2011 Rock Hall Induction – Simulcast

March 15, 2011 at 2:24 pm Leave a comment

One of the cool things about northeast Ohio is that we have the Rock Hall. The inductions are (usually) in NY or LA, costing $2000 – $3000 per person, but for a lowly $5, you can buy a ticket to watch a simulcast inside the Museum in Cleveland. It is a fun night…wander the exhibits, shop the store, grab a cocktail, then settle in to watch one one of three big screens.
If you go next year, head to the 4th floor Foster Theater, where the sound system is the best. (Although the theater’s sound system reset at midnight this year, forcing the 150 people to head to another screen).
My son Josh and I have attended this event for several years and we attended last night. Here are my random notes/opinions from the event.

Elektra records founder Jac Holzman started in 1950 at age 19 and built Elektra. He was unabashed that he has been hoping for this award and practicing the acceptance speech in the shower for years. I appreciate his honesty. Inducted by the drummer from the Doors. He noted that early on, Jac *was* Elektra records, even writing the liner notes.

Art Rupe of Specialty Records was the only inductee who could not attend. He wrote a letter, saying he was 93 and could not travel.

Alice Cooper had their first road performance in Venice California in 1969. Within five minutes, every patron had left the club except one. That one was Frank Zappa. Frank walks up, says, “I hate what you are doing. I don’t understand what you are doing. I want to sign you to my record label.”

Darlene Love provided backing vocals for every Phil Spector act and seemingly half of the rest of the world. Inducted by Bette Midler.

Sideman Leon Russell had played piano with Elton John back in 1970 for a few shows. He also played with a cast of thousands. In 2008, Elton John called Leon to catch up. Elton realized that this great piano man had been cast aside. They did an album, went out on tour. Most poignant acceptance speech was by Russell: “About a year ago, Elton found me in a ditch by the side of the highway of life. He took me up to the high space with big audiences and treated me like a king”.

Tom Waits on his statuette: it was too heavy, “I just want to know if there’s a key-chain version of this so I can take it with me, just in case I hear someone say, ‘Pete, take the cuffs off. He’s a hall of famer’ …”
He closed with “They say I have no hits and I’m difficult to work with. (dramatic pause) They say that like it’s a bad thing.”

Dr. John – ambassador of the New Orleans music scene, inducted by John Legend.

Lowlights:
Paul Simon inducted Neil Diamond. Simon spent his five minute induction speech complaining that Diamond was eligible in 1991 and why did it take 20 years. Diamond was spaced out during his acceptance speech and pretty much made me think they should have waited another 20 years. He recovered nicely during the jam session.

The format was a little different this year. Typically, a presenter would give a speech, short video, acceptance speech, then music. Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner said the format would be different this year. Only Alice Cooper perfomed immediately after his induction. Everyone else was moved to the end, which left horribly long stagnant breaks as they moved instruments on and off the stage. This will all be edited out of the TV version broadcast later this month, but it was pretty annoying. Tom Waits kicked off his four-song set deep after 11PM, and Neil Diamond didn’t finish until almost 1AM.

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