Rock music and nostalgia go hand in hand. Kids get into music right around the time when they are becoming people; it is how they explore the world outside of their bedroom through new ideas and sounds. Don’t believe me? Check out anybody’s music collection and guaranteed the bulk of it will be from the era when they were bumming rides from their parents. This is why seeing Hard Rock Café’s exhibitions of rock and roll history strikes a different cord than your average art collection. In the pieces they collect you see a piece of the musician’s history, and by extension, your own.
Because of this their traveling exhibit, “Gone Too Soon” (one out of three from Hard Rock currently making the rounds around the world) is of interest to any music lover. The curator, Jeff Nolan, is one of the preeminent Rock Historians in the world and he bought a piece of the exhibit to SXSW at the Fader Fort. He gave us a walk through that included everything from one of Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes of tour outfit to a wallet (of touring guitarist Tommy Allsup) Buddy Holly was carrying when he died on his ill fated flight.
It was a freewheeling conversation that touched on everything from ironic deaths (Stevie Ray Vaughan’s longtime use of drugs only to die clean from a helicopter crash), to Amy Winehouse’s beauty in person (“It’s like this weird piece of art walked out and stands next to you, like Holy Moley!”).
He also talked about how he wanted this tour to encompass the entirety of the rock spectrum and not just to cover traditional rock musicians. He brought up how important it was to him to have Lisa Lopes included, “She was near the top of the list of people I wanted to represent (on this tour). She’s a super important artist not as a member of TLC, but as a writer. She wrote or co-wrote most of their hits.”
When asked about the significance of popular musicians dying at the age of 27 (Winehouse, Cobain, Hendrix, etc) he gave a surprising answer: “I think its coincidence. I will tell you a gone too soon story that is a lot more bizarre then people dying at 27. John Lennon was shot and killed on December 8th, 1980. 24 years later to the day, Dimebag Darrell from Pantera was shot and killed on stage December 8th 2004. To me December 8th is weirder then the 27 thing. I figure it should be a rock and roll holiday when all bands cancel all gigs (laughs)…you cannot see a concert on December 8th because everyone is playing it safe.”