My capacity for outrage at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s inductees has diminished exponentially over the years. Each year, at least one bland, banal act that changed nothing, affected nothing and put nothing at stake has been enshrined, further devaluing the hall the moment its name was called.
Tuesday, Cosimo Matassa was buried. As sad as his passing is, it’s reassuring to know that he lived long enough to know how loved and appreciated he was. It’s hard to say that any death is a relief, but it was tough in his last years to watch someone who was as outgoing and friendly as he was silenced by the stroke he experienced in 2009.
The yearly list of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees is an annual invitation to think about rock 'n' roll history, who mattered, what mattered, and what halls of fame are all about. For the last few years, I've dealt with the depressing reality that no matter how genres cross today (as they always have, really), Chic has been on the outside looking in.
“We haven’t played this song in 29 years,” Red Hot Chili Peppers’s bass player Flea said to the sold-out audience in the New Orleans Arena last night, before the band broke into “Apache Rose Peacock.” He had reminded the crowd of how long the funk rock band has been together, and went on to remind the crowd of his “favorite place to be": New Orleans, as the song’s lyrics describe. “Mentally or physically, I want to be in New Orleans.”