First Listen: Half Empty Releases Self Produced Project ‘Safe To Say/SCREENPLAY’

Not much is known about the split personalities of rapper/producer Half Empty, but over the next year that is expected to change. Outside of a production credit on ASAP Ferg‘s ‘Cocaine Castle’, under the alias High Class Filth, and a feature on the Soundcloud hit ‘Up Your Nose’ with fellow Maryland rapper Kasey Jones, Half Empty has had a relatively quiet career. All that changed with the release of his double mixtape Safe To Say and SCREENPLAY.

Inspired by a short stint in Los Angeles, Half Empty transformed beats that he had stashed with a collection of very personal journal entries about this time away from his Maryland home into the project’s second single “Reflections”. With visuals directed by LQQK StudiosAnde, his single was a new beginning for Half, who had already made a name for himself under his producing moniker HCF. After not showing his face from the genesis of his career, Half found new direction and decided to remove the vail and let the world know who the man is behind the music.

Safe To Say and SCREENPLAY are perfect examples of Half’s unique synthesized trap sound, they work together like a day and night playlist. Safe To Safe is the brighter, more upbeat anthology that paints the picture of Half’s past relationships and dealings with the women in his life. SCREENPLAY is the no-holds-barred companion that describes the shift in lifestyle Half has experienced with his rise in popularity. Both projects are available on Soundcloud and Apple Music for your enjoyment.

Along with the rest of the 800 collective, Half have begun to climb to the top of the Washington D.C. underground music scene and have begun to take their talents across the country from California to New York. Be sure to keep an eye out on for more from Half Empty, High Class Filth, and the 800 team. They are sure to do everything but disappoint.

Read Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson’s Tribute to Yes in Rock Hall Induction Speech

Rush‘s Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson inducted Yes into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Friday night at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. It came four years after Rush’s own entrance into the legendary hall, a memorable event in which Lifeson said nothing but “blah blah blah” over and over as a way to mock long-winded speeches. 

But when it came time to honor one of his greatest influences, Lifeson found he had a lot more to say than gibberish. It was a very moving tribute to the forefathers of prog rock. Read the full speech by Lifeson and Geddy, below. 

Lifeson: We’re honored to be here tonight doing this. It’s really, really great. We all start somewhere. For me, my journey with Yes began when I was a teenager gently fishing out the Yes album out of its sleeve being just a bit freaked by the disembodied head on its cover, placing the needle on the groove, sitting back, letting the music wash over me. I may have smoked a cigarette or something, but Yes were my gateway band in so many ways. There’s nothing so fleeting yet enduring about the way music when you’re 17-years-old. 

As Yes played in my room, I played too. I spent hours picking my way through songs like “Starship Trooper” and “Yours Is No Disgrace.” How wonderful is that swirling outro in “Starship Trooper”? I must’ve played that a million times. But I loved their music. Even more, once I learned to master…I never really did. I never did them justice. But I loved them still. Yes helped give me the gift of music, which is everything, as you know. They made me want to be a better musician, and that provided some of the determination to one day stand on this stage giving tribute to this amazing band.

I’ll leave you with this: the musical choices we make in our youth help to mold who we become. Choose the guitar intro for “Going for the One.” Choose learning how to play “Starship Trooper” on a cheap secondhand guitar. Choose Chris Squire’s amazing bass tone. Choose Jon Anderson’s ethereal vocals. Choose Fragile. Choose wearing a cape before Rick Wakeman did. Choose staying out all night to see your favorite band. Choose “Roundabout.” Choose the glorious guitar work in “Owner of a Lonely Heart.” So beautiful. Choose the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And definitely, choose Yes.

Lee: I’d like to ask the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to indulge me a few moments to share some personal experiences of Yes, the band. So picture this: in the early Seventies, I spent from one to three years in Grade 10 in high school seated at the back of a class with my new pal Oscar. He sat right across from me, and the teacher’s words were bouncing aimlessly off us as Oscar riffed on some of our favorite Monty Python skits. He had me at the dead parrot gag. How could we not become friends? It wasn’t just the Ministry of Silly Walks that we bonded over. 

I could still recall one of the days that we [left] school and were sitting cross-legged on the floor of Oscar’s room as he introduced me to an album called Time and a Word by a band called Yes. I still thrill to the bass part in “No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed” the way I did when I first heard it that day. For years people asked me why I played a Rickenbacker bass, and all I have to do is point to that album, that song. Then Oscar played me “Yours Is No Disgrace” then “I’ve Seen All Good People.” We both sat there open-mouthed as the songs rose up around us and our musical worlds shifted and fell from its axis. I might’ve been a young musician jamming to basement grooves in Toronto, but through Yes, I was tuning into a wider world of possibilities. One where music seemed to have no limitations. 

It was a crisp night in 1972 when Oscar and myself and this guy, Alex Lifeson, wind up over night, around the block in what was Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens to finally see this Yes live for ourselves. The sky was a high dome of stars, and as I recall, Alex kept us going by skipping to the store and bringing back honeydew drinks. I could close my eyes now and I’m back there. Intellectually, visually, viscerally sitting in row 10. It was like nothing I’d ever seen or experienced before. It was actually profound. It’s not overstating things to say it changed the way I played and listened to music forever. So here we are, decades later, and the music of Yes is still showing me that music truly is a continuum. On behalf of Oscar, my good friend and Alex’s Leo, who is not here tonight, Alex and myself, I say thank you, Yes. It’s our great, great privilege and our great honor to right a total wrong and to finally welcome Yes into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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Jackson Browne Talks Rock Hall Moments From Joan Baez to Snoop Dogg

Jackson Browne inducted folk legend Joan Baez at the 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of FameBrowne and Baez have crossed paths multiple times over the years, with Baez having covered and interpreted songs by Browne on her own albums. Last year, the folk legends performed on stage for Baez’s 75th birthday celebration at New York’s Beacon Theater.

After Browne gave a deeply personal speech about Baez, tracing her involvement in his own musical upbringing, he spoke with Rolling Stone about the importance of the ceremony. He remembers when the Rock Hall was just an intimate affair at the Waldorf Astoria in New York and personally finding inspiration and new insights with each new class. 

What it was like to induct Joan?
First, she’s been so instructive in my life and such an influence and such an example. But how do you encapsulate all that she’s done? I mean, I realized I couldn’t even begin to enumerate the places she’s been and the issues and the struggles that she’s embraced. It’s not enough to say that she’s been an advocate of nonviolence her whole life. But it’s helpful to know that. But it doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of all that she’s done.

And it led me into listening to all of her music, and that’s been an incredible experience because she really has an effect on the songs that she sings. I mean, she worked with the guys from Muscle Shoals. She worked with the guys in the Wrecking Crew. She’s got a song that she wrote. This was back twenty years ago or something, but it’s about a gay friend whose life she really examines with such intimacy. It’s an amazing song. It’s called “The Alter Boy and the Thief.” It was arranged by Wilton Felder. And played by Joe Sample. 

She had a tour in the mid-Seventies where the rhythm section was Jim Gordon and James Jamerson. Can you imagine that?
I didn’t realize that. I didn’t get to see her play with Jim Gordon, but I got to see her play with Earl Palmer. She always played with great players. And I always loved her singing in her lower register. Something very sexy about it. But when I began listening to these really early records of her singing in this really beautiful falsetto, the thing that occurred to me is that her timing is so great. That she’s got this tremendous command over the rhythm or the song while she’s sort of free floating over it. Vocally, she’s got this gracefully flowing cadence while underneath there’s this precise guitar playing and strumming or finger picking. And a dynamic sense of drama. 

Do you think this an overdue recognition in the Hall of Fame?
Oh, absolutely. Everybody who goes in many years after they’re eligible has got to feel like … Well, I don’t know if I’ll be inducted or not or you just think, Oh, probably not.

But, the thing is, and I think it’s got to be said each time someone comes in after having waited many years while they’re eligible that it’s long overdue, but … to me, it’s just the way it is. There’s some people go in right away, like, say Tom Petty. Or Pearl Jam, you know. A show like this needs a current star. You have to have somebody put in there who’s like really going to make it a show. And the thing is, the Hall of Fame didn’t used to be a show. When it was at the Waldorf, they didn’t put on much of a show. They didn’t try to and it wasn’t being televised. 

The first time I ever heard about, I heard, “You gotta see this. It’s really amazing cause it’s really intimate. It’s little. The only people there are people that are musicians and their families, but there’s no real audience. It’s all musicians and record men, and they’ll honor some” – first time I went, I heard this guy. I think his name was Sam Bass and our guy that signed James Brown. And his amazing stories. Imagine having like somebody get up there now who is like an A&R guy talk for like twenty minutes about his life. You discover James Brown and go back to New York and have the publisher he worked for say, “What, this is a song? Please, please, please, please, where is the melody?” You know like, and him trying to explain to this old publisher, what was happening in this new music.

What do you think of this bigger presentation? 
Well, you have to do it because you see what happened, the first time I saw it presented on TV, and I’d been there once. I think I came once when the Birds were inducted.

What are your favorite memories of the Hall of Fame?
Well, my favorite memory is Little Steven inducting the Rascals. And when I say that, I mean I’m back on the subject of whether or not it should be televised. Of course it should be televised. All of this should be shared with people.

What made that a special moment for you? Are they a meaningful band to you?
No, no, no. I love their hits like everybody else, you know. But no, it was the time that Steven took to explain what they meant to him. To me, Steve Van Zandt is a big deal. I sang one of his songs, his record, Voice of America was one of the most important records, to me. He’s just a master. And plus, I think that induction speech landed him a part on The Sopranos. I mean, I think that’s when David Chase looked at it and went, “That’s our guy. That’s the guy.” 

I interviewed David Chase about that, and he confirmed that. 
If that had happened in the Waldorf without the cameras rolling then, that wouldn’t happen. I watched that standing in the hallway of my studio while I was making a record. Just took a break long enough to watch parts of the Hall of Fame which was being broadcast. It wasn’t on any big network. So, yes. It most certainly should be made into a show. It’s always got wonderful new information. I really wanted to see [the] Tupac [performance], and I didn’t know Snoop Dogg was going to induct him. But it was really heartfelt and really powerful. Snoop is full of surprises. Did you know he did that cameo in Pitch Perfect 2. Did you see that?

I did not see Pitch Perfect 2.
You have to see it! He’s in there. In the studio session.

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Nile Rodgers Talks Rock Hall Induction: ‘Everything Is Rock & Roll’

Guitarist Nile Rodgers was honored at this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony with the Award for Musical Excellence. Pharrell Williams presented him with the prestigious honor. “They just told me a couple of months ago that I’ve sold over 300 million albums and 75 million singles,” Rodgers said during his speech. “I just wanted to have one hit record.”

He went on to state that his work as a producer has been fulfilling, and the award was recognition of the accomplishments that he never would have imagined possible when he began to make music. “This award, which is amazing to me, is really because of all the people that have allowed me to come into their lives and just join their band,” he said. “Be it Mick Jagger, be it Madonna, be it Duran Duran, be it Daft Punk, be it Pharrell Williams, be it Diana Ross, be it Sister Sledge. I mean it just goes on and on and on. Thank you all.”

After accepting his award, he spoke to Rolling Stone about how profound the honor was to him.

What does it mean to you to get the Award for Musical Excellence?
I’m just blown away. I don’t do music for awards or anything. I just do it because I love it. I’ve said many times this is a job I would do for free. I used to panhandle. You know, I ran away from home at 14 years old and I was on the streets. Basically on Eighth Street just begging for spare change. I went on my first audition for Sesame Street. I didn’t know it was Sesame Street. They just said guitar player wanted for traveling band, and it was Sesame Street and I got that job and ever since then I’ve never looked back.

What does it mean for you to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
I still don’t know. I mean – I was thinking maybe it was affirmation since after the whole disco reaction back then. To get an affirmation that you are rock & roll and this is rock & roll.

What makes it sort of odd to me is that we were a rock & roll band before we were an R&B band. We’re working musicians first of all. That’s how we make a living. So, when we did our first rock & roll stuff, it’s because our lead singer had just left Jesus Christ Superstar. It’s funny that we’re here with Journey; we were trying just to be a funkier version of Journey. Our lead singer had that vocal style like Corey Glover or Ronnie [James] Dio.

So, we had our thing together and every record company kept our demos because they thought our songwriting and our playing was amazing. Then, when they saw that we were black, they were like, well you don’t fit your music and we were like, what do you mean we don’t fit your music? There was one Puerto Rican guy in our band who looked white and they kept thinking that it was his band. He was like, “Look I just joined the band, it’s their band.”

Is that when you discovered Roxy Music?
Yeah, I went to England with another band that I worked with and I got stranded there and I saw Roxy Music for the first time and I was like, I’ve never seen a rock & roll man get dressed up, because whatever we wore in the morning is the same thing we wore all day long. So these guys got all dressed up and I said, “Well, let’s do the black version of that.”

Then, when we came home, we started to try to put together these sophisticated looking people who would play this black R&B music. We met Tony Thompson, who had just left the group Labelle. So we knew that they were into this fantasy fusion, like weird clothing stuff, and that was cool. Then, we met this guy named Rob Sabino and Rob Sabino’s best friend was a guy named Ace Frehley. Ace Frehley was in Kiss. We went to see Kiss and went, “Holy shit, look at these guys!” Their fans were going crazy. They didn’t have a record deal, but as soon as they took off their makeup, no one had a clue who they were.

So, Ace and I would sit down and have drinks together and people were just walking by him and I’m like, “They were frenzied over you and now they don’t even know you” and he was like, “Yeah, that’s how we want it.”

We thought, well we don’t look like stars. What can we do where we can have the anonymity of Kiss and the sophistication of Roxy music? So we invented Chic and Chic is a mashup of Roxy Music and Kiss. … We were going, “This shit makes total sense. Let’s do this.” Our first song was a hit, and we never stopped.

You’ve done R&B, disco, EDM, rock. Everything is rock & roll and it’s a nice testament for them to recognize you for that.
Not only is everything rock & roll but when I first met [Chic’s] Bernard [Edwards], he hung up the phone on me because I told him that I wanted my band to be a cross between Fairport Convention, Country Joe and the Fish, the Mahavishnu Orchestra and the Grateful Dead. And he slammed the phone on me and he said, “Man, lose my number.”

But look at what happened. Here you are.
And what’s great about it is that every single act that I’ve ever produced, I’ve produced way more rock acts than I’ve produced R&B acts. Way more. I play on every record I produce, whether the band has a guitar player or not. They could have two guitar players, I still play because my philosophy is that [when I produce] I join the band. If my guitar can’t make your record better, I’m not your producer. Just get someone else. That’s what I do. I communicate through music. I do my arrangements, sometimes I write on piano, but the guitar is my voice that I speak through, and I believe that if that voice is a voice that adds something, I want it to be on that person’s record because I believe it will make it better.

Chic still isn’t in yet. Are you still holding out hope that they’ll get in the Rock Hall?
Of course. If you think about achievements and what people have done if you’re in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, like, OK, so I’m in for musical excellence. Chic is fucking musical excellence personified. It’s funny, I was watching Neal Schon play and I kept thinking to myself, when I was a kid this was what I loved. All the virtuosos. Chic is a band of virtuosos. You can’t play that shit. If I go out and ask half the dudes that I love and think are amazing to play – if you used to watch Jaco Pastorius sitting on the edge of the stage watching us play – you were just mesmerized with what we played. 

But we make it sound like it’s all poppy and simple because that’s what we’re into. We’re not into ego-tripping and watching me play these lengthy solos. Now and then, someone asks me to do that. I’ve played on records where because of music videos someone else is taking the solo and they’re known for being lead guitar players, people think that’s them playing the solo. With Cyndi Lauper you have Rick Derringer who’s a monster. Like, that’s me playing; Rick Derringer is just doing the video.

I loved what you said about how you’ve worked with everybody in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Look, everybody on that stage tonight, I was going, “Oh shit, Snoop Dogg is my friend.” Tupac I’ve known since he was a kid. I was in the Black Panthers with his mom. We were in the same branch. When they put up the picture of the Harlem branch, Afeni and I were in the same branch. So it was like Tupac, Snoop, Treach from Naughty by Nature, and then they showed every rock band. Jackson Browne is one of my best friends. When I played at Live Aid and I saw Joan Baez and she said hello to me and Richie Havens said hello to me, I was crying. I was like, Joan Baez knows who I am. It was the greatest day of my life.

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Kick’d Out: Inside The Onitsuka Tiger Pop-Up Shop + Gallery Launch

The Japanese based brand had a launch event for press on Thursday as refreshments was served and guest got a chance to review Onitsuka Tiger classics and apparel, before the official opening of the pop-up shop.

Onitsuka Tiger, revealed their 1,290 square foot pop-up gallery store in Soho to celebrate the brand’s arrival in New York and create awareness of the iconic lifestyle brand launching Thursday (April 6).  The beautiful space featured a displaying range of Onitsuka Tiger footwear and apparel offerings while the exhibition space showcases an archive of replica performance shoes, archive posters and collaborative art of locally-active Japanese artist Enirico Isamu Oyama. The space will feature the U.S. debut of the Nippon Made Collection which is the collaborative Onitsuka Tiger x Andrea Pompilo Capsule collection that launched spring 2013.

Make sure you take a visit to the gallery pop-up now which is officially open! For more information on Onitsuka Tiger, visit: http://www.onitsukatiger.com

 

Onitsuka Tiger Soho Pop- Up Store & Gallery

92 Mercer Street

New York, NY

Hours: 10am – 8pm Daily

Open publicly on Friday April 7, 2017

SOCIAL: @onitsukatigerhq, #OTSoho

 

NOTABLE GUESTS: Levi Berlin, Christian Dion, Cam Hicks, Jordan Burroughs, Hans Singer, Brendon Babenzien, Brendan Fallis

 

Pearl Jam, Journey, Yes Score Epic Night at Rock Hall of Fame

The 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony featured Steve Perry’s first onstage appearance with Journey in 26 years (even though he didn’t actually sing), a Yes reunion with Rush’s Geddy Lee on bass, a moving tribute to Tupac Shakur and the first performance of Pearl Jam’s original lineup since early 1991. But it was David Letterman, a last-minute replacement for Neil Young and the only non-musician of the evening to speak, that summed up the feeling of the event best. “When I came here for rehearsals, I was reminded what a gift live music is,” he said while inducting Pearl Jam. “Never take live music for granted.”

The capacity crowd at Barclays Center shared that sentiment, especially the army of Pearl Jam fans who let out an enormous roar whenever the camera went anywhere near Eddie Vedder. The disproportionate presence of the Pearl Jam army was evident from the moment Rock and Roll Hall of Fame chairman Jann Wenner said nothing more than “and last…” while introducing the inductees. He then had to stand back while the crowd let out an orgasmic roar and a series of “Eddie! Eddie!” chants for a full minute. (What about the other four guys? No chant?) It was the beginning of a wild, raucous night of surprises, the complete antithesis of last year where the most memorable moment was Steve Miller’s industry-bashing tirade in the press room.

When the crowd finally got all their Eddies out, Wenner spoke about the recent death of Chuck Berry, the first person ever inducted into the Hall of Fame. “No one in this room would be here tonight but for this man,” he said. “He is called the father, or the inventor, of rock & roll. He was the first to hear it. He put the poetry of the common man to the beat and then he laid down the law with that revved-up, motorvatin’, double-string guitar attack for every rock & roll musician that came after.”

With that, the Electric Light Orchestra kicked off the night with their 1973 cover of Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven.” Jeff Lynne broke out a guitar solo that would have made Berry proud and sang with a pristine voice that showed remarkably few signs of age. The group then tore through “Evil Woman” and “Mr. Blue Sky,” though it remains a mystery why keyboardist Richard Tandy wasn’t in the house despite being a key part of ELO since the very beginning and current member of the touring lineup.

George Harrison’s son Dhani then delivered a speech that included a great memory of seeing his father play onstage for the first time at an ELO gig and concluded by saying he saw them again last November at the Hollywood Bowl, right after Donald Trump won the presidency. “Trust me when I tell you I was staring at their spaceship thinking, ‘Take me with you,'” he said. “I saw some kids there that could have been seven-and-a-half and more of them that were probably 77-and-a-half all wanting to get beamed up.”

Despite ELO’s many lineup changes over the years, only Lynne, Tandy, original drummer Bev Bevan and co-founder Roy Wood entered the Hall of Fame. And since Tandy didn’t show and Bevan couldn’t make it due to shows in Europe, that left only Wood and Lynne to accept the award. Wood gave one of the shortest Hall of Fame speeches in recent memory, which makes sense given his short tenure in the band. “I would really like to thank Jeff for his dedication to writing the songs,” he said, “otherwise we wouldn’t have been invited here tonight.” Lynne was a bit more verbose. “It’s such a pleasure to get one of these, because I’ve watched lots and lots and lots, hundreds, of people getting awards,” he said. “It’s like my dad said: everything comes to him who waits.”

Joan Baez was up next. After a speech by Jackson Browne that explained her key role in the folk revival and the civil rights struggle, she pointed out that she’s not exactly a rock icon. “While one cannot say I’m a rock & roll artist, one cannot overlook the folk music of the Sixties and the immense effect it had on popular music including rock & roll,” she said. “Nor can anyone overlook the roll that I played in that phenomenon.” She wrapped with an optimistic vision for the future. “Where empathy is failing and sharing has become usurped by greed and lust for power, let us double, triple and quadruple our own efforts to empathize and to give our resources and ourselves,” she said. “I want my granddaughter to know that I fought against an evil tide and had the masses by my side.”

Facing an arena full of rabid Pearl Jam and Journey fans armed with nothing more than acoustic guitar is a tough task, but Baez brought them to a hushed silence with her signature take on “‘Sweet Low Sweet Chariot” (altering the lyrics to note that even Donald Trump can be saved). She then previewed her upcoming Four Voices tour by bringing out Mary Chapin Carpenter and the Indigo Girls for Woody Guthrie’s “Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos)” and the Band’s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” The former was a clear response to Trump’s anti-immigrant stance, while the latter was an huge hit for her in 1971.

In a significant change of pace, Rush’s Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson came out afterwards to induct Yes. “As Yes played in my room, I played too,” said Lifeson, recalling his teenage days as a fanatic of the band. “I spent hours picking my way through songs like ‘Starship Trooper’ and ‘Yours Is No Disgrace.’ They made me want to be a better musician and that provided some of the determination to one day stand on this stage giving tribute to this amazing band.”

Yes have spent the past decade feuding and touring in competing camps, but they put that all aside for the evening and stood onstage as one band, though keyboardist Tony Kaye didn’t make it due to health problems. Everyone made lovely speeches, but it was hard to remember them after Rick Wakeman turned his moment at the mic into an hysterical standup comedy routine. “[Growing up] we generally were very, very poor,” he said. “My father was an Elvis impersonator. But there wasn’t much call for that in 1947.” Then came one about getting a prostate exam. “The doctor said to me, he said, ‘Mr. Wakeman, there’s no need to be embarrassed. It’s not unusual to get an erection with this kind of procedure.’ I said, ‘I haven’t got an erection.’ He said, ‘I know, but I have.'” (Quick googling shows that neither of these jokes were his original creations, but his delivery and timing were impeccable.)

Yes fans have spent years wondering what would happen when the group performed at the Hall of Fame given so many redundant members and years of bad blood. It turned out to be less complicated than one might think. Original drummer Bill Bruford refused to come out of retirement for the evening, though he did make it to the show. That meant Alan White was the sole drummer, and Kaye’s absence allowed Wakeman to handle all the keyboard parts. On “Roundabout,” Geddy Lee played bass, while Steve Howe and Trevor Rabin played guitar. For “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” Howe gamely took over on bass despite not being in the group when it was recorded. It was a wonderful sight for long-suffering Yes fans that have spent years seeing partial lineups and hopefully paves the way for a reunion tour (though the death of bassist Chris Squire in 2015 makes any complete reformation impossible).

Snoop Dogg walked out after to induct his old friend Tupac Shakur, the first solo artist rapper to enter the Hall of Fame. He credited Tupac with giving him his first blunt back in 1993 (“I was a zig-zag man before that shit”) and told an hysterical story about parasailing with him in Mexico. “Does anybody know what parasailing is?” he asked. “Because we damn sure didn’t. Me and Pac were sitting on the edge of the boat with all this gear and shit on and all of sudden the boat pulls away and we start floating and slammed up into the water like boom. I don’t know what was in there. Sharks, or octopus or whatever. It was crazy.” Since Tupac has no children or living parents, Snoop accepted the award on his behalf and then participated in an incredible medley of the rapper’s songs – everything from “Dear Mama” and “Changes” to “Hail Mary” and “I Get Around” – with Alicia Keys, T.I., YG and Treach.

Train’s Pat Monahan followed it up by inducting Journey, who have been the subject of fierce speculation about the status of former singer Steve Perry in the past few months. He hasn’t performed with them since a one-off Bill Graham tribute show in 1991 and they haven’t even laid eyes on the guy since his surprise appearance at their Hollywood Walk of Fame induction in 2005. Reports were flying through the press that he was going to finally sing with them at the Hall of Fame, and even though both camps quickly shot it down there was still hope in the air that a miracle might take place.

Those hopes only grew when Perry walked onstage, hugged Neal Schon and then spoke very warmly about seeing the band for the first time. “Though their musicianship was absolutely par to none, there was one instrument that was flying about the entire city of Los Angeles,” he said. “That was the magic fingers of Neal Schon’s guitar!” He even mentioned Arnel Pineda, their current lead singer who was hired in 2008 solely for sounding just like Perry. “I must give a complete shoutout to someone who sings his heart out every night,” he said. “And it’s Arnel Pineda.”

What followed can only be described as unbearable tension. The band disappeared backstage and didn’t emerge for a couple of long minutes. Were they plotting the greatest surprise in Hall of Fame history? The tension grew greater when they finally came out and kicked into a long intro to “Separate Ways” without any vocalist onstage. The crowd was on their feet screaming for Steve. Was he really going to stand backstage and let someone else sing his music? 

Turns out he was. Pineda came bounding out for the difficult task of singing Perry-era Journey to a crowd that just saw the man himself minutes earlier. The challenge seemed to fuel him, though, and he belted out “Separate Ways” and “Lights” (featuring original Journey keyboardist/singer Gregg Rolie and original drummer Aynsley Dunbar) with stunning power. They closed with an inevitable “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Maybe now Journey fans can stop believing that a Steve Perry reunion is ever going to happen. If this didn’t do it, nothing will.

Pharrell Williams came out next to present his “Get Lucky” collaborator Nile Rodgers with the Award For Musical Excellence. The Chic frontman has been vocal about his unhappiness at getting in without his group, but when he stepped up to the podium, he was nothing but gracious. “This award, which is amazing to me, is really because of all the people that have allowed me to come into their lives and just join their band,” he said. “Be it Mick Jagger, be it Madonna, be it Duran Duran, be it Daft Punk, be it Pharrell Williams, be it Diana Ross, be it Sister Sledge. It just goes on and on and on.”

Kudos to whoever set the In Memorial package to Leonard Cohen’s “Boogie Street” as opposed to the predictable choice of “Hallelujah.” Let this be the start of a “Hallelujah’ moratorium. It’s enough already. The man wrote many, many other great songs. The slideshow of rock deaths in the past year ended on Prince, which led directly into Lenny Kravitz’s takes on “When Doves Cry” and “The Cross,” which he performed with the Love Fellowship Choir. It was a radical reworking of the songs, though Prince was never one to do a straight cover either.

It was then finally time for Pearl Jam. Neil Young backed out of induction duties due to illness, but David Letterman was gracious enough to step in on short notice. He may not quite have the same personal connection with them as Young, but he still gave one hell of a speech that veered between hysterical jokes and moments of real poignancy. “In 1994, these young men risked their careers by going after those beady-eyed, blood-thirsty weasels [in Ticketmaster].” he said. “And because they did, because they stood up to the corporations I’m happy to say, ladies and gentleman, today every concert ticket in the United States of America is free.”

He wrapped by reading a note that Eddie Vedder gave to his young son Harry along with a small guitar when the Pearl Jam frontman played one of his final broadcasts in 2015. “I’ll make you a deal,” Vedder wrote. If you learn even one song on this guitar I’ll get you a nicer, bigger one for your birthday. Maybe an electric one. You let me know … Playing guitar is kind of like fishing. Fishing for songs. Good luck, Harry, in all things.”

Every member of Pearl Jam (including original drummer Dave Krusen) gave heartfelt speeches that referenced their families and their musical influences. “I want to thank the Red Hot Chili Peppers for taking us out with the band and to the many bands that inspired me,” said guitarist Mike McCready. “Cheap Trick, Queen, Bowie, Hendrix, the Stones, Beatles, UFO, Kraftwerk, the Ramones, Brandi Carlile, the Kills, Social Distortion, Muddy Waters, Sex Pistols, the Clash, and my new favorite band, Thunder Pussy.”

Eddie Vedder spoke last. “I listen to music every day of my life,” he says. “A lot of that was in small apartments, when I grew up, we lived in some tight spaces with my family, my mom and my brothers. My mom, she did really good parenting. She wouldn’t tell us to turn it down, she would just kind of end up being fans of the bands that we were playing really loudly.” He also thanked all their former drummers, including Dave Abbruzzese, who was extremely upset over his non-induction and has been estranged from the group since his 1994 firing.

They opened their set with a ferocious rendition of “Alive” with Dave Krusen on drums, marking his first live appearance with the band since he was fired right after the recording of Ten. Matt Cameron took over behind the kit for “Given to Fly” and an emotional “Better Man” that had the entire arena singing along. And even though Young didn’t show, they still wrapped up with “Rockin’ in the Free World” where they were joined by a stunning assortment of guests, including Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, Neal Schon, Trevor Rabin, Dhani Harrison, Jonathan Cain and Jack Irons, who shared the drum kit with Matt Cameron.

The union of Pearl Jam, Rush, Journey and Yes was a truly once-in-a-lifetime sight to behold. Nowhere else but the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame would such a thing even be imaginable. But if newly-eligible acts Radiohead and Rage Against the Machine make it into the Hall of Fame next year, we might get to see an even crazier jam. After this night, anything seems possible. Well, anything besides a Journey reunion with Steve Perry. Some things are beyond even the power of the Hall.

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Watch Bono’s Passionate Reading of Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Hum Bom!’ Poem

Bono delivered a passionate reading of Allen Ginsberg’s Gulf War-era anti-war poem “Hum Bom!” in a new video for Poetry in America, Pitchfork reports.

“It’ll be like a tongue twister. I’ll get it wrong and that’s probably the point,” the U2 singer warned before attempting the absurd, onomatopoeia-reliant poem that playfully details an aerial assault that’s pushed Earth to the brink of doomsday.

Despite the dizzying onslaught of one-syllable words, Bono deftly navigates the poem’s quirky cadence, quickening and decelerating his pace, shouting and whispering at the right moments.

Bono, an admirer of the legendary beat poet, recited Ginsberg’s poem “America” on The Joshua Tree outtake “Drunk Chicken / America.”

In a 1997 video filmed just months before Ginsberg’s death, the poet hing out on a New York City rooftop with U2 and recited the lyrics to the band’s song “Miami”:

Bono also spoke about his love of Ginsberg’s work in the documentary The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg.

“I fell in love with Allen Ginsberg’s poetry round about the time, I suppose that I fell in love with America, and, you know, it was such a new world for me,” the singer said in the film. “It seemed like this was just so different to Europe, and it made sense to me that, in the way that America needed a new music to describe it, like jazz, it also needed a new language to describe it, and I think Allen Ginsberg and the Beats created a necessary language to describe the place they lived in, not just the physical landscape but the sort of psychological one.”

Watch Ginsberg recite “Hum Bom!” below:

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