One of the perks of being a voting member of the Recording Academy is that I can attend special seminars and screenings, go to Q&As with major industry talent, get discounts to conventions and be part of the annual members viewing party for the Grammys in NYC. For 2010, the Recording Academy held a free event with food and drink at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square that was packed to the gills with members and governors. It was fun to watch the event on a giant video projection screen with a big sound system to outdo my big screen TV. WPLJ DJ Christine Richie hosted and gave away prizes.
As for the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards show itself, there were plenty of flashy numbers (particularly Pink’s impressive suspension act), surprise pairings and one-liners from host Stephen Colbert to keep people watching, and it was entertaining to witness the entire crowd in the Hard Rock singing along to “Livin’ On A Prayer”. Then again, we were in the NY/NJ area. But I have a complaint: While I applaud the musical diversity (especially non-pop) that the Recording Academy embraces, from blues to jazz to classical, I wish there had been more rock ‘n’ roll in the show. While Jeff Beck’s tribute to the late Les Paul was warm and heartfelt, the rest of the night was mostly powered by pop, and a lot of it bland. Bon Jovi doesn’t really count as hard rock anymore, and their choices were pretty safe. I’m not even sure that the unorthodox pairing of Jamie Foxx and Slash made a difference in the edginess department.
As a lifelong fan of metal and hard rock, I’m disappointed at how few true rock performances there have been over the past few years, and how the awards for those two aforementioned categories don’t even get mentioned during the telecast anymore. I also find it funny how groups like the Black-Eyed Peas can have a dance troupe outfitted in the most ridiculous costumes, yet many people would probably mock equally (or even less) cheesy metal attire.
Last year Kid Rock and Paul McCartney with Dave Grohl took the stage in the rock department, but admittedly the songs were crowd pleasers. It was cooler when the Foo Fighters jammed with Chick Corea a few years ago because it felt more improvised. And even if you’re not a fan of either group, Linkin Park and Nickelback sell oodles of albums and accounted for some of the biggest sellers of the ’00s. What, are they too big to play? And hey, AC/DC and Judas Priest won their first Grammys ever this year, and AC/DC’s last album Black Ice sold 2 million copies in America alone.
I say let’s bring back the rock next year. As a lark, someone I know suggested that GWAR play to stir things up. An interesting thought. I think it would be awesome to see Muse shake the Grammy rafters.