Skip to main content

My First Visit To The Musical Mecca

Hey Soul Mates,
5 years ago today, also a Sunday, I made my first trip to Mecca... the musical one: the
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & Museum on the shore of Lake Erie. I hadn't been back to Cleveland in 11 years and in that time they had constructed a palace for pop music right next to the new Cleveland Browns stadium. I went with my oldest childhood friend, Pete, who had been before and knew the layout of the place. The Rock Hall is a beautiful glass pyramid that beckons with music and flash. Towering set pieces from U2's Zoo TV tour welcomed us.

We began by watching a short film called Mystery Train which tells a brief story of how Delta Blues and Hillbilly Country music were forged together to create Rock & Roll. The curator and staff are keen to make sure that the public recognizes Rock's ancestors and it's history. This is a musuem after all, but it's not static! As you begin your tour of the Rock Hall you see the faces of important blues and country artists. Folk singers, all. And everywhere, there is music. Music coming from monitors, headsets, displays. Music to discover. Music to remember. Non-stop.

The first floor of the Rock Hall is subterranean. It's main feature is a giant array of stage costumes. From Britney Spears to Elton John, from Sly Stone to Talking Heads, from the Glove to Sgt. Pepper uniforms, the outfits cover 50 years of outrageousness & extravagance. Then there are several displays dedicated to particular groups. Artifacts from the "real lives" and working lives of the Beatles, James Brown, the Who, Rolling Stones, Ramones, Aretha, Hendrix, & the Doors are highlights. There are displays that cover various musical movements & birthplaces: blues, punk, disco, soul, new wave, Detroit, Seattle, Liverpool, etc. On the upper floors there are temporary exhibits that cover particular artists; or rock journalists & photographers; fans; technology. As you go higher in the building, you reach the Hall of Fame itself. The HOF presentation features a film (updated every year to include the latest inductees) that highlights the career of every performer & non-performer entered. It's very poignant to see artists who have passed and electrifying to watch snippets of performances rarely aired.

That first day at the Rock Hall, I barely got half of it in. I had to go back the next day to pour over the more obscure objects and soak up the atmosphere. I'm a charter member of the museum and had been paying dues for 3 years before I even got a chance to go, so I was gonna get my money's worth! I flew out of Hopkins later that July 4th afternoon still wearing my neon pink Rock Hall entry wrist band. I have barely begun to describe what you can see when you visit. It's impact on me is immeasurable. John Lennon's glasses, the side of Otis Redding's private jet, Keith Moon's detonated drum kit, Jimi Hendrix's jackets, Sam Phillips' Sun Studio recording console, hand-written lyrics to Blitzkrieg Bop, Howlin' Wolf's briefcase... Just a taste.

I've been back to Cleveland twice since and to the Rock Hall a total of 3 more times. It's ever-changing exhibits and even the permanent ones leave me awestruck. The last time we went there was a
giant U2 exhibition, along with a new group display for Duran Duran and the music of Ohio. The year prior there was art by Ronnie Wood and 2 floors dedicated to John Lennon. So, if you find yourself in Northeastern Ohio anytime of year, for any reason, carve out a few hours to spend at the Rock Hall. You won't be dissappointed.

Love, Power, Peace and Rock & Roll.

p.s. Cleveland does actually rock!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Murderous Haircut of the Mayor of Bel Air - Book Review

“The Murderous Haircut of the Mayor of Bel Air” is a trippy new mystery novel from Phillip Mottaz. It captures the grit and gilt of the City of Angels with the flair of a contemporary Raymond Chandler. The brisk pace and wit are reminiscent of Douglas Adams’s entries in the detective game. Flourishes of  Fletch  and “Medium” also spring to mind. However, Mottaz has added a psychic/mutant/superhuman touch and his own comedic voice, structure and internal monologues to the proceedings that help the author announce his own style and the arrival of a literary heroine for a new generation. Hairstylist and budding private investigator, Danica Luman is the perfect character to convey the irony, angst and sarcasm needed to tell a 21st century L.A. crime story. Danica also represents anyone who thought it would be neat to get tangled up in a mystery and the darkly comic cautionary tale that follows. The genre is recognizable, but Mottaz offers a fresh take on the not-ready-for-prime-time-hard-b

Well, I Left My Jag In Kansas City

Hey Soul Mates, that's one of my all-time favorite movie lines. On occasion in real life, I've been able to say it. That bit of dialogue is from Silver Streak . My buddy Mike told me to say something about Richard Pryor . That man was funny. How about that? I always looked forward to going to his movies as a kid: Bustin' Loose, Wholly Moses!, Brewster's Millions, The Toy and See No Evil, Hear No Evil . Plus, if you got to see his latest movie, you were "cool." We'd watch the rest on TV: Car Wash, Bingo Long, Greased Lightning and The Wiz to name a few [I know one of Bryan's all-time faves is Moving ]. Just last month, I caught his big scene in Uptown Saturday Night on BET. These are not necessarily classics, but Mr. Pryor's performances were all enjoyable and there was a feeling of rebellion in watching him work. As a kid, it was like you were given a peek into the absurd, adult world through his humor. He was showing us how messed up Ameri

Lord Huron - Long Lost (Review)

Lord Huron - Long Lost  Republic, 2021 Released on Whispering Pines Records & Tapes, Lord Huron’s new LP Long Lost is a Fabulist & Western concept album. The band has traditionally tapped into the spirit of Hank Williams, Springsteen and Roy Orbison with lovelorn, operatic flair. Ghosts are never too far, either, and Lord Huron have never been ‘fraid of them or reverb. They have added to their usual cinematic repertoire by way of interludes jarring and organic, spoken word introductions (maybe label founder Tubbs Tarbell?) and reprises, enhanced by headphone listening. The result is an experience that sounds like a vintage radio show produced by David Lynch with lead singer Ben Schneider in the role of Special Agent Chester Desmond’s musical nephew’s doppelgänger. Standout songs are the stunning title track Long Lost, I Lied, and Not Dead Yet. The last quarter of the album is a dream state soundscape, Time’s Blur, the band becoming the radio wave escaping earth’s atmosphere. T