Why I'm Not Going to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- I could have attended this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Brooklyn.
I could have come in a few days early and seen the folks in Jersey. I could have met up with my colleagues Rocco Pendola and Carlton Wilkinson in Manhattan to see all the places that have closed since I'd been there last and then headed over to Brooklyn for a pre-ceremony beer or two. I could have gone into the Barclays Center with a pair of binoculars and tried to spot Krist Novocelic.
But no, I'm not doing any of these things, largely because they would involve seeing the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as anything other than music executives' monument to themselves and everything that is wrong with the music industry.
I'd grouse about the arbitrary selection process and the Hall gatekeepers' obsession with iconography, but I've already done it. I'd grumble about how the Hall just picks and chooses which parts of a band's career it like and inducts that portion -- and how even Jann Wenner's Rolling Stone went through more trouble to find reclusive ex-KISS guitarist Vinnie Vincent than Wenner's Hall of Fame induction committee did -- but that's also well-trod ground. I could muse about how real music fans shouldn't care about accolades, how old rockers almost never fade gracefully or why old cranks like myself shouldn't be surprised when music's business overtakes its art, but we've been there, too.Nope, I'm not going because the whole cynical enterprise leaves me wanting to lurch my lunch into the Gowanus Canal and the pull of nostalgia aimed squarely at me and other members of Generation X just leaves me flat. It all comes at a time when my thirst and enthusiasm for new music is drying up and music itself becomes a smaller corner of my generation's ecosystem. You want to keep up, stay relevant and speak the language you once spoke so much more fluently, but it's a whole lot more difficult to do when music goes through such pains to wring every penny out of the past while having no idea how to handle its future. It's little surprise that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony comes just a few days before Record Store Day, or the one day a year when fans are actually enthusiastic about purchasing music. At one time -- in the many rock decades before a bunch of executives decided to build their castle by Lake Erie and fill it with all the castoff relics the Hard Rock Cafe wouldn't take -- record sales were themselves proof enough of a performer or band's greatness and legacy. The sold-out shows that followed, the influence on other acts, the occasional shoutouts, callbacks and collaborations with those acts: That was the reward. LCD Soundsystem saying goodbye at Madison Square Garden in front of a crowd full of adoring fans and honored peers after a decade of work was the biggest prize they could ask for, even in the Hall of Fame era.
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