rock nyc’s Tenth Anniversary Celebration: The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Museum New York Annex: This Aint No Mudd Club no CBGB
(Still in the summer of 2009 and no, it didn’t last -IL)
Did you ever see that Twilight Zone where astronauts land in this place and everything looks like white picket fence normal 50s America but nobody is moving or anything and finally they discover it’s a mausoleum and they die… well that’s what the rock and roll hall of fame museum is like.
You pony up twenty-five bucks and enter it like you’re entering a Disney ride: an interminable wait before they let you into another cubicle AND LOCK THE DOOR and then there is another long wait and during the second wait there is and electronic wall doo-dat and it is filled with the names of former rock and roll hall of famers and when a you push a name it lights up and you get 30 seconds or so of a performers most -popular song and there is something completely uncool about it, it works neither musically, not future shockly nor infact any way that might matter to anybody who takes this shit seriously and as we go through this ridiculous place it begins to dawn on you that nobody really gets what’s going on here.
Iggy Pop used to rip his body to shreds with broken bottles on stage, what does a snippet of “No Fun” tell anybody about anything? The room is large enough but it feels claustrophobic and snobby -it’s like sitting watching a 3d movie at disneyworld -they open one side and close another and like a herd of cattle we’re are getting pushed and prodded.And there is no way out!! You get the point after five minutes but you’re stuck there touching walls for fifteen minutes and why? Because they are trying to justify $25 for a museum that a medium paced New Yorker could finish in twenty minutes.
Next is the most pathetic, self-congratulatory piece of crap movie you have ever seen. Juxtaposing the highlights of the sets of great live rock performers is like watching a porn movie of all cum shots. In a word: yuck. It has nothing to do with anything, nothing at all to do with any spirit of rock. If rock has a spirit you will find it NOWHERE here: the overwhelming sense that rock imparted of youth, sexuality and freedom didn’t die because of middle age it died because of preciousness. There was more rock and roll in a minute of Real Estates set at the Whitney last week than in every single exhibit in the Annex (and presumably in the Cleveland Museum proper) put together. You wanna honor Muddy Waters? Honor the soul he put into his song.
The museum itself is pathetic: it is like Madame Tussauds all these set pieces behind red rope… chevy’s with Springsteen music pouring out, the original lyric in THEIR ACTUAL HAND WRITING under glass. Worst of all was the Clash exhibit. The Clash? Cmon guys, fuck off already. There was a film of the Clash playing “Capitol radio” in their leather jacket this and flyer that horse and carriage show and if the people (Wenner, right?) had taken one minute to watch it theydda burned the fucking hell hole to the ground. Even musically nothing is alive (godforbid they open a small club for local bands) and it’s sound bytes and snippets.
Look at it this way: if rock lives on it is not because of Van Morrison or me or Wenner, it is because of kids picking out songs on guitars and discovering they too can do it. it’s the story of prole High Schoolers like The Jam. Kids can afford it, they can do, they can make it theirs and they can make it truly forever young…. It’s not like jazz -it doesn’t take years of practise to play a guitar. It isn’t like classical, you don’t need a phd to write verse chorus verse, so when these planks stick it up on a pedestal they are killing it off by making it the unreachable ideal of genius and not the young, prole, middle class, shout of freedom Elvis invented. These guys are assholes. Ignore them.