Billboard was backstage at the event talking to the honorees:
- Well-known for his liberal political beliefs, Jackson Browne was asked what it would take to unseat President Bush in the November election. His reply? “I don’t know, but we better do it.”
Browne also said he is not deterred to continue mixing his politics with his music. “People feel very strongly right now,” he said. “I’ve always felt I understood the point of view on the part of people who feel that it’s difficult to mix . I think it can be done and I think there are great examples of how it is done really well. The very fact that it’s sort of debated and discussed is, in and of itself, a good thing.”
Unfortunately for Browne, when he injected the macro of the political into his previously micro, deeply personal music, it became much less interesting and relevant.
- Browne is in the midst of an extensive solo acoustic tour, which will take him across the United States and to Japan and Europe through late fall. Tuesday night, he will play both acoustic and with his backing band at New York’s Beacon Theater, with some proceeds benefiting the activist group the Guacamole Fund.
In true form, Prince skipped the press room and headed for New York’s Club Black for a hastily organized, sold-out late night concert. The high energy performance was a mixed bag of funky jams and old favorites, including “Kiss,” “Sign ‘O’ the Times” and “The Beautiful Ones.” The artist also played tunes by Alicia Keys (news) (“Falling”) and OutKast (“The Way You Move”), who had inducted him into the Rock Hall earlier in the evening.
….While some artists express humility when accepting their Rock Hall honors, members of seminal vocal group the Dells took the opportunity to congratulate themselves on a 50-year-plus career.
“Everybody followed us, singing-wise, because we’re a great vocal group,” said member Charles Barksdale. “In fact, we’re one of the best harmony groups that’s ever been on the planet, so everybody has to follow us. We’re leaders. This is the ultimate proof that we were just fantastic.”
Asked for his opinion on hip-hop and rap artists, Barksdale said, “You know, it’s not so much a generation gap as there is a communication gap. We have to be able to talk to them, which will free up their minds to talk to us.”
Added group member Michael McGill, “It’s new, and it’s different, OK? We want them to make money but we also want them to make music that is gonna last.”
In an era where artistic longevity is harder and harder to sustain, Barksdale was quick to point a finger at Clear Channel Entertainment for homogenizing radio playlists and ignoring veteran artists. “We’re non-political,” he continued. “We cut records. If they don’t play our records, people get deprived of the beautiful music. So, talk to your radio stations.”
Bob Seger said he was hard at work on a new album, which will be his first since 1995’s “It’s a Mystery.”
“I’ve been writing real hard since December,” he revealed. “It will come out in the fall, hopefully.” Seger has taken extended break from the road in recent years to spend more time with his family.
“I was 47 when I had my son and I just decided to watch him grow up,” he said. “They did go one tour with me when he was four and my daughter was a baby, but it was kinda tough. Basically, I’ve been writing a lot the last nine years. The road just didn’t have that appeal.”
Following in the footsteps of Tom Cruise ‘s iconic rendition of Seger’s “Old Time Rock & Roll” in the 1983 film “Risky Business,” the latest performer to tackle the classic will be none other than Garfield the Cat. The animated feline, voiced by Bill Murray, will perform the song in “Garfield the Movie,” which opens June 25 in U.S. theaters.
“That song has just been omnipresent forever,” Seger says. “I love the Tom Cruise thing. I got a big kick out of it.”
Seger said he was proud to offer his music to commercials for General Motors, in what was at the time one of the first such licensing deals by a major artist. “We never allowed it on the radio and I was never in any of the ads,” he said. “At the time when the ad was presented to me, GM had lost like 4 billion dollars in one year. And since that time, they’ve never had a losing quarter, and 65% of their sales have been trucks.”
That’s one way to look at it.
So none of the other inductees had anything to say? I realize George is dead and all, but no Traffic, ZZ Top or Wenner?