I’m putting a call out to anyone I haven’t already contacted today, to invite you over to watch the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony live tomorrow evening (Monday, 3/12) starting at 5:30pm. I’m putting the pasta kettle on, so no need to eat beforehand. All I ask is that you drop me a note or ring and let me know you’ll be here.
For the first time, the RRHOF show is going be aired live and in its entirety on VH1 Classic, who, despite the recent decimation of their staff by layoffs, are keeping their promise to air the show, something for which I give them a lot of credit. Thus, I’m putting aside my well-known, boundless frustration with the lack of a HOF nod for The Stooges, and having you all over, regardless.
There’s a lot of people I love entering this year, so it’s a perfect reason for us all to get together, crack the bottles of red and have some pasta while enjoying the show.
While my teenage heart adored Van Halen, all of the crap of the past 10-15 years (and especially the last few months) has worn away alot of my admiration for them, and surprisingly, their part of the show is that which I’m looking forward to the least. I’ll admit that their segment, due to those same issues causing all the drama, has the most chaotic potential, so I guess I’ll just need to value it for that. And I do NOT envy Velvet Revolver, having to not only induct the fractured group but to fill in for them musically. Yeah, I’m annoyed with the VH boys, but their music still stands. Good luck Velvet Revolver, you’re going to need it.
The Ronettes — have listened to them my whole damn life, so much that they’re part of my blood. It seems criminal to me that they aren’t in already, and that Joey Ramone isn’t still alive to induct them. He’d love it, and so would we all.
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five: again, I say, criminal that they aren’t in already. I wish I could say that this is the HOF members opening the doors to hip hop, but I fear it’s only a symbolic measure. “The Message” is undeniable, and to ignore its impact, and that of GMF for this long is willful ignorance, plain and simple.
R.E.M.: The timing on this one seems perfect. From indie stalwarts to reigning elders in the rock world, this band’s history is the crowning example of the emergence of the power of college radio and its fans. Their careers started with college kids and younger finding their music on tiny radio stations (that’s me — thanks to the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater’s radio station upping their wattage at night enough to reach my clock radio), friend’s mix tapes, word-of-mouth, and small club shows. That they’re being inducted now, as the corporate radio world fails and the fans are returning to smaller, independent radio stations to find something new, seems to be in large part due to these guys. It’s always odd for me to see them at big awards shows like this when I’m used to running into Peter at shows around town, but I’m thrilled to see them getting their due, with induction by another local, Wes C. Addle himself. R.E.M., for me, will always be that amazingly perfect secret show night at the Crocodile, with trays of shots served on stage by Mr. Addle and such raucous, solid music spanning their career, that I can’t believe it’s time for them to go all grown up like this. They deserve the accolades from their peers, and it will be lovely to see it happen.
And last, but by no means least: Patti Smith. To see this woman, the soul and conscience of a generation, getting her due, will be a great honor. Her work, and her approach to life has inspired so many women I know, whether it be as writers, or musicians, or even free spirits, to break their own path in the world. To girls like me, she is a beacon, that you *can* exist in the rock world in a way other than the bikini-wearing bimbo or the plastic-pop-crooner-who-can’t-write-music roles the media has set out for us. Thank god for Patti, in all her individualistic glory, who showed us a way to run with the guys, and yet make a life for yourself as a woman with your own rules.
Patti is a master of reading what a specific audience needs. Whether they need comfort, or inspiration, or just a swift kick in the collective ass to reinvolve them with the world, she has what I can only believe is an innate ability to see the need, and then build the musical resolution to their hunger. She just knows. It’s amazing, and I’m thankful for her gift every single fucking day. So, besides her ability to put to words and music the exact feelings I have about rock, I think I treasure her audience intuition the most of all. That, and she’s probably the strongest proponent for the HOF inclusion of The Stooges (other than me) that exists, so I can’t wait to hear her acceptance. The only misstep here seems to be Zack de la Rocha inducting Patti. While I understand the choice of a socio/political guy like Zack, I think the ideal inductors, the most pure descendants of the Patti’s legacy, will already be in the room and would be ideal to do the job: R.E.M.
Anyway, enough rambling from me. Just come on over, hang out, and share in the celebration with us all. We can place bets on who’ll drop the first f-bomb, with the winner receiving an as-yet undetermined, but surely fabulous and low-value, high-kitsch prize.