Asked by The New York Times this weekend why his book of famous interviews included only interviews with white men, Rolling Stone co-founder Jann Wenner said the reason women weren’t there was because, quote, “It’s not that they’re inarticulate, although, go have a deep conversation with Grace Slick or Janis Joplin. Please, be my guest,” and the reason Black artists weren’t there was because “they just didn’t articulate at that level.”
“Jann Wenner has been removed from the Board of Directors of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation,” the hall said Saturday, a day after Wenner’s comments were published in a New York Times interview. Wenner created a firestorm doing publicity for his new book “The Masters,” which features interviews with musicians Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Pete Townshend and U2’s Bono — all white and male.
Masks off in the golden dusk: “Just for public relations sake, maybe I should have gone and found one Black and one woman artist to include here that didn’t measure up to that same historical standard, just to avert this kind of criticism.”
The pop music glory days, roughly corresponding to the three decades after Rolling Stone’s founding, often look like an endless and inescapable loop tied up in the boomer economy. But the the thing about nostalgia is you’re not really going around in circles. It’s a journey back to where you started, heading the other direction.