The Meters, New Orleans’ premier funk band of the 1960s and ’70s, are among the nominees for 2013 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Featuring keyboardist Art Neville, bassist George Porter Jr., guitarist Leo Nocentelli, drummer Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste and singer-percussionist Cyril Neville, the Meters released such national hits and local favorites as “Cissy Strut,” “Sophisticated Cissy,” “Look-Ka Py Py” and “Chicken Strut.”
“It’s a cool thing, if it happens,” Porter said Thursday of the group’s possible induction.
Modeliste, speaking from the San Francisco Bay Area, his home for many years, expressed surprise at the nomination.
“It’s great, fantastic,” he said. “I’m very thankful that some people got something out of the music.”
In addition to their own influential, often instrumental recordings, The Meters did essential session work for Paul McCartney, Robert Palmer, LaBelle, Dr. John, Earl King and many others who recorded at Allen Toussaint and Marshall Sehorn’s Sea-Saint Studios in New Orleans’ Gentilly neighborhood.
Later, with the rise of hip-hop, classic Meters records were frequently sampled by Run-D.M.C., N.W.A., Public Enemy, the Beastie Boys and others.
“There are so many people,” Modeliste said, “who should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame already, but the music just keeps going on and on.”
Porter appeared at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in August with one of his several groups, 7 Walkers. Featuring former Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann, 7 Walkers performed for the hall’s Grateful Dead Weekend.
“Bill did an audience participation, question-and-answer kind of thing,” Porter said. “When they were about through, Bill asked the moderator, ‘How come the Meters have not been inducted into the Hall of Fame? George Porter is in the 7 Walkers band. He’s offered so much to the industry.’
“So, later,” Porter said, “a lot of the Hall of Fame people came and introduced themselves to us and now the Meters have been nominated.”
Porter received a constant stream of congratulatory messages Thursday.
“My cellphone has been buzzing all morning,” he said. “I’m always surprised when things happen for the Meters. We always hear how great and wonderful we are, but the accolades never seem to truly get you there.”
The Meters’ Hall of Fame nomination comes at time of grieving for group member Nocentelli. The guitarist’s mother, Earline Cureaux Nocentelli, died Saturday, Sept. 29, at the age of 92. Services are Saturday, Oct. 6, in New Orleans.
The Meters fellow 2013 nominees are singer-songwriter Randy Newman, rap groups Public Enemy and N.W.A., disco stars Donna Summer and Chic, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, classic-rock bands Rush, Heart, Deep Purple and Procol Harum, blues great Albert King and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.
Joel Peresman, president and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, noted the variety of artists who have been nominated.
“Rock ’n’ roll means different things to different people, but as broad as the classifications may be, they all share a common love of the music,” he said.
The public can participate with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 600 artists, historians and music industry professionals in selecting inductees. Through Dec. 3, music fans can vote online at http://rockhall.com/get-involved/interact/poll/ for their favorite five nominees.
The 28th annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on April 18. HBO will broadcast the show at a later date.
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