Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on

6Apr/095

The 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies – Reflections from Cleveland

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Wow, what a weekend.

Guitar extravaganza closes out the Rock Hall inductions with, from left, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Ron Wood, Joe Perry, Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield.

photo by Joshua Gunter / The Plain Dealer

I seriously had every intention of merely "swiping" and linking to Brian's overview of the event. And then, Friday night happened. My planned post for today was going to be all about Friday night's events, accessorized with a couple of personal thoughts about the induction ceremonies, with a link to Brian's stuff. After seeing the induction ceremonies, I realized that I really needed to break it down and give Friday its own special area, and put my induction related thoughts here.

D.X. Ferris from Scene Magazine got in touch with me and asked the following questions to wrap up our two week long Metallica "debate":

So Metallica is now officially in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Before we shut up about the band and their monumental recognition:

What does Metallica's induction mean? To you? For metal?

My reply:

When Chris and I were talking after the ceremonies, he made a good observation that until he saw the induction, he wasn't aware of how much the honor really meant to the Metallica guys. I've always had a huge amount of respect for how they've handled themselves as a band, particularly the way they've stuck with their management company Q Prime in the good times, the not so good times, and during times when other high profile clients (ex. Def Leppard) were bailing during the past few years for different management. Hey Def Leppard guys, how did that work out for you? They took a credibility hit with the Napster era, but recovered from it well.

I saw everything that I needed to see during Friday night's party at the House of Blues. It was really incredible to see that Metallica remembered completely where they came from, as demonstrated by the 150+ friends, current, and former associates that they flew in for the weekend celebration. They're still music fans - witness James Hetfield locked in conversation with Joe Perry from Aerosmith. They remember their friends, including one "friend" in particular - former RIP Magazine editor Lonn Friend, who famously chronicled the birth of the Metallica album via a series of articles in the pages of RIP.

Lars Ulrich talked to many throughout the night with giant bear hugs for quite a few of them, but spent most of the night talking to a circle of 3-4 friends in particular, who floated in and out of the conversations all night long. It was that same group of friends that was still there with Ulrich at the end of the night, still swapping stories and laughs about the old days.

The Metallica members are just people at the end of the day, and it was visually evident how grateful they are to have accomplished what they have accomplished as a band and unit, and they have gratitude for remaining relevant as a band during the same year that they are being inducted to the Hall of Fame.

What does Metallica's induction mean for Metal? That's hard to say. Hetfield obviously reeled off a list of bands that aren't in the Hall yet, and should be - Rush, KISS, Thin Lizzy, Iron Maiden, etc. I think that those are all bands that might/should find their place in the Rock Hall eventually. C'mon, you GOTTA put Maiden in there! I think it is potentially a harder road for a band like Slayer, but if Slayer can win Grammy Awards, I guess that really, anything is possible.

I found myself wondering if it was any coincidence that they sold tickets for the induction ceremonies for the first time, on the year that Metallica was being inducted. For anyone that was in the building, it was evident how many of those 5000 seats were occupied by Metallica fans. I'll end with a plea - Public Hall really looked nice after 500k's worth of renovations for the induction ceremonies. It would be a great thing to see concerts return to both Public Hall and Music Hall in the coming months and years. So many legendary artists and concerts have passed through those two halls, and it is criminal that these beautiful facilities are so underused.

When induction tickets were going on sale, Brian reached out to me and asked me if I could pick him up a ticket, since he knew I would be going out to purchase tickets. Thing is, I wasn't planning to go. It wasn't a good time financially to shell out 75 bucks for a ticket, and I had other concerts on my radar that were higher on my list. When Brian called me, I thought about it for a second, and I caved. I didn't want to be one of the music fan schmucks living in Cleveland, not in attendance, fielding phone calls and emails asking "So, you're going...right?"

On the Saturday morning that tickets went on sale to the public in limited quantities at the Rock Hall, the Cleveland weather was crummy, and cold. I knew that I would have to get there early to even have a shot at getting a pair, because I knew they would go quickly, and there was no chance that I was going to score tickets via the main public onsale planned for the following Monday at Ticketmaster. Thanks to the weather, I think that a lot of people decided to stay home, and even better, the Rock Hall let us wait inside prior to the onsale time at 10am.

Friday night, and the beginning of the induction weekend - all of those details are summarized here. I got home about 4am and went to bed about 5am after the adrenaline of the evening wore off. I now have no voice, but my voice has a way of coming back after a night of sleep. Not this time.

Saturday evening, I head to Great Lakes Brewery with no voice (still!) and Brian - we're meeting up with the mysterious Bear from Clevelandrockandroll.com, and I get to converse with Bear in what is sure to be a crowded Great Lakes atmosphere. I quickly explain bullet point details to Bear about my voice, and why it is how it is (importantly noting that this is not how I always sound!,) and we settle in for a nice evening of food and fellowship.

Heading over to Public Hall for the induction ceremonies, I run into Ferris, who high-fives me for my Friday night activities before heading off to the press room. We make our way eventually through crowded hallways to find our seats, which are better than I expected.

Now, the evening of events - here are a few of my highlights from the night:

Little Anthony & The Imperials - AMAZING. Anthony really defined every definition of what a "performer" is.

Cleveland native Bobby Womack. Wow. I was familiar with the name prior to that evening, and after that evening, I realized how much of Bobby Womack's music I was really familiar with, even though I didn't own it. Famously, "It's All Over Now" is a track that he wrote and gave away to the Stones. It's interesting to hear the differences between Womack's version, and the Rolling Stones version. Womack built the foundation, and in my opinion, the Stones made it memorable and tore the house down. After the ceremonies, I needed to acquire some Womack tunage pronto, and tracked down this nice double CD MP3 download for 13 bucks. Sold.

Run DMC: I grew up during a time when you heard Run DMC and Madonna on the radio right next to Autograph, Aerosmith, Glenn Frey, and the Rolling Stones. For me, it makes total sense for both Madonna and Run DMC to be in the Rock Hall. Eminem made a great notation during his induction speech, "for those of us that grew up listening to hip-hop, they were our Beatles." That's not the first time I've heard that statement, and I don't know that I would go that far personally, but I definitely do like me some Run DMC. Their greatest hits disc has been in my CD collection since the day of release, and being at the induction ceremonies, I realized that I need to add "Down With The King" to my Ipod.

I wish that they would have played (which is what everyone is saying,) and I'm a bit surprised that they didn't, since Rev. Run was out playing tunes from the catalog with Kid Rock last year. And DMC wanted to play. So if it was Rev. Run holding things back, where/when did things change in his mind?

Jeff Beck. Blew my mind at Eric Clapton's Crossroads Festival in 2007. Tal Wilkenfield, Beck's young prodigy female bass player, also blew my mind at that same show. I couldn't wait for Brian to see Jeff and Tal. Unfortunately, I don't think the camera work for the video screens in house, really allowed one to fully appreciate Tal's onstage energy. If you were there, grab your self a copy of the Crossroads 2007 DVD, and be amazed. Beck also has a new live DVD and CD, Performing This Week: Live at Ronnie Scott's, that is a good educational piece.

By the way, credit and props to Beck for a very sly middle finger salute during his speech, dedicated to "those that haven't helped me over the years."

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like Beck's speech from this weekend has been uploaded yet. Instead, I'll share with you his colorfully brief speech from 1993, when he was inducted as a member of the Yardbirds.

Billboard Magazine has an interview with Beck, and also additional reflections from Jimmy Page and Joe Perry.

Metallica - see my comments above for Scene Magazine. Performance was great - great to see Newsted back out there with the Metallica boys. The finale performance of "Train Kept A Rollin'" was amazing - Jeff Beck, Ron Wood, Joe Perry, Jimmy Page, Hammett, and Hetfield - SIX guitar players on stage, which led Hetfield to proclaim the night as a "rhythm guitar player's dream!" Also on stage, Jason Newsted, and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who gave a great induction speech (I was originally critical of him being the choice to induct the band, prior to the ceremony) and dropped what I think was the first F-Bomb of the night.

Great night and good fun - I'm really glad that Brian reached out about going, and I'll echo his wishes to go again when the ceremonies are back in Cleveland.

My friend Pat is a big advocate for buying all-local, and supporting local industry, artists, etc. This weekend was SUCH a win for Cleveland as a city. The NYC board of directors for The Rock Hall finally "bought local" and bought in to Cleveland, bringing financial benefit and plenty of much-needed good vibes to the city. And you know what, I think that everybody that came to our little city, had a lot of fun.

Cheers to that!

More stuff:

Bear from Clevelandrockandroll.com will growl out his Rock Hall induction thoughts at some point today in his Monday Rant.

Brian at Broken Headphones has his wrap-up here.

Plain Dealer pop music critic John Soeder has a ton of stuff here.

Cleveland Scene was there live-blogging the event.

Eric Olson from Blogcritics was live-blogging as well.

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