The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum

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Does Rock and Roll Belong in a Museum?

Tuesday, March 16: 3:33 p.m.
Posted by Lenny Kaye
The Rock Hall's SXSW panel Does Rock and Roll Belong in a Museum? is March 18 in Austin.

I am in the basement of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, staring at the sacred object that is John Cippollina’s amplifier, a Bride-of-Frankenstein creation that shotgun-marries the solid stateliness of Standell with the classique tube overload of Fender, topped by two monstrous horns to ensure the treble frequencies pierce any solar plexus within range.

Of course, I would love to hear this magnificent beast, especially when brought to life by the electric magnetic energy of John’s custom Gibson SG which sits awaiting next to its amplifier; but of course, that is impossible, given Cippollina’s unfortunately early demise.  Yet I am as close to it as I might be on any night at the Avalon Ballroom in 1966; and I vicariously partake of its magic, inspiration, and thingness, seeing within it the shadow of its creator. 

Over the past couple of months, with the imminent opening of the long awaited Hall of Fame Library, that will provide an archive of this hybrid musical mutation we call rock and roll, of which I have been a longtime vocal proponent and hunter/gatherer, I have been asked whether such enshrinement is good for the unruly immediacy that characterizes ...

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