Hello, Cleveland! As luck would have it, I had a free evening in Cleveland on a recent business trip and was able to meet up with my old buddy Bruce and his nephew and tour the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, or as it's known locally: Rock Hall.
The museum is open late on wednesday evenings during the summer when they invite local bands to perform. And even though the bands were impressive (and certainly loud) we moved through quickly in order to visit the exhibits and memorabilia that make the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame so much fun. They've got everything from Elvis' old tax returns to David Bowie's capes and spandex suits as well as hundreds of famous guitars. The current exhibits include a 2008 inductee area, a feature on The Doors, and Behind the Scenes of the Beatle's HELP! There's also some short films on Hall of Fame winners through the years and somewhat uninspired gift shop. Oddly enough, I didn't notice the excellent Museum Guide Book until I was in their much smaller shop at Cleveland Airport.
Even though you're not allowed to, I snapped a couple dozen photos through out the place. I felt like a bit of a spy pulling out my compact Canon G9 camera from under my shirt to and dodging the museum's blackshirted staff. But what the heck. Rock & Roll is about breaking the rules, right? And besides, at $22 a ticket, I figure I paid plenty for the privilege.
Some of the highlights for me were seeing Paul Simonon's smashed bass from the cover photo of the Clash's London Calling album, Joe Strummer's stickered and beat up Telecaster, a couple of Bo Diddley's guitars, the Ramones gear, some early Les Paul electrics and Jimmy Hendrix's double-necked electric. It was also very cool to see the huge Pink Floyd memorabilia from The Wall and The Division Bell. And even more guitars from The Ventures, the Yardbirds, Elvis, Eric Clapton and The Beatles.