I was going to vent on one of my semi-regular topics, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, by bitching about this year’s nominees. I was going to focus on Bon Jovi. But two things changed my mind.
First, there’s the infamous video of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog backstage (and onstage) at a Bon Jovi concert. He’s in top form … for my money, it’s second only to the Star Wars Nerds in Triumph history. But you can tell that Bon Jovi are loving it. They are so amiable about being trashed that it’s hard to hate them. Plus, there’s the point where Triumph exactly pegs the pleasures of Bon Jovi: “They don’t suck! They’re actually quite listenable!”
And, as usual, Ann Powers gets it right when she calls this year’s nominees “very much like an iPod playlist.” She means this in a positive sense, and she makes a good case:
I'm glad that the rock hall, by definition devoted to hierarchies, has fully embraced the iPod approach to canonization. That little device and the culture of downloading that it embodies have thoroughly shuffled pop's hierarchies, making this an era of alternate realities, proudly personal value judgments and left-field notions of greatness.
Neither Ann nor Triumph makes any kind of an argument for placing Bon Jovi in a Hall of Fame, at least by my standards … Powers praises the band’s ”consummate craft and dedication to the art of entertainment,” which is a fancy way of saying “they’re actually quite listenable.” Their best albums were good-not-great, there were only a couple of them, and they’ve stuck around forever. If they were baseball players, they’d be fellow New Jersey boy Rick Cerone, who turned one good season into an 18-year career, or another of their Jersey brethren, John “The Count” Montefusco, who was Rookie of the Year, then threw a no-hitter the next season, and ended up pitching in 13 seasons without a lot of distinction. Journeymen, all. Hall of Famers? I think not. But what the heck.
Here is Triumph … apologies for the commercials:
And I should probably add this, which suggests the band wasn’t as pleased with Triumph as it seems from the video (although I think Conan’s just using them to make a point, to be honest):