Last week, I took my kids to Ohio. And, no, that was not a punishment.
We took that long trek on I-80 and enjoyed everything but the town of Clarion, Pa., which isn’t as glamorous as the road sign would lead you to believe. The two kids that went on the trip with me are good travelers and we listened to a lot of my favorite artists that they also like. Since it takes forever and a day to get to Ohio, we heard all of “London Calling” and “Give ‘em Enough Rope” from The Clash and much of The Smiths catalog. When you’re younger, Morrissey’s songs are sad, but, as you age, you discover they’re actually hilarious. From “Bigmouth Strikes Again:”
And now I know how Joan of Arc felt
Now I know how Joan of Arc felt
As the flames rose to her roman nose
And her Walkman started to melt
Comedy gold. If Morrissey appears anywhere on the East Coast this year, we’ve made a pact to go. Unfortunately, he is only scheduled for European dates.
We also heard some Johnny Cash and Ramones, thanks to the ipod plug-in feature in my car. I told the youngsters about the hardships of my youth, with the eight tracks, cassettes and the stack of CDs strewn everywhere. We discussed “London Calling” in depth and how “Train in Vain,” became the group’s biggest hit without being listed on the album and the subject of “The Right Profile,” a cheery little number about the disfigurement of movie star Montgomery Clift. We also grooved to “The English Civil War” and I thought about how the more things change, the more things stay the same.
I am so happy these kids of ours love music they way my brother and I did when we were their age. When they were smaller, I thought for sure I had lost them to the dreadful world of flash in the pan pop hits, but they got older and found their way. I also thought they’d never read, then “Atlas Shrugged” appeared one night on the coffee table. Raising children is a process, I keep telling myself.
We swung by Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame prior to a night game to Progressive Field. And, while I admit it is a tourist magnet and that the gift shop sold Justin Bieber’s CD, there was still something about those artifacts behind the glass cases that captured my fancy.
I’ve been to the Everhart, the Louvre, the MOMA and Madame Tussauds, but the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is different. It contains Jim Morrsion’s Cub Scout uniform, Chrissie Hynde’s red leather jacket from the debut LP of The Pretenders, post cards from Patti Smith and a letter she wrote to Jan Wenner of Rolling Stone. Oh, and the hand written lyrics to “The English Civil War” by the Clash and the tap shoes of the Everly Brothers. I wish I could write for hours about all the stuff they had, but very little photography is allowed there, which isn’t very rock and roll in my opinion. If you want to see the pictures I did take, please join my Sue Henry Facebook page and you’ll see Janis Joplin’s magic mushroom Porsche and the canopy from CBGB’s.
Rock and roll is a major part of my life and it fascinates more than politics and baseball. Music is a consuming passion with me, and now with the next generation of my family. Last summer, I took one or two kids and sometimes their friends or my friends to a bevy of shows. Now, most of the shows that come to NEPA are not for me, but maybe they’re for you. So, I encourage you to follow your bliss and maybe put the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on your trip planner. It’s very near the Cleveland Browns and Indians stadiums, which are quite nice. I heard there’s a great science museum for all you scientists as well. You deserve a day or two off from arguing about the ills of the world. Trust me on that.