An East Coast Monk In King Wenner’s Court [part the second]
[…continued from last post]
RRHOF – the present
This year the class of 2019 inductees added seven artists to the sacred rolls of the Hall. Of recent years, there was a fan vote where the broad range of nominees could get votes from ordinary joes like myself. I actually voted once a day for a month or two for the following four nominees: DEVO, Roxy Music, Kraftwerk, and Rufus/Chaka Kahn. There were other artists I admired like Todd Rundgren [what…he’s not already in there??!] and The Cure but I felt the most strongly about the four I picked. At the end of the fan vote, Def Leppard and Stevie Nicks overwhelmingly crushed the competition. Sigh.
But Roxy Music actually got in! I didn’t expect that since the group were the height of the finest sort of inauthenticity that the RRHOF is very much not about. It would be very cool to see a display of Roxy Music stuff. Hopefully Eno’s Antony Price “plumed serpent” outfit from the interior gatefold of “For Your Pleasure!” So it was around noon when we arrived at the pyramid on the lake and by that time hungry, we got a bite to eat in the café which was… not bad. The vegetarian selection was an eggplant stir fry dish that was decent and priced lower than it could have been. It could have been all burgers and fries, but someone cared. We next set out to see how best to storm this castle of rock history. The maps revealed that there was a show of rock pinball machines, and the new inductees zone as well as many video based exhibits.
The interior of the pyramid is largely open. Hmm, would we find King Crimson on Level 5? We ascended to the inductee level to see the Roxy Music portion of the exhibit. The main draw for visiting today.
I thought my wife took a photo of the amazing Phil Manzanera “fly-eye” goggles from the interior of the debut album gatefold, but all I can see is the descriptive text in our photos. The 1975 “Siren” tourbook is something that I’ve actually held in my hands and read once, when a British gent called Jez met me over at Armadillo Records one afternoon. I’ll never forget that the opening act [who got a page in the tourbook in those earlier, gentler times] were the Sadistic Mika Band, featuring future YMO drummer Yukihiro Takahashi! The owner had told him that I was a big Roxy fan so he brought over a box filled with bootlegs and that tour book for me to view. Possibly the most interesting item here was Bryan Ferry’s timeline/daytimer from his notebooks detailing what happened and when during the first two years of the band. They are just barely legible if you click to make them larger.
I especially liked the first line item for 1973…
You have to love how these sheets have seen a lot of wrinkles and folds over the years. Just like the rest of us.
The induction membership plaques display the Hall algebra that goes into deciding who, among the many members a band may have over its history, actually get to ride along in the induction limo. We can see that in most cases, the lineup when the first album is recorded is a given. So for Roxy Music that meant that even their first of many revolving bass players, Graham Simpson, was in the history books here. Eno is in, probably to his head-shaking bemusement. But of all of the many players who graced Roxy Music from their third album on ward, only Eddie Jobson is enshrined here. Which I can agree with. Jobson inherited the Eno role in the band of textural filigree and did a stellar job of it.
Next to Roxy Music in the pantheon of inductees was The Cure. The membership roster for The Cure was also well considered. The basic quartet were there, abetted by the major players who have kept The Cure’s torch burning since the mid-80s. There were even a few names that I didn’t recognize as well as Mr. Reeves Gabrels, who has held guitar position in the band for the last seven years or so after initial contact with Smith at Bowie’s 50th birthday concert. He has yet to actually record anything with the band save for the 1997 single “Wrong Number” since they have hardly been burning up studio time in the last decade or so. Well, good on yer, Reeves Gabrels! His years as Bowie’s right-hand man for a decade apparently didn’t count as Bowie is considered a solo act, and not a “band.” And I’m not going to hold my breath until Tin Machine is recognized [the philistines]. If it were up to me he’d be in the RRHOF just for the act of saving Bowie’s creative bacon when he really needed the helping hand.
Next: …Will DEVO Ever Get Into The RRHOF?