The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum


July 2012 | Blog Archives

Summer in the City: Interview with Mr. Gnome

Tuesday, July 31: 11 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Cleveland's Mr. Gnome will perform live at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Inspired by a taste for the surreal, Cleveland’s Mr. Gnome has been creating a singular amalgam of gritty, space-psychedelia since 2005, gaining them an ever-growing cult following across North America and Europe, as well as praise from the likes of Rolling Stone, Paste, Spin, Bust and more. Singer/guitarist Nicole Barille and drummer/pianist Sam Meister bring an unfiltered approach to their craft, allowing for emotional and sonic variance. With a nod to the off-kiltered, the constantly touring duo are supporting their third full-length album, Madness In Miniature, which was recorded at Josh Homme’s (Queens of the Stone Age/Them Crooked Vultures) Pink Duck Studios in Los Angeles. While the previous two albums offered mere glimpses, the new album is an all-encompassing gaze into two delicate yet roaring, hypnotic and beautifully disconcerting minds that come together to make sense as one. Here, the Rock Hall catches up with Barille and Meister, in advance of their live free concert at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, on August 1, 2012, as part of the Summer in the City concert series

Rock Hall: What was the first record/CD you ever bought and ...


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Rare Performances: Chuck Berry Live in 1994

Tuesday, July 31: 10 a.m.
Chuck Berry honored Willie Dixon in 1994 and performed "Roll Over Beethoven"

At the 1994 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Chuck Berry paid tribute to his Chess Records label mate and frequent collaborator Willie Dixon with a moving induction speech and stirring performance of “Roll Over Beethoven.” Dixon contributed his robust and propulsive bass playing to numerous Berry hits, including “Maybellene” and “Roll Over Beethoven.” Berry’s performance that evening reflects the sheer joy that he brings to every performance. Berry’s generosity as a performer is also evident, as he leaves plenty of room for members of Paul Shaffer’s Induction Ceremony house band the opportunity to shine, along with Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, Grateful Dead keyboardist Bruce Hornsby and Blues Traveler’s John Popper. The Rock and Roll Hall Fame and Museum is delighted to honor Chuck Berry as this year’s American Music Masters honoree.

WATCH: Chuck Berry performs "Roll Over Beethoven" live


continue Categories: American Music Masters, Hall of Fame, Inductee, Rare Performances, Event

Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll: "Rock & Roll Music"

Tuesday, July 24: 10:30 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Chuck Berry is the Rock Hall's 2012 American Music Masters honoree

What do the Beatles, Beach Boys, Bill Haley, James Last, Jan and Dean, the Archies, the Dave Clark Five and REO Speedwagon have in common? They've all recorded Chuck Berry's "Rock & Roll Music." The Beach Boys even had a bigger hit with their 1976 version than Berry did with his own recording 19 years earlier. But only Berry could have created the song. "I wanted the lyrics to define every aspect of its being," he has written about the tune. They do, with his characteristic mix of enthusiasm and detached observation: a 30-year-old father of two in 1957, Berry was more objective about rock and roll – the music and the business – than his younger companions on the charts. A demo version, recorded five months before the released take, lacks what would become the opening verse, and in the chorus Berry sings, "if you wanna rock with me" – a verb later changed to "dance," probably for reasons of taste if not redundancy. Unusual for Berry, "Rock & Roll Music" contains no guitar solo. Instead, verses and choruses plow ahead, the witty product of an assured songwriter. Except for a break of mambo-styled rhythm mimicking the lyrics, "Rock & Roll Music ...


continue Categories: American Music Masters, Inductee, Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll, Event

Donna Jean Godchaux, Grateful Dead and Elvis Presley

Friday, July 20: 11:24 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Donna Jean Godchaux during an interview at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland

This summer, Donna Jean Godchaux of the Grateful Dead spoke at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, as part of the Museum's Hall of Fame Series. During an engaging interview with the Rock Hall's VP of education Lauren Onkey, Godchaux shared stories from her impressive career, including how she met her late husband Keith Godchaux, and how a conversation with the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia after a concert led to Donna and Keith joining the band.

In this interview clip, Donna Jean Godchaux shares "one of the most amazing events in my life" and describes what she felt when Elvis Presley first came in the studio – "I have never seen a human being that gorgeous in my life" – during the sessions for "Suspicious Minds." Grateful Dead: The Long, Strange Trip, a major exhibition devoted to the group, is on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, through 2012. 

WATCH: Donna Jean Godchaux on Meeting and Recording with Elvis Presley


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Rare Performances: the Velvet Underground Live in 1996

Wednesday, July 18: 1:17 p.m.
The Velvet Underground performed a song dedicated to band member Sterling Morrison in 1996.

“No, I didn't attend his funeral. I dedicated a song to him from the stage of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – I wanted his name to be heard on TV and to the crowds watching the show. I wanted to play "Sweet Jane" for him one last time.” – Lou Reed, quoted in The Austin Chronicle, 2000

On September 2, 1995, Lou Reed performed “Sweet Jane” onstage at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, in front of a crowd of more than 63,000 and millions more around the world watching the concert broadcast on HBO. The occasion was the Concert for the Hall of Fame, celebrating the opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Reed’s fellow guitarist and Velvet Underground bandmate, Sterling Morrison, had passed away from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma just three days before. Reed’s performance, dedicated to Morrison, gently reminded the world of Velvet Underground’s impact, and Morrison’s unique contributions to the band. The surviving members of the Velvets would pay tribute to Morrison once more upon their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, on January 17, 1996, with a poignant performance of a song especially written for ...


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Summer in the City: Interview with Torche's Andrew Elstner

Wednesday, July 18: 9 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Torche / Photo by Gary Copeland

Formed in Miami, Florida, Torche has rocked fans, critics and stereos since their forming in 2004. Variously characterized as “stoner pop,” “thunder rock” and “sludge metal,” their self-titled album was declared as the Number Seven album of 2005 on Decibel magazine’s annual Top 40 list. Three years later, Decibel magazine ranked the band’s second album, Meanderthal, as Number One. Torche's latest album, Harmonicraft, was released in April 2012. The band has toured with Mogwai, Isis, Baroness and the Sword, among others, and in 2010, they opened for Coheed and Cambria. Here the Rock Hall catches up with Torche guitarist Andrew Elstner, as the band readies for a free live concert at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 25, 2012, part of the Summer in the City concert series.

Rock Hall: What was the first record/CD you ever bought and do you still listen to it?

Andrew Elstner: With my own money? Aerosmith Rocks and damn straight I still listen to it. Although now it's on my iPod, not a cassette tape. 

RH: What artists did you listen to when you were growing up and what about ...


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Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll: "Sonic Reducer"

Wednesday, July 11: 1 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
The Dead Boys' "Sonic Reducer" is one of the Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

Straight outta Cleveland, the Dead Boys probably were never meant to climb the long and treacherous path to rock stardom. They were too aggressive, too uncontrollable and too willing to do almost anything – no matter how foolhardy or repellent – to engage an audience. Guitarist Gene O'Connor aka Cheetah Chrome had been part of the influential but unrecorded band Rocket from the Tombs. When he and singer Stiv Bators formed the Dead Boys in 1976, they incorporated several of RFTT's best songs into their repertoire, including "Sonic Reducer," with O'Connor's rapid-fire eighth-note guitar riff bolted to the ingenious lyrics of RFTT frontman David Thomas (later of experimental rockers Pere Ubu). In 1977, the song was released as a single with b side "Down in Flames" and also included on the Dead Boys' debut album, Young, Loud and Snotty. After two albums and a couple of chaotic tours, the Dead Boys broke up in 1979. But "Sonic Reducer" became an American punk-rock standard that continues to resonate with new audiences: It was covered by 2012 Hall of Fame Inductees Guns n' Roses and sampled by 2012 Hall of Fame Inductees the Beastie Boys on"Open Letter to ...


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Rare Performances: Johnny Cash Live in 1992

Thursday, July 5: 3 p.m.
Johnny Cash led an all-star performance of "Big River" at the 1992 Hall of Fame induction ceremony

Late Show with David Letterman band leader Paul Shaffer, moonlighting in his annual turn helming the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony band, calls out the tune: ”This is a song called ‘Big River,’ and it’s in E!” It’s the 1992 induction ceremony, and one of that year’s inductees, Johnny Cash, recorded “Big River” for the Sun label in 1958. The band for which Paul Shaffer called the tune is remarkable in its sheer star power –some fellow 1992 inductees back up Cash, including Booker T. and Steve Cropper of Booker T. and the M.G.’s, Ronald and Marvin Isley of the Isley Brothers and Sam Moore of Sam and Dave. Past and future inductees also round out the band, including John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival (inducted in 1993), Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones (1989), the Edge of U2 (2005), Little Richard (1986), Carlos Santana (1998) and Isaac Hayes (2002). Edgar Winter backs Cash on sax and Aaron Neville of the Neville Brothers makes an appearance on vocals and percussion. Even with so many stars, Johnny Cash and his song outshine the pantheon onstage. “Big River” was the B-side of a ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Rare Performances, Exhibit, Hall of Fame
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