Friday, January 16, 2009

Seven times is a conspiracy

So the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, disregarding some pretty strong campaigning by other musicians including Madonna, has snubbed Iggy and the Stooges from membership among the pantheon of rock immortals. Again.

Well, screw the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The Stooges — Iggy Pop, Ron Asheton, Scott Asheton, and Dave Alexander, with credit also going to guitarist James Williamson and piano player Scott Thurston — are already rock immortals, and have been long before the RRHOF was even formed, and definitely before its gleaming, antiseptic museum was built on the lakeshore in Cleveland. You say the name "Iggy Pop" just as you'd say "Lou Reed," another rock giant who, like Iggy, should have died from drugs and hard living decades ago but was too bulletproof to do that. Now 62, Iggy is a god to punk rockers everywhere, recently headlined at Lollapalooza, and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon.

Unfortunately, founding guitarist Ron Asheton didn't share the same genetic invincibility, and was found dead in his Ann Arbor home just over a week ago. That makes the RRHOF's announcement of inductees this week, and its glaring omission of the name, "The Stooges," doubly crappy. Not only are the 600 voters who decide these things overlooking — no, more like actively dismissing — one of the most influential rock and roll bands of the crucial psychelic-60s-become-the-punk-70s turn, but they're also telling all of Asheton's friends and family that the instantly-recognizable opening chords to "Now I Wanna Be Your Dog" are no more important than the first few notes of the Gummy Bears theme song.

The RRHOF, begun by Rolling Stone founder Jan Wenner and Atlantic Records' founder Ahmet Ertegun, after whom the main exhibit hall of the Cleveland museum is named, began with good intentions — to preserve and promote a form of music that was coming up on age 50. Along the way, "rock" went on to suck up everything that had come before it and run alongside it, with blues, folk, jazz, MotownPhilly, hip-hop, disco, punk, and (very little) metal all scooped into a giant rock bucket and set out on the lakeshore for tourists to gawk at. But turning a band as important and influential as The Stooges into rock's version of soap opera's Susan Lucci, nominated for an Emmy Award 21 times before she finally won, is just wrong. The Sex Pistols were inducted in 2006, and they loathed the whole idea. Brenda Lee was inducted in 2002, and you're thinking, Brenda who?, and plugging the name into Wikipedia.

So, WTF RRHOF? You wanna induct Metallica for 2009, but not the Stooges? Good choice; the Hetfield/Ulrich crew can perform a rousing rendition of "The Unforgiven" — and aim it straight at you.

1 comment:

G-Fab said...

You right! Gonna spin that first record in defiance.