Once out of NY, the road surface seemed to change and the Fit began to sound like a 117 horses galloping along on a wooden surface. I noticed strips from rubber tires all about and road kill marking the miles. Lots of trucks, even saw a triple trailer – the thing actually passed me which was a little insulting. I retook my position on a steep incline somewhere in Ohio. Ohio, Chrissie Hind’s state. Land of Clinger and Oberlin College, Toledo too where we took in a leisurely stroll in Promenade Park which had an impressive array of bronze statues and the most spectacular smoke stack I’ve seen in years.
And then there was Cleveland where we took in I.M. Pei’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which at first glance looks like the glass triangle at the Louvre. The Rock and Roll Museum has an impressive collection of costumes, memorabilia, including Janis Joplin’s psychedelic Porsche; musical equipment, and guitars. Lots of guitars. Custom guitars made for Elvis and Jerry Garcia. All the greats have guitars on display in the museum – B.B. King, Albert King, Robert Johnson, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Les Paul and Howling Wolf. One of the most fascinating exhibits featured clips of Les Paul playing with Mary Ford and his commentary on the history of the instrument including his contributions to modern guitar playing, guitar building and recording techniques. He was a master player, tinkerer and innovator.
Jukebox kiosks give visitors a chance to listen to music from any of the inductees and music from virtually all genres represented in the Hall from Blues to Heavy Metal and anything in between. I grooved to the Velvet Underground and Jeff Beck.
The museum runs a film covering each of the inductees by year and while interesting, was not nearly as interesting as the actual museum exhibits and it was way too long. If I had known how long it would last – more than an hour it seemed – I’d have skipped it.
And of course it has a gift shop. The escalator conveniently deposits you there. Lots of crap as you might expect, but we bought a couple of books – one a history of the guitar and the other a biography of Janis Joplin written by her sister.
After the museum, we had some soul food at Hot Sauce Williams. The food was excellent – crisp, moist fried chicken drowned in barbecue sauce, succulent ribs and mouth watering sides – fried okra, baked beans and corn bread. Anthony Bourdain had been to the place and gave it high marks. We gave it thumbs up too. When you visit the museum, pass on the food there and save your appetite for some good soul food. It’ll hit the spot and do you right.