I was fortunate to spend this past weekend in Chicago, where Eric Clapton held his third Crossroads Guitar Festival on Saturday. The shows benefit Clapton’s Crossroads Centre, a rehab facility in Antigua, and they are a virtual who’s who of great guitar players. This year’s festival, at Toyota Park, featured performances by everyone from B.B. King and Buddy Guy, to Ron Wood, ZZ Top, Jeff Beck and Johnny Winter, to such relative newcomers as John Mayer, Johnny Lang and Citizen Cope.
Terry Stewart, the Rock Hall’s President and CEO, was also there, and we were able to spend time with some of our inductees, as well as with Larry Yellen, a filmmaker who works on our annual induction videos, and other folks from the music business.
The show always features one-of-a-kind performances, and some of my favorites this year included Robert Cray’s set with Jimmie Vaughan and Hubert Sumlin, ZZ Top’s take on Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady” and Buddy Guy’s performances with Ron Wood and Johnny Lang. John Mayer once again displayed his virtuosity on the guitar, backed by Pino Palladino on bass and Steve Jordan on drums, and Derek Truck ...
Trans Am will perform for the first time at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum on Wednesday, August 18 as part of the free Summer in the City concert series. We caught up with the Nathan Means about the band’s one of a kind sound and their thoughts on playing at the Rock Hall for the first time.
Tell us about your band and who your musical inspirations are that influenced your sound?
We like a lot of music. There's no point in writing a list, but, say, Deep Purple, Autechre, Nice Nice, The Eagles, and Vangelis. That probably tells you almost nothing. How about this: We're three-piece that includes drums/drum machines/vocals, guitar/keyboards/bass/vocals, bass/keyboards/vocoder. So we get a lot of different sounds, but the music is especially good for exercising or driving on the highway. Unfortunately, a lot of people don't know this and just seem to drink and yell during our shows. Those shows are high energy. Our drummer, Sebastian, is usually the most featured musician.
Anyway, Trans Am has been around since the mid-90s. I guess we are a "cult band" -- we were lucky ...
In the spring of 2008, I received a call from Brian Jennings, the program director of WGAR, the country radio station in Cleveland. A new artist was going to be visiting the station and was interested in visiting the Museum. That was the first time I met Jamey Johnson. There’s no doubt upon meeting Jamey is that he is the real deal, a sincere and true artist who has a deep and abiding respect for the true soul of music. If you’ve heard any of his records, you know what I mean. We had a great time that day walking around the museum talking about all kinds of music and bonding over our mutual love for Hank Williams, Sr. Jamey, like ol’ Hank, is from Montgomery, Alabama. We’ve kept in touch periodically through email and it’s been very satisfying to see him achieve the level of success and volume of accolades he has earned.
Last week an email shows up from Jamey saying he was in town to play at the House of Blues (a gig I was embarrassingly unaware of) and wanted to know if he could bring over a few friends. About 30 minutes ...
John Covach’s December 29th column in The Plain Dealer, “Why no Yes in the Rock Hall?” offers a provocative view on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction process. Covach correctly pointed out that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has not yet inducted many prog rockers. Only Genesis and Pink Floyd have made the cut, while bands like Yes, King Crimson, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer have not. But Covach uses this fact as evidence that the induction process is “rigged” and that the Rock Hall is “not primarily a historical institution.” Those charges are unfair.
Prog rock’s status in the Rock Hall is less about bias and corruption than it is a reflection of the changing history of the definition of rock and roll itself. From its inception, prog rock got a mixed reception. As Covach himself has shown in his book What’s That Sound? An Introduction to Rock and Its History, many critics originally saw the music as pretentious and some rock fans were turned off by prog’s lofty subject matter.
By drawing from classical elements, prog rock implied to some that rock itself wasn’t artistically interesting or important enough to ...
Over the last few weeks, several pundits have made splashes with articles declaring the death of “rock ‘n roll.” After close examination, we here at the Museum see these arguments as more of a testament to the decline of the music industry and not the art form that we celebrate. The statistics below are the underpinning for these writers’ arguments. Additional hay has been made by the fact that other stats for the top songs of the year have been reviewed by certain critics and determined by them to include only two or three “rock” songs. You can probably guess where this latter revelation or “fact” takes me……. how do you define rock?
When you step back and take a look at history, so called experts have been predicting or claiming that rock and roll is or will be dead for almost as long as it has been around. The reality is that more folks, and especially young people, turn to this art form (as we righteously define it, e.g. rock, RnB, urban, hip hop, blues, etc.) to express themselves than they ever did. Ya just don’t see gaggles of folk, jazz, or classical, combos spontaneously bubbling up ...
On this Mardi Gras day, we mourn the passing of Herman "Roscoe" Ernest, one of New Orleans great drummers. Ernest has been the drummer in Dr. John's band since the mid-1970s. We worked with him last year for our American Music Masters celebration of Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew--The Lower 911 were the house band for the night. It was such a blast to see him play. When Jason and I first met him at a Dr. John show in New Orleans in September, he was very excited about AMM and so helpful to us about the program. Watching him rehearse and perform was a real privilege--he was the keeper of the funk, and knew the secret to all those New Orleans rhythms.
Our condolences to Herman's family and friends, Dr. John, and the members of the Lower 911.
For the second year in a row, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum moderated a panel at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, TX.
On March 18, the Rock Hall's panel, A Woman's Work: Changing the Music Industry, traced the history, challenges and changing roles of women working in the music industry. The panel examined the business relationships of booking agents, managers, record label executives and publicists with female artists and the resulting influence of their successes, as well as the future of gender roles in the music industry.
Click here to view photos from the SXSW panel!