A press conference was held at Gund Arena November 12. Cavaliers coach Mike Fratello was there. Was the end of the NBA lockout nigh? Hell no. Before his Thursday night show, Billy Joel fielded questions about his recently announced induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Earlier in the day, Joel inspected the hall, searching for a spot to rest the trumpet he posed with on the cover of 52nd Street, perhaps. The piano man said the honor hadn't really sunk in yet, and might not until he sees his "wax dummy or whatever."
Our cult of award giving is such that Joel already has three honorary doctorate degrees. Not bad for a high school dropout from Long Island. Asked whom he would like to see the hall induct, Joel had a spontaneous--and satisfactory--answer: Steve Winwood. When he first heard Winwood, Joel said he wondered how "a skinny little English kid" could make such a big sound.
Joel fills arenas even though he hasn't had a hit in some time. It's not writer's block as much as a lack of will. Joel mostly composes symphonies now (aging rocker cliche du jour). He sounded as though he is in no hurry to release anything, but he realizes that "if I don't come up with new material, I'll end up parodying myself, and I don't want to do that."
Joel will be inducted with Bruce Springsteen, Curtis Mayfield, Del Shannon, Dusty Springfield, the Staples Singers, and Paul McCartney (a questionable choice; laziness, not greatness, is the word that comes to mind when considering Paul's solo flight). Beatles producer George Martin will enter in the non-performer category; early influence recognition goes to Charles Brown and Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. Great to see hall voters recognize Wills. Listen to the swing bandleader, and you realize why they called it country and western.
Speaking of swing, dress to the nines and shake it up Saturday, November 21, at the Springvale Ballroom. Valerie Salstrom and Deor Orzame will conduct a swing workshop in the afternoon, followed by an evening dance with music from Joe Bell and the Swing Lizards.
Shouting Mountain, a polycultural, Native-influenced rock band, will host a benefit at the Grog Shop Sunday, November 22. The band and other musicians provide the tunes; Navajo Nation leaders provide the message, protesting the relocation of Navajo and Hopi tribes of Big Mountain, Arizona, to an area said to be contaminated by a uranium spill. The event is co-sponsored by Supporters of Navajo Against Relocation (SONAR).
Who says you can't throw a CD release party and benefit the homeless on the same night? Not Spawn. The Akron band will play Ron's Crossroads on Saturday, November 21. Admission is three cans of food or $3. The new disc, Round 2, was produced by Judas Priest's Tim "Ripper" Owens. In other rock-and-baste news, WMMS will collect Thanksgiving victuals during a live broadcast at St. Augustine's Wednesday, November 25. The church's food pantry supplies meals for more than 6,000 people.
The week Scene poked a little fun at Rick James for having his hip replaced (a decidedly uncool procedure for a rocker), the guy suffers a stroke after a blood vessel ruptured. Sorry for the bad karma. Super Freak's Cleveland date was canceled.
The Influence is back after a break to record. The band will hold a "pseudo" CD release party (pseudo, we assume, because it's a four-song EP) at Annabell's Saturday, November 21. Dayton's Gulliver's Traveling Medicine Show opens ... Omegacell also has a CD release show this weekend. Hear tracks off the hard rockers' self-titled debut at Peabody's DownUnder Friday, November 20. NDE, Q, Odious Sanction, and Turnbuckle open.
Singer Kate Beck has left Bitter Delores, a Pittsburgh band. The departure was amicable. Beck wanted to take a break from the road and attend Duquesne University's music education graduate program. Olivia Hydak is the band's new vocalist. Delores is slated to play Peabody's Wednesday, November 25.
The Armstrong Bearcat Band will try to rekindle the glory of the "Church of the Ramrods," the Sunday night blues-rock knockabouts at the Euclid Tavern. Thanksgiving night, shake off the dulling effects of tryptophan at Cebar's. Alan Greene and Cy Sulak will stop by, just like in the old days. Armstrong Bearcat will also play the Chesterland Thanksgiving eve and Wednesdays of the future.
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