Here in New Orleans, Cosimo Matassa’s inclusion was the news in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s announcement of its inductees yesterday. The Hall’s announcement quoted OffBeat writer Jeff Hannusch, who wrote, “Virtually every R&B record made in New Orleans between the late 40s and early 70s was engineered by Cosimo Matassa, and recorded in one of his four studios.”
Bloomberg.com did run a brief AP story on Matassa’s inclusion, but local media made more of it. Dominic Massa’s story at WWLTV.com quotes Matassa, who once said, ““I always tried to capture the dynamics of a live performance. These guys were doing these songs on their gigs and that was the sound that I was trying to get. We didn’t have any gimmicks – no overdubbing, no reverb – nothing. Those guys played with a lot of excitement; and I felt if I couldn’t put it in the groove, people weren’t going to move.”
WVUE interviewed OffBeat editor Alex Rawls and someone who frequented North Rampart when Matassa’s J&M Studio was still there:
Not surprisingly, the national press focused more on the musicians who were inducted: the Beastie Boys, Guns N’ Roses, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Donovan, Laura Nyro and the Faces/the Small Faces. Tris McCall of New Jersey’s The Star-Ledger leads his critique of the choices by arguing, “Hip-hop does not need the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame sure needs hip-hop.” He contends that the selection of the Beastie Boys ahead of Eric B and Rakim, Afrika Bambaataa and Kook Herc suggests how little the Hall voters know about hip-hop. “A visitor to the hall in late 2012 will encounter a misinformed narrative and one that, with each snub, feels increasingly condescending,” he writes.
Andrew Unterberger noted how little the Faces and Small Faces had in common (“two UK groups with fairly different lineups and sounds but with the same sort of cult reputation among US fans”) at Popdust.com, but he observed that it “should be a hell of an induction ceremony regardless—might we actually see Axl and Slash of GnR play together for the first time in forever? Will the BBoys revert to their fratty mid-’80s ways for one night? Are RHCP gonna go socks-on-dick for old times’ sake?”
At Entertainment Weekly, Clark Collis observed the homogeneity of this year’s inductees. “The only woman on the list is Nyro, and it says something about something that, at least until this weekend, the lineup of Republican presidential candidates looked more racially diverse than the roll call of inductees.
Tyler Coates at New York’s BlackBookmag.com considered the announcement “a good excuse as any to listen to the somewhat underappreciated Laura Nyro all day.”
At VillageVoice.com, editor and voter Maura Johnston by arguing against the idea that the Hall of Fame being about Rock and Roll legitimizes exclusions of artists such as Eric B and Rakim, Donna Summer and Chic. “The ‘disco sucks’ sentiment is still holding over from the ’70s, apparently.”
At the Los Angeles Times, Randall Roberts focuses on the two L.A. inductees – Guns N’ Roses and the Red Hot Chili Peppers – while observing another bunch of New Orleanians who belong in the Hall along side Matassa, Dr. John, Fats Domino, Lloyd Price and Dave Bartholomew: “Both the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Beastie Boys … owe a great debt to the Meters, a New Orleans instrumental band whose grooves have become an archetype. (The Meters aren’t in the Hall of Fame? Oof. A travesty.)”