Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Rock Hall 2015: A first look ahead

At some point someone's gonna
realize T. Rex isn't in. Right?
There's plenty of previously passed over artists who could make it into the Hall in 2015.

T Rex, Peter, Paul and Mary, Jethro Tull, The Monkees, Ozzy Osbourne, Def Leppard, Judas Priest and rap acts like NWA and LL Cool J head the mainstream list.

Kiss getting in might inch The New York Dolls (heavily influenced Kiss) and Cheap Trick (heavily influenced by Kiss) closer to consideration, and there's always a chance that someone hips Jann Wenner to Big Star and he realizes what an important act he's been missing over the course of his 68 years on the planet.

This year's induction of Nirvana gives CDNR favorites The Pixies and The Replacements an outside shot. The band strongly emulated (aped?) the loud-soft-loud dynamic that made The Pixies big and famous, and Kurt Cobain was a big-time fan of the Mats ("Nevermind" got its name from a Replacements song).

And let this be the first in our many efforts over the next year to push for The Smiths, who were not that far off from Beatles-level popularity and success in England during the 1980s and also did extremely well in the U.S. You'd be hard-pressed to find a band that boasts even the smallest element of emo and didn't love The Smiths.
Mikey Miss: Takin' a stand.

I actually think there's an outside chance Green Day gets in, and that just makes me sick. We're starting to see some public backlash to this idea, with a big Philadelphia-area sports radio personality, Mike Missanelli, saying they shouldn't be in. What makes this noteworthy is that I'd be willing to wager that 90 percent of Missanelli's audience that tunes into his show on 97.5 The Fanatic are enormous Green Day fans. There's also this post on AV Club by a comedian who smokes the band and "American Idiot."

Among the acts that will become eligible for the first time in 2015, I see three shoe-ins:

Alice In Chains

Failed attempts to make quality, relevant new music will only hurt their chances slightly. Nirvana's induction has started a run on excellent grunge bands that no one can argue against. Big albums, big influence, amazing guitar work and songwriting by Jerry Cantrell and an uber-talented pseudo frontman, Layne Staley, who died by overdose - this tragedy is actually a huge plus in their favor as far as Rock Hall induction. Also, they did an MTV "Unplugged." So they're in.

Smashing Pumpkins

You could say that three critically acclaimed albums - "Gish," "Siamese Dream," "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Album that Goes on Forever and Isn't Really That Good So Why Did They Bother Making It A Double Album" - does not a Hall of Fame career make, but then again Nirvana only had three albums total, and the Sex Pistols only had one album total, so there goes that argument. Besides a batch of great hooks, some tasty licks, and a few classic tracks, the Pumpkins are really nothing special. But they fit the mold of Hall of Fame band to a tee, complete with the potential of a long-overdue, publicity grabbing reunion.

The Black Crowes

The Rock Hall is all about Wenner and his boys reliving the glory years of the 1960s and early 1970s. The Black Crowes and their music live in that time period. Combine this with calls for the Hall to be more forward-thinking, and the Crowes are in. Obviously, this is a huge, huge, huge mistake, but it wouldn't be the first time one was made by the close-minded dweebs that vote for induction.

Later on we'll look at some of my dream inductions and likely snubs from the Class of 2015.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Rock Hall 2014: Got it right for once

Who cares if Paul Stanley's face looked like an ice cream cone that half-melted, then was frozen, then half-melted again. Who cares if Peter Criss looked like a cleaned-up Phil Spector. Who cares if Ace Frehley resembled a bloated Kenny Rogers. Who cares if Gene Simmons appeared to have come straight from his audition for a "Planet of the Apes" sequel.

Kiss was finally in, and the induction was shown in all its glory on HBO's recently released telecast of the ceremony. If Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Bill Haley, etc. invented Rock and Roll, Kiss pumped it with steroids and ensured it would go on to have a Barry Bonds-like career for the ages (well, something like that).

The best part of all came when Stanley said exactly what we've been saying for almost four years now: Let the people vote and take control out of the hands of lame-ass old shits like Jann Wenner and his crusty cronies.

The other best part was Tom Morello's amazeballs induction speech. Which was the exact opposite of Michael Stipe's.

More justice was served by the induction of Hall & Oates. Seriously, these guys dominated the radio for a decade with pop tunes that people will be singing until the world ends. Nope, no way that's Hall worthy. Gotta make sure we get Red Hot Chili Peppers in there first, because they made 50 RS covers. Gotta make sure Donovan gets in there because Wenner beats it to his tunes incessantly.

You could quibble a little with some of the things that went down with H&O's induction. Like Questlove's puzzling induction speech. And Oates' bizarre forehead-framing hairstyle. And the fact that freaking G.E. Smith was not included in the performance portion (at least not the ones televised on HBO).

Without G.E., it just ain't Hall & Oates.

But hey, they're in, so it's all good.

Oh yeah, and I almost forgot: A little band called Nirvana got in. They're overrated as one of the greatest bands of all time (they're not), they're underrated as hack ripoffs of the Pixies and Husker Du (they're not, well, they are a little bit), and they are properly rated as a Hall of Fame band. Most encouraging of all was the revelation that Dave Grohl does still possess a rock soul, as he played a part in one of the coolest Rock Hall performances of all time: Joan Jett, Kim Gordon, St. Vincent and Lorde fronting in place of Kurt Cobain. I mean, wow. You HAVE to watch all four performances.

Can't say that Peter Gabriel or Cat Stevens getting in really matters either way. Gabriel got in with Genesis, skipped the ceremony, so eff him, he blew his chance. He does not have a Hall of Fame career. Cat Stevens: Eh.

And so, on to 2015, where we push for the Pixies and The Replacements and try once again to stop Green Day. It won't be easy.