...busting up my brains for the words

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Moody blues vs. the ventures and cool

Regular Hugh Hewitt Show listeners will know what I'm talking about here. At the gym tonight, I strapped on my Sony Sport Radio near the end of the program just in time to hear Hugh talking some ridiculous blather about the Moody Blues belonging in the Rock and Roll Hall of, Fame before The Ventures should be inducted.
James Lileks even called in to set the record straight. Lileks, of course, prefers to see the Ventures in there. I don't know how Hugh got to talking this line of topic since I came in on the middle of it. There was also some fragment of talk about the blues and its relationship to r&r. I didn't hear enough of that to discern its gist.
Googling the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and using their Search engine I discovered that, indeed, neither The Ventures nor The Moody Blues have yet been inducted. (Huh? What have those people been doing with their time?). Mustering one's self to ask who more deserves to be inducted in this hall; The Moody Blues or The Ventures is worse than comparing apples and oranges. It's like comparing prunes and small internal combustion engines.
Hugh seems to think that commercial appeal has something to do with the equation. Sorry, Hugh. Not so. The whole idea of the R&R Hall of Fame is to correct the biases of the marketplace and bring due recognition to artists irregardless of the commercial factor. I looked in the Hall's website for information that would document my assertion and I couldn't find any such thing. But I'm going to have the cajones to simply say that I am right, dammit.
Of course The Ventures are due their place in the hall before the Moodys. But, what the heck, isn't there room in there for all of them?
I suspect that the line of argument flows from the identity of purity. It's called the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. So what the heck is Hank Williams doing in there? He was country. Well, Hank was a huge inspiration to many a rock musician. This is a big family with lots of room for all the relatives. If you've already visited their website, you'll have noticed that Robert Johnson, the blues giant, is in there. What's that all about? Once again, the blues is a major inspiration to rock and roll musicians.
So perhaps this discussion boils down to the question; Who is more purely rock and roll, The Ventures or The Moody Blues? But those distinctions have already been demonstrated to be irrelevant to the induction, as the above cases demonstrate.

I happen to like The Moody Blues. I also like The Ventures. Lileks made that same assertion. He says he is egalitarian and catholic in his tastes. All the while he maintains, vein bulging from his forehead, that The Ventures are due their place before The Moodys.

When I began this post, I thought I was going to write of how The Ventures are more important to rock and roll than the Moodys and ought thus be inducted earlier. Now I'm not so sure.

My heart is more of a punk rock heart than anything else. I suspect that Lileks is voting for the Ventures because they are, ahem...cooler than The Moody Blues. Yes, that's right. The Ventures score a cool rating of about 10 on a scale of 1 to 10 while the Moodys score a cool rating of about 4. But you ask, why did you say you like the Moodys if you admit they are not cool? Well, they are a guilty pleasure. The Moody Blues are L7 in rock circles. The only people who go to see them live these days are either old sentimental softees who don't know what cool is, or....some guy who is so cool he is into the Moodys before they regain their rightful place on the cool-o-meter. But the cool-o-meter is a very fickle thing. What's cool tomorrow will not necessarily be cool today. And vice versa, of course.
The Ventures are cool because they innovated an entire separate genre within rockandroll. And it's a unique and vital genre. One of the best bands of this ilk working today is Los Straitjackets. But, on the other hand, if a band sounds like The Moody Blues or derivative of The Moody Blues, they can expect much chortling and sarcasm.

"Man these guys suck. They sound like The Moody Blues."

So there you have it. The Ventures deserve their place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame before The Moody Blues because The Ventures are cool and The Moody Blues are not. Cool is a very important ingredient to rockandroll.

By the way, in case you were wondering, David Bowie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.



Post a Comment

<< Home