"When I began as a Sex Pistol, there was no Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and suddenly this organization is put on top of us like we have an obligation to them. Well, it's the other way around. Don't use my name to prop up your ... nonsense." So sayeth John Lydon, previously and punkishly known as Johnny Rotten.
Keeping his reputation as the most snide man in rock n roll, Lydon and the surviving Sex Pistols, which happens to be the original line-up, snubbed the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame at Sunday night's gala induction ceremony in New York City.
The Rock Hall got its fair share of publicity hay from this; if they acted a bit miffed, I have to ask this question: What did you expect? And of course, I would add that the lady doth protest too much. All PR is good PR. If America's royalties, the Kennedys knew this, the Sex Pistols took it to greater and more vulgar heights. And its all good. PR, that is.
You know, I've attended the rubber chicken dinner event known as the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony myself, both as a producer for VH1 (the channel broadcasts an edited version of the ceremonies a week after they occur) and as an invited guest of an inductee. There are also some video "tributes" to inductees that I've produced in the Rock Hall's masoleum...er museum in Cleveland. It IS nice to have your work installed in places where lots of people can see it and ooh and ah about your work, to be sure - but I make films and videos, so my take on having a place in the Rock Hall is pretty different from a musician's.
Most musicians I know consider the entire concept of a rock n roll hall of fame to be a bit anachronistic. "Museum of Leather Pants" is what one person I know calls it. And he's IN IT! Most musicians I know got into the game for two reasons: they can't do much of anything other than play music, or they wanted to get girls. Being memorialized beyond making records was not on their radar. When other musicians cover your songs, or a kid in a garage picks up a guitar because of you - that's plenty enough recognition for most of the musicians I know. Being able to support yourself playing music and being able to see the world at the same time is a bonus. A welcome bonus, but not why you do it. You do it because its fun. Or because you have something to say. Or because you can't do much else.
For the past few years, some punk rockers have been inducted to the Rock Hall. While I say "congratulations," I tend to think that they really don't care as much as the press does. Its a ratings-getter for TV...its good programming for a Sunday night...but honestly... I don't give a damn about any band's interpersonal dealings and feuds.
I've heard quite enough about Blondie. What I think is a bummer is that it took "The Disco Song," aka "Heart of Glass" to catapult them into the pop star sphere. I thought their kitschy pop music was catchy and radio-friendly enough without a disco song... but I don't begrudge Blondie a thing.
One thing I'll say for Chris Stein is that he put his money and his celebrity where it counts. No one else was giving artists like Jeffrey Lee Pierce, and Iggy Pop a chance to release the kind of records that Chris's imprint, Animal did.
For that alone, Blondie will forever have a place in my own "hall of fame."
As for the Rock Hall.... well, its here and its not going away. And then there’s the whole Miles Davis thing…. I love Miles but don’t they know that Coltrane was the jazz punk?