Dear Clay and the IRARHOF,
I am writing because I find the way that House Of Large Sizes was treated and continues to currently be treated both at the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and also online on social media by members, crew and consultants of the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to be disrespectful and offensive.
I am a lifelong Iowan and for well over two decades I have been a musician, sound engineer, talent buyer, songwriter, performer and recording artist in this state.
I have been a fan, and eventually friend, of House Of Large Sizes for over 20 years as well. There is no other Iowa band who has worked harder while maintaining their independence than House Of Large Sizes. They are one of the brightest, most amazing and inspiring acts to come out of this state in my lifetime.
They were and are still not only great, but also, have shone a light for independent bands to follow. Through their actions they showed me and so many others that you could put out records as an Iowa musician, you could book your own tours, you could write your own songs and do things your own way. It wasn’t a thing that only people from large Metropolitan could do.
They showed that not only could we do it but our art and voices are just as valid as anyone else’s voice in other parts of the country. HOLS fostered the scene in the state by taking young, diverse Iowa bands on the road with them as openers.
Barb and Dave have dedicated their lives to fostering live music and art in the state. Not just through their band but also their store, MoHair Pear, and the live music venue Octopus.
When I heard that House Of Large Sizes was being inducted into the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I was overjoyed. Very few living artists in the state deserve it as much as them. I was also a little shocked because you rarely hear of punk rock bands being inducted.
When I heard that they were cancelled from the HOF performance, I was left heartbroken and angry.
To ask a band to come and perform at your center, to “be honored” for their achievements, then to back out after people drive and flew in from all over is one of the most grievous acts of disrespect I have ever heard of. It also is a shocking and shameful way to try to embarrass and tarnish the legacy of House Of Large Sizes. It is disrespectful to the band and also disrespectful to all of the people who traveled so far and spent money on travel and lodging to be at your event.
Regardless of what behind-the-scenes reasoning and politicking there was for this, it is a fundamental failure of the very purpose of a hall of fame.
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After the cancellation, I was waiting for the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to make a statement to all of the disappointed fans and concert goers. All I saw was highly disrespectful and libelous posts of conjecture and rumors made online by members, consultants and crew of the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I also saw these same people mocking House Of Large Sizes calling them names, making fun of the band and gloating. As if the HOF bringing House Of Large Sizes down a peg or two made them all the cooler.
That’s more than I can take. At this point the hall has moved so far from any sort of bestowing of honor that it would be nearly laughable if it wasn’t so upsetting and cruel.
I saw one member/consultant in the midst of mocking and gloating write: “I mean, it IS only Iowa? Have they made it to Cleveland?”
And that right there is the attitude that bothers me the most. Music made in Iowa is just as valid as music made anywhere else. Any human being anywhere can make art through sheer strength of will.
And YES, House Of Large Sizes SHOULD be in the national rock and rock roll hall of fame.
And YES, they certainly did play Cleveland when they toured.
And YES, the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame should be honoring punk, metal and experimental rock and roll bands.
They should not be dragging them out to embarrass and attempt to shame them. Luckily for House Of Large Sizes, their true legacy is their impact and inspiration to bands and fans across the world.
Power to the people of the state of Iowa.
I say good day, sir!
Editor’s note: While Sam Locke Ward is a Little Village comics artist, this letter was not conceived or written in consultation with Little Village.