Saturday, March 24, 2007

Hall of Fame

Bands get free entry in exchange for their CD at the Rock and Roll hall of Fame. It seemed like a decent enough way to spend our afternoon in Cleveland. A lot of it is a joke, and a lot of it was a rehashing of the same shit I’d seen in Seattle or New York, the very same memorabilia in glass cases, the same stuff I became enamored with when I found myself in a crash course in pop-musicology a few years back - but that shit is so inspiring, those performers and writers and musicians that we take the time to learn about and deconstruct and reconstruct- they are so worthy. It only becomes a joke as you get contemporary with it. The memorializing of the grunge era is the end for me. After Cobain’s suicide, it all seems silly . I think that’s because upon his death, music became a part of me, like I’d grown a new organ in my gut and it started pumping something new through my system–I remember it hazily on the news at nine years old, on the living room floor, Courtney’s blubbering recording of the suicide note, the crowd of hanging heads listening in the northwestern gray, my parents commenting that, oh that’s the singer that my brother likes… - That must have been it. The enormity of this guy, that he could have a real effect on people’s lives, on their souls, more than any leader or teacher that I’d encountered. I didn’t understand it then, but it must have got buried in me somewhere. From then on, everything that occurred within music occurred within me. So seeing exhibits showing artifacts from the bands I then became enamored by feels like a joke. Its like reading an article about yourself-- um… yeah, I mean that happened and I guess I did say that but I didn’t mean it that way, and why would anyone want to read this anyway?, it looked like that but it felt different and, and, and… but to someone else it must read differently-- It wasn’t long after Cobain’s suicide when I began stealing CDs from my brother’s room, he taught me to play Teen Spirit with power chords on his acoustic – it was the only thing I knew how to play for years… I looked for maybe ten minutes at every scratch and scuff in Cobain’s custom In Utero era Mustang, looks like the strings had never be changed since he played it, maybe he smashed it and replaced the neck, wonder if he had his hands on it the day of his suicide attempt in Rome…

…Otherwise, it was really good for us to see the highlights of all that led up to whatever the fuck we have going on today – reminders of Robert Johnson, Hank Williams, Lead Belly, Pete Seeger, Dylan, Beatles, Hendrix, Page and Plant, Costello, The Clash… and everything in between – that is so important to me and I’m glad we spent some time in there. You had to have some real goddamn talent and soul and heart back in the days before computers could fix bad pitch and tempo, before there was a network set up for unknown bands to tour and tour and tour – and history washes out the mediocre performers, the shitty songs. The test of time, its wonderful – I think I might just ignore what we have going on currently and wait to hear the abridged version in a couple years.

Anyway. The new stretch of tour we have begun has been wonderful so far. The Piebald guys and MC Chris are all really friendly and down to hang out. The crowds so far have been full of kind people which is always relieving. We’re just enjoying what comes with each day.