Tag Archives: Hall of Fame

Rock’n’Roll Hall of Shame (Again)

The Mistake By The Lake

The Mistake By The Lake

I don’t know why I even bother getting agitated anymore. 

I don’t take it seriously, and it’s been a long time since I have gone out of my way to look for the list of nominees, let alone actually root for someone to make it in. It’s a sham, a political clusterfuck of a process, and certainly bears no resemblance to a recognition of the truly worthy. But the other day an email hit my mailbox listing some of the nominees, and well…here we go again.

Some of the finalists this year include The Stooges (again), and KISS (finally), two bands that have obviously made an impact on rock’n’roll, albeit in very different ways. Even The Hollies surfaced after being eligible for over two decades.

But Donna Summer? Disco-thumping, heavy-breathing Donna Summer? Are you kidding me? Sure, she sold a lot of records in the 70s, but so did Cheap Trick and Deep Purple. She might get in before them? They haven’t even hit the finalists list yet! Hall and Oates were way bigger than Donna Summer could ever dream of, with a long string of hit singles that dominated the charts, but I don’t see their name.

And L.L.Cool J? Why- because he stars in a new CSI spin-off show? I like the guy, but not only does his music have nothing to do with rock, there are tons of deserving artists with longer careers who sold more records – what’s the criteria here? And how are rap artists more rock than progressive rock veterans like Yes and King Crimson? Where are The Moody Blues and  Procol Harum?

And before you start tossing the race card at me, I’m not rushing to send Laura Nyro in there, either. At least she has been an influence on a number of rock artists, but until the day Carole King walks through that door, don’t talk to me about great female songwriter/performers. (I wouldn’t have voted Bonnie Raitt in that quickly – yes, she’s had a lengthy and brilliant career, but she’s far from a household name. John Hiatt is a far better songwriter and he’s not in; and if you want to talk underappreciated musical geniuses, where’s Rory Gallagher’s name on that wall?)

And I’m still appalled that bands like R.E.M. – worthy eventually – are in while earlier artists aren’t.  No J. Geils Band, Humble Pie or Johnny and Edgar Winter? All those record sales and The Guess Who, The Turtles and Tommy James are waiting? No Small Faces? Where the hell is Lou Reed?

Some of the elections are artists who also have success as producers, but Todd Rundgren and Rick Derringer have done both – where are their names on the ballot? And if the anything-but-rock Madonna is in because of cultural impact and huge record sales, why not The Monkees?

No idea who the final five will be, but since it’s the 25th Anniversary you can be sure that fanfare will trump honest voting (just ask The Dave Clark Five about that one) because they gotta sell those dinner tickets. Predictability? You’ll see a female artist or female fronted band, a disco or rap artist, a blast-from-the-early-days, a hugely famous artist/band, and one crapshoot. That’s how they roll in Cleveland…well, actually New York, where Jann Wenner and his cronies run the floating crap game. They need to uproot the damned thing and move it to Detroit where it belongs.

The absurdity can be summed up in five words: Alice Cooper isn’t in it.

Here’s a list of the current inductees. For a list of the truly worthy artists and a real Hall of Fame, do what I do – look at your record collection.

If not, enjoy your Eminem and Beyonce inductions. Maybe you can hang on until 2034 when Chickenfoot is eligible.

Without some of this kind of DNA, you ain't rock'n'roll

Without some of this kind of DNA, you ain't rock'n'roll

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R.I.P. Jim Carroll, Larry Gelbart

"Jimmy, I'll miss you more than all the others / and I SALUTE YOU , Brother..."

" I'll miss you more than all the others / and I SALUTE YOU , Brother..."

Poet. Rocker. Punk. Junkie. Jim Carroll, who was all of these,  passed away at his desk while working on new material. He first became famous for his novel The Basketball Diaries, but I didn’t discover that until after his album Catholic Boy blew my doors in. I can still sing “People Who Died” from memory and was fortunate enough to have seen the man himself do the honors. Many people believe he was the poet of our generation, a post-Beat Beat writer. Now he’s gone. Wicked, wicked gravity.

Larry Gelbart is probably best known as the creator of M*A*S*H, an accomplishment which would outshine many people’s career resumes. But his writing spanned generations – he started writing for Fanny Brice and Bob Hope, wrote jokes for Red Buttons and Danny Kaye, hit his stride in the incredible writer’s room for Sid Caesar (a crew that included Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Neil Simon and Carl Reiner) and capped it off with M*A*S*H and Tootsie. His work is so good that I forgive him for AfterMASH.

The typewriter is mightier than the sword

The typewriter is mightier than the sword

My comments on these two is certainly no slight by omission on the recent passing of others. I just had more invested in the works of Carroll and Gelbart.  But over the past seven days the Grim Reaper has been working overtime:

  • Pierre Cossette, a TV and Broadway producer I had the pleasure of working with when I was in Artist Management. Total pro, as was his team.
  • Army Archerd, whose news items in Variety predated today’s gossip rags and TV shows…except Army had ethics and didn’t just blast rumors to get attention.
  • George Eckstein, a producer/writer for some great early TV shows.
  • Paul Burke, star of Naked City and 12 O’Clock High
  • William Beck, the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, who at least was saved from witnessing Michael Jordan’s embarassing Hall Of Fame speech.
  • Frank Batten, creator of The Weather Channel, saving millions of people from having to rely on that antiquated tool of looking out the window.

This idiot died last night, but only on stage. (I’m no fan of Beyonce’s music, but that was a class move at the VMAs.)

Christopher Kelly– hmmm, not suspicious at all, right?

And if the Universe had a better sense of irony,  this jackass would have died a day earlier.

***

Awww crap11pm update. I knew this was going to happen but not this soon.

And damn, Reaper – Wednesday update – you socked it to him, too?

***

Jim Carroll Wikipedia entry

Larry Gelbart page at IMDB.

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Still Tasty After All These Years

Long Island Legends Still Delivering The Goods

Long Island Legends Still Delivering The Goods

 They’re Still Doing It, Yeah They’re Still Doing It…

I’m a New York City native who spent some of his wonder years on Long Island (pronounced: lawn GUY land), and being of a certain age I grew up watching one of the greatest bar bands in rock history. The Good Rats almost grabbed the brass ring for a nanosecond but instead watched lesser bands get the adulation and sales. That didn’t stop them. They just kept blowing some of the name acts off the stage and putting on one entertaining rock show after another while cementing their legend.

Had they started in the age of the Internet and You Tube they would be a household name, but they were too much too soon. Or too good. Or too hairy. Who knows? They headlined some arena shows in the NorthEast and even got a bit of airplay, but they just didn’t explode like they deserved to. No one I knew could figure it out, since we were complete Ratheads and converted anyone we dragged along to the shows. They were always on the verge or being huge and to this day people still can’t figure out what happened.

Maybe you had to be there.

I was.

I remember sneaking into clubs as an teenager to see them play, then partying like a madman on college visits…years later even managing a club that booked them on occasion. These were blue collar rockers, regular guys who loved their audience almost as much as their audience loved them. Peppi Marchello would carry lead guitarist John Gatto on his shoulders, play a trashcan for percussion, fling rubber rats into the audience, and might have been the first professional air guitar player, although he used a baseball bat for his fretwork. (Take that John Fogerty – no strings!). Wherever they played, that’s where the party was. I’m here to report that not much has changed in forty years.

Tonight I saw the Good Rats play an outdoor show, just one set, almost a “Rats greatest hits” performance. The crowd was huge, from babies to bikers (much like the annual Ratstock) and they hit the stage without a soundcheck but nailed “Fireball Express” to set the levels. Playing as a four piece does have some limitations – one listen to Ratcity In Blue will tell you these guys should always be a two guitar band – but they pumped out the classics like “Tasty”, “Taking It To Detroit”, “Does It Make You Feel Good”, “School Days”, “Yellow Flower” (complete with dance), “Injun Joe”…pretty much everything I hoped to hear except “Reason To Kill”. Not that I couldn’t have rattled off twenty more requests, I’m a fan! But if these song titles are foreign to you, allow me to introduce you to the Long Island Legends.

Tasty was released thirty five years ago. Peppi will be sixty-five this December yet he fronted a power trio tonight like a man half his age; on the last song he held a note for twenty seconds. He might complain of a sore back on occasion, but his vocals are amazing – he sounds almost as fresh today as he did in his youth.

Tomorrow night they’re playing a club gig, so the show will be three hours long. Yeah, I know it’s not Springsteen, but here’s another guy who understands what he’s got, and is grateful to rock and roll for a living. Or, as  Peppi says, “I thank God every day, because being able to be a rock and roll guy as a job is a gift. I probably wouldn’t have liked that whole gynecologist thing, anyway”.

The original band has long since gone their own ways and several people have passed through Rat lineage (including future Kiss axeman Bruce Kulick). For a while Peppi toured with two of his sone, but only bassist Stefan remains in the current lineup – they still kick ass, though. If you’re a purist, the Original Good Rats started getting together the last couple of years, and their gigs around the NYC area have been poular sellouts.

The Good Rats were inducted into the Long Island Music Hall Of Fame in 2008. But they were inducted into mine way backin the early 70s.

Keep rocking, Peppi.

rats still doing it

Get your merch from the Good Rats website

Good Rats MySpace site.

Good Rats discography.

A pretty accurate Wikipedia entry.

Yeah….they’re still Tasty.

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