(Repost from Myspace. The Myspace clock ticks.)
Some holiday weekend ago (either Memorial or Labor Day), some FM dinosaurs had this Battle For The All-Time Greatest Rock ‘N Roll Band Weekend Countdown. This tired catch-all gimmick is used media-wide for movies, moments, hot-bodies, songs, child-stars, and anything else. A riskless, capitalist, nostalgia orgy for everyone to mildly enjoy and not have to think too hard about. At the end of the Countdown, the radio station took calls. All the major religions had their zealots. Zeppelinites. Beatles-dorks. Rolling Stones dirtbags. Drunken Who/Townshendites. These are the Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and Christians of Rock. (Growing up, I was always taught the Beatles were #1…and the #2 spots was a battle between The Who and The Stones.)
Here’s the hook. Let’s be really Roman and just say whatever band dies first is the Greatest. Makes sense to me. What else could be more Rock ‘N Roll? The Circvs Maximvs Of Rock. If we follow this sickness, The Ramones, T. Rex, Lynrd Skynrd, and The New York Dolls are all on their way to Official Rock Greatness. (It’s hard to be scientific considering all of these bands have complex family trees…I tend to stick with peak line-ups) The Beatles and The Who are tied at 50%. The Stones are 20% with Brian Jones. Led Zep in at 25%. This satire also makes Elvis Presley the undisputed King at 100% dead. But we should focus on LP rock, Beatles and on. Don Fiorino (Attention Screen, Radio I-Ching, Hanuman Sextet) played Tonic with Tommy Ramone’s bluegrass band Uncle Monk. He said it was fucking great!
I know this whole essay seems unedited (it is), unfocused (it is), and dark (black comedy)…but seriously, the pedestals that house the Pantheons Of Rock are so high. People treat rock bands like deities. Look at the Rock ‘N Roll Hall Of Fame! Who cares? They only induct bands that sell tickets! And what’s up with props from U2′s Zoo TV tour? Gimme a break! This is a museum? American culture honors, reveres, and even worships the dumbest shit! When did Rock ‘N Roll become so honorable? “Stairway To Heaven” is not a good tune! I’ve seen big jocks brought to tears, broadsided by “Wish You Were Here” 15 shots deep. Grown men holding each other up, testifying to the Rock-Gods. I’ve seen masses of people, speaking in tongues to the strains of “American Pie”. Taking communion in the form of beer and curly fries, they sway and feel the Holy Spirit, falling to the ground, saved. When did “Hotel California” become a hymn? We should exhume Jim Morrison’s body, make him even more powerful.
Six degrees of separation: In 2002, I licensed theme music for VH1′s RNR Hall Of Fame Award Show. Inducted that year: The Ramones. Three years later in 2005, RNRHOF founder Jann Werner inducted himself with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Anyway, sorry for the Bangsian speed-rant. There’s a piece of popcorn out there that’s the spitting image of Jimi Hendrix and I’m going to find it!
BTW, Black Sabbath and The Sex Pistols both declined nominations and were inducted to RNRHOF anyway! Who’s not in? Sonic Youth, MC5, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, The Ventures, Iggy Pop and The Stooges, and Link Wray. But Eric Fucking Clapton? He’s in there three times!