Something Else! salutes 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Rush, Heart, Randy Newman

The 2013 class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has been finalized, and Rush, Public Enemy and Heart are among the new members. The list was announced by Flea, bassist with 2012 inductees the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Also to be recognized in 2013: Randy Newman, Donna Summer and Albert King. Our thoughts on several of the winners and nominees are below. An exclusive talk with Heart about the title track from their latest release is attached, as well.

2013 marked the first year that fans were allowed to vote in the process, and Rush led that polling by a wide margin going into the final tally. In late November, Rush had earned some 24 percent, while Deep Purple had 17. Heart was third with 12 percent.

The polls closed on Monday, December 3, 2012. All of those votes were then compiled into one single ballot entry for the Top 5 finishers, to go with votes from the hall’s more than 600 members.

[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: Rush’s Geddy Lee talks about a series of horrific circumstances brought his parents together, amid the chaos and death of a World War II prison camp in Poland.]

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s induction event will be held April 18, 2013 in L.A., where the ceremonies were last presented in 1993. The Ahmet Ertegun award will also be handed out that night, recognizing non-performers like producers and songwriters who have impacted the music. This year’s honorees are Lou Adler and Quincy Jones.

Those among the list of 15 original nominees for 2013 who did not make the hall included: Chic, Deep Purple, Joan Jett, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Procol Harum, Kraftwerk, the Marvelettes, the Meters and N.W.A. Eligible nominees must have released their initial single or album project at least 25 years ago, meaning 2013 entrants had to have a career going back before 1987.

Summer died last summer, while King passed in 1992.

“It’s a terrific honor and we’ll show up smiling,” Rush’s Geddy Lee tells Rolling Stone. “It made my mom happy, so that’s worth it.” Lee said he is especially pleased for Rush’s fans, who have long lobbied for the honor: “It was a cause they championed. I’m very relieved for them and we share this honor with them, for sure.”

This year’s induction ceremonies will be broadcast at a future date on HBO.

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Here are some of our recent thoughts on the 2013 winners and nominees, including Rush, Heart, Randy Newman, the Meters, Deep Purple and Chic. Click through each title for complete reports …


RUSH – CLOCKWORK ANGELS (2012): Time after time, I find myself reaching to re-cue this album when the last notes fade. What is it that brings me back? Most simplistically, it’s hearing Rush sound so vital and vibrant. Rush has typically done what it wanted to do, but just like you can sense a smile on the face of someone on the other end of the telephone line, music listeners can sense that same smile, maybe in the form of enthusiasm, in the playing. A little extra finesse here and there from Neil Peart’s expert drumming, a little something extra wild in Alex Lifeson’s guitar solo, or the flair of a grace note or two in Geddy Lee’s bassline. The band always at the top of their game — that’s what Rush is known for — but sometimes they play at the very top of the top, as here.

SOMETHING ELSE! FEATURED ARTIST: RUSH: When most think of Rush, it’s their instrumental virtuosity (especially drummer Neil Peart) that comes to mind first. Or the love or hatred of Geddy Lee’s vocals. Other times it’s Peart’s second role as lyricist for the band that garners attention, and it’s another love or hate area of focus: Ayn Rand, sci-fi, songs about balding, fights between dogs and, well, whatever a Bytor is, these are all common targets for those who want to throw stones. We’re here to present an argument for the defense.


HEART – FANATIC (2012): Recorded in hotel rooms and studios up and down the West Coast, this new project finds Grammy-winning producer Ben Mink back at the helm, as the Wilson sisters draw from their own lives and personal experiences as inspiration for their music. The result is the heaviest recording that Heart has ever produced, with torrents of guitars rushing out around these thunderous rhythms. Those who are looking to rock out might be distracted by the sharply confessional musings. Those looking for a singer-songwriter vibe will end up with their hair in a tangled mess from the noise. Keep listening, though, and Heart ultimately bridges the gap between both sets of expectations, crafting songs that continue to mature into something more over repeated sittings.

HEART – STRANGE EUPHORIA (2012): Heart, like many legacy bands in the 1980s, struggled to marry its original sound with the synthesized style of the day. Strange Euphoria, a sweeping new compilation from Epic-Legacy, charts that journey, as Heart transforms itself from hippie-chick singer-songwriters, to feminist heavy rockers, to glossy MTV stars, and back again. Heart, like the title of this endlessly fascinating new box set, still boasts an abiding, very involving complexity. It’s good to be reminded.


DEEP CUTS: RANDY NEWMAN, “REDNECKS” (1974): his isn’t a song about amazing muscianship, surprising chord changes or nifty little hooks. Rather, it’s a tribute to the power of lyrics. Of all the Great American Songwriters of our time, Randy Newman is perhaps the only one who could be considered a continuation of the line of classic songwriters from before our time. His deft combination of Broadway show tunes with contemporary pop follows a similar prescription for success enjoyed by Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hammerstein and George Gershwin. And while I’m generally not the biggest fan of the albums under his own name, the dude was on a certifiable roll in the early seventies. Sail Away and Good Old Boys together make an unbeatable one-two punch in the history of popular music.


SOMETHING ELSE! INTERVIEW: ZIGABOO MODELISTE, CO-FOUNDER OF THE METERS: Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste, a funky furnace that once powered the Meters, has just released a tour-de-force project aptly titled New Life. It reestablishes, perhaps unsurprisingly, Modeliste’s claim to co-ownership of the band’s late 1960s/early 1970s string of R&B and rock hits – from “Cissy Strut” and “Fire on the Bayou,” to supporting gigs with Lee Dorsey, LaBelle and Dr. John. Even more interestingly, New Life also illustrates the broad spectrum of legacy sounds that Modeliste has both mastered and contributed to, above the beyond the head-wagging second-line polyrhythms for which he’s so well known.

THE METERS – REJUVENATION (1974): The Meters started out as the largely unknown rhythm section behind some of New Orleans’ most important R&B records, and eventually became, well … a largely unknown recording and touring act. Just why, after listening again to 1974’s Rejuvenation, continues to daze and confuse. On-the-one R&B combines with a frisky sense of adventure — the Meters, and Svengali producer Allen Toussaint, layer on fuzzy guitar, afro-shaking polyrhythms and these sizzling soul screams — to make a perfectly titled groover: “Rejuvenation,” which provided this pleasant morning jolt around my house, has lost none of its memorable heart-leaping joy in the intervening 35 years.


DEEP PURPLE – TOTAL ABANDON: AUSTRALIA ’99 (2012): An intriguingly presented retrospective set, as the newly added Steve Morse brilliantly reexamines a group of signature Deep Purple tunes. Before the show is over, Total Abandon recalls not so much the Ritchie Blackmore years as it does the band’s fiery Tommy Bolin period. There’s a similar level of front-line guitar craft, and a similar level of energy. Deep Purple sounded like it was having fun again. And, to my ears, the group never really looked back so intently again. By the time they issued Bananas, some five years later, original keyboardist Jon Lord was gone — and Deep Purple had metamorphosed. The addition of Morse, like an ozone-producing jolt of lightning, had transformed what once seemed like a ghost band trying to reclaim its glory days into a freshly rejuvenated force to be reckoned with.

DEEP PURPLE – SHADES OF DEEP PURPLE (1968; 2011 REISSUE): Coming together in 1967, Deep Purple were like a lot of bands of the day, as their mission was to push the sonic envelope as far as possible and create something new and exciting. Based out of Hertford, England, the group achieved their goal straight away. Dramatic and bombastic, Deep Purple played a tumultuous blend of heavy metal and progressive rock before such labels arrived into being, tagging them pioneers of the genres.


ONE TRACK MIND: CHIC’s NILE RODGERS ON ‘UPSIDE DOWN,’ “LIKE A VIRGIN,’ “RAPPER’S DELIGHT,’ OTHERS: The truth is, even if you never bought a record like “Le Freak,” Chic’s wall-to-wall late 1970s hit, this guy was all over your radio dial anyway. So we decided to pick his brain about some of the more notable contributions he and Chic made on other people’s records — from R&B to pop to blues to hip hop. Find out how Rodgers funked up the classically trained string section on a Diana Ross smash, why he doesn’t hold anything against sample-happy groups like the Sugarhill Gang anymore, how Chic helped create a seminal moment for Madonna, and what brought him to Stevie Ray Vaughan’s final sessions.

Something Else!

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  • JC Mosquito

    If Heart’s in, Deep Purple should have been in as well. Oh, well – the usual.