Sunday, December 22, 2013

Interview with Sharmila Tredger

I (Kirk Harrington, DDTTRH) recently caught up with Sharmila and I am so happy I did.  I've read her articles online (she works for the Examiner) and always knew she was an avid Duran Duran fan; this led to my interest in interviewing her.  I have also had the pleasure of  talking with her in relation to the DDTTRH effort.  She has followed our effort for quite some time and I have always appreciated her enthusiasm about it.

Hi Sharmila!  Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us at DDTTRH.  One of our core missions is to speak with people just like you who are in the music and entertainment business to get their thoughts on Duran Duran and to raise awareness of how they have impacted music history.

Please tell us about the Examiner.  How long have you worked with them and have you always covered concerts or do you write about other topics as well?

The Exmaminer.com is a media company that operates a network of local news websites, allowing pro-am contributors to share their city-based knowledge in the areas of music, fashion, lifestyle and everyday news on a blog-like platform, in 238 markets throughout the United States and parts of Canada.

I have been a NY Concert Reporter with The Examiner since September of 2012 and covered an array of music concerts and fashion events from New York Fashion Week to Counting Crows, Chic and Nile Rodgers to Duran Duran…of course.

I've read that you've worked in the entertainment industry for the last 15 years.  Can you tell us where else you have been and what led up to you becoming a reporter?

My career started out working on film and television show sets in New York City. My first job was on The Cosby Show as a production assistant while studying Television and Film Production at St. John’s University in Queens, NY. It was an opportunity that I was determined to make mine and my shear persistence paid off. I spent 2 seasons working with a great cast of talented actors. After I graduated with a B.S. in Communication Arts, I went on to work on many commercials, films and television shows, such as Sex and the City and MTV’s Celebrity Deathmatch as a Production/Business Manager and Line Producer. After eighteen years of working in television and film, I needed a new direction, but at the same time wanted to continue to work in the sane industry. So I made the jump to Digital Advertising, working as a Production Business Manager for Digital Studio at R/GA down in Hell’s Kitchen in New York City. This experience brought me to a whole different level in regards to how products were represented in the digital world. After three and a half years in Advertising, I felt the need to revisit my passion for writing and photography. I published my first children’s book in 2012, launched a photography and quotes website, started writing lyrics and re-learned how to play the acoustic guitar. While keeping myself busy, my love of music grew in a different direction. I started analyzing melodies and lyrics. And the first album that I ripped apart was Duran Duran’s “All You Need Is Now.” While the band was in full tour motion, I made my way to see them live at Foxwood’s, Madison Square Garden and Atlantic City with a group of Duraniacs. I figured, my hardcore passion for music needed to make its way from my head to paper, so I started approaching PR agencies to review new album releases and indie artists. Surprisingly, the response was overwhelming, so I signed up with The Examiner and a few other publications. This road to reporting has opened many doors for me. While I still spend many nights in photo pits, trekking my gear in and out of the city, I started my own business as a Music Agent, representing several independent musicians and speakers. This universe is so drenched in talent, but there are few that strike a chord in me and having the opportunity to help them grow as artists and exposing them to the world is the biggest reward.
I've seen you write about Duran Duran.  For example, I saw that you covered John Taylor's book release that happened recently.  Are you a big fan of the band?  Are you passionate about them and please tell us why!
Passionate about their music, yes. I’m part of the 30+ club. I hope that doesn’t give my age away. Music was my outlet, a way to express or hold back. And when I first heard of Duran Duran, it was the easiest thing to digest at the time. I really had no idea who I was as a teenager dealing with the world and they knew exactly who I was. They understood me. As my obsession with the band grew, my love of music became my sanctuary. I bought every album, poster, button, t-shirt and anything that had their face or name on it. I plastered every inch of my bedroom wall and closet with their gorgeous beings. I spent the last thirty plus years listening to their music, but it wasn’t until a few years ago, when I started reconnecting with other Duranies and experiencing them live. Having built up my reputation as a writer and photographer with several agencies, I was stoked when I was granted coverage of Duran Duran’s Foxwoods venue and John Taylor’s book signing in New York City on my birthday of last year. I honestly have to say that it was an overwhelming feeling when I was in that room at Sirius XM, standing face to face with the man I had a crush on growing up. It was a different this time because now I’m no longerfangirling, I’m actually there to cover a story, a story about a man whose overcome his demons and it was my responsibility as a reporter to capture this moment and share it with the Duran community. I have the utmost respect for him as a musician and human being. My devotion for the band will live and die with me, but while I still dance through life, I will continue to find a way to get the interview of a lifetime with the band that was born to make me dance!






Its interesting how you portray your experience with Duran Duran.  Mine is similar, except I am not much of a collector (don't tell Andy Golub).  I actually showed my devotion through how I dressed, through sharing with my high school friends my interest in them (though sometimes I was ridiculed...I was considered too effeminate, particularly by 'the jocks').  I have listened to their music for years.  Like you, only certain music touches a chord with me.  Duran Duran has a way of 'singing to my soul' like no other music has.  I too only recently connected with Duranies through Duran Duran to the Rock Hall.  My first live concert experience was here in Cleveland when they came for All You Need is Now.  I have not met any of the band in person...though you might think its funny that I've had dreams of them since DDTTRH.
You mentioned the word 'Duraniacs'--did you mean Duranies?  Tell us what you think is the difference between Duranie and Duraniac (this should be a fun one for you).  I know I've met all kinds of fans...some I am more glad to have met than others (to be honest).

Duraniac is an individual who has a stratospheric devotion to the band Duran Duran. Certainly not one who is insane or dangerous. Duraniacs have an increased spirit, a reflex of intoxicating happiness, a fight or flight kind of attitude and a highly reduced sense or fear of danger.
Not to say that Duranies are that much different. Where we differ, is the overwhelming respect we have for each other. We are a group of women who are above and beyond elated when other's are granted opportunities to connect with the band in ways we never dreamed of. The fabric of our being in no way is that of jealous tirades strewn up and down social timelines and hidden behind direct messages.
Tell us about some of the fun moments you've had connecting with Duran fans?  Tell us about some of the people you've met or had nice experiences with.

Over the last 2 years, my circle of fiends has changed shape in the form of a "D". I have friends that I grown up with since elementary school and have stayed in and out of touch til today, but the Duraniacs friends that I have made have touched my life two fold. We experienced loss that has made our bond inseparable and we have experienced elation that gives life to the memories we have made. 

Standing in line at Terminal 5 and the whole Steve Aoki experience has got be one of my highlights of 2012. I started out 3rd in line and somehow ended up further back as the day turned to night but managed to get right in front of the Bass God along with my Duraniacs Angela and Shannon when we were finally able to get in. Here we are, a group of 40 something women and a few men in a sea of 20 something men and women trying to stand our ground to see Duran Duran perform only to be bathed in bubbly and painted with Kermit the frog green cake icing. Fun times had by all and certainly an experience I would honestly love to relive again.

The "All You Need Is Now" tour made it's way to my side of the globe at The MGM Grand at Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, CT and as a reporter, this was one venue that I had to cover. I was granted a press pass and polished my gear...my camera that is. Needless to say my camera was knocked out of my hands as the hordes of Duranies bum rushed the stage as soon the lights faded to black. 
It was back on the road and off to the Revel, which was cancelled due to Nick Rhodes illness, but we made the best of our stay and created more life memories. But the one memory that holds true for all of us Duraniacs, is our "Duranies Who Brunch" luncheon at Brother Jimmy's in NYC on March 25, 2012. It's sole purpose was for us to bond in person and not over some social cable that we held into as our only means of communication. For some it went as far as Scotland and for others it was local. We ate, we drank and we mad life long friends. And unfortunately two weeks later, our dear friend, Sandy Isabella-Ahrens passed away. If ones heart could break into pieces so minuscule, than that's how I would describe the state we were in when we heard of her passing. Today our bond continues to strengthen and our memories continue to grow. To all my #DuraniesWhoBrunch girls, Angela Grella-Oropallo, Sandy Isabella-Ahrens, Kayren Campbell, Cynthia Graham-Hughes, Shannon Marie Moyer, Petra Jorden, Lee Ellen Becker, Brandi Goldstein, Margherita Maramonte Leffe and Claudine Commisso, I will always hold a special place in my heart for them.




Sharmila...  it's been so great getting to know you more.  Thanks so much for interviewing with us.  Here are your final questions:

Who is your favorite band member of Duran Duran and why?

To choose or not to choose that is not even an option. Even thirty three years ago I had a tough time choosing. They each represented something different to me. The instruments they played, the way they dressed and the way they conducted themselves on stage. Till this day, I admire them just as any mother would admire her children, equally in their own way.

If you could meet this band member, what would you ask him or talk to him about?

I’ve had the honor of meeting the band on more than one occasion and I’m above and beyond grateful. It is an indescribable feeling to most brought on by the connection that we make when the music makes its way to our ears and down into our hearts and souls. It’s pretty deep. An afternoon with the band talking and singing about music and life as opposed to asking them questions that have been asked numerous times over would suit me just fine.



Is there anything you would like to say to our DDTTRH fans...or to DDTTRH as we continue to do what we do?  Words of wisdom much appreciated.

Duran Duran will always have the best fans any band can ask for. We have been there fromthe start and we will continue to support their music as long as they continue to believe that their music is just as essential to the water we drink and the air that we breathe.



Saturday, September 7, 2013

DDTTRH interview with LoveSick Radio, Dave Harris



LoveSick radio is a band that was created in 2006, in Columbus Ohio (very close to Cleveland!).  Now currently reside in Las Vegas (since 2012).   Their front man is Justin Therialt, their guitarist Dave Harris, and bassist Josh Masters.  According to their website (www.lovesickradio.com), they play over 200 shows a year and have opened for the bands Bon Jovi, Kid Rock, and The Fray.  They have also played at festivals and have shared "the stage with the likes of David Cook, Justin Bieber, Blue October, White Tie Affair, Rooney, Three Days Grace, Hinder, Safety Suit and New Found Glory." (source: website)  They have also played at the Changjiang International Music Festival in Zhenjiang China (with over 80,000 attendees).  Their single, "Boys Don't Matter" has made it to the top 50 charts and they have had "multiple placements on several MTV shows and MTV2 featured the band as one of its “Bands on the Rise.”"(source: website).

Their website describes their sound as blending "a unique blend of unapologetic rock coupled with pop melodies and hip-hop swagger, creating a fresh sound all their own."  In an interview with rickyleepotts.com (source: http://rickyleepotts.com/2012/01/lovesick-radio-artist-interview.html), when asked if their music is pop, rock, or alternative, this is what they answered:  "We call it all three...rock/pop/alternative.  We listen to everything so its only fair those would come through when people listen to us."

DDTTRH is excited to present to you this interview with LSR's guitarist, Dave Harris.  He had some good things to say about Duran Duran too...you will have to read to see what he says.




Kirk, DDTTRH:  I heard about your upcoming show in Vegas this Friday...are you super excited? Have you played in Vegas before?

We have played in Vegas before. The crowds are fun to play to here. They get to see so much entertainment you have to up your game to stand out. So far I feel we live up to the challenge

Kirk, DDTTRH: Please tell us about the new material you are releasing and how it's being received.
Our new single should be out in August. We wrote a ton of songs trying to really find real sound that we can call ours. We can't wait to play these songs for people
Kirk, DDTTRH:  I listened to some of your band's music...I like it. I understand you play bass. Are you familiar with John Taylor's work?
I play guitar but I am familiar his work. He's pretty bad ass

Kirk, DDTTRH:  YES he is! So let's see...you play guitar. So you might know of Andy Taylor, Warren Cuccurullo, and Dom Brown.
All good players

Kirk, DDTTRH:  Who is your favorite guitar player..the one who inspires you today?
Doesn't have to be someone who played or is playing with Duran Duran. Don't worry.
Hahaha
Top 5 Jimmy page Joe perry Jimi Hendrix Keith Richards Richie kotzen
Kirk, DDTTRH:  Very nice list. I really like Jimmy Page and Joe Perry. There's nothing quite like a Stairway to Heaven, is there? So I read that one of your band's songs made it to the top 50 on the pop charts and you've been featured on MTV. Can you tell us more about that? Sounds exciting!
Yeah it was pretty cool. We are getting ready to release our new single & we think we will top ourselves.
Kirk, DDTTRH:  David...there are so many bands out there. Why should people listen to yours? What does your band have to offer that others might not?
Hmm... If one comes to our show they are going to go home & make love. So there's that.

Kirk, DDTTRH:  Hahaha! Nice answer. Tell me about other members of the band. How well do you guys mesh as a group? Have you had any funny stories on the road you wouldn't mind sharing? I read you opened for Bon Jovi and played in China! There must be some fun stories you've had in your travels.
The band works really well together. We fight like everyone else from time to time but we love each other and we are family. When you spend as much time with each other as we do it's kind of happens. Crazy stories...When we went to China recently our bass player Josh almost lost his bass , went to find it then luckily found his bass! then when he came back I realized that he was missing his luggage! he left it where he found his bass and then he missed his plane trying to go get the bag. & he had no cell phone service in China. But he happened to meet some nice people in China & they let him use the Internet and he emailed me thus making it to the show just in time. We have 1 million crazy stories. I somehow wonder how all this stuff happens to us sometimes.
Kirk, DDTTRH:  Wow...so glad he made it. Than you for sharing. Since you have 1 million crazy stories...perhaps one more you'd be willing to share with our readers?
I remember once we were touring somewhere in the south & we stopped at a rest stop very early. Everyone in the bad was asleep but our driver & drummer. Well they both got off to use the restroom. Our driver returns to the bus & forgets to check to see if anyone else got off the bus. So he drove off. He end up leaving with out our drummer. So I get a call asking where we are. Little did I know we just left him. So I made the driver turn around. As soon as he could.

Kirk, DDTTRH:  Beside your new single coming out in August, can you tell us about anything else exciting coming up for Lovesick Radio?
We are going back to china & then doing a radio tour of the us followed by a tour of America. Plus our album & a video or two.
Kirk, DDTTRH:  Very great! I hope our fans will enjoy keeping up with you. I know I would like to check in with you every now and then to see how you are doing. David, thank you so much for interviewing with me.

To follow LoveSick Radio, please visit their website at http://lovesickradio.com/ .

Please follow DDTTRH on Twitter!  @DDTTRH


We call in all three… rock/pop/alternative. We listen to everything so it only fair those would come through when people listen to us. - See more at: http://rickyleepotts.com/2012/01/lovesick-radio-artist-interview.html#sthash.22cUTrFv.dpuf
We call in all three… rock/pop/alternative. We listen to everything so it only fair those would come through when people listen to us. - See more at: http://rickyleepotts.com/2012/01/lovesick-radio-artist-interview.html#sthash.22cUTrFv.dpuf






Saturday, April 13, 2013

Interview with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Meredith Rutledge-Borger




If you google 'Meredith Rutledge-Borger, you will learn of the passion she has as a curator at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  In reading about her, here are some quotes I found that provide insight into what she is about and more about this passion she brings to her work:

"I am an old-school, vinyl LP lover. For me, a huge part of the experience of music has been holding a 12 by 12 album cover in my hands, minutely examining the artwork, the liner notes, the credits – CDs and MP3s just don’t work the same way."  Quote from Women Who Rock Exhibition Installation, Update #2, April 27, 2011
http://rockhall.com/blog/post/5790_women-who-rock-exhibit-install2/


"It’s been said that fashion and style are the natural visual counterparts to creative musical expression. Rock and roll artists have had a long relationship with the world of high fashion — picture Elvis Presley’s iconic gold lamé suit designed by Nudie, then fast forward to Madonna’s equally iconic gold bustier designed by Jean Paul Gaultier.  Fashion designers like Gaultier, Thierry Mugler and  Gianni Versace have all become synonymous with the branding of rock stars like Madonna, Mick Jagger and Elton John."  Quote from Fashion Meets Rock and Roll, February 12, 2013
http://rockhall.com/blog/post/3821_fashion-meets-rock-and-roll/

In a NY times article, she is quoted as saying this about the Women Who Rock exhibit (which was on display at the Rock Hall in 2011/2012)...
“Women have always been the outsiders of rock ’n’ roll...we wanted to show that women persevered and their music — and there were different kinds — became part of the fabric of the rock ’n’ roll industry...they were singers and they were songwriters, instrumentalists, producers and even record-label owners.”  Article:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/28/arts/artsspecial/women-who-rock-exhibit-traces-female-music-artists-in-america.html

You can also read about Meredith travelling to the UK to do research for a 2-Tones record exhibit (http://rockhall.com/blog/post/9174_spotlight-exhibit-preview-2-tone-records-rock-hall/).  You can also learn more from her about the Beatles 'Apple Boutique':  http://rockhall.com/blog/post/9351_gallery-talk-the-beatles-apple-boutique-exhibit/.  You may also learn that the movie 'Lady Sings the Blues' which stars Diana Ross (who portrays Billie Holiday) "may well have been introduction to being a music curator!":  http://rockhall.com/blog/post/6155_bessie-smith-billie-holiday/

Kirk at DDTTRH caught up with Meredith while she was busy working on a major exhibit for the Rolling Stones which opens May 24th.  Here is our interview with her:


Kirk, DDTTRH:  Meredith, thank you for taking the time to speak with me.  Something I thought would be great to do is to speak to someone at the 'other side' of our effort, which represents the 'RH' in our name...DDTTRH or Duran Duran to the 'Rock Hall'.  

I've been reading up on you a bit and some of the exhibits you've talked about.  How long have you been an Assistant Curator at the Rock Hall and what do you enjoy most about what you do?

Meredith:  I’ve been working for the Rock Hall since 1996. I started in the curatorial department in 1999. I really enjoy the fact that I am getting paid to follow my passion, and that I have the opportunity to share that passion with our visitors – giving them fresh insight into the music that changed the world.

Kirk, DDTTRH:  I love that you have passion for what you do.  I remember my last visit to the Rock Hall...I really enjoyed the exhibits that to me were put together with great care.  I actually learned a lot just reading and perusing through them.  One thing that interested me most was a video I was able to see about the history of Rock and the various branches that Rock created.  Further, I remember seeing the David Bowie exhibit and thinking that he is not necessarily under the definition of 'Classic Rock' (would you agree?).  Has the Rock Hall changed its views over the years about what it considers to be the classic 'vein' of Rock and Roll and how have those views affected the bands/artists it inducts?


Meredith:  Here at the Hall of Fame we try to be inclusive rather than exclusive in terms of our definition of rock and roll.  We also make an effort not to glue artists in to any one particular pigeon-hole – artists are just artists who bring their own unique skill-set to the table.  So we honor artists that are traditionally defined as rock artists, but also artists whose work predates rock and roll, work that we consider to be the roots of rock and roll. Any music that shares those roots – even if it is outside of the traditional definitions of rock and roll, is all welcome at our table. Traditionally-defined “classic” rock and roll carries no more weight here than folk music, or R&B or hip-hop. The criteria for induction as an artist (as a performer, composer, or musician) into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is that the artist must have released a record, in the generally accepted sense of that phrase, at least 25 years prior to the year of induction; and have demonstrated unquestionable musical excellence. We consider factors such as an artist’s musical influence on other artists, length and depth of career and the body of work, innovation and superiority in style and technique, but musical excellence is the essential qualification for induction. 

Kirk, DDTTRH:  Please define what you mean by 'musical excellence'.  That can be subjective, right?  I guess it would depend on who you speak to.  Who helps decide if an artist is 'excellent'?

Meredith: Everyone personalizes everything about rock and roll.  Without metrics, the definition of "rock and roll," who is or was important, and who should be inducted is inevitably subjective. 
As a result, our Nominating and Voting Committees are replete with Inductees (in fact, they are the largest bloc of voters).The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has built our Voting Committee around the most qualified group possible:  the living Inductees, which number around 400 at this time.  
The selection of Performers is a two-step process.  It begins with a Nominating Committee consisting of a diverse panel of living inductees, journalists, educators, historians, noted musicians, industry heads, etc. Each member receives a guide noting those eligible for the first time, those who have been nominated unsuccessfully before and all other eligible artists.  Virtually every significant artist of the past 50 years has been discussed at this level.  A large majority are very qualified but have yet to get the votes to make the final ballot.  Some have even made it on the ballot numerous times, but have not received sufficient votes to be inducted. 

Those nominated are sent to a Voting Committee of about 600 people (all living inductees, educators, journalists, historians, music industry management, musicians, etc.) around the world. Again, the factors to be considered are impact, innovation and influence on this music that we broadly define as rock and roll, as well as their overall “musical excellence”  - as defined by working musicians.

Gold records, number one hits, and million sellers are not appropriate standards for evaluation.  Standards for artistic merit cannot be objective, because such standards are historically and culturally constructed.  Artistic merit can’t be measured by stats.  What is valued as good music or visual art or literature changes over time, depending on cultural conditions and who is deciding.

Those receiving the highest number of votes are inducted into the Hall. Usually, this means five to seven new performing members each year. 

Having said all this, I believe that all worthy candidates will be inducted, just not always when they or their fans deem timely.  This phenomenon is not unique to us.  The sports halls of fame have had many great stars that do not get inducted in their early years of eligibility or for many years to come.  

Kirk, DDTTRH:   Thank you Meredith for this fabulous explanation!  I think its important for fans to know about and understand so they don't take it 'personal' if their band is passed over repeatedly.  I think RUSH is a great example of this.  As part of a group trying to raise awareness for our favorite band (Duran Duran of course), I have had my 'ears to the ground' about other efforts and I know those RUSH folks have been waiting for quite some time now.  I am very happy that RUSH was able to be inducted this year.  I also have talked to Greg Method (also a native Clevelander) and he is promoting Weird Al Yankovic I know.

On that note--I noticed something new and exciting this year that led up to the induction ceremonies.  There was a poll on your website which lets people place their votes for who they think should be inducted.  Can you tell us more about that?  Do these votes really mean anything prior to the final decisions? 
I'm sure these kind of votes would not hold the kind of weight the living inductees would...I do think its rather fun though which is why I'm asking about it.

Meredith:  For the first time in its history, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame offered fans the opportunity to officially participate in the induction selection process. The public had the opportunity to vote for the five nominees most deserving of induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The top five artists, as selected by the public, comprised a “fans’ ballot” that was tallied along with the other ballots to choose the 2013 inductees,  The fans’ ballot counted as one vote – on several occasions the difference in who gets inducted is decided by one vote, so this is significant. The Hall of Fame adopted this model from the Heisman Trophy organization, which uses a similar method to allow fans the opportunity to vote on winners.

Kirk, DDTTRH:  This is exciting!  And, this is especially great for fans who actually would look forward to see their voted on act inducted into the museum.  Do you plan on doing the same thing in 2014?

Meredith:  As far as I know, we plan on keeping the fans’ ballot in place for future inductions.
 
Kirk, DDTTRH:  Speaking of the museum, I have heard that although Duran Duran has not been inducted yet, it has received items from the band--my guess is that most things are in storage.  Further, a friend of mine who is an archivist in Seattle has said to me that he has helped in getting items to the Rock Hall.  Is this true, and if so...what kind of things do you have from Duran Duran?

Meredith:  We have had multiple items of clothing on loan from John Taylor and Nick Rhodes, and we had a John Taylor bass.  All of the items were on extended exhibit in the Museum at various times throughout the years, and because they were loans, they were returned to the band.

Kirk, DDTTRH:  This is good to hear.  I'm sure John wanted his bass back [;.  This next question has to do with attitudes I'm sure you've come across in regards to the Rock Hall.  Many bands and artists think that the Rock Hall is too political, that its too much like a business, and that its aim is not to induct the most deserving artists, but the ones that can bring in the most ticket revenue.  Some have even knocked on your black tie dinners that are held during induction time and the extravagant ticket prices (I've heard its about $2500 per ticket).  They may see these events and ceremonies as too 'posh' and artists that have either been inducted or are eligible may look unfavorably at you.

What would you say to people like this that criticize the Rock Hall in this way?

MeredithA lot of folks don’t know that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is a not-for-profit, 501-3c educational institution. As a non-profit, all of our Museum ticket sales and the funds that come to us from the Foundation, which puts on the induction ceremony, go towards fulfilling our mission – running the Museum, putting together exhibits and award-winning educational programs that serve toddlers to seniors., both in the Museum, and around the world via our Distance Learning programs. The Induction Ceremony is essentially a benefit – a fund-raiser for the Museum, and the ticket prices to the Ceremony reflect that.
 
Kirk, DDTTRH:  And a related question...What is the image you strive to convey to guests as a curator at the Rock Hall?

Meredith:  In terms of the kind of image I want to project for the Museum as a curator – rock and roll is so many different things to different people, so there’s no one image to project. If there is one idea that I want to project, it is that of welcoming and inclusion. This is the music that changed the world and brought people together – I want our visitors to feel welcome and see themselves represented.  I also want to challenge visitors’ ideas of what rock and roll IS, and show them where it came from, where it’s going and how it really did change the world.

Kirk, DDTTRH:  What other types of things is the Rock Hall Foundation involved in?  Is it just overseeing the Museum and its inductees?

Meredith:  In 1983, A small group of music industry professionals led by Atlantic Records Founder and Chairman Ahmet Ertegun and including Rolling Stone magazine publisher Jann Wenner, attorney Allen Grubman, manager Jon Landau and record executives Seymour Stein, Bob Krasnow along with attorney Suzan Evans set out to establish an organization to “recognize the people who have created this music which has become the most popular music of our time.” Ertegun approached the heads of various record companies with his idea, spearheading the formation of the non-profit organization that would eventually become the Foundation. 

In 1986, the Foundation held the first annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. That same year, the Foundation selected Cleveland as the permanent home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
 
In September 1995, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum opened in Cleveland. In 2006, Joel Peresman, a music industry veteran and former chief of Concerts and Entertainment at Madison Square Garden, became President and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. Under Peresman’s leadership, the Foundation announced the return of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies to Cleveland in 2009 and every three years thereafter.  The Foundation also staged the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary concerts on October 29 and 30, 2009, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. These historic shows and their broadcast on HBO helped fund the first-ever endowment for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland. 
 
In addition to these projects, the Foundation provided an $8 million gift in 2008 to the Museum’s Capital Campaign, which was used to build the Library and Archives center in downtown Cleveland and the 2010-2011 Redesign of the Museum interior. The Foundation also provides funding for Museum capital projects on an on-going basis and continues to be the largest single contributor to the Museum.
 
Beyond funding, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation leverages its presence in one of the world’s major cultural and philanthropic centers to provide increased exposure for the Museum mission, connections to artists and philanthropists, and other partnerships to advance the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s cultural preservation initiatives.

Kirk, DDTTRH:  This question comes from one of our fans.  They were wondering if you had seen the recent Mercury News poll regarding dream inductees to the Rock Hall...Duran Duran made it to the top 4, which is exciting!  http://www.mercurynews.com/entertainment/ci_22927434/rock-and-roll-hall-fame-duran-duran-kiss

Meredith:  How much does public opinion and polling factor into the induction process?  When it comes right down to it, all the induction voters are FANS – whether they are past inductees, journalists, academics, record company executives – fans with the same differences of opinion as other members of the public about what music has made a difference and who should be recognized. As I said in a previous email, we are sure that ALL DESERVING artists will eventually  be recognized.

Kirk, DDTTRH:   This next question comes from Suzanne, one of our fans...
"Has the Rock Hall considered renaming the museum "music Hall of Fame" since many nominees and inductees are clearly not Rock & Roll stars?"

Meredith:  As I think I may have mentioned earlier, we try to be inclusive rather than exclusive here at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We broadly define rock and roll to include the music that predates rock and roll and was important to the development of rock and roll.  We also open our doors to music that we understand as sharing the same roots as rock and roll, so that would include soul, metal, R&B, folk, hip-hop, disco, techno, roots rock, alternative…we embrace diversity and try not to pidgeonhole artists or styles. The definition of what rock and roll is shifts as this is a living artform, constantly growing.

Kirk, DDTTRH:  I had a couple of extra questions, hope you don't mind.  One is a fun one from me and the other is really a favor for a 'Friend of Mine' (Duran Duran pun intended) who also has an effort that started in Cleveland for his favorite artist, Weird Al Yankovic.  

What do you think?  Weird Al at the Rock Hall?  He certainly is a unique artist and has a depth and breadth of work that it pretty amazing...albeit satirical.  Has his name come up do you know in any discussion of inductees?

Meredith:  Since Weird Al released his first record in 1978, his name, along with everyone else who released their first recordings in 1978, has been in consideration as a nominee since 2005. As I’ve said before, we believe that every deserving artist will be recognized eventually. 

Kirk, DDTTRH:  So, lets imagine Duran Duran does get inducted one day to the Rock Hall (which I know would make a lot of people in my group happy).  As a curator that helps in building displays, what artist or band would you put them beside?  What kinds of things would you show about them to highlight their musical contributions?

Meredith:  When Duran Duran artifacts were on display here in the past, we exhibited them along with other artists of the 1980s.  While I do ant to emphasize that we try not to cram artists into a pigeonhole here, we do like to  give visitors a sense of the chronology of the music.

Kirk, DDTTRH:  This was certainly an enlightening interview.  Thank you SO MUCH for sharing with us your time.  Its so refreshing to know that the Rock Hall and the foundation is out and about 'doing good' for Cleveland and the world in its great mission of preserving music history and our rich music culture.
 
To learn more about Meredith Rutledge-Borger and her work at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, please visit the Rock Hall's website:  http://rockhall.com/blog/author/meredith-e-rutledge-borger/










To learn more about Duran Duran to the Rock Hall and its mission to raise awareness of Duran Duran and its impact on music history, please visit:  http://www.ddttrh.info/

To learn about how Greg Method, also a fellow Clevelander, who is trying to 'Make the Rock Hall Weird', please visit:  http://www.allthingsyank.com/rockhall/