It just took me over an hour to make it the 60 blocks to work—subways are closed for unspecified police actions. Ask for a diary, and sometimes this is what you’re gonna get. I love the subways, though. It constantly amazes me that they’re not typically in this state of chaos.
For those of you not in the New York area, I should also note that it’s snowing pretty hard outside, and they’re saying it could continue off and on like this throughout the rest of the week.
Like I said in yesterday’s entry, last night I went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame dinner. As always, the evening was twice too long, although if you eliminated Jackson Browne’s endless acceptance speech and my old boss Jann Wenner’s overly long comments (truly a case where the editor needed an editor), it might not have been as bad. I guess it’s probably worth watching when VH-1 airs their cut on Sunday.
Some notes on the dinner:
- Prince opened the show with a medley, choosing exactly the right songs—”Let’s Go Crazy,” “Sign O the Times,” and “Kiss”—but I will still never be able to stomach medleys. I either want to hear a song or not hear a song; I never want to hear part of a song. Prince reappeared at the end of the night, though, as part of the George Harrison segment. While Tom Petty led the band through “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” Prince quietly played off to one side, later stepping out front for a solo that was absolutely, jaw-droppingly magnificent. Nice to see him out-rock-’n’-roll everybody for the night.
- On the subject of Harrison, please note that although he was inducted for his solo work, they could only muster a Beatles song and a Traveling Wilburys song to play in tribute. I love Harrison, but the notion of his solo work representing a Hall of Fame career still doesn’t add up to me.
- I briefly checked in with two of the most charming men in rock—Dave Matthews and Kid Rock (who proudly told me that his current tour is “breaking the beer sales records in every arena we play”). While visiting Kid Rock’s table, I noted that he was sitting with Keith Richards, Ahmet Ertegun, and Robert Plant. I am not yet jaded enough to deny the thrill of meeting ROBERT PLANT.
- Keith’s speech inducting ZZ Top proved that Johnny Depp is still an amateur, despite the Oscar nomination. Nobody does a better Keith imitation than Keith.
- ZZ Top may not be my favorite band in the world, but they played “La Grange” and “Tush”—clearly their two best songs—and won me over for the night. Bob Seger (who I actually like), on the other hand, played the horrifying “Old Time Rock ’n’ Roll,” which instantly made the place feel like your cousin’s wedding reception. He should have played his transcendent “Night Moves.”
- Bruce Springsteen’s speech for Jackson Browne was pretty stunning. It culminated in a riff about how Jackson’s songs create “the possibility of our own redemption,” or something like that. Beautiful, but not necessarily enough to make me re-evaluate the Jackson Browne catalog, which has never exactly been my speed. (Actually, to be fair, Jackson Browne is someone I’ve always kind of dismissed without knowing the work beyond the hits. I’ve read and heard enough people talk passionately about him that I do think I need to spend some more time listening.)
- The sight of Sean Lennon and Dhani Harrison—so visibly their fathers’ sons—standing together was kind of chilling. Oh, and Sean’s date was Leelee Sobieski, so apparently he has bounced back from Bijou Phillips …
- I can’t help but say one last time: Traffic, ZZ Top, and Jackson Browne in the Hall of Fame; Sex Pistols, Black Sabbath, Patti Smith, Gram Parsons, Lynyrd Skynyrd not in the Hall of Fame. I know it doesn’t matter beyond this $2,000 a ticket, self-congratulatory dinner extravaganza, but still—what the hell?
That’s about it. Spent most of the evening with my dear friend Elysa Gardner, who is one of USA Today’s music writers, which meant that she had to run off and file stories at 9, 10, and 12 o’clock. That is a way of writing, and of living, that I can’t even imagine.
I got to spend a little time with baby Adam this morning before coming in. He’s fighting a cold, probably because of these insane weather changes we’ve been having (see aforementioned snow). He spends the first moments of the morning gleefully pointing out the passing cars and buses, and today he also named all of the plastic vegetables in his little toy kitchen.
Oh, and the magazine: We were possibly going to slip in another quick photo shoot last night with the Classic Rock Icon adorning our forthcoming cover, but I still don’t know if any such thing happened. This means, I assume, that it didn’t, and we remain art-challenged for this cover story I’m already so frustrated with. None of this is helped by a publicist who seemingly just doesn’t care much if this story comes together. Music publicists can be pushy and annoying, of course, but most of them really do seem to care about music and their artists. In fact, the better ones can actually be helpful when the chips are down. We’re dealing here with someone who is not one of the better ones. Even with all of the good faith and support we’ve received (which has been tremendous considering that the music and magazine businesses aren’t exactly known for their camaraderie and generosity), it’s still a struggle to get a magazine launched. The last thing I need is to get blown off by someone who’s supposed to be helping.