|Rock HOF Library Card|
It’s easy to beat up on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a beacon of many things that went wrong with the money grab that continually assaults the music industry.
I’ve written before about it; the RRHOF is run by 1 percenters, doesn’t pay taxes and has generally played personal politics with what was once the essence of a loud middle finger to The Establishment.
It’s easy to bitch about those excluded and included – really, Herb Alpert, Madonna in, Grand Funk not? – but that’s just about the tastes of a meager few, the nominating committee.
The hall sits on a waterfront piece of land worth $42 million, with net assets of $93 million, according to its most recently available tax return. To some people, nothing says rebellion like a fat bank account.
On a visit to Cleveland this week, though, I discovered the redeeming element of the HOF: It’s newly opened library and archive collection.
The book collection alone is worth a stop – of course it has both the Touch and Go book and the Johnny Ramone autobio, but the best stuff is in the archives. For that, you get a library card and hit the database. In an hour, I found the lawyer letter from the Carbona company to Sire asking that the Ramones song, “Carbona Not Glue”not be included on any more records – so far, Sire said, it had sold 45,000 of the 60,000 pressed. I also found a letter from Iggy Pop to Guns and Roses thanking them – profusely, handwritten, on yellow legal paper – for covering “Raw Power” on the Spaghetti Incident. Iggy said it gave him a “huge boost.” I found it in the voluminous collection of materials from Art Collins.
There was more and more and more. While the RRHOF is an irritating bit of organization to a format that should defy organization, the library is a blessing for those of us who are interested in how it all happened.