Maybe Rock ‘n Roll has already died

Maybe Neil Young was wrong.

The tribute last night to the inductees of the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame revealed a continuing split between the artists it honors and the institution.

Steve Miller last night accepted his induction and then ripped the organization, formed by rock heavyweights like Jann S. Wenner of Rolling Stone.

“When they told me I was inducted they said, ‘You have two tickets — one for your wife and one for yourself. Want another one? It’s $10,000. Sorry, that’s the way it goes,’ ” he said, adding, “What about my band? What about their wives?”

Miller said the whole evening, which will be broadcast later on HBO, almost didn’t happen.

Here’s his whole induction speech.

Ice Cube of the rap group N.W.A, wasn’t any happier than Miller was. The group was just the fifth hip-hop act to be inducted but it declined to perform at the ceremony, as tradition dictates.

“I guess we really didn’t feel like we were supported enough to do the best show we could put on,” he said.

Deep Purple, also inducted, played without one of its founding members. Ritchie Blackmore stayed away because current members wouldn’t agree to play with him.

  • lindblomeagles

    The title to this post might be right. While its an honor NWA was selected into the Rock – N – Roll Hall of Fame, NWA wasn’t really a rock group, and while Steve Miller was a rock musician, Miller always included his band in the group’s closing credits. I can’t remember him titling his group, Steve Miller. It was always the Steve Miller Band. Barely any one makes “rock songs.” Today’s popular music features more dance, jazz, and country rhythms than rock and roll.

  • Gordon near Two Harbors

    It is a sad fact that true Rock and Roll is nearly dead. What has replaced it could hardly be called “music” because it depends on computer-made, synthetic sounds–and there is very little depth to most of it (especially Country and EDM), because the foundations are rotten and most of it is produced to a formula that re-hashes the same old chord progressions and ideas of the past.

    • Jay T. Berken

      You know the ’80s are over…for the most part that is.

    • John

      It’s always cute when old people, whose taste in music was derided as terrible back when it was upsetting the established musical taste, deride new music as “it could hardly be called music,” or similar while it’s upsetting their established musical taste.

      I’ll get off your lawn now.

      • Gordon near Two Harbors

        There was bad music throughout the ages, but one can hardly call EDM or most modern country “good music”. I listen to a WIDE variety of music, old and new, but can recognize when the same old ideas and chord progressions are re-hashed over and over again–and the organic sound of real instruments is replaced with computer generated music and auto-tuned voices.

        And “I’ll get off your lawn now”? I live in the North Woods and am pretty young.

        • John

          You sound like a grumpy old man shouting at the sky in your original post – hence the get off the lawn jab. (yeah, I was trolling a little. I’m feeling a bit feisty this morning.)

          Yes, there’s always been bad and good music, and what I think happens is the good music endures, while the bad falls away from the collective consciousness (unless it’s so bad – see MacArthur Park – that it attains a special status). So, we look back at Led Zeppelin IV, and think “wow that was a great era,” while forgetting all the garbage that was released at the same time.

          I hate modern country with a passion (I’m pretty sure that’s still true – I actively avoid it, so it could have changed in the last few years, but I doubt it.) I also am not a fan of EDM. Just not my bag.

          There’s some great electronic music out there (great country too). Little of it is played with regular rotation on any radio stations that I’m aware of. It’s part of what makes streaming so great.

          But, with electronic, there are new sounds, new ways of putting it all together, and you saying above that it can hardly be called music is exactly what my parent said when bands like Nirvana hit the scene – “it’s just noise. that’s not music. It’s the same three chords over and over.” While at the same time they were still listening to the Stones and Beatles (who were hated by adults when they were kids). See the parallel I was drawing?

          • Gordon near Two Harbors

            Yeah, I remember my folks calling the rock music when I was in grade school “monkey music”. Your points are well taken, and there certainly has been a mix of good and bad over the years. To me, much of the current pop music is the cheap offspring (or regurgitation) of what we called “bubble gum music” back in the day.

            The lack of airplay is what keeps good music from the masses. The Dixie Chicks still are some of the best country musicians out there, but they were black-listed by the rednecks running that industry, because the views expressed in their music didn’t fit the right-wing mentality of the industry execs. So much for free speech and letting the public decide for itself…

          • John

            I believe for the last 40-50 years, “current” pop music has largely been a regurgitation of bubble gum pop of the 50’s. The hitmakers (i.e. producers and marketers) found a formula and stuck with it, and it still works today.

            There’s a guy who makes a mashup of all the #1 tracks each year, and I think it was two years ago he said it was super easy because nearly every single song had the exact same beat and tempo. The magic sales drum.

            When I think about music as a way to make money, rather than as an art form or creative expression, I think about it like this: Every once in a while, someone will come along and totally blow up the industry model (Beatles, The Who, Zeppelin, Cream, Guns n Roses, Nirvana, . . . ), but in general the cart gets rebuilt, looking much like it did before, and goes along making money for those who make money from it just like it always did.

            The folks who are making music because they have to (from an artistic drive, not a $$ perspective), will continue to make interesting sounds that we the interested listener will have to work to find – because the industry types either can’t figure out how to make money from it, or they won’t make enough to justify the work when there’s an easy few million to be made from another Katy Perry or Bieber song. (Do the kids still listen to those two?) The good news is that it’s easier than ever to find good music because of the internet. Paying for it . . . that’s a whole different can-o-worms.

  • Rob

    Rock n’ Roll is nowhere near dead. Check out some Wolf Alice, Savages, Spoon, TV on the Radio, Silver Sun Pickups, Bob Mould, Courtney Barnett – just to name a few – and it’ll become patently obvious that the headline of this post is hyperventilatingly hypberbolic.

    And even though 89.3 The Current doesn’t play nearly enough newer Rock n’ Roll, it’s a good place to go for anyone who needs reassurance that this genre is doing just fine.

    • wjc

      And Arctic Monkeys, The Shins, New Pornographers, etc. There is a lot of good rock out there. Thanks, Mr. Toad.

      Love Wolf Alice.

  • Gary F

    St Paul and the Broken Bones and Vintage Trouble, listen to them and tell me R &R is dying.

    Sounds like most of the problem is people that hoped they were gonna die before they get old.

  • Postal Customer

    I have eight turntables. Rock n roll ain’t dead.

  • wjc

    Just because the R&RHOF treats the geezers badly, doesn’t mean rock is dead.