the rock and roll hall of fame must die.
Not that this is news to me, or any of you, but it is now official: the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a bloated carcass that makes a mockery of rock and roll.
The 2005 inductees have been announced, and they are:
Now, that’s really not what the problem is – the problem is who DIDN’T get inducted, in some cases, YET AGAIN. (Although the fact that U2 got nominated oh-so-coincidentally the year of a huge album and worldwide tour makes me so fucking nauseous and angry I am spitting nails, and I haven’t even seen the ticket prices for this tour yet. (And you know, I LIKE them. They *are* good. They *are* special. The fact that it’s just the four of them up there making noise is something in this day.)
I cannot possibly quibble with Percy Sledge and call myself a rock and roll fan, although I don’t have a list of who didn’t make it in that genre to know if we’ve properly gotten to everyone yet. I don’t even begrudge the O’Jays, although every fucking year it feels like “Here’s a bunch of white guys who made us a lot of money, oh, and here’s some black men that we ripped off big f’in time so we’ll bring their families to the Waldorf Astoria and manipulate them one more time to our advantage” – oh, wait, it feels that way BECAUSE THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT IT IS.
[I realize this is not fair, entirely. I realize that there are probably people working at the R&RHOF, like there were/are at the Experience Music Project in Seattle, who genuinely care about the music and the history and the legacy. I also honestly believe (call me sucker) that most of the musicians who participate in the tributes and “jam sessions” are also genuine in their desire to pay homage and tribute. So if you are one of those people please do not hate me, because this is not directed at you, although it would be so much fucking better if you guys (and gals, when they let you in) would JUST SAY NO to this utter monstrosity which stopped representing the true spirit of rock and roll round about the time they started broadcasting it on network TV.
The Pretenders – sure, no problem. I adore Chrissie. Buddy Guy – no quibble, surprised he didn’t make it in beforehand. That, however, is not the problem.
The problem is the list of people who *didn’t* get inducted:
CHRISSIE HYNDE OVER IGGY AND GRAM FUCKING PARSONS AND PATTI SMITH? What kind of enormous gigantic contradiction do we have here that we induct Chrissie BEFORE Patti? And you think Chrissie is going to dig being nominated before Iggy? Are these people smoking crack? This is beginning to resemble the Grammies the year that the “Best Heavy Metal (or is it Hard Rock?) Song” category got added and Jethro Tull won OVER METALLICA (not exactly in my top 10, but, geez).
From the R&RHOF web site – emphasis mine:
“The Foundation’s nominating committee, composed of rock and roll historians, selects nominees each year in the Performer category. Ballots are then sent to an international voting body of about 1,000 rock experts. Those performers who receive the highest number of votes, and more than 50 percent of the vote, are inducted.”
Am I the only one who thinks these “rock experts” need to lose their jobs?
My big quibbles, and these will not surprise the 3 of you who read this regularly, are, of course, Gram Parsons, Patti Smith, and of course, The Stooges. (The fact that the MC5 have not even been on this list will make my head explode so I am not going to think about it.)
Now, on the one hand, I’m almost glad Gram didn’t make it *this* year, because there has been so much noise and attention around him that it would have turned it into a sideshow, it would have turned it into this revisionist history gala of people claiming that he was a big influence and they would have Sheryl Crow inducting him and I would have to either be hospitalized because I went into cardiac arrest or I would be arrested outside the Waldorf, threatening her with bodily harm.
[NOTE: THAT IS A JOKE]
The fact that Polly Parsons is now actively involved with her father’s legacy – should have gotten him in, too, and the “Sin City” tribute concert in LA this summer was probably one of the best tribute concerts ever in the history of rock and roll – except that she doesn’t deserve that, either, to have to go to the ceremony and act like she’s happy (which she will be) but the fact that this has been going on for years and years and years and oh, yeah, we better get that Parsons guy in because people really don’t seem to have forgotten him).
“Criteria include the influence and significance of the artist’s contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll.”
Look at the first few years of the Hall of Fame. Did any of us have these kind of nuclear brain explosions? No. Sure, they had more people to choose from, and the whole 25 years thing – but Gram would have been eligible in about the mid-90’s (if you start from the first Burrito album) or at the latest, 1998, and if you look at who was nominated round about that time, he would have fit.
Why the fuck did Gram Parsons not get in earlier? Why did this vast body of rock and roll historians and rock experts not say, “Gee, ya know, the man kind of spawned an entire genre of musical thought and inspired SEVERAL GENERATIONS of musicians, so let’s just get him in there right away, because that’s exactly the point of this whole thing.” The fact that the EAGLES were inducted BEFORE GRAM PARSONS is a joke that just wrote itself, and I can’t be the only one on the planet who thinks this, and if I was one of the “rock experts” (do these guys – and you KNOW they are guys, maybe there are 5 women in there just so they can say, “Yeah, we have some chicks in this thing” – have that on their business cards? “Rock Expert”? I’d like to know what qualifies a “rock expert” because it would seem to me that I actually know quite a few and I’m pretty sure none of them are being asked to vote on this shit or we wouldn’t have this sad, sorry, scenario) I would resign because I would be embarassed as fuck that Gram Parsons is somehow NOT in the rock and roll hall of fame. He is STILL influencing musicians, which you cannot say for the fucking EAGLES. (Okay, wait, I know someone is going to write in and insist that the Eagles are truly moving and important and influential and that I am a horrible person that knows nothing about music and definitely doesn’t understand it – actually, wait, if I don’t get one of those I will actually be disappointed.)
Do we need someone bigger or more popular or prettier than KEITH RICHARDS to stand up and say they’re a fan and Gram was a huge influence?
Patti Lee Smith. I would think that the fact that she was one of Clive Davis’ prize signings might have gotten her a little pull with the HOF bigwigs. I take her omission the most personally because she was my rock and roll high priestess and I am not that unique or special so that means I know she was the same for thousands and thousands of others just like me. More than anyone, and on a deeper, more profound, internal level, she showed me the way Out, she inspired me, she was a woman playing rock and roll, who was beautiful in a non-traditional, non-stereotypical way, she was literary, she was brilliant, she was infuriating, she was unpredictable, she was exciting. I saw her do a poetry reading a few weeks ago and I don’t think I will ever get tired of listening to her read. She was too much to handle in 1978 and even now, is still a force to be reckoned with. It fucking breaks my heart.
Okay, now the chocolate is kicking in (it is too early to drink and I have to go to yoga later) and Raw Power is on its third repeat, so I am just about ready to tackle the next subject:
Honestly, that should be all that I need to say. Right? Is there actually anyone on this planet who is going to try to say that they weren’t First and they weren’t influential? Does someone have to die before you induct them, like you did with the Velvets (yet another abomination, of course they got in two years after Sterling Morrison died).
Do you know that if you search on the word “Stooges” on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s web site, you get ZERO results? And that searching on “Iggy Pop” brings up entries for – wait, guess, you can – David Bowie? Didn’t Iggy play at the fucking opening ceremonies for the R&RHOF??
How many times have the Stooges been nominated? THREE TIMES NOW.
1994 – you know what, that was one heck of a year and I wouldn’t have voted for him (okay, I’m lying, I would have voted for him just to be contrarian but still, the lineup that year was pretty stellar.
1997 – The same year that the Eagles were nominated for the FIRST time. The Eagles got in, the Stooges did not. Did the Eagles inspire kids to jump around their bedrooms and smear peanut butter on their chests and move to New York City from Iowa and start bad punk band after bad punk bands and be outrageous and loud and obnoxious and rude and beautiful and incendiary and start what was nothing short of a fucking REVOLUTION?
No, about all the Eagles ever inspired anyone to do was sleep, or maybe snort coke, although it’s debatable whether that’s to enhance their enjoyment of the music or numb yourself enough so that it might be considered enjoyable.
I didn’t watch the ceremonies last year, because I didn’t have cable and didn’t care enough to try to go to someone’s house that did, and saw Bruce and Jackson on VH1 while at the gym one night, and that was quite enough. Even then, who even cares about this any more? The ceremonies are scripted – one of the great things about the year the Ramones were inducted was how Dee Dee just took over the damn thing and was Dee Dee, and that they didn’t edit (unlike Ed Vedder’s induction speech). The jam sessions used to be these chaotic spontaneous things – in other words, an actual jam session – but now are boring and if I was the kind of person who’d leave during the encore to beat the traffic, I would be doing just that.
At the end of the day, though, it doesn’t mean anything, really, although I feel as bad and as defeated as I did when I was in high school watching the Grammies or the American Music Awards or whatever and none of my music was on there, and I’d go to school the next day and be taunted in the cafeteria – “If that crap you listen to is so good, why aren’t they winning anything?” And, again, it doesn’t mean anything – but it’s still wrong, and it still hurts, and this is supposed to be a recognition of influence and talent and not chart success. This was supposed to be where the heart and the essence finally won out, and not where the popular kids pushed their crap music over the lunchroom PA yet one more time.
Final quote goes to my new hero, Dr. Clueful, at The Great Rock and Roll (Hall of Fame) Swindle:
“Even when the turds get it right (AC/DC, the Animals, Frank Zappa, Parliament/Funkadelic, the Velvet Underground, Queen, the Clash), they still manage to flush the toilet backward; CJ is just as much a Ramone as Joe Walsh is an Eagle and Ron Wood is a Rolling Stone. Of course, these are the same aliens from the planet Fuckwit who honored Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers and Elvis Costello’s Attractions (who only played on a portion of his records), but not Buddy Holly’s Crickets, Neil Young’s Crazy Horse, Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention, Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band or Bob Marley’s Wailers (much less Motown’s Funk Brothers or Hal Blaine’s “Wrecking Crew” posse of L.A. studio shoguns, see “Sidemen and Women” below). Memo to Sammy Hagar (and especially Gary Cherone): engage PR/lobbying lasers now.”
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