Tuesday, April 16, 2013

It's Only Rock and Roll...Well, It Should Be Anyway!


I wasn’t going to write anything about the Rock Hall and the inductions this year.  I really wasn’t. I thought I pretty much said it all in the last year with my thoughts on bands that have been repeatedly snubbed (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Week: Rock Hall Snubs), this year’s nominated bands (Rock Hall Nominations - Could They Finally Get Something Right?), even my fix to the whole induction process (The Definitive Answer to the Rock Hall Induction Process).  I didn’t really have anything new to say. I’m glad to see Rush and Heart get in. The rest I couldn’t care less about. It was actually a pretty quiet build up to the inductions this week with no Axl or Guns 'n' Roses type drama. That is, until this article came out in this past Sunday’s Plain Dealer, What is Rock? by Emmet Smith.

Now, I read the article, even though I knew I wasn’t going to agree with it. I'll listen to differing viewpoints and arguments. But, there are two major issues I have with this article. First is that it’s just Smith kissing the Rock Hall’s ass saying they’ve done everything right and have answered the question on “What is Rock?” by their inductions! What?? Even the quotes from Greg Harris, new President and CEO of the Rock Hall, alludes to that they have no definition of what rock is. To further support his point, he quotes Chuck D from Public Enemy who sounds very defensive as to why he should be inducted.  I don’t know anything about Smith, but this article comes across that he’s just in awe of the Rock Hall and its staff and either doesn’t know enough or doesn’t have the balls to even question any of their decisions or actions.  No where does he include any artists, fans or anyone that might argue that the Rock Hall should stick to rock artists. A glaring miss in his overtly one-sided argument, but why construct a well rounded argument or article...
The second issue I have is in the Rock Hall’s lack of definition of what Rock is itself. While they are clearly trying to be an all inclusive institution, they still have no answer why some no-brainer bands don’t get in (read Kiss, Deep Purple and countless others). They also have no answer of how much pop music should or shouldn’t get in, saying “"There's a point, but it's a very gray area," Harris said. "I always invoke the old quote about obscenity: 'I know it when I see it.' I think when you get too much pop, when it's too smoothed-over, you can lose that edge. But even [with] someone as smooth as Jackson Browne, there's a searching there and it connects viscerally." Well, guess what, Greg? The Rock Hall lost its edge years ago.  Why? Because the board and nominating committee want everyone to appreciate just how smart, hip and trendy they've convinced themselves they are. Instead, people who visit leave wondering why their favorite bands aren’t in or just don’t understand how Madonna could get in years before Rush even hit their radar.
But, I've got the solution for them. I don't want this to be a simple complain about their choices and processes without offering them a solution. So, here goes.  They are NOT (and I can’t emphasize it enough) the pop hall of fame or the music hall of fame! They are the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. So, at the very least, just come out with THEIR definition of rock and roll for bands to be considered. They can make it as broad as they want (as they already do…). But, at least then, it’s documented and they can stand by it. So when people ask “What is Rock?” or “How did (insert name of every non-rock band inducted…Madonna, Abba, Michael Jackson, etc.) get inducted?”, they can point to their definition and say they fell into that criteria. They can go by that definition, and to those that don’t like it (and I’m sure I’d be in that group) , we can go to hell because it is what they say it is and they don’t care if we like it. That would be the most rock and roll stance the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum has ever made. Ironic, huh?
So, I know this is a very controversial and (probably overly) debated topic. Tell me your thoughts. Am I wrong in thinking that rock and roll should be rock and roll?  Most of my suggestions to the Hall seem pretty simple, common sense thinking…at least to me. Tell me if I’m wrong or right! Hell, even tell me that no one even cares anymore. Thanks for reading! Be sure to sign up to get my blog updates by email and share it with your friends and family. They'll be glad you did! Well, I'll be glad you did anyway...

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