I can’t hold back.
So I pick that copy of "Newsweek" back up, I was stopped in my tracks when I read Stephen King’s To-Do list, and lo and behold, there’s a To-Do list from Patti Smith:
1. Learn serious horse riding from the polo club in Buenos Aires.
2. Ride across the Pampas of South America.
3. Read the Bible, Torah and Qur’an.
Mmm…I know, she’s a rock star not a role model.
Then again, wasn’t she renowned as a poet?
Oh, maybe she didn’t get the memo. Maybe if she saw Stephen King’s list first, she would have come up with something snappier, more impressive. But that’s what rock stars do, they come up with something off the cuff that’s impressive without even THINKING ABOUT IT! That’s who THEY ARE!
Oh, let’s not attack Ms. Smith only…
Here’s Joan Jett’s To-Do list:
1. I’d like to go to India and Africa, do some serious traveling.
2. To somehow combine my love for animals, nature and children.
3. To learn a language. I took French in school, but I didn’t like the teacher so I learned nothing.
Compare this to Alice Cooper:
"The hippies wanted peace and love. We wanted Ferraris, blondes and switchblades."
Or maybe David Lee Roth:
"Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you a yacht big enough to pull up alongside it."
I mean come on, "Newsweek" tracks you down for a quote and you don’t see this as an OPPORTUNITY? To make a statement, to flip people out, to even reveal an aspect of your personality that would shock people? That’s Rock 101!
And then there’s George Clinton asked about playing a club in San Francisco right after the earthquake:
"They already blew the roof off that sucka!"
Being a rock star is a full time job. Or, as David Lee Roth once said:
"You stick your head above the crowd and attract attention, and sometime, maybe somebody, will throw a rock at you. That’s the territory. You buy the land, you get the Indians."
Now I really don’t want to rain on your parade, piss on Patti Smith anymore. I’ll just say for a while there, nobody disagreed about inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. You might not have even liked the act, but you believed they deserved to be in there.
These last two years have been curious. Blondie and Patti Smith? Sure, they had some traction, but are they in the same LEAGUE as the Beatles, the Stones, Led Zeppelin, U2, Springsteen…
If you believe they are, sadly, you’re on a completely different page from me. This reminds me of the baby boomers’ kids, ALL of whom got trophies for playing in the soccer league, even if their team ended up in last place. I mean can’t we draw the line ANYWHERE anymore? Does EVERYBODY have to get in? Are we afraid of hurting every last person’s feelings?
This ain’t about Patti Smith. I don’t think she sucks. Like I said, I bought all her albums until she retired. But personally, I like 10cc better. Their first record, with "Rubber Bullets", ripped off every genre known to man, in HIT SONG FORM! But 10cc don’t belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Nor does Bill Nelson of Be Bop Deluxe, whom I also loved. And if it’s about influences, don’t we put in Lowell George? Whom Bonnie Raitt and so many others testified about being an inspiration, teaching them how to sing?
I know what a rock star is.
Having one hit is not being a rock star. Vanilla Ice does not qualify.
A rock star is someone in whose presence you tingle, no matter how many years after the hit. But a rock star who belongs in the Hall of Fame is one whom you meet and then go home and call EVERYBODY YOU KNOW and tell them!
Come on, I’m gonna ring up my buddies and say I ran into Patti Smith?
But Ringo… When Steven Tyler put him on the phone… I’ve told that story FOREVER!!