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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Assessing the Rock Hall Inductees' Inducters

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 2:15 PM


Sure, we're mega excited about this weekend's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions. Can't wait to see Jason Newsted with Metallica again and Run-DMC. But we're just as excited to check out the artists inducting the Class of '09: Jimmy Page, Eminem, two E Streeters, Flea ... um, scratch that last one.

There's been enough debate about who's going in this year and whether or not they deserve it (bitch all you want about Little Anthony and the Imperials, but your mom and dad got crazy busy to their tunes back in the day). What about the artists inducting the inductees? Do they deserve to be in the Rock Hall?

Three of the presenters are already in there: Jimmy Page (inducting Jeff Beck), Smokey Robinson (Little Anthony and the Imperials) and Ron Wood (Bobby Womack).

Also, E Street Band members and Hall of Famers Garry Tallent and Max Weinberg will induct Elvis' sidemen Bill Black and DJ Fontana. Paul Shaffer — who's gonna be there anyway — will induct sideman Spooner Oldham. No word yet on who's gonna induct early influence Wanda Jackson.

That leaves two artists: Eminem (who'll induct Run-DMC) and Flea (Metallica). What are their chances of actually getting in the hall someday?

Now that the Rock Hall has opened its doors to hip-hoppers (starting with Grandmaster Flash a couple years ago), and since there were more exciting rap crews (Public Enemy, N.W.A, Eric B & Rakim) than rock bands in the late '80s, you'll probably see lots more over the next few years. Eminem is a definite shoo-in. Especially since he's playing nice by coming to town to present Run-DMC with their award. Plus, he's made better records than a lot of recent inductees (the Ventures? The Dave Clark Five? Please).

Which leaves Flea, the Red Hot Chili Peppers' bass player and all-around annoying guy. The Peppers' faux-funk frat-rock isn't very original. It isn't very good either. Somewhere down the road, though, the Rock Hall will probably acknowledge these guys — kinda like it begrudgingly honored the Dave Clark Five decades after anyone cared about them.

What do you think? Does Eminem eventually belong in the Rock Hall? What about Flea? And how about Paul Shaffer? Surely there's room in the irritating bald-headed sidekick category for him. —Michael Gallucci

Last Mag Standing?

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 1:30 PM


Blender magazine folded last week, placing Cleveland-based Alternative Press indisputably in the Top 3 glossy monthly music mags.

The independently owned AP consistently ranks second in book-store sales, behind Rolling Stone, above Paste and far beyond Spin. It doesn’t have the size or cachet of Rolling Stone or Spin, but it has the best track record for breaking bands, especially since the millennium turned. It has single handedly owned the Warped Tour generation and has served as other mags’ tip sheet, breaking bands like Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance. In the late ’80s, AP also caught the alternative wave before there was a word for it. The magazine even got hip to Metallica relatively early — the band graced the last gatefold cover in 1988.

As Rolling Stone and Blender downsized, AP held its own. Blender’s February issue had a mere 76 pages, down from 120 a year earlier. AP’s had 120 — down just eight pages from its February 2008 issue. Founder/president Mike Shea says newsstand sales are down 7 percent, well below the industry average that’s closer to 35 percent. AP’s circulation is holding steady at just under 300,000. While Blender cover photos alternated pop stars like Lil Wayne with “celebrities” like Tila Tequila, AP kept ferreting out emo and punk up-and-comers like A Day To Remember. Shea says they’ll remain on course. (Full disclosure: this writer has contributed to AP here and there.)

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New Concert: Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 12:38 PM


Margot & the Nuclear So and So's are a ton of fun onstage. They released a pair of albums last year — Animal and Not Animal — that offer two different takes on the band's expansive indie-pop.

(Two versions were released to settle a record-company squabble; you can read more about it here.)

Margot & the Nuclear So and So's (nobody in the band is named Margot, by the way) returns to the Beachland on April 13.

The seven guys and one girl play banjos, trumpets, violins and a bunch of other instruments. And quite remarkably, they pull off their densely layered music in concert.

But you never know what you're gonna get with this band — the wide-eyed experimental combo or the chamber-pop enthusiasts. Either way, it rocks. —Michael Gallucci

Cleveland Rock City

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 12:23 PM


To drum up some regional support for the upcoming Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions, Positively Cleveland hosted what it called a “fam tour” (fam as in familiarization) with area journalists last week. The day started with the Rock Hall press conference about the inductions that included handing out proclamations to Parliament/Funkadelic’s Bootsy Collins and the O’Jays’ Walter Williams, both of whom are already inducted.

From the Rock Hall, a bus took the writers to the Beachland Ballroom, where co-owner Cindy Barber talked about how she and partner Mark Leddy (who quietly manned a pair of turntables and spun old-school soul singles) had transformed the Croatian dance hall into the area’s most happening music joint. Their hope, she said, was that the entire Collinwood neighborhood would become a haven for artsy types.

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Feelin' Generous?

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 11:09 AM


Feeling in a giving mood? I know, it's hard to give to others when you might be eating cat food in a couple months. But just in case you have some spare cash around, Paul Williams — who founded Crawdaddy!, the first magazine to take rock 'n' roll seriously — needs some help.

Williams has been suffering from Alzheimer's the past few years. His family is having a tough time caring for him and keeping up with his medical bills. If you're feeling generous, they've set up a support fund on Williams' website.

Crawdaddy! started in 1966, a couple years before Rolling Stone launched. Before that, music mags leaned toward teen stuff — you know, "Mick Jagger's favorite color" and things like that. Williams viewed rock 'n' roll as a valid art form and treated it as such in the pages of Crawdaddy! His early reviews set the template for every music magazine that followed.

Williams has been inactive for the past decade, after a bike accident left him with a brain injury. That led to Alzheimer's and left Williams' wife (anti-folk singer-songwriter Cindy Lee Berryhill) and son with a huge debt. So, again, if you're feeling in a giving mood ... Just sayin'. —Michael Gallucci

The Great Metallica Debate — Round Three

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 11:00 AM


On Saturday, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum welcomes Metallica to the ranks of popular music’s all-time greats. The band did as much as any group to establish and define thrash metal, then gradually slowed down and became one of the world’s biggest rock bands.

To celebrate the Frisco phenoms’ hard-won recognition, Scene presents The Great Metallica Debate. D.X. Ferris, the paper’s designated metalhead, is moderating. He’ll introduce topics, which will be answered by Chris Akin, Classic Metal Show host and webmaster of, and Matt Wardlaw, former Metal Show host, Radio 92.3 Inner Sanctum host and proprietor of music blog Stay tuned for more.

Today’s topic: Rank the Metallica albums, best to not-so-best

1) ...And Justice For All
2) Ride The Lightning
3) Master of Puppets
4) Kill 'Em All
5) The $5.98 E.P.: Garage Days Re-Revisited
6) Metallica (“The Black Album”)
7) Death Magnetic
8) Live Sh*t: Binge & Purge (There was no rule about not including compilations/live albums, and I think that many teens in the ‘90s wore out a copy or two of this live record, even if there are questions about how "live" it really is.)
9) St. Anger
10) Garage Inc.
11) Load
12) Re-Load
13) S&M

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World in a Room Reunites

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 10:34 AM


World in a Room was one of the most popular of Cleveland’s wave of poppy alternative bands in the '90s, with a surging, melodic sound that drew from all the usual sources of that era: R.E.M., the Smiths, Depeche Mode, U2 etc.

The quartet — vocalist and rhythm guitarist Jason Kilbey Smith, lead guitarist Kevin Bang, bassist Tim Brennan and drummer Don Lisy — never got the respect they deserved from local media, but they sure got it from audiences and easily outdrew most of the bands that local music mavens were hyping. They were especially beloved by the college crowd — John Carroll co-eds packed the Grog Shop every time they played.

In their four years together in the mid ’90s, they released a pair of well-executed and enjoyable CDs, Dance on the Stones and Mood Circus. The group is now making music again, taking it one step at a time and seeing where it leads. They’ll be doing a big reunion/welcome back show at the Grog Shop on June 13, with tickets already on sale and according to the band, selling briskly.

If you’re an old fan and want to be sure you get into a show that’s likely to be sold out, you can buy tickets from Brennan for $8 advance (they’ll be $10 at the door, if any remain). You can send a check to him at 5562 Strathaven Dr., Highland Hts., OH 44143 or e-mail him at to pay by PayPal. —Anastasia Pantsios


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