Saturday, October 29, 2011

Make love, not War

Does anyone really like War?

And I'm not talking about the Iraq War, the War in Afghanistan, World War I, the Bohemian War or the Honey War that almost broke out between Iowa and Missouri in the 1930s.

I'm talking about War. Eric Burdon War. Eric Burdon-less War. "Spill The Wine" War. "Lowrider" War.  The ironic "Why Can't We Be Friends" War.

The same War that's up for induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year.

We've seen this before: A band that only had a few hits or memorable songs gets nominated and even inducted into the Hall.

But have we seen this before? A band that has only three tunes, and all three are absolutely horrific? And all three have been featured in 7.4 million movies since their release?

"Spill The Wine," which reached No. 3 on the Billboard charts, wields a repetitive Burdon-sung refrain that's not unlike the ball in "Phantasm" ripping through my brain.

The instrumental "Lowrider" makes me think of stale reefer, New York streets that smell like hotdog water and everything that was wrong and ugly about the '70s. In other words, a window into the world of the guy in Three Dog Night's "Mama Told Me Not To Come," only worse. If Burdon sang on this song it would murder anyone who listened.

Did you know? Chuck Negron's
'stache knows how to play "Lowrider."
If "Why Can't We Be Friends" was made for and only used in 10 second doses for commercials, it'd be fine. As a full song, it's another skull-stabbing loop of poop.

As often as possible, this blog and many others like it testify to the idea that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a sham. If War is inducted this year or any year really (not to mention that Burdon the turd will be in the Rock Hall TWICE), that idea will become fact and all anti-Rock Hall blogs will become moot.

Oh, and I'll give up listening to and/or playing music, and will eat all of my CDs, tapes, records, guitars and other instruments, and my head will explode.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Kickin' Em Out: 1989

All of these "early influence" inductees really piss me off. Why does the Hall only recognize "early influences" but not future influences? I'm assuming "early influences" means there were no charts so there were no hits so they were never commercially recognized but had a huge impact on future artists. Fine. But what about bands later on that could never have commercial success because they could never make a Billboard chart, but their "influence" had a massive impact on what happened later. The list is endless so there's no point even getting started.

So who's going? The Ink Spots and their vocal harmonies or The Soul Stirrers and their gospel soul? Does it matter? I say no.

So we'll flip a coin and boot The Ink Spots because their name is dumber. And since we have to have a big name heave-ho, we're taking out Phil Spector. Yes, he produced legendary girl group records, and yes he was behind the boards for seminal solo works by John Lennon and George Harrison.

But Mr. Wall of Sound also royally effed up the last Beatles album and The Ramones' "End of the Century," which you could argue led to that band's demise.

Oh yeah, and he MURDERED SOMEONE.

The Ink Spots
Otis Reading
The Rolling Stones
Bessie Smith
The Soul Stirrers
Phil Spector
The Temptations
Stevie Wonder

Friday, October 21, 2011

Sonic Youth divorce: Good news, bad news (x2)

Can hipsters get Old People Smell?
It was reported earlier this week that Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore were splitting up after 27 years of marriage.

Here's what it means to us here at CDNR:

The Good News: Even though Matador Records says the band still has plans to tour, it's been rumoured out there on the interwebs that this could be the end of Sonic Youth. Which means no more b.s. 5-star reviews from Rolling Stone.

No way of avoiding this, huh.
The Bad News: Divorce is never a good thing. Not even if it breaks up an overrated hipster band that is basically Radiohead without the annoying computer bleeps and blips (in other words, better but still rancid).

The Very Bad News: The attention Kim, Thurston and Sonic Youth will get out of this makes them a double mortal lock to enter the Hall of Fame in an upcoming class, maybe even next year. Frankly, I'm shocked they're eligible and not in.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"Great" moments in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame History: 2010

One plain Idiot. Hold the American.
What's going on here: The Stooges are joined onstage by Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day for a performance of "I Wanna Be Your Dog" after the band is inducted.

Why this is bad: Billie Joe comes up toward the end of the song, after The Stooges have already delivered a pretty solid performance. Unbelievably, he screws up the three chords at least five times. Also, be on the lookout around the five-minute mark for his preposterous backup vocals while Eddie Vedder, Hall suits and other nerds dance around in the background.  The only thing worse was Billie Joe's nasally, holier-than-thou induction speech, which came right before his public bedcrapping. If you can get through it, you're a better man than me.

Like a poker in someone's fireplace.
Why this is really bad: This makes it a mortal lock that Green Day will get in with the class of 2014.

Silver lining: Note bassist Mike Watt, who was playing bass for The Stooges at the time but, of course, was one-third of the legendary Minutemen, in the back to the left of Iggy Pop. This is the closest the Minutemen will ever come to the Hall.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Kickin' Em Out: 1988

Sadly, The Drifters have to go.
The only criticism that can be made of the Class of 1988 is How The Hell Did It Take Two Years to Induct The Beatles and Bob Dylan. I get the early influence thing. I get the chronological thinking that says you have to put Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and Little Richard in before you put in the guys who had their minds blown by them.

But the Hall is about the best. And there really aren't too many people on the planet who would argue that Dylan and The Beatles are the two greatest, revolutionary and, frankly, most important figures in rock history. How could they not be inductees Nos. 1 and 2, or at the very least in the first class?

Back to the 1988 crop. This one is really, really hard. Big props to the judges for finally getting it right and paring down the number of artists who got in.

But in our effort to clean up the Hall and make it more prestigious, we committed to kicking one artist out per year. My first target is The Supremes, because I suspect one Michael Jackson had some sway over the judges and nudged them to shove the group (which includes his obsession, Diana Ross) in as soon as possible. However, I can't do it. Instead, I'm going for The Drifters, who were a fine Motown group but no better than, say, Journey or Duran Duran in terms of hits in their respective genres. With "Save The Last Dance For Me," "There Goes My Baby" and "This Magic Moment," but I'm thinking the residual effect of the smasher flick "Stand By Me" in 1986 had more to do with this pick than anything. Plus who is even in this group? They had 30 lead singers, and so far 564 members by my count to date.

Maybe they get in someday, but for now The Drifters are out.

The Beach Boys
The Beatles
The Drifters
Bob Dylan
Berry Gordy Jr.
Woody Guthrie
Lead Belly
Les Paul
The Supremes

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Michael Anthony-G.E. Smith text exchange, 9/30/11

Michael Anthony: How are The Cure nominated for Rock Hall but not Cars? Or Boan Jett?

G.E. Smith: I know. What about Joan Jett but not Runaways.

Michael Anthony: Neither deserve, right?

G.E. Smith: Na but you can't put Jett in before Runaways. It's like putting Henley in before Eagles. Or Clapton before Cream.

Michael Anthony: Haha damn I dunno. They had one hit and more known for the shitty careers they spawned. Such as Jett.

G.E. Smith: Yea those are just examples. No way Runaways should get in but why not at least cobble together them, Jett and Lita Ford and pump the rock girl influence thing? Way better than enshrining "I Love Rock And Roll" and "Light of Day." Maybe J. Fox will induct.

Michael Anthony: Haha. Maybe Mary Tyler Moore. Yo I been up since 2. So who gets in out of those noms anyway man. All? Limp year ...

G.E. Smith: GNR. Cure nommed before Smiths? How?

Michael Anthony: Damn that's it? I think the Cure get in too man. I think they sneak in bc of the limp year. Cure had more U.S. hits.

G.E. Smith: Yea only U.S. crap counts right?

Michael Anthony: Yeah basically. Pixies would get in if UK shit mattered. They were big.

G.E. Smith: If they come up soon they will get in. If it was this year it would have been lock bc of "Nevermind" shit.

Michael Anthony: Needs to be before grunge-lite and faux alt-rockers get in. Otherwise they may be assed out. If Pixes don't get in before Green Day and Pearl Sham and Poundinmygardensnake, then they will never get in. Because industry morons will think they've satisfied the need for alt-rock.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Kickin' Em Out: 1987

Sorry, Eddie. Sorry, Paul McCartney.
It kind of made sense that the Rock Hall's debut year would have a ton of inductees (16), since it was the first class and they'd want to get a ton of no-brainers in like Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry. So things would settle down in the second year, right? The judges would get more selective, committing to picking only the best of the rest to make the Hall a hallowed place.
Nope. In fact, the class of 1987 more than doubled the first year's group of enshrined. The judges even tried to get a two-for-one with the ace songwriting duo of Leiber and Stoller.

Therefore, we have to start chopping real performers along with some of the non-performers. And no longer is it a one-chop-per year rule. The highlight of this year's class is Eddie "Summertime Blues" Cochran. Yeah, he influenced a "look," but so did Geraldo. Yeah, he influenced Paul McCartney, John Lennon and the early Beatles, but so did pills and that weird German couple. Yeah, he was a guitar hero, but so is Joe Satriani. Yeah, he got The Who to make "Summertime Blues" a staple of their live set, but he got The Who to make "Summertime Blues" a staple of their live set.

23 inductees in the second year? No wonder the hit-obsessed judges are already scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Leonard Chess
The Coasters
Eddie Cochran
Bo Diddley
Ahmet Ertegun
Aretha Franklin
Marvin Gaye
Bill Haley
Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
Louis Jordan
B.B. King
Clyde McPhatter
Ricky Nelson
Roy Orbison
Carl Perkins
Smokey Robinson
Big Joe Turner
T. Bone Walker
Muddy Waters
Jerry Wexler
Hank Williams
Jackie Wilson

Monday, October 10, 2011

Warning: Sting looms in the distance

So smooth, so classic
Gordie rocks
Believe it or not, Sting has been eligible to get into the Rock Hall since 2007. What's more unbelievable is that the smug judges (all of whom undoubtedly have "Ten Summoner's Tales" on their iPod) haven't rubber stamped him in yet. Laugh if you want, but the threat is real: There's even an online petition to get him voted in.

There has to be a million other solo artists worthy of induction before the soft-tossing bassist. I'm pretty sure I can speak for at least one other CDNR staffer when I say the great Don Henley should get in before Sting. Top notch drummer, top notch singer, SINGS WHILE HE DRUMS, and, hey, "The End of the Innocence." What else do I have to say?

We put up a little poll on the right to see where the Stingster matches up against peers Henley and Phil Collins. Let your voice be heard.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Kickin' Em Out: 1986

Like most every other Hall of Fame, too many people are in the Rock Hall, and, like the basketball and football halls, people are in for no reason.

The more people you let in a hall, the less prestigious it is.

So we're kicking some people out. One per year, plus all the ridiculous throw-ins like DJs and sidemen.

In the first year of the Rock Hall, 1986, judges inducted a whopping 16 people. Out are Alan Freed (DJ), John Hammond (scout), and Jimmie Rodgers and Jimmy Yansey (early influences in the first year? Na). We'll leave Sam Phillips in, for obvious reasons.

That still leaves 12, which is way too many. Looking at this list, there's 11 who are mortal locks, and one who is fringe-y at best. That'd be the Everly Brothers. A handful of timeless classics and cool vocal harmonies don't get you in the Hall. At least not the first year, or even the first decade.

Chuck Berry
Alan Freed
James Brown
Elvis Presley
Jerry Lee Lewis
Jimmie Rodgers
The Everly Brothers
Fats Domino
Ray Charles
Sam Cooke
Little Richard
Jimmy Yansey 
Buddy Holly
Robert Johnson
Sam Phillips
John Hammond

Friday, October 7, 2011

"Great" moments in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame History: 2011

It's kind of not even funny — in fact, this scene sort of makes my stomach sick, like the kind of sick feeling you get after punching in "evil clowns" on Google images; or after eating subpar fried chicken from a grocery store; or after filing up a huge gas tank and liking and then not liking and then liking again the smell of the fumes; or after watching a "Mork & Mindy" marathon; or after playing "Looney Tunes" on Nintendo for three hours straight. Seems like a good idea. Looks like a fun idea. Sounds like a cool idea. Ends up being the equivalent of a razor-blade and nose hair sandwich.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The voters: Who are you? Who who? Who who?

Allegedly, there are 500 voters who choose the Rock Hall inductees every year. There are no complaints about these people when the obvious artists get in — Run-D.M.C., Sex Pistols, U2 are among the more recent — but when there are no clear-cut hitmakers to choose from, it seems like this nebulous collection of ghouls falls flat on its face.

So who are they? One of our missions here at CDNR will be to find each and every one of these gods of the hall. Here's one:

Name: David Leaf
Occupation: Award-winning writer, director and producer 
"Did you say Hüsker Dü or Scooby Doo?"
Why he can be trusted to make the cool choices: He directed the rad doc "The U.S. vs. John Lennon" and "The Night James Brown Saved Boston"
Why he can't be trusted to make the cool choices: Based on his resume, he seems to only work with artists in the classic rock realm, including many projects on the Beatles and Beach Boys. Those are two amazing bands, but all his focus is on stuff from before 1980. He also wrote a book about the Bee Gees and did an A&E thing on Billy Joel.
Assessment: Leaf is an incredibly accomplished director and writer and, obviously, a music fan with (mostly) good taste. But do you think he knows who Paul Westerberg is? Do you think he could accurately judge Green Day beyond "American Idiot"? If he's still around will he have the stones to vote against Bush getting in? I say no. I say he's got to go.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

In the Year 2024 ...

Will My Morning Jacket get in?

Background: It's generally assumed that the Louisville, Ky.-bred band, which started in 1998, is a "seminal act" that makes "classic rock" that "hearkens back to Neil Young" and carries the "alt-country torch."
"Waa wa, high-pitched reverb, waa waaa."

Where are the hits? The five albums that came out after 2003's "At Dawn" — arguably their best — all charted in Billboard's Top 200, with the most recent, "Circuital," hitting No. 5. Of course, charts almost always depict the most mediocre crap; "At Dawn" didn't crack the Top 200. Popular rock bands that don't incorporate dance beats (The Killers) or chirpy, wimpy guitar bleeps (Vampire Weekend) don't chart singles, ever. "Holdin' On To Black Metal" made it to No. 49 on the rock charts.

The "influence" factor: It's possible that history will look back and say MMJ ushered in a run of great retro-rock acts that people smoked weed to, but that's only if history decides Kings of Leon and Fleet Foxes are "great retro-rock acts." 

The verdict: In. 
With the walls of reverb, the pot-smoking factor, the imagined links to the likes of Neil Young and Pearl Jam and the likelihood that the Rock Hall voters will revise history to make MMJ — a solid band — into an all-time great, they're a mortal lock in 2024.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Worst Presenters of All-Time, Vol. 1

2007: Eddie Vedder presents R.E.M.

Why did this happen? Because the artist, allegedly, picks the person who inducts them.

What's so bad about it? Pearl Jam really has nothing at all in common with R.E.M., other than both had great early records and then crappy ones later on. Also, if you watch Ed's speech, it sounds, I dunno, kind of not informed. He claims to have listened to "Murmur" 1,200 times in the summer of 1984, but he never says why or mentions a single song on there. He talks about him "mumbling." Yeah, we've heard about that before. He also excitedly notes that Buck and Stipe's first discussion was about Patti Smith. Erg...

Most telling moment: Vedder joins them to perform "Man On The Moon." Why was this song even chosen? And why did he choose to perform on it? And why is he so pumped up while doing it?

Most telling moment #2: The Rock Hall doesn't even list Vedder as the presenter for R.E.M. on their site. Then again, it is the Rock Hall, and they don't even list The Replacements as inductees on their site.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Rock Hall gives him a "slowhand"

Did you know? Sir Eric Clapton is the only artist ever to be inducted three times: solo, Yardbirds and Cream. Should any of them even be in at all?



So close...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Great Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Performances, #1

In 2004, Prince and George Harrison made for a decent year, although CDNR's own Michael Anthony might disagree with the latter. The rest of the pu-pu platter consisted of ZZ Top, Jackson Browne, Traffic, The Dells and Bob Seger's still-warm cadaver.

That year's ceremony will be most remembered-for an "all-star" tribute to George and his "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" that wasn't much of an all-star tribute to start, but mainly a pseudo-Wilburys reunion (Petty and Jeff Lynne Funk) and George's kid.

At about 3:30, you see Dhani look over to stage left with a mixture of excitement, awe and "holy shit this is going to happen!" He sees Prince strapping on his ax, and since he's doing it in the song's outro, you sort of have to wonder if he even planned to jump on stage in the first place. But he does, and what happens next is Rock Hall history.

Prince unfurls one of the greatest rock solos in the history of music, and in the process does all of these things at once:

- Makes the old comparisons to Hendrix become more than just a blind bullshit racial thing. Yes, they're both black, but they also shred like mofos.

- Somehow makes Tom Petty seem whiter and limper when he falls back into the crowd while still soloing right in Mr. Into The Great Wide Open's face (4:51).

- Makes Eric Clapton roll over in his grave in advance.

Insane. Nuts. Awesome. Prince.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The future of "Rock"?

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opened and started enshrining artists in 1986.

Twenty years later, the judges — or whoever puts people in —discovered Miles Davis and decided "jazz" was a part of rock. A year later, someone told them they might want to look into this thing called "rap," so they put in Grandmaster Flash and then Run-DMC the next year and decided that was a part of rock.

Apparently, country is not rock. What about Boy Bands? Rock or not rock? Should there be a separate Boy Band Hall of Fame? Better figure it out soon, or we'll end up with another disaster like this: