March 14, 2005
TO : Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation
1290 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10104
FROM : Gerard Cosloy
Mr. Wenner, Mr. Ertegun, Lady Des Barres,
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. First of all, I don't mean to take away from Eddie Money's induction into the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame --- I know this is a very special day for the entire Money clan and I'd never do anything to disrespect one of rock's true pioneers. But while you and your colleagues are rhapsodizing over rock's past, I'd like you to spare a thought for the genre's present and future, as embodied by the Austin, TX band Spoon. Since 1994, the duo of vocalist/guitarist Britt Daniel and drummer Jim Eno have been the authors of an unlikely success story, making the quantum leap(s) from critical pariahs in the mid 90's, to respected indie rock journeymen by the turn of the century, to their current rarified status as America's bravest, most challenging rock band. That all of the above has been accomplished sans gimmickry and far from the New York/LA/London axis, is less interesting than the strength of Spoon's ouvre. Working with a succession of bass and keyboardists over the years (at least half of whom have left on amicable terms), Daniel and Eno's arc is more impressive than any of their contemporaries ; had they peaked creatively with the minimalist art-punk of 1998's 'A Series Of Sneaks' , Spoon's status as one of the Great Neglected Underground Bands would've been assured. Instead, they rebounded with two of the most stirring, multi-dimensional pop recordings of recent years in 2000's 'Girls Can Tell' and their commercial breakthrough, 2002's 'Kill The Moonlight'. The new CD/LP, 'Gimme Fiction', is nothing short of a dizzying, soulful masterpiece, easily the most expansive work in Spoon's career. Recorded through 2004 at Eno's Public Hifi studio in Austin with the production help of Mike McCarthy (...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead), 'Gimme Fiction' is the sound of a band who having long since found their own voice, are making the catchiest, most confident rock'n'roll of any group on the planet. Though there are still echoes of some of Britt Daniel's influences (Eddie Money not amongst them), 'Gimme Fiction' is a sprawling, exhilarating, filler-free album of keenly focused artistic vision & ambition. With one or two notable exceptions (the "Emotional Rescue"-esque "I Turn My Camera On" chiefly amongst them), 'Gimme Fiction' isn't nearly as sparse as 'Kill The Moonlight' or 'Girls Can Tell' ; the ecstatic "Sister Jack" is as neat an example of tape-recorder-as-musical-instrument as this writer has ever heard. Lyrically, while not wishing to diminish his past work, 'Fiction' is Britt Daniel's most thoughtful album to date ; whether picking apart relationships or the state of the universe, the songcraft is stunning without ever feeling labored. In short, 'Gimmie Fiction' feels like as big a creative leap from 'Kill the Moonlight' as 'Girls Can Tell' was from 'A Series Of Sneaks'. And it still sounds like Spoon. I realize this is all a bit much for some of you take in, that these Texan mavericks are every bit as good as Eddie Money. Have they ever recorded with Ronnie Spector? Sadly, no (though it could still happen). Have any members of Spoon ever awoken mid-flight to find one side of their face frozen? Well, no one in the band's current lineup. Are there any former New York City police officers in Spoon? Again, the answer is no. And while I will admit that the group fall far short on these crucial criteria for entry into your hallowed hall, I'd also like to think that you will take their other attributes into account. And throughout 2005, you should have a chance to do just that ; at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival in the UK, the Coachella Festival in April, and later in the year at nightclubs and theatres across the globe.