Patti Smith

I’m upset that Patti Smith got into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Let me make this perfectly clear, the only people who care are those who lived in Manhattan in the seventies, or maybe commuted from one of the other four boroughs to see a show on the rock hard island, the rest of the world DOESN’T GIVE A SHIT!

Oh, I’ve got nothing against Ms. Smith, I own five of her albums.  Do I play them? NEVER!  I downloaded "Kimberly", having fond memories of the track when it was featured on one of the very first Arista albums ever.  I’d like to tell you it’s got a high count in my iTunes library, but once was enough, it was a period curio.  And "Because The Night"?  That’s a Bruce Springsteen song, Patti never wrote or performed anything remotely like it again.  Shit, if Patti gets in for a Bruce cover, shouldn’t ROBERT GORDON?

Only in New York does myopia still exist.  Yes, in the last century, those on the coast felt superior, that those out in the flatlands were idiots, out of the loop, not realizing that cable TV was the same in Dubuque as it was in New York City.  But then came the Internet.  Anybody who doesn’t know the Net goes everywhere is not connected.

But we live in a culture where you’ve got to feel superior.  And New Yorkers specialize in this.  They’re just that much BETTER than everybody else, they’ve got their finger on the pulse, they’re the arbiters of taste.

New York just might be the greatest city in the world.  But it’s not the ONLY city in the world!  Why is it that the Eagles have to take shit for their Southern California perspective, but Patti Smith gets a pass?  Isn’t she just another suburbanite playacting in the city?

Alice Cooper can’t even get nominated.  His/their crime?  Being from ARIZONA!  Then living in Detroit and L.A. (you know Detroit gets no love from New York, hell, the Stooges didn’t get in.)  Alice Cooper INVENTED glam-rock.  Not only that, he had hits.  Which embodied the teenage ethos/struggle/anxiety/anger better than ANY material Patti Smith EVER did.  "I’m EIGHTEEN"!  Ah, New Yorkers love teenage angst when it’s performed badly by punks who can barely sing or play, but put Bob Ezrin behind the board and create a seamless machine and suddenly the music is WORTHLESS?

And, have you forgotten Alice Cooper’s "School’s Out" package, with the desk opening up to reveal the record in panties?  That’s performance art worthy of Warhol.  Hell, if it had all been created in New York City, Alice Cooper would be a darling.  Not that nobody in New York liked Alice Cooper, hell, I went to see him beheaded at a sold-out Madison Square Garden.  Yup, he invented theatrical rock too.  But it’s not what you invent, it’s not about trailblazing, but how cool you are.  I’ll grant you that Patti Smith is cool.  A great musician?  A great artist?

How about another of Ezrin’s productions, Peter Gabriel?  How come he can’t get nominated, never mind get in.  His third, eponymous album, is far superior than the GREATEST HITS of Ms. Smith.  Hell, his Ezrin-produced debut is more challenging than "Horses".  But he gets no traction, no respect.

Or what about Gabriel’s work with Genesis?  They’ve got to be in the Hall, right?

Of course not.  Prog rock doesn’t exist in the minds of the Hall.  Yes isn’t in either.  Don’t you know chops are anathema?  That it’s better to NOT KNOW how to play?

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame used to be cool.  One used to want to go to its induction ceremonies.  Because they were insider events.  Everybody wants to be an insider at someplace cool.  But now they’re on TV, they’re just as phony and evanescent as the usual network fare.  But you’ve got to follow the buck, right?

How could things get so screwed up, how could reality get so warped, how could respect be eliminated from the equation.  You let in second-rate people like Patti Smith, and you taint the rest of the inductees.  I mean who next, TELEVISION??

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  1. Pingback by armchair apocrypha – rabbit valley road | 2007/01/15 at 13:55:47

    […] one else see Bob Corker choke in this hearing? What a waste. Check out the Lefsetz Letter blog for thoughts on Patti Smith’s recent induction […]

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