Thread April 9, 2016 editorial: comments
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The Joker Isn't Laughing
All was not sweetness and light at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies last night, as the “Hall” came under fire from Steve Miller, one of the new inductees. Miller, a classic rocker known for his songs like “The Joker,” “Space Cowboy” and “Take the Money and Run,” chided the Hall during his acceptance speech for its murky induction process and its lack of female artists.
Later, in a backstage press conference, his criticism of the institution become more heated. According to published reports, Miller said “When they told me I was inducted they said, ‘You have two tickets — one for your wife and one for yourself. Want another one? It’s $10,000. Sorry, that’s the way it goes.” Not surprisingly, Miller wasn’t thrilled. “What about my band? What about their wives?” he was quoted as asking.
At that point, a publicist, who was there representing the Hall stepped in to limit the damage (as publicists are wont to do) and said that the question and answer session had to wrap up. Apparently, Miller did not take kindly to this: “No, we’re not going to wrap this up — I’m going to wrap you up,” he told her, and then added, “You go sit down over there and learn something.”
Some would make the argument that by ripping the Hall on the night of his induction, he was acting rather like a petulant ingrate, but, for better or worse, biting the hand that awards you is par for the course these days (just watch any Oscars telecast and you’re likely to see an example). What struck me as a bit odd was that Miller, who criticized the Hall for its attitude toward women, would then turn around and say something to the female publicist that seemed borderline threatening, not to mention patronizing.
I don’t know enough about the selection process to fairly evaluate Miller’s complaints, but his point about the $10,000 tickets seems pretty valid. Even for a presumably rich, ex-rock star, 10K seems rather steep, and he should be able to bring his band to the ceremony for free. (Why does the band always get the short end of the stick?)
It doesn’t surprise me that an institution like the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has become so corporate that a pair of tickets to the ceremony now costs nearly as much as a Toyota Corolla. That kind of gauging flies in the face of the spirit of rock music, which was, at least originally, a rebellious art form. Then again, it does kind of mirror the larcenous history of the record labels, who ripped their artists off in every way possible for many years.
On a much less cynical note regarding classic rockers, I wanted to give you a heads up on an interview coming up this week on Audiofanzine that I think you’ll really enjoy. It’s an interview with author/musician Andy Babiuk, who just came out with the second edition of The Beatles Gear, a fascinating, and really well-researched book that traces the history of the Fab Four through the lens of the gear that they used. In the interview, Babiuk related many cool, behind-the-scenes anecdotes about the band and its equipment. Keep your eyes out for that to post sometime this week.
Finally, the MusikMesse show should be over by the time you read this, and from what I can tell, there were some interesting products introduced. While I wasn’t in attendance myself, our European-based editors were there and did a great job of shooting, editing and posting a ton of product videos. From what I’ve seen, the most intriguing introductions were the Zynaptic Adaptive Reverb and Softube Modular plug-ins. Take a look at our MusikMesse video coverage and let me know which products you think are the coolest.
I'd like to make the case that Liz Phair should be added. I'm not at all sure of what the criteria are, but if Joan Jett made it in their maybe it's getting near time to add Liz to the roster as well? She predated that whole Sarah McLachlan / Lilith Fair thing by a decade.
Hell, why ain't Joan Baez in there..!?
Wittgenstein rhetorically asked what constitutes a "Game", and i think music genres fall prey to this same difficulty in lacking a coherent categorical definition. However, Mr. Miller certainly has a point in that there are women that should've been inducted to the Hall by now that simply haven't. If we're gonna have Madonna in there maybe it's time we add Dolly Parton, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, and Kate Bush too.
I also think that his reaction, patronizing as it may have been, to the press lady, was not a reaction to a woman, but rather a reaction to a press manager trying to belittle/wrap up/ignore the valid concerns of a fresh inductee. I think if it was a PR man, the reaction would have been the exact same.
Anyway, I think the whole idea of a Hall of Fame is overkill, at least in today's day and age. We all know who the greatest influences are and should certainly show them our appreciation, but I'd imagine there are a million different, more effective ways to do this than go pay $10K/head to some institution that had nothing to do with the musician's contributions.
[ Post last edited on 04/11/2016 at 08:38:30 ]
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