April 9, 2016

"No, we’re not going to wrap this up — I’m going to wrap you up. You go sit down over there and learn something."

Said Steve Miller at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony last night.
"This is how close this whole show came to not happening because of the way the artists are being treated...."
What was his problem?
“The whole process is unpleasant.... They need to respect the artists they say they’re honoring, which they don’t.”
It seems to be about money. He didn't like the licensing agreements for the TV show of the ceremony, and he didn't like the way the tickets were distributed:
“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.... What about my band? What about their wives?”
Who benefits from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? When an artist gets in, is he mostly giving or mostly getting?  I guess it depends on the artist. Steve Miller was lucky to get in at all, wasn't he? Maybe they told him that — or suggested as much — when they drove the bargain. They have to put on a show every year, and I wonder if some people — like Miller — are brought in to fill out the concert and maybe they realize that they're second tier and treated as such. I mean, what is the process for getting in?
Janet Morrissey of The New York Times wrote, "With fame and money at stake, it's no surprise that a lot of backstage lobbying goes on. Why any particular act is chosen in any particular year is a mystery to performers as well as outsiders – and committee members say they want to keep it that way." Jon Landau, the chairman of the nominating committee, says they prefer it that way. "We've done a good job of keeping the proceedings nontransparent. It all dies in the room."...
Here's some opinion on the Hall of Fame by Mike Nesmith (in the context of responding to the controversy over whether The Monkees, who are not in, should be):
I can see the HOF is a private enterprise. It seems to operate as a business, and the inductees are there by some action of the owners of the Enterprise. The inductees appear to be chosen at the owner’s pleasure.

This seems proper to me.

It is their business in any case. It does not seem to me that the HOF carries a public mandate, nor should it be compelled to conform to one.

And that may be the rub.

The main argument afoot is that popularity and the history and the work should somehow provide the HOF not only a mandate but also validation that should compel and convince them/it, and also be enforceable.

That doesn’t seem like a good argument, but as I say – I don’t know. I rode out the hurricane in the mobile home that is all that is left standing while all about it are vacant concrete pads and stubbs of power lines.
Yes, I know. He misspelled "stubs." He misspelled "stubs" and his mother invented Liquid Paper. If you look up Mike Nesmith in the modern "Dictionary of Received Ideas," you'll read one thing: His mother invented Liquid Paper. Liquid Paper, not Wite-Out. "Wite" isn't the right way to spell "white," you know. All the errors can be corrected later, so maybe you shouldn't worry about errors anymore. Mike Nesmith moved on after the metaphorical hurricane. He was living in a metaphorical mobile home, not the metaphorical record player designed by I.M. Pei — which is not a misspelling of I Am Pay — which was bankrolled — in part — by the needy people of Cleveland.

33 comments:

tim maguire said...

Wite-out is the correct spelling of the product.

The hall of fame is a weird institution. Most industries with halls of fame (baseball, for instance) make an effort to quantify fame in some way (acclimation of voters who are prominent fans, mostly not employees of MLB). But rock and roll is a thing. There are plenty of businesses involved, but rock and roll itself is not an entity except in the metaphorical sense. The HOF can only be a private enterprise pretending to industry consensus because there is no formal industry to manufacture or measure consensus.

So it's fake, or at least not what its "legitimacy" depends on us thinking it is.

Unknown said...

Maybe he's a huge fan of C.B. Stubblefield, aka Stubbs. I know I am.

David Begley said...

And Peter Tork attended Carleton College.

Seriously, the Rock and Roll HOF is not exactly the Baseball HOF.

Miller recalls what the numbers used to be like in the the music industry. Off the top of my head, I can't think of an industry more disrupted by the Internet than music. The pyramid has become impossibly steep.

Quaestor said...

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, what a glorious idea — idolizing a bunch of self-absorbed, self-approbative, self-indulgent, self-flattering, self-important, self-righteous, self-destructive, self-indulgent, self-deceptive, self-satisfied egomaniacal assholes.

This whole mindless brouhaha reminds me of a self-fullfilling prophecy from the Holy Book. Opening to The Book of Holes (Chapter One) we read: "And they knew not their holes from an ass on the ground." Brethren and cistern, have truer words never been spoken?

rehajm said...

Shitty deals have always been an important part of shaping rock and roll. It's honoring history in a way.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

There are few better-proven ways to get a laugh than to do that drum thing from "Take the Money and Run" by slapping the top of your thighs and then finishing with "Whoo, whoo, whoo!"

Crimso said...

I sometimes think about the HOF and think "what the fuck?" E.g., Cheap Trick. Really? Why not The Knack while we're at it?

Virgil Hilts said...

Steve Miller failed to improve on the Sex Pistols "piss stain" response to the induction invite -- http://www.openculture.com/2013/07/john-rottens-cordial-letter-to-the-rock-and-roll-hall-of-fame.html.

Jay Vogt said...

The R&R Hall of fame is suffering the same fate as liquid paper.

AMDG said...

Well at least they finally admitted Chicago.

The a Moody Blues, Grand Funk, Journey and the Monkees still to go.

Wilbur said...

As a baseball history buff, I got over who was or wasn't in the Baseball HOF years ago. The voting process has been so poorly thought-out and haphazard, that it just doesn't matter to me.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Who cares? They're in business to make money and their decisions are impelled by the profit factor. So what?

I found Steve Miller's music unlistenable 40 years ago. Not much has occurred to change my view. If his music spoke or speaks to you, great. I'm neither right or wrong about it.

Mr. D said...

The museum is worth your time -- there's a lot of really cool memorabilia. The Hall of Fame itself is a questionable enterprise.

Paddy O said...

Listen to my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains.

SteveR said...

Given who is "in" and who is not it can't be taken seriously as a "Hall of Fame". I understand its value as a museum but its weak as far as Rock goes.

Paul Snively said...

My respect for Michael Nesmith, which I didn't think could get any higher, just shot up. Amazing.

Fabi said...

No Monkees, no peace!

jr565 said...

Steve Miller had about a half decade and three albums where he was the sh*t. I like his voice a lot, and his greatest hits album really holds up as examples of 70's pop/rock.
Give the band members tickets.

Roy Lofquist said...

I have a star named after me. It is in the International Star Registry. It can be seen by literally billions of people, and it only cost me fifteen bucks. So there!

Sydney said...

Even though I live within an easy drive, and have walked past it on several occasions on my way to other venues, I have never been tempted to go inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Ambrose said...

Why is Steve Miller in the Rock Hall of Fame? Is there a one-hit-wonder wing now?

Unknown said...

Steve Miller is not second tier. His "Number 5" album, from before his run at the chart tops is underrated, and his chart-topping works almost define mid-tempo guitar rock. Also, since his voice was always kind of reedy and not a classic "good voice", it has aged very well. I saw him a few years ago at House of Blues, and he was great.

Interesting story I read about him once: He never put his face on album covers and nobody really knew what he looked like. He would have fun riding his bike around the areas near his venues with nobody the wiser. I found that very appealing and anti "rock star"..

Will Cate said...

@Ambrose --

You know not of what you speak. Steve Miller Band hit the Top 40 nine times, including three #1 records.

Nesmith is correct -- the RRHOF is a private for-profit business, and, for the most part, the only people who get the "award" are those whose inclusion will benefit the business of the RRHOF.

FullMoon said...

Saw him and his band back up Chuck Berry at Avalon in SF. Or, maybe Fillmore before it moved. Hard to recall exactly. On the other hand, it may have been some other people entirely.

Phil 3:14 said...

What's the Trump angle on this?

Trad guy, I'm looking at you.

Joe said...

jr565,

Interesting because my experience is the opposite. In the 70s, I really like the Stevie Miller Band and bought one of their albums--don't remember which. I can't listen to any of his music now and have none of it in my digital music collection. Every now and then, I feel nostalgic and given him a listen, but usually give up in seconds or am satisfied with one listen of a song. I have no idea why this is.

Fabi said...

I was hoping that Althouse would find "pompitous" in the dictionary.

Bill Peschel said...

Nesmith: Classy guy and smart. What the funque is he doing in the music industry?

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Guildofcannonballs said...

I have a great memory of Kid Rock grunting and using two turnbables to AC/DC Back in Black.

It changed the way I looked at all music.

Lemme look for you, the beneficiaries* of my greatness:

Can't find it. It is only music and the odd grunt, no singing. But the two turntables steal the show, and not surprisingly after the song had debuted decades earlier and been played and heard countless times in the interim.

But hip hop is hear to stay.

*Goodness gracious I spelled that without auto-correct I think. Wow.

Guildofcannonballs said...

So whereby 'turntables' adjust in an East to West motion, or vice versa, or, heck, we'll even allow any North/South quibbles if that is a want, 'turnbables' is Freud after decades and decades and decades and decades henceforth of steroids upon society.

And me.

Guildofcannonballs said...

To the extent those that hate rock do, Steel Panther agrees with you but in a much more profitable, albeit in the exceptionally most-ultra-mega unusually of ways, means.

We're after the same.

Rainbows end.

My Huckleberry Friend.

Moon River,

And Me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJgGs9WpGt0

The Cracker Emcee said...

Steve Miller, the only person in history I liked better as a hippie. Anthology pretty much captures it. All downhill from there.

LCB said...

Rush only got in because fans kept bombarding the Hall with email and snail mail. But by the time they were inducted, I don't think the band much cared. The guitarist, Alex Lifeson, gave the best acceptance speech EVER: "Blah blah, blah blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah..."

For TEN minutes. Classic.