Five rockers named to Hall; Patti Smith makes the cut

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Monday picked five acts to be inducted in March: Van Halen, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five - the first rap act to be inducted into the hall - R.E.M., the Ronettes and Patti Smith.

"R.E.M. and myself in particular are really terrible at looking backward," R.E.M.'s lead singer, Michael Stipe, said by phone from London. "We kind of as a band continually look forward so it's really fantastic that someone, especially the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, are looking backward to recognize the work that we've done."

While I can't say that I'm delighted with all the picks, I do have a fondness for Patti Smith, that grand old lady of rock. I first heard of her in a New Yorker profile and bought a two-disc set CD of hers. I play it at least once every couple of months and am rewarded with her rebel kind of thinking.

Punk rock poet Smith, known as the Godmother of Punk, came out of lower Manhattan in the early 1970s to create a blend of cerebral, raggedly emotional music. Most don't think of rock in those terms.

"Land," a 1960 Smith anthem to the underdog, weaves the tale of the hero, Johnny, getting beaten up in the locker room. In the background are the taunts,

"Do you know how to pony?

Like Bony Marone

Do you know how to twist?

Well, it goes like this."

Tough poetry.

The rock hall will also honor Ahmet Ertegun, the founder of Atlantic Records, who was a crucial figure in the careers of artists such as Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and the Rolling Stones and one of the leading figures to help create the rock hall. He was also a jazz fan and helped many jazz groups up the charts.

OK, so perhaps you don't care much about rock, particularly if you're more than 50 years old. Most of us get musically stuck in the music of your youth, but rock has been around a lot longer than you might imagine. Back in my military days in Japan (that goes back 50 years or so), rock was what was heard in the bars of Tokyo.

Happily, I never got stuck in a musical period as jazz and concert music were my wont, so rock rolls along fine with me. But many of my contemporaries don't know rock, which is too bad as new stuff keeps the mind and body ticking along. The pace of change has accelerated in recent years, happily. Some of my more-senior friends seem to want to avoid change. One even says the Internet is a fad and will soon wither away. Obviously, he hasn't paid attention; the Internet is affecting darn near everything, from business to politics to news. Thanks to bloggers, fiction in news is quickly knocked down these days by all those independent bloggers out there who can disprove alibis and false government claims, as regular news media cannot.

MILE HIGH JAZZ PLAYS ON

If you missed the Mile High Jazz Band and a quintet from Carson High at the Comma Coffee Tuesday night, you can catch them Friday Jan. 19 at the Brewery Performance Hall. Tuesday night's music included some newer tunes out of the usual big-band category. One of the best "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most," a jazz standard most often sung. The lyrics are lovely, but trombonist Dean Carter offered his version of the vocals with a very smooth, gliding solo. Arrangement was by Frank Mantooth, and it was a tasty dish. Carter is sort of retired, playing with three groups: the Mile High, the Reno Jazz Orchestra and the Carson City Symphony. Now "I just get to play for fun," he says. Keep having fun, Dean.

FROM THE VAULTS

Here's a movie I can't really recommend, "Temptress Moon." It's all about Shanghai in the 1920s and all the crime and the seductions by Zhonglang, who's big with the ladies and a buddy of the local crime boss. Chen Kaige directed, and it's a bit confusing as various mobs get in action. Made in 1995, it's rated R and runs for 130 minutes.

Second thoughts: Al Franken's book that we recommended last week has some fine moments, but there's a lot of dreck in "Lies and the Liars Who Tell Them." Skip the tasteless chapter with all the bad right-wingers on Kerry's boat in Vietnam.

• Contact Sam Bauman at 881-1236 or Sbauman@nevadaaappeal.com.

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