OK, here goes: The Band should not be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Hear me out. Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel are all great players, and form a really good backing band. In other words, The Band is not a good band band, but The Band is an amazing band to have backing a solo artist. Got it?
It's why they made their bones and their name as the band behind rockabilly player Lonnie Hawkins. It's why they had such success backing up Bob Dylan (pause for a moment: I'm sure their 1974 tour together was insanely incredible, but if you're going to try and tell me that "The Basement Tapes" are these great lost treasures, you're lying. They're horrid.)
It's why "The Last Waltz" is arguably the best concert film ever, and almost certainly the best show that ever went down, in terms of performance and music produced. I mean, Van Morrison's jacked-out-of-his-mind performance of "Caravan"? Holy shit. And they set up one hell of a haulin'-ass train behind Muddy Waters' massive locomotive on "Mannish Boy." And they manage to wring more cheese out of Neil Diamond when he does "Dry Your Eyes" than the kids in "Saving Silverman."
|Look out everyone! He's got a hanger!|
And then there's the closing all-star jam of "I Shall Be Released," when Ron Wood and Ringo F*cking Starr pop out of the audience to join in. Mr. Starkey jumps in on second drums (maybe the only time ever that the two-drum attack has been not only acceptable but actually works really well) and even rocks out one of those signature Beatles drum fills (as noted by Robertson on the behind-the-scenes shit they show on VH1). Sure, some of the credit can go to cocaine, but then again grass and psychedelics could take most if not all of the credit for Woodstock and Monterey Pop.
If this seems like a ton of glowing praise for a "Kickin' Em Out" segment, it is. But it also proves the point - The Band is a fine band on its own, but it's not a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band on its own.
Robertson, Helm, Danko, Manuel and Hudson are like Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Horace Grant, Bill Cartwright, Steve Kerr and other role players on the dominant Chicago Bulls teams of the 1990s - they take the proverbial Michael Jordan, whether it be Dylan, or Young, or whoever, and help elevate them to all those NBA titles. Without them, Jordan is just dicking around, winning scoring titles and dunk contests and scoring 63 points against the Celtics in a first round playoff game before going home early.
|Man, that was one ugly shot.|
Look, I'll give you "The Weight," one of my top 30 songs of all time, and "Up on Cripple Creek." And maybe I'll even give you that "Music from Big Pink" and the self-titled follow-up are great albums, event though I don't agree with that statement at all.
But take a load off, Fannie - I'm still kickin' em out.
By the way, this is one of the most amazing Rock Hall classes of all time. Marley and Lennon in the same class? Elton John and Rod Stewart in the same class? And (even though I personally think their music sounds like the garbles of bird squawking in its own vomit) the Grateful Dead? Wow.
One more thing: While I'm at it, I'm kicking the Animals out too. I don't even need to explain why. God, I hate that band.
|Oh yeah, you're out too, assholes.|
The Grateful Dead
p.s. - I'm sorry
p.p.s. - No, I'm not
p.p.p.s. - Ok, maybe I am, but just a little bit