Sunday, December 18, 2005

Music Industry - Yours for the taking

Interesting article in the Wall Street Journal this week, entitled "Silent Night for Music Sales" lamenting the sorry state of the music industry (90 % self-inflicted, IMHO).

The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.

Hunter S. Thompson

The HST quote speaks for itself, there are a couple of quotes in the article I just can't resist pontificating on.

The article lists the now-familar litany of illegal downloads, the ability to burn a copy of your buddy's CD in a matter of minutes, high CD prices (self-inflicted, as I said), and competition for the entertainment dollar from DVDs and video games. But here's what piqued my interest -

Don VanCleave, president of the Coalition of Independent Music Stores, says blame lies with "an absolute, gigantic cesspool of really bad bands."
I don't know that it is the bands, although I agree the vast majority suck, I think it is the genres of music themselves. Indeed, having seen the "hot new band" Institute twice as they opened for U2, I can assure you I will NOT be rushing out to buy their album, because I've heard it all before. Back in the 70s, you couldn't wait for the next Bad Company, Zeppelin, Stones, etc., etc. album to come out so you could hear some cool new riffs. But by '76 or so, all the riffs had pretty much been thought of. Eddie Van Halen and then the Edge in the latter years of that decade created new guitar sounds, and bands for years to follow mined those veins respectively. But nowadays Lenny Kravitz is the only one cranking out new riffs, and that's only on one song an album or so. Everything else you hear on rock radio all sounds the same, everything that can be done with a distorted electric guitar has been done. Maybe if Hendrix had survived he would have kept creating new sounds, but I doubt it.

Hip-hop? All sounds the same, been there, done that. Country? Stale. Jazz? Nearly non-existent. Classical? When the older generation that makes up the bulk of classical concert-goers dies off, so will the genre, it will be of interest to scholars only.

Which brings me to the next quote -

"It's almost like we need a new genre of music," says John Sullivan, chief financial officer of Trans World Entertainment Corp., which operates music stores under the FYE and Coconuts names, among others. "There hasn't been anything fresh to get consumers excited in a while."
Indeed, I couldn't agree more. I've been thinking the same thing ever since it belatedly dawned on me in the late 90s that rock was no longer the dominant genre of pop music, as it had been since my early years (which coincided with the British Invasion). And for a new genre, we need a new instrument, new sounds. The recorder, lute, etc. begat Renaissance music. The electric guitar begat rock, created the sounds that enthralled the young Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, et al, when they heard what the blues legends could do with that instrument. One wonders if a new sound is even possible, given the plethora of sounds available with today's electronic instruments, maybe music itself has gone stale. As one who eats, sleeps, drinks, and breathes music, that sounds like heresy to me, but you do have to wonder.

So, here's your challenge. Invent a new instrument, a new sound, a new genre, that will captivate people as rock did when it was fresh, and the music world is yours for the taking.

Oh yeah, don't even THINK about selling your new form of music on CDs for $13 a pop.

Rock Hall almost gets it right

I blogged on this when this year's nominees were announced, I like symmetry, so I have to comment now that the nominees have been named. The nominees are:

Black Sabbath
Lynyrd Skynyrd
Miles Davis
Sex Pistols

Well deserved all, I guess. I still have a problem with Miles Davis, I mean he's one of my faves, but this ain't the jazz hall of fame. I just don't see much rock'n'roll connection, other than his pioneering fusion album, Bitch's Brew.

Blondie? No problem, they brought New Wave to the masses.

Black Sabbath? Hugely influential, to this day. Should have been in long ago.

Lynyrd Skynyrd? ditto to the above comment on Sabbath. How many millions of kids picked up a guitar to learn Free Bird?

Sex Pistols? If Percy Sledge could get in on one song, they can get in for one album. But unlike Percy, their one album (actually more specifically all the hoopla before and after that one album) put punk in the public consciousness.

Which brings me to the criminal omission, once again, of the Stooges. Voting in the Pistols before the Stooges is putting the cart before the horse in a big way.

In 1986, the first class of inductees looked like this:
Chuck Berry
James Brown
Ray Charles
Sam Cooke
Fats Domino
The Everly Brothers
Buddy Holly
Jerry Lee Lewis
Elvis Presley
Little Richard

early influences
Robert Johnson
Jimmie Rodgers
Jimmy Yancey

So now that they've gotten around to recognizing punk the last couple of years, they should have followed the same modus operandi - recognize the pioneers first, then those that built on the foundation laid by the "early adopters".

Oh well, "wait 'til next year!!".

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Great U2 Road Trip of '05 Part 3

Which brings us to Saturday night - which, thanks to The Baker (you know who you are) and the proximity to the stage of my seat, was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.

My seat was on a row of chairs just above section 118, I'm looking straight across the stage, from about 20 yards away, with the Edge on my side of the stage. Nice to have some room, I was next to the end this time, again on the left of the row. Institute comes out, it's loud, but for some reason you couldn't make out the lead guitar, I saw him talking to his tech, don't know if they had issues or Gavin doesn't want to be upstaged. The music sounds better tonight (again that baker), Everything Zen is a slightly different version, when they got to Machine Head, there was a rode-hard, put-up-wet, fried-hair, Gretchen Wilson Redneck Woman off to my right doing the meth dance. Made my head hurt just watching her. Institute ends with a different song, a slow-build guitar workout, again, I couldn't hear the lead very well.

So this dude next to me sits there without moving a muscle, sipping his soda, I of course am foot-tappin', beer-swillin'. I'm thinking, ok, either this guy wandered into the wrong place and doesn't dig rock'n'roll at all, or he's a hardcore U2 fan and could care less about Institute. Turns out it is the latter.

After I returned from hangin' in the concourse during the break, diggin' the "prime cheese" and more beer, he starts talking to me and the woman to my right. This is his 7th U2 show, he's from Burnsville, NC. I told him this was my fourth, I told him about Kenan Stadium in '83, he was impressed, he first saw them in 87 or so. The woman to my right was from Brazil, this was her first show, she said "I grew up with U2 as a teenager".

So then U2 kicks in, it's loud, it's crystal clear, it's like going to your buddy with the killer stereo's house, and hearing your favorite album in a whole new light, realizing that rock'n'roll really is meant to be played LOUD. I'm standing there with my mouth hanging open at how AWESOME the whole experience is.

I was basically looking over Edge's right-hand shoulder, could tell he was wearing black Chucks (the former Helmet dude that plays lead for Institute was too, I have a pair myself). I can see his massive pedalboard, he's got 3 rows of at least 12 buttons each, he's pushing one every 2 measures or so, for changes more subtle than I can detect, I'm amazed at how he keeps up with it.

Here's the setlist.

City Of Blinding Lights, Vertigo / Rockaway Beach (snippet) / Rock 'N' Roll Nigger (snippet), Elevation, I Will Follow, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, Beautiful Day, Happy Birthday, Original Of The Species, Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own / Torna A Surriento (snippet), Love And Peace Or Else, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Bullet The Blue Sky / When Johnny Comes Marching Home (snippet) / The Hands That Built America (snippet), Miss Sarajevo, Pride (In The Name Of Love), Where The Streets Have No Name, One, MLK
encores: Until The End Of The World, Mysterious Ways, With Or Without You, The First Time, Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of, Bad / People Have The Power (snippet)

Otis had said beforehand if the Gibson Explorer came out to look for I Will Follow, sure enough, the tech handed it to him and that's what he played. Heavy-metal heaven.

From this vantage point, with 3/4s of the crowd facing you, it is amazing how gonzo the crowd is. Bono, who had said at one point on Friday night "you guys are CRAZY", commented that the crowd was even more fired up tonight. When the crowd was cheering and clapping, it was louder than the music. And you got the full power of 18,000 people singing in unison - goosebump city. Even the normally stoic Adam was wearing a SEG as he took a "victory lap" around the ellipse. What a rush that had to have been for the band, it sure was for me.

The Brazilian woman is bouncing up and down the whole time, she knows all the Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby songs by heart, the guy that was so wooden during Institute is letting out "woo-hoos" every so often, these guys are much more involved than the folks from Friday night.

Bono gives shout-outs to REM (again), Third Day, Ted Turner, who we sing happy birthday to , Bono says Dr. King's family is in the house, sings MLK, which I didn't recognize, I never listened to Unforgettable Fire much, having listened to Under A Blood Red Sky last week, I remembered why I was so disappointed when Fire came out, since Blood Red Sky was ROCK'N'ROLL, and Fire was when they began crafting their more mature sound. I remember at the time reading an interview with Edge, and he said that if they had kept going down the road of Blood Red Sky they would have become the ultimate rock'n'roll band, a caricature of themselves. My favorite song on Unforgettable Fire was Wire, I came to appreciate Bad from the Wide Awake in America EP.

This show was plenty rock'n'roll to me, thanks to the close-in seat, the baker man, and The Edge, who, while a totally different style, is right up there with Clapton, Page, Hendrix, etc. in my book. As Otis pointed out, on Bullet the Blue Sky, he played more of a David Gilmour space blues lead than the slide stuff he's done before. Between that and Adam and Larry's locked-in, thunderous groove, that song was phenomenal both nights.

All in all, one of the most emotionally intense events of my life, right up there with the births of my children.

The Great U2 Road Trip of '05 Part 2

My seats for Friday night's show were at the back, stage-left corner of the arena, with the "wall o' luxury boxes" on my right. After seeing this place, I'm very disappointed in the Charlotte arena.

Anyway, I was on the left-hand end of my row, to my right were 2 young ladies, drinking sodas, one black, one white. To their right were a bunch of drunken a**holes. If I stood up once to let those jerks out, I stood up ten times.

Opening act was Gavin Rossdale of Bush fame's new band, Institute. Very generic heavy rock, the sparse crowd (most were still drinking in the concourse, or, as I discovered the next night, in the food/beer court adjoining the arena) clapped politely between yawns. Then they broke into "Everything Zen" and the crowd became energized. After another generic song or two, they played "Machine Head", again an enthusiastic response from the crowd. No "Glycerine", or I could have said I had heard all my favorite Bush songs live.

They went off, folks gradually started filling in, then around 9:00 the lights went down, the background music got louder, then stopped, and U2 was on with their now-standard opener "City of Blinding Lights". WOW! Very loud, yet very clear sound, and very impressive lights, particularly the curtain of lights that came down behind the stage. Here is the set list, as recorded by, not me, I'm not that anal anymore.

City Of Blinding Lights, Vertigo / Rockaway Beach (snippet) / Rock 'N' Roll Nigger (snippet), Elevation, Beautiful Day / Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (snippet) / Blackbird (snippet), I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For / In A Little While (snippet), Mysterious Ways, Original Of The Species, Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own / The Black Hills of Dakota (snippet), Love And Peace Or Else, Sunday Bloody Sunday / Rock The Casbah (snippet), Bullet The Blue Sky / When Johnny Comes Marching Home (snippet) / The Hands That Built America (snippet), Miss Sarajevo, Pride (In The Name Of Love), Where The Streets Have No Name, One / Ol' Man River (snippet)
encores: Until The End Of The World, The Fly, With Or Without You, Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of, Yahweh, All Because Of You, 40

I had a big s***-eating grin for many of these, Beautiful Day, the cool new ending they have for Mysterious Ways on this tour (when the song ended, Bono said "we've got a lot of soul for white people". Indeed.), Where The Streets Have No Name, Until the End of the World.

Let me just say right here that these guys have perfected the whole concept of arena rock, even the songs that I'm not that wild about from the new album (Original of the Species, Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own) became fist-pumpin' guitar anthems. And of course All Because of You was just kick-butt rock'n'roll.

Back to my spiritual theme, the black woman next to me was in full praise-and-worship mode, I was right there with her, one of the most moving concert experiences of my life.

Bono gave shout-outs to REM, mentioned something about Live 8, said that Rick Wright of Pink Floyd was in da house.

40 ended the show, with each member leaving the stage until only Larry was left, with the entire crowd singing "how long, to sing this song" while he pounded out the beat. A nice touch, over-the-top frontmen can get old, (remember we had Gavin "Mr. GQ" and Bono too) nice to recognize the guy slogging in the trenches.

(to be continued)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Great U2 Road Trip of '05 Part 1

I arrived in Atlanta on Friday, November 18th, found these 2 gropers in my hotel room.

Having determined them to be "mostly harmless", I headed out with them and Dennis to Philips Arena, so that Otis and Bob could stake out their spots in the general admission line. Before I go any further with my narrative, let me digress....

I had been listening to some recorded shows from Leg 1 of the current Vertigo tour, recorded back in the spring in Phoenix and Chicago, and had written a blog posting on U2 in general in my head, here it is.

The Phoenix show, in particular, completely blew me away. The "outro" to Gloria brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it, the words are ancient Latin liturgies praising God. I found this on the web - "the meaning of the entire Latin text of the song is literally "Glory in you Lord; exalt Him" "

Which brings me to the point of my epistle - this is deeply spiritual music, and I sincerely believe that it is no coincidence that this band has prospered and indeed, is the only rock band that is truly relevant in this current age in which rock seems truly dead (Long Live Rock). This music speaks to people, and more specifically, these concerts speak to people, filling a spiritual void in many folks that don't realize that have one (a spiritual void, that is). As many of you know, I play in the band at my church, there is no experience on earth that can compare to when the music is "on", we reach that place occasionally, U2 reach it every night they play live. They are consistently "on", in the zone, whatever you want to call it.

So, that said, back to the recent past. After arriving at Philips Arena, Dennis and I repaired to the adjoining Jock's and Jill's, where we staked out a spot for the afternoon and discovered a most excellent brew, Sweetwater ( a local Atlanta brewery) 420 Extra Pale Ale. Very nice hops, but not to the point of turning your mouth inside out. Bob and Otis popped in and out, many of the aforementioned brews were consumed. Eventually the time for the show arrived...(to be continued)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Ultimate in Hops

OK, I thought I had found the most ridiculously hopped beer there could be a while back with Stone Ruination IPA, (on the shelf in the freakin' grocery store in San Diego) however I can top that - Great Divide Hercules Double IPA, recommended to me by my man Mike Brawley at Brawley's Beverage.

The Ruination was aptly named, because it ruins your taste buds for anything but hops, well this stuff takes it a step further and ruins your nose, your eyes, (my brain, but that's another story, 9.10% ABV may have something to do with it), your entire being. I knew by the aroma (pure pine needles) that I was in for a serious pucker factor. Also distinguished by a sparkly, almost crystalline head residue on the sides of my Mellow Mushroom/Paulaner mug. (for you neophytes, the more "lacing" on the sides of your drinking vessel, the better the beer, this stuff goes beyond lacing, leaves a carpet) If you're a hop fanatic (you know who you are) then you gotta get ahold of some of this.

Oh, yeah, the bottle cap says "Great Minds Drink Alike". And I've now tried 29 of the top 100 beers on

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Time is on my side, or, gathering no moss

If you had told me back in 1975 that in the year 2005, Keith Richards would still be alive and well, I would have said "yeah, right, and you'll be able to carry a thousand songs around with you on a credit card-sized device clipped to your belt. Take another hit, dude".

Well, not only is Keef alive and well, he is ROCKIN' OUT!!! On Friday, October 21st, I saw the Rolling Stones in person for the first time in spite of having been a fan ever since Brown Sugar blasted across my transistor radio when I was in the 6th grade. I was aware of them in the 60s, but nothing "fired my imagination" like Brown Sugar. At the show, I'm afraid I sat there with a big s**t-eatin' grin on my face the whole time, except for one song, which I'll get to in a minute.

That said, here's my thoughts on the show -

Arena: Grade A - I would give it an A+, except for the expected first-event ever glitches and the lame-o beer selection. The credit card system quit working shortly after the doors opened, fortunately I had lots of cash, and some of the beer taps ran dry early on (what did they think, no one was gonna drink beer at a Stones concert???? ). Everything else seemed to be running smoothly, the facility is first rate, it is not as large circumference or diameter-wise as the old coliseum here in Charlotte, but rather taller vertically (at least it seems that way, from the first level to the second, they have one of those mile-long escalators like in the Atlanta subway). I was on the first row of the upper deck, and I have a prediction - during the life of the building, someone is gonna fall over, there was only a very low concrete wall with about a 4-inch piece of plexiglass on it, I nearly fell over myself getting into my seat. Great for sightlines, not so great for safety.

Opening Act: SEX do you remember all the controversy SEX about subliminal advertising? SEX
Nothing subliminal about SEX Joss Stone SEX the opening act. Someone SEX forgot to SEX tell her that SEX the Britney Spears SEX almost-nekkid look is out, add SEX that to the SEX baby-making soul SEX music she sings and the gyrating hips SEX and it all adds up to SEX. Not to mention she is HOT, but that's all SEX I'm going to say SEX about her, since I'm old enough SEX to be her daddy. Her guitar player does have the biggest pedalboard I have ever seen, and can wail. In spite of all the SEX, her music is kinda boring, at least to me.

Beer selection: Grade C - The usual BMC (BudMillerCoors for the uninitiated) crap, with the exception of one bar downstairs that had Sam Adams and Heinies on tap, and one upstairs that had Sam, Heinies, Bass, and Harp. I got a Sam downstairs, a Bass upstairs, both were green, I think they must have put those kegs in a month in advance, when I got the Bass, the guy had to go to three different taps to fill my smallish cup. Speaking of the cups, not only did they charge you $7, (large BMCs were $6.75) but it was in a tiny cup. I ended up getting large Buds for the rest of my beer consumption, they tasted much better, they weren't skanked. On the plus side, I never had to wait for a beer, they have plenty of stands.

Stones: A+++++++ I had to keep pinching myself to make sure I was really there, I was, and these geezers kick butt. If you came from another planet, and didn't know their age, you would think they were in their 40s at most, Mick is still Jumpin' Jack Flash, and Keith, Ronnie, and Charlie were rockin' hard. Keith and Ronnie play all kinds of variations on the beloved song licks with ease, like they been playing guitar for 50 years or something. Oh, yeah, they have. Keith's axe of choice was a big ole black Lucille-lookin' ES 335, Ronnie switched on just about every song. Ronnie beat Keith easily on the flipping-guitar-picks-to-the-crowd contest, he was doin' it in mid-song.

Here's the set list, in rough order, not entirely correct I'm sure, but you get the idea:

Start Me Up
You Got Me Rockin'
Shattered (SHA-DOOBIE!! )
Ruby Tuesday (brought tears to my eyes, sentimental ole fool that I am)
Oh No Not You Again (funniest moment of the show, as there was a mass exodus for beer/bathrooms)
Tumbling Dice
All Down The Line (One of my personal favorites, I had the S-E grin on big time for this one, it was SMOKIN' - four piece horn section including the venerable Bobby Keys. Worth the price of admission for this one alone)

The Night Time is the Right Time (awesome as well, Mick and the female backup singer traded vocal licks while Ronnie and Keith sat in front of Charlie and laid down fierce blues licks, Keith enwreathed in cig smoke)
The Worst
Nameless new song (sorry, no clue, Keith sang it)
Miss You
Somewhere around this point, the center of the stage took the boys, along with Darryl Jones and Chuck Leavell, out down the center aisle to a small stage at the other end of the floor.

There, not only did they crank up the guitars, but they played
It's Only Rock'n'Roll
Honky Tonk Women
Rough Justice (excellent new song)
Then they went back to the main stage for:
Brown Sugar
Jumpin Jack Flash
Paint It Black (Ronnie was playin' this wild lookin' electric sitar thingy)
Sympathy For The Devil (excellent, Keith was rockin!!!, Charlie was POUNDING on both this one and Paint It Black)

You Can't Always Get What You Want (very cool double-time section at the end)
Satisfaction (not entirely satisfying, by this time the guitars were so loud it disentegrated into heavy-metal noise)

I told my wife the next morning that the Lord can take me now, I have experienced THE STONES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

PBO in the Land of the Sky

Just back from my 19th wedding anniversary trip, we went to Asheville. First let me preface this by saying that I have been going to Asheville all of my life, as my dad's family is from those parts, and I remember it as a sleepy mountain town with no hippies. A few years back, the town finally paid off their debts from the depression and "re-vitalization" began in earnest. Well, as you all know, it is now known as one of the premier hippie cities in the land, oh my Gawd, I had no idea how much.

The hippies I can handle, they don't bother me, I aspired to be one for much of my youth, however, as my ever-astute wife pointed out, there seems to be a high incidence of mental illness here. That and full-of-BS pseudo-intellectuals, you never overheard so much crap in your life, from the cooler-than-thou jazz "expert" in the Asheville Wine Market, to the "Bush sucks" employees in Malaprops bookstore pontificating on a menage-a-trois involving Nixon and Kissinger (if I saw one more anti-Bush bumper sticker, I was gonna puke. I mean, get a life, people).

Anyway, we had to get out of downtown fast, I went to the excellent used-book joint, Downtown Books and News, picked up a copy of "The Tolkien Reader" for 50 cents, "World's End" by Joan D. Vinge (been looking for that for years) for $1.50. I should have paid more attention to the fact that they had a resident cat, I felt like something was nibbling on me the whole time I was in there, by the time we got back to the car (Dana wouldn't let me go into the used CD stores, which sandwiched the skateboard shop, there was one of those mentally-ill types out front telling a bunch of 12-year-old skater wannabes that "the cops will f*** with you, man") I had rising welts on my legs and arms, I remembered the cat and said "that bookstore was infested with fleas!" (some of the clientele looked to be as well, the 50-something woman in striped kneesocks in particular).

Anyway, you know me, when I go somewhere, I'm all about the beer, the Asheville area has several breweries, Highland, which most folks are familiar with, Pisgah, and French Broad. When we first arrived in Asheville, we hit the Grove Arcade, which is a don't miss, I won't get into the story of the building here, you can look it up yourself,, suffice to say it is very cool. (Side note, dude outside Grove arcade at one of the stalls selling homemade jams under the name of "Imladris", which of course is the Elvish name for Rivendell, I was impressed). We had lunch at Cats and Dawgs, which offers catfish sandwiches and gourmet hot dogs, as well as the aforementioned French Broad brews on tap. I had a Wee Heavy (which is a Scottish Ale) it was quite tasty (they were on sale, so the inbred mountain dude running the tap gives me a plastic cup that by the time the head settled was about 3/4 full, pissed me right off).

That evening, we had dinner on the Sunset Terrace at the Grove Park Inn - WOW!!! Stunning view of the sun setting over the city and the mountains behind, most spectacular, they had an interesting selection of beer on tap, Highland Gaelic Ale (been there, done that, one of my personal fave session beers), Yuengling (for the unsophisticated), Sweetwater (Atlanta brewery) Exodus Porter, and the aforementioned French Broad's Octoberfest brew. I chose the Sweetwater Porter, was surprised that it came in a frosted pint glass, this is a Wine Spectator-awarded establishment, obviously they need some education when it comes to beer. I had to wait 20 minutes until it warmed up to where I could taste it, a decent porter, but nowhere close to Sierra Nevada or Anchor's porters.

Saturday, for lunch we went to La Paz in Biltmore Village, I had a 25-oz Dos Equis Amber, whilst sipping they played one of my faves from back in the day, Cheap Trick's "California Man"

Get that real guitar boy shakin',
I'm a California man

I had forgotten how much that tune ROCKS.

When we got back to the hotel after lunch, I found a brochure for the now twice-mentioned French Broad brewery, turns out it was five minutes from the hotel, they have a tasting room open on Thu and Fri nights (with live music) and Sat afternoon (with brewery tours). We were 20 minutes too late to take a tour, but went and had a couple o' pints, and tasted all the brews (except the pilsner, they were out). Good but not great beers, definitely better than macros. Very laid back, cool bar chick, excellent tunage playing, nice T-shirts, they dont' bottle their brews yet, she said they hoped to by the end of the year, I coulda bought a growler, but had no way to keep it cold in the hotel.

Next up: PBO goes uptown (Charlotte, that is, new work assignment), or maybe I'll type my U2 manifesto

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Stooges should get their due...

The nominees for next year's Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame induction were recently announced. Here they are:

Black Sabbath (now on their eighth bid)
Lynyrd Skynyrd (seventh bid)
the Sex Pistols and the Stooges (five bids apiece).

Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five
J. Geils Band
John Mellencamp
Patti Smith Group
Joe Tex

Miles Davis, Cat Stevens, Blondie, the Paul Butterfield Band, the Dave Clark Five and the Sir Douglas Quintet.

OK, I said last year this thing was a joke when they voted in a one-hit wonder (Percy Sledge), now they have Miles Davis, who is only peripherally R'n'R (he was a pioneer of fusion, so I can go along with that one. Not to mention he was one of the most gifted humans to ever grace the planet, even if he was a jerk)

Chic? please! How about the Commodores? Ohio Players? Chic? please....

Grandmaster Flash? yeah, I guess he was influentual, for a one-hit wonder, but the name of the hall is Rock'n'Roll, not rap or hip-hop

It's a crime that Sabbath and Skynyrd are not already in, they were HUGELY influential, there's still bands today copping Sabbath riffs

While Cat Stevens, Blondie, the Paul Butterfield Band, the Dave Clark Five and the Sir Douglas Quintet, J. Geils Band, John Mellencamp, Patti Smith Group are all worthy of consideration, how can you vote them in when Rush, Van Halen, Deep Purple, Yes, Genesis, ELP, and Alice Cooper are not in there? I guess it's the usual prog-rock bashing, I think Pink Floyd are the only prog band in there. Hell, the Moody Blues are not there? They were the biggest selling group in the world at one point. Lame, lame, lame.

So, OK, I can understand the progressive-rock bashing, I'm used to it as an unabashed progger, but what do people usually point to when they claim prog is lame? That's right, punk. At least the morons have got this partially right, in that the Clash and the Ramones are in there, as they should be. But the very first punk band to be inducted should have been the originators of the genre, the Stooges. I have Fun House and Raw Power, everytime I listen to them I am blown away by how far ahead of their time these guys were. Hell, their first album came out in '69, a full 7 years before the punk explosion of 76.

These guys making these nominations are idiots, where are Wayne and Garth when you need them?

And I didn't even mention the Pistols, who put punk on the map with the general public.