truly a new low in disrespect tonight. Astonishing."
Trunk is correct that The Grammys are a popularity contest. More specifically, they're a popularity contest run by music snobs, which is even worse. All awards shows are bullshit. This is not a groundbreaking position. Ask us our opinion of the Eisners sometime. But expecting a popular music awards show to heavily focus on Eddie Van Halen in 2021 seems like the sort of expectation guaranteed to result in disappointment for oneself, and continuing to complain about the Jethro Tull/Metallica snub, which happened over thirty years ago, doesn't help Trunk appear more in touch than the academy itself.
The Grammys have never been a particularly heavy metal centric show. Van Halen did win one in 1992 for the album For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, though the category they won in, Best Hard Rock Performance, was eliminated in 2012. The category's successor, Best Rock Performance, was awarded to Fiona Apple this year, and none of the other bands nominated would come close to being recognized as anything resembling "hard" rock. In the Best Metal Performance category, which was not featured on the main awards show, Ice T fronted Body Count took the 2021 Grammy. That category has existed since 1991.
Besides, even Chris Jericho must know that Unlawful Carnal Knowledge wasn't even a good album and featured the inferior Sammy Hagar version of the group. Speaking of best-left-forgotten one-time Van Halen frontmen, Gary Cherone had more than words to offer in his own tweet complaining about the snub: "Maybe an Artist that reimagined how one plays an instrument, who continues to influence generations of musicians and, literally changed the course of rock 'n' roll deserves more than fifteen second at the Grammys? #LongLiveTheKing"