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I'm the co-host of THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO with Dana & Carl (Sunday nights, 9 to Midnight Eastern, www.westcottradio.org).  As a freelance writer, I contributed to Goldmine magazine from 1986-2006, wrote liner notes for Rhino Records' compilation CD Poptopia!  Power Pop Classics Of The '90s, and for releases by The Flashcubes, The Finkers, Screen Test, 1.4.5., and Jack "Penetrator" Lipton.  I contributed to the books Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth, Shake Some Action, Lost In The Grooves, and MusicHound Rock, and to DISCoveries, Amazing Heroes, The Comics Buyer's Guide, Yeah Yeah Yeah, Comics Collector, The Buffalo News, and The Syracuse New Times.  I also wrote the liner notes for the three THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO compilation CDs, because, well, who could stop me?  My standing offer to write liner notes for a Bay City Rollers compilation has remained criminally ignored.  Still intend to write and sell a Batman story someday.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Cleveland Mocks



Well, if I'm disappointed, it's my own damned fault. I set myself up for it.

For years, I've said that The Monkees would never, ever be inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, and would never even be nominated. It's not a matter of The Monkees' merit--I regard The Monkees as that Rock And Roll Hard Rock Cafe Of Fame's most egregious omission to date--but an acknowledgement of the myopic and fossilized attitude of some of the hall's Nominating Bored. I remind myself that Dave Marsh was opposed to inducting The Ramones; I remember that Little Steven had to fight to get The Dave Clark Five and The Hollies in, and that his support for Paul Revere & the Raiders was laughed out of the room by this clueless would-be elite. And, of course, I note that Jann Wenner is Jann Wenner, and there's no cure for that level of arrogant stupidity.

(Which, incidentally, doesn't mean I wouldn't take Rolling Stone's money if someone there wanted to hire me, as unlikely a prospect as that is. I'm opinionated, but I'm not crazy.)

Still, I convinced myself this year might be different. The Monkees' 50th anniversary celebration--including a tour and an acclaimed new album, Good Times!--has prompted many former naysayers to embrace the splendor of The Monkees' legacy as never before. To paraphrase Carole King, I felt the earth move under my feet. Even some folks at Rolling Stone saw fit to praise The Monkees. And I allowed myself to believe.

Foolish child.

The Monkees remain in good company. I just mentioned Carole King; she's in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame as a non-performer (along with her ex-husband and former songwriting partner Gerry Goffin), but I don't think she's ever been nominated as a performer. Paul Revere & the Raiders have been shut out, as have The New York Dolls, The Spinners, Chubby CheckerLesley Gore, The Stylistics, Dick Dale, Todd Rundgren, The Crystals, Jan & Dean, The Moody BluesThe Shangri-Las, Badfinger, Roxy Music, Link Wray, Barry White, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, The Go-Go'sJohnny Burnette's Rock 'n' Roll Trio, Toots & the Maytals, Mott the HoopleThe Searchers, The Dictators, The Dixie Cups, Big Star, The Turtles, Rick James, and Arthur Alexander. When it comes to honoring the great artists of this music we love, I'm a big tent kinda guy. I don't advocate letting just anyone in, but I certainly think there's ample room to convey Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame honors upon a much larger group of worthy performers. Unless we wanna say that The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame should only consist of Chuck Berry, and Chuck Berry alone--and that's actually not a bad argument to make--then this Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame has a lot of catching up to do.

(And don't even waste my time with the prerequisite whining about how The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is a joke, not worth thinking about, waah waah waah, yadda und yadda. That's all true, but also an irrelevant distraction to my conviction in this matter: Rock 'n' roll should honor its own. The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame--with all its flaws and dumbass moves, its self-righteous tunnelvision and Jann razzafrazzin' Wenner--is the highest-profile institution established to pursue that goal. It's not going be replaced by a better Hall Of Fame. So I'll continue to throw my darts at the one in Cleveland, thanks.)

For the record, the 2017 nominees for induction into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame are Bad Brains, Chaka Khan, Chic (yeah, again), Depeche Mode, Electric Light Orchestra, J. Geils Band, Jane's Addiction, Janet Jackson, Joan Baez, Joe Tex, Journey, KraftwerkMC5, Pearl Jam, Steppenwolf, The Cars, The Zombies, Tupac Shakur, and Yes. I don't wanna debate the worthiness of any of these nominees at the moment, except to note that there ain't a single one of 'em I'd put in ahead of The Monkees. (Not even The Zombies, though I hope they do get in this year.)

Alas, I now reclaim my earlier skepticism: I don't think The Monkees will ever be inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. If it didn't happen this time, I don't see it ever happening in the future. And that's a damned shame.

The Monkees in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame