Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Kickin' Em Out: 1994

WARNING: This is going to piss a lot of people off.

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 they completely neutralize Neil Young's coke booger when he does his insane rendition of "Helpless" with Joni Mitchell, who wasn't stoned enough yet to get up next to him and said nose refuse.

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.
And that's the frustrating thing. Like my soon-to-be-laid-out theory on how Billy Joel could have been Buddy Holly, The Band could have been Hall of Famers - just like Pippen and Rodman. All those other dudes are essentially Hall of Famers without the plaque - everyone knows Kerr iced the Jazz in 1997, and that HoGrant was a monster on the boards, and that Cartwright had that sweet foul 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 Animals
The Grateful Dead
Willie Dixon
Duane Eddie
Elton John
The Band
John Lennon
Bob Marley
Johnny Otis
Rod Stewart

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


  1. i cant help but agree with this, minus not liking the music of the grateful dead. i know to some the music of the dead is an...acquired taste...but to some of those people i say you really haven't listened to the grateful dead.

    to any fan of rock and roll who thinks they don't like the grateful dead, listen to 5/8/70 (dick's picks vol. 8) and tell me if that isn't some of the most amazing rock and roll music ever created, especially the other one, dancing in the streets, and the entire acoustic set. just amazing stuff and none of the sound of the late era dead (even the late 70s-80s dead), just pure rock and roll.

  2. Nutbag: Thanks for your comment. I'm gonna check that stuff out pronto and get back to you right here within the next week. I promise.

  3. Nutbag: I checked it out. It's not some of the most amazing rock and roll music ever created. At least that's how I feel. They are incredibly tight, mind-blowingly talented musicians, but I'm not into it.

  4. haha, rod stewart.

    1. I didn't realize only front men are allowed in the hall of fame??? You are dead wrong sir.

      It's your exact argument that proves they should be in the hall of fame. It's not just about what you think of their music, it's about their over-all influence on music. They toured together for 16 years straight, playing all over the world to sold-out crowds behind some of the biggest names in the industry. These guys are Rock legends and 100% earned their places in the Rock and Roll hall of fame.

      This makes me angry because it devalues the need for solid musicians and puts all the glory on the marketing aspect of things. Have you ever heard of the Funk Brothers? By your logic these guys don't deserve the credit they earned and they've played on more number 1 tracks than The Beatles, Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones, and The Beach Boys combined. That isn't worth anything to you?

      Just wait 20 or 30 years when they start inducting douche bags like like Bon Jovi or Justin Beiber... then you can complain.

      Oh yeah, who the hell is Lonnie Hawkins?

    2. I didn't kick Rod Stewart out, only the ones who are crossed out.

    3. You know...when I first started reading this I was a little pissed. I love the band. Levon Helm just died (so that sucks). BUT...I have to admit there are alot of points made that I cannot deny. Were The Band just the best back up band of all time? Maybe. I definately agree that "Up on Cripple Creek" and "The Weight" are epic (man I hate that word but it's true here). Being a fan I always felt bad about hating "Life is a Carnival". Backing Ronnie (I think it was Ronnie not Lonnie) Hawkins and then Dylan were unbelievable. So...I love them but...dangit...I think you're right. Good argument to make my stubborn ass change it's mind.

  5. This doesn't make me mad, it just makes me completely disregard your opinion of music. Those two albums alone make them one of the greatest ensemble groups to ever record music. Further, to hate the Animals? Not only was their music quite good, they were an enormous influence on Springsteen, which is reason enough to be in the Hall.

    If you don't like the Animals and apparently don't get the Band, what do you like?

    And wait a second. The Everly Brothers and Drifters? Are you kidding me? You either have no perspective or no taste. Or both.

  6. This is absolute rubbish, from someone who thinks they know what they're talking about. Complete ignorance. The Band are one of the greatest bands of all time, and rightly deserve a position in the hall of fame. Music from Big Pink and The Band are two fantastic albums and prove that they are not only a wonderful group of musicians but can stand alone as a band in their own right. I hope I never come across your pathetic opinion online again.

  7. @BigNorv I agree with...for what it's worth :) xx