Monday, March 16, 2015

Great moments in Rock Hall history - Talking Heads induction, 2002: Can we get this over with already?

So I was watching VH1 Classic's "120 Minutes" the other day, which for those who haven't seen it is a bastardization of the early '90s juggernaut of alternative rock videos. The Classic incarnation of the
show was actually pretty decent until pinhead Matt Pinfield, a former host of the original show, reappeared in the form of self-indulgent animated shorts that tell of his experiences rubbing elbows with rock royalty (for my take on it, visit I can't find any evidence to suggest that Pinfield is involved in the selection of the videos, but since the shorts started airing, the selection of videos has been stale, repetitive, lacking in variety and not representative of the era or bands that influenced it (or came after, for that matter). It's Soundgarden, The Smiths, Pearl Jam, Blur, R.E.M., Alice In Chains, wash, rinse, repeat. There were other bands in the '80s, you know.

Anyway, a Talking Heads video came on - in fact it was the clip for "Nothing But Flowers," an OK
song but insipid clip featuring inane ultra-left wing factoids, artsy fartsy scenes and a taking-himself-too-seriously David Byrne striking all kinds of ridiculous poses with his now-40 piece Talking Heads unit.

The video got me thinking about the band, and whether the Heads are talking and over the early 1990s legal spat over Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth and Chris Franz using the name The Heads, which led to a lawsuit from Byrne.

They aren't talking, and they aren't over it.

And that got me thinking well, if that's the case, were they over it in 2002, when they went into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and was that an utterly awkward event?

No, they weren't, and yes, it was.

A few things to look out for:

1) Jerry Harrison giving CBGB's owner Hilly Kristal the cross-arm stance and not sticking his hand out for a shake. Really? Who the f*ck are you Jerry Harrison? If Byrne can be on the stage with you and Franz and Weymouth, you can shake the hand of the dude who made your crappy band famous.

2) Red Hot Chili Pepper's frontman Anthony Kiedis comparing his discovery of Talking Heads to the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. It's not really offensive, just indicative of the fact that whatever brains were rolling around in his skull have been melted into something resembling Flea's scrotum.

3) Weymouth's visible rack.

4) Byrne's inability to face the microphone, as if he's worried Franz is gonna jump him.

5) The sleepy, soulless, pointless performance of "Psycho Killer" and the slightly better but still limp run through "Burning Down The House." (Both not in the video below).

There's plenty of awkward to savor, so without further ado, dig in and enjoy:

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Hole for the Hall?

Go to your CD collection right now. Pull out "Nevermind" by Nirvana and "Live Through This" by Hole. Listen to them both all the way through. Does the former really blow the latter out of the water? 
Which one sounds more dated? 

Most importantly: Has there ever been a one-two punch of albums on this level of excellence, both authored by spouses leading different bands, in the history of rock?

I've been digging on "Live Through This" lately, and it hit me that right smack in the middle of this self-righteous 90s male feminist movement - in other words dudes who went to Lilith Fair and listened to 10,000 Maniacs and Indigo Girls just to get laid - Courtney Love was ravaged as some kind of talentless doppelgänger, a veritable Nancy to Kurt's Sid.

I bought the fiction. Courtney stole Kurt's tunes, Courtney got Kurt high. Courtney got Kurt killed. Courtney killed Kurt.


But what if the exact opposite is true?

What if Courtney actually brought out the best in Kurt? What if she kept him from becoming a drooling idiot? What if she didn't kill Kurt but actually kept him alive way longer than he would have been without her?

Actually her involvement with Kurt is irrelevant to whether she and her band Hole should be in the Rock Hall. 

If Joan Jett (who I love don't get me wrong) is in solely for her breaking of barriers for women in rock (because it wasn't for her tunes; her hits were all covers) then Love gets big numbers for the enormous push she gave to the 90s Grrrrlll rock revolution (and no I'm not just saying that to get laid).

Plus, if you stack up Hole's big three albums ("Pretty On The Inside," "Live Through This" and "Celebrity Skin") against Nirvana's ("Bleach," "Nevermind" and "In Utero") it's actually a pretty close call.
I think if "Celebrity Skin" had been the "Appetite For Destruction" that Love wanted it to be, or if she had one more awesome album in her, Hole would be a lock. As it is, we are in a race against time to see who gets in first: Hole, or Nirvana spawn Foo Fighters, whose push is being led by the blatant and pathetic campaigning by one Mr. Dave Grohl.

Go on, Dave, take everything.