Joe Walsh: an unheralded rock legend

24 01 2012

Maybe I give the place too much credit by talking about it, but what the heck.  A guy that needs to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his work outside his most famous group, the Eagles, is Joe Walsh.  Joe Rocks.  Of course, his talent has been recognized since he was an important addition to one of the biggest selling rock bands of all time.   His solo work, or stuff with the James Gang, is, in my ever so humble opinion, vastly more interesting than the Eagles’ music.  It surely rocks harder.

Joe’s also one of the most entertaining guys in rock history.  He’s a great interview; completely hysterical.  It’s impossible not to like him after hearing him for a few minutes doing a radio interview.  Although he’s been clean and sober for years, he still sounds drunk (but makes more sense than a drinker.)

One of my favorite from Joe’s catalog


(Finally) a solid Rock & Roll Hall of Fame class

7 12 2011

I’ve been grumbling for the last few years about who has and hasn’t been inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  The list of nominees for 2012 was very promising, at least compared to past classes.  The list of those that got the nod is solid!

  • The Small Faces/The Faces (Finally!)
  • Guns N’ Roses
  • Donovan
  • Beastie Boys
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Laura Nyro

The band that I’m most pleased to see inducted is (are) actually two groups put in as one inductee, the Small Faces/The Faces.  Rod Stewart has been in the HOF for awhile but, in my opinion, he’d be nothing without the work of both The Small Faces, and the band that became something of his backing group, The Faces.  He’d probably be tending bar somewhere without those guys.  They’re massively influential bands and they’re actually rock n’ rollers!

In the late 80’s, early 90’s, Guns N’ Roses was probably the preeminent hard rock band.  Although they haven’t made music worth crap in 20 years, in their heyday, they were mighty.

I don’t own a single Chili Peppers album, but I love their rock-funk style.  Flea is one of the coolest bassists to come along in the last 40 years.

While I’m definitely critical of the RRHOF inducting hip-hop and rap artists, I back the induction of Beastie Boys.  They brought a lot of rock and roll into the music.  Check Your Head is still one of my favorite albums of my youth, and it rocked.  The Beasties crossed enough genres to, in my opinion, be considered  a rock group (in a loose sense.)

Donovan’s kind of cool for his unique blend of folk and psychedelic.  I dig his more rocky or poppy songs like “Sunshine Superman” and “Season of the Witch.”

I’ve never been much of a Laura Nyro fan, but I have no complaints about her induction.

There is little interest for me in the “Early Influences” and “Sidemen” categories.  I would say, though, that Glyn Johns is well deserving of his induction.  That guy has had his hands on the controls for many of the greatest rock records ever made.  Thumbs up, Glyn!

Another Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nomination cluster-blank (but with some good news.)

27 09 2011

This year’s nominees are:

  • The Cure
  • Beastie Boys
  • Donovan
  • Eric B. & Rakim
  • Guns N’ Roses
  • Heart
  • Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
  • Freddie King
  • Laura Nyro
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Rufus with Chaka Khan
  • The Faces/Small Faces! (Finally!)
  • The Spinners
  • Donna Summer
  • War

Every year, the RRHOF continues to highlight what a joke it is.  The museum is fine.  But the nominating committee is made up of a bunch of chowderheads.

For example, once again the committee passed over Rush in favor of the likes (of good but hardly great) Joan Jett or Heart.  I’m no Rush fan, but they’re one of the most influential, powerful rock bands of the last forty years.  Lee, Lifeson and Peart are some of the best musicians in rock history.

Rufus & Chaka Khan? Really?

It’s so ridiculous that rock bands are being passed up for entry by hip-hop groups like Beastie Boys and Eric B. & Rakim.  I love the Beasties, but let’s put rock and rollers in the RRHOF first before we start filling it with rap and hip hop.

I will credit the nominating committee for putting rockers like G N’ R and one of my favorites, The Faces, on the list.  The Faces should’ve been in the RRHOF a decade ago.  Donovan’s also long overdue for induction.

This about sums it up for me:

For the record, yes, it is a crime against humanity—resolvable only by a war-crimes tribunal—that none of the following have ever been nominated: T. Rex, the Smiths, Yes, Jethro Tull, Devo, Todd Rundgren, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Roxy Music, Willie Nelson, Warren Zevon, the Replacements, ELO, Chubby Checker, Hall and Oates, Los Lobos, Black Flag, X, the B-52s, Dick Dale, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Nick Drake, Captain Beefheart, Sonic Youth…

I wouldn’t put all those performers in the RRHOF if I were a one-man nominating committee — no Chubby Checker, no Jethro Tull, no Captain Beefheart — but many of them are better the crop of so-called rockers that have been inducted in the last 10 years or so.

2010 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees announced

23 09 2009

The artists nominated for the next R & R Hall of Fame include

  • Kiss
  • LL Cool J
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Donna Summer
  • Darlene Love (who?)
  • ABBA
  • The Chantels (who?)
  • The Stooges

I’ve said this here before and I’ll say it again.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame does an awful job of inducting worthy rock and rollers.  How could LL Cool J or Donna Summer possibly make the Hall of Fame before massively influential groups like The Small Faces/The Faces and T. Rex?  I just don’t get it.

Rock and Roll Hall of Sham

15 07 2009

I’m not one to begrudge another’s success or acclaim.  I think people need to be recognized for the things they do, big and small, that enrich the lives other others.

Yet, I don’t understand how some artists in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame were inducted.  Perhaps it seems harsh to question it, but I think that honor should be extended only to the “best of the best,” if you will.  There are artists in the Hall of Fame who, to me, are real headscratchers.  “How in the hell did he get in?” I’ve found myself asking on a number of occasions.

First, and very generally, I’ve never cared for the induction of R &B and hip hop artists in the hall because, to me, those styles aren’t strictly “rock and roll.”  I get that rock and roll’s roots are in the blues (as well as country and gospel, both white and black), so I can understand how BB King and Muddy Waters were inducted.  I’m just not sure that later acts like the O’Jays, that were strictly R&B or even disco, should be in the hall.  I understand that the R&R Hall of Fame committee members have a broader definition of “rock and roll” than me, but I take issue with that.

Second, I’ve noticed that some marginally successful artists have been inducted.  Take Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers, for instance.  I have been unable to find any evidence that the Teenagers ever scored anything higher in than a #6 hit on the Billboard charts.   After that, they only had a handful of top 100 songs.  Apparently, Frankie and the Teenagers were inducted because their sound influenced Berry Gordy and Motown.  Fine, so the Teenagers should have gone into the hall as “early influences,” not as “performers.”  Chubby Checker “inspired” a bunch of people to dance and helped introduce the word “twist” into the title of dozens of pop songs in the 1950s and 1960s.  Surely, therefore, he must be bound for the hall.

While dullards like The Righteous Brothers and rappers like Grand Master Flash clog up space in the hall, Marc Bolan and T. Rex are on the outside looking in (figuratively, of course.)  Marc doesn’t even seem to be able to benefit from having passed on at an early age.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a pretty cool place and a fascinating institution.  I just wish it would make up it mind what it wants to be and whether sustained excellence is a criteria for induction.  Enough with the one hit wonders and jazz artists.  Please.

“John Lennon: the New York Years” exhibit

11 05 2009

On Tuesday May 12, 2009 (tomorrow) an exhibit of rare John Lennon personal effects entitled “John Lennon: the New York Years,” opens in Soho, at the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame Annex.

The exhibit is full of personal (and controversial) itemsBesides Lennon’s guitars, letters and other personal effects, it also includes a paper bag containing the bloody clothes from the night he was shot to death.


The Lennon items are part of a new exhibit. . . includes Lennon’s famous New York City T-shirt, his upright piano from his Dakota apartment, and a posthumous 1981 Grammy Award for the couple’s album “Double Fantasy.”

John Lennon Exhibit

Looks like a pretty nice exhibit.  I’ve been quite critical of John lately, the bed-ins, the lyrics to Imagine, which I find childish and, in spots, horrifying.  But I think he was an amazing person and musician, despite his flaws. (We’re all flawed, right?)  I wish I could see these items while they are on display, even the bloody clothes.