First, let me say that I am very glad that there is a Rock And Roll Hall OF Fame. Rock and roll is a uniquely American art form and all of rock’s artists, bands, and notable side men should be remembered for this music, which appears to be standing the test of time.
But there are some questions that need to be addressed, the most controversial of which is: who’s in, who’s out, and why???
But before we get into that, I forgot to mention that the reason I even got to go was because an old buddy, Bob Geldof invited me to be his date. BG is quite a character and a total blast to hang out with—tons of energy and opinion! Aside from being a very talented songwriter and performer, it’s no secret he’s also a great humanitarian responsible for Live Aid, Live 8, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” and a hell of a lot more. We’ve known each other since the Boomtown Rats days at Columbia and have always gotten along extremely well. We have a great time hanging out and philosophizing about music and the music business. In fact, if you are interested in one of the most modern sounding albums to be released in a long while, get Bob’s new “How To Compose Popular Songs That Will Sell.” You gotta love a guy that would title his album that, and truthfully he really made a very special record.
I hooked him up for a few interviews around town, but most important was Q104 (see new picture of Bob, me, and Jonathan Clarke from the station). Amongst other things, we asked him about being Knighted, and as we thought, he said it was really cool. You get a big medal, which apparently one only wears when they’re totally dressed up formally (Bob won’t be displaying his much—ha, ha), and they still do it like the olden days. The Queen is there with a sword, touches each shoulder, ”Rise Sir Bob…,” and all that stuff. I’m sure it’s fun being a pop star, but Knighthood—how cool is that?!!
Back to the Rock Hall.
In my opinion, rock by its nature cannot, and should not be judged. Rock music is most often played with tons of energy and reckless abandon. Obviously there is attention paid to recording and performing to do so as best one can, but rock is all about raw power (thanks Iggy), emotion, and message. If either of those two moves you, it is successful—it’s the best when both emotion and message are harnessed as one. The music is largely made by people who defy you to judge them anyway. So it’s the judging part I have a problem with.
I, and many others wonder why the following, just to name a few, are not yet in the Rock Hall: KISS, Def Leopard, Genesis, Boston, Chicago, Cheap Trick, Doobie Brothers, Rush, Yes, ELO, Moody Blues, Blue Oyster Cult, and more.
The Rock Hall voters are comprised of journalists, historians, inductees, noted musicians, and industry heads. Each have their own opinion on what is really rock and who should be in. I find the problem with this is that there are so many different kinds of rock, and who amongst us can, or should, really judge this music or these artists anyway?
It’s not like the Baseball Hall Of Fame where you need certain stats to get in. The Rock Hall is all subjective. You’ve got artists like Lou Reed who haven’t sold so many records but who undeniably changed the face of rock. Then there are the more commercial rock bands but you can’t slag them just because they wrote music that went mass appeal and sold many millions.
So, somehow Madonna is in but not Heart—are you kidding me? Ever been to a Heart show? THEY ROCK!!! There also seems to be a block against progressive rock as witnessed by all the bands mentioned above. How can Yes not be in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame???? They were a staple on rock radio for a gazillion years! Uh, Boston? I’m personally not their biggest fan but you can’t deny that sound! And “More Than A Feeling” and a few other ditties are still staples of rock radio to this day. And the list goes on. Let’s examine Rush. I’m gonna bet none of these voters have ever seen them. If they had, they’d be floored by the musicianship. Is Neal Peart not a rock drummer??
Every single rock drummer I know idolizes him.
So, you see what I’m getting at.
I THINK ANY BAND OR ARTIST WHO HAS PUT A SERIOUS DENT INTO ROCK AND ROLL SHOULD BE IN. NO JUDGING—JUST IN, PERIOD, END STOP!!
Furthermore consider this. I know that Ahmet Ertegun, the founder and President of Atlantic Records rightly believed that these people should be recognized and not forgotten. But I think he failed to realize that it is the music and the artists that live in our hearts forever, not that they are award winners. No one says things like, “Yeah, John Lennon, he’s a hall of fame’er!” Who cares? All of these artists are much bigger than the award itself. We converse with each other about the artists and their music, and how much they mean to us. We don’t ask if they’re in the Rock Hall Of Fame, as if it would give them some added credibility. No extra credibility needed in rock—it just is. It reminds me of when the Grammy folks finally decided to give one to Bob Dylan, so many years too late. What a joke—Does Bob Dylan even NEED a Grammy??? For God’s sakes, he means more to this world than the entire Grammy organization!!! For anyone who can decipher Bob speak (which I’m proud to say I’m one), he as much told them so in his disguised acceptance speech. Jerry Garcia was so pissed at the Rock Hall for taking so long to let the Grateful Dead in, that he refused to come to the induction ceremony! I thought that was the absolute best. Says it all.
Well, enough soap box. I’m glad there is a museum to preserve all of this, truly great legacy. Just let everyone in, that’s all—there is no room for prejudice in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. To have it flies in the face of the genre itself.
That’s all for now kids.