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Rock Hall 2019: gli speech di Trent Reznor e David Byrne per indurre The Cure e Radiohead

Ieri sera è andata in scena al Barclays Center di Brooklyn la cerimonia per le nuove induzioni nella Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame per il 2019: The CureDef LeppardJanet JacksonStevie NicksRadioheadRoxy Music e The Zombies erano gli artisti interessati dalle induzioni. I momenti più interessanti, oltre alle varie esibizioni dal vivo, sono stati gli speech di Trent Reznor per indurre i The Cure e di David Byrne per quanto riguarda i Radiohead. Ve li riportiamo qui in basso integralmente:


Trent Reznor per i The Cure:

Good evening. I’m Trent Reznor. Tonight we are here to give praise and respect to one of the most instantaneously recognizable and sonically unique rock bands of the 20th century. Tonight, the Cure enter the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

I grew up in a small town—small town USA, Mercer, Pennsylvania to be precise, where there was nothing to look at but cornfields. It was a primitive time, long before the miracle of the internet arrived to devalue our wonderful art form. Even pre-MTV, with nothing to listen to on the radio and nothing to do but dream and escape.

When I left home, it was time for the big city—in my case the big city of Cleveland. And everything changed. It was the mid-’80s, and just being able to tune into college radio made my head explode with limitless possibilities. This was my baptism into the world of alternative and underground music—the sounds that informed what Nine Inch Nails would eventually become.

One of the most important aspects of being swept away by this tidal wave of music was getting to hear the Cure for the first time. Immediately, this band struck a deep chord in me. The first album I heard was Head on the Door, and I hadn’t heard anything like it before. And a lot of darkness I felt in my head was coming back at me through the speakers and it blew my mind. It was like this music was written just for me. Now I’ve struggled my whole life feeling like I don’t fit or belong anywhere, kind of like right now. Hearing this, I suddenly felt connected and no longer quite so alone in the world. That’s one of the things I find so unique and special about the power of music.

It wasn’t just the sound or the words or the presentation—all of it was anchored by the most exquisite of instruments—Robert Smith’s voice. That voice, capable of such a range of emotion from an expression for rage, sorrow, and despair to beauty, frailty, and joy. It might sound naive but until I heard The Head on the Door, I just didn’t realize it was possible to write about such difficult and profound ideas, but do it in the context of successful songs that might even get played on the radio, challenging norms from the inside.

Anyway, I listened to that record nonstop until I wore the grooves off the vinyl and then I worked my way backwards. It was a rich and important back catalog waiting for me.

The group that would become the Cure formed in 1976 in the suburban English backwater of Crawley, a small town that all the members also dreamt of escaping from. They were four imaginary boys: Robert Smith, Lol Tolhurst, Michael Dempsey, and Pearl Thompson, who were energized both by the explosion of punk that was happening miles up the road in London and by the heavy psychedelic rock from America which they’d grown up loving.


David Byrne per i Radiohead:

Thank you. I was surprised and very flattered when Radiohead stated they named themselves after a song that I had written. I did ask myself, “Why that song?” I still haven’t been able to figure it out, and in a certain way I don’t want to know. This was kind of a goofy Tex-Mex song that I’d written. Maybe we’ll find out, who knows.

Thankfully, I’m a huge fan of the group. They richly deserve this honor for two reasons: the music, the quality and constant innovation in the music, but equally for the innovations in how they release their work and how they market it and get it to the public—things that have changed the entire music business, and there’s quite a few people in the music business in this room tonight. They’re creative and smart in both areas, which is a rare combination for artists—not just then or now but any time.

OK here’s a tidbit: Radio 1, that’s in the UK, refused to play their song “Creep” because they found it too depressing. Then it started getting played in lots of other places all around the world and the rest is, well, you know.

Here’s another tidbit—sorry if there’s anyone here directly affected by this one—Capitol Records felt that what many consider to be their masterpiece, OK Computer, was career suicide and adjusted their release and marketing plan accordingly. It eventually went to No. 1 in the UK. “Paranoid Android” from that album was considered the new “Bohemian Rhapsody,” whatever that means. I’m looking forward to seeing the movie, and seeing who will play Thom.

For me, their record after that, Kid A, was my conversion moment. The record joined together electronics with song forms blew me away. I’d never heard anything like it. There are elements and influences of Can and Miles Davis’s electric period, but this was very different.

What was really weird and very encouraging was that it was popular. It was a hit! It proved to me that the artistic risk paid off and music fans sometimes are not stupid. Some of that will be attested to by those in the music industry in the room tonight. As experimental as it was, it went to No. 1 in the U.S. Business-wise, they were already innovating. This was in the year 2000, with an app that you could stream music on and access things.

Now a few records later, with In Rainbows, the music that at one point sounded radical and on the edge now felt completely natural. And at that point they took the radical leap of selling the record for the price of “pay what you wish.” You could pay zero or one cent. You could pay the price that records were going for that year. It turned out most people did pay the going rate, and some people actually paid more. Which was, I thought, an incredible thing. They showed trust in the audience, trust in the public. They trusted them to place value in the music and say: You tell us what you think it’s worth. And the audience responded and said: We think it’s worth something. This was a wonderful social experiment, not just an experiment in the music business.

Further release innovations: They released the rejected Bond theme “Spectre,” which was never used, on SoundCloud. And musically, they keep changing. Their last record, A Moon Shaped Pool, sounded very cinematic, sounded like a movie in your head. They’ve both changed our idea of what popular music can be and how it can be released and marketed to us. For those things, I am honored to induct Radiohead into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.