I was among the many speakers at the Rock Hall on Sunday, August 28 to honor and pay tribute to Cleveland’s legendary rock writer Jane Scott…I got through my prepared remarks but skipped a few lines under the pressure…so posting here as they were originally written:
The very first time I bumped into Jane Scott was at the Rolling Stone Teen Club in Brookpark for a Bob Seger and the Last Heard show. I was a teenager seeking out rock and roll. There might have been 20 other kids there. To us, she looked out of place. But what I learned was that Jane never was out of place. Like so many of you, over the years, I encountered that silly giggle of Jane’s in countless situations. When I worked for MCA Records, Jane would saunter in in her white gogo boots to listen to some advance release in Mr. Green‘s office. And all the girls in the order dept would whisper, Jane Scott’s here. At some point in our friendship, I got to be on her annual Christmas party invite list and join the inner sanctum, and it was a huge thrill going there the first time, seeing pictures of her with famous rockers scattered about her small apartment with her collection of scarves and cool hats. And like a polite hostess she always introduced you to everyone in the room.
To me that’s symbolic of what Jane did for an entire generation. Jane stood as the fearless observer, notebook in hand, really listening, and telling us all the behind the scenes stories of every performer’s life, which made us want more. And she also reached behind her, turning to ask the audience what they thought, wondering who these kids were showing up to listen to that crazy Persecution Smith song, validing our right to assemble at the alter of rock and roll.
Today, when I look back at Jane’s style, she was sort of the newspaper equivilant of Facebook wasn’t she? But she encouraged you to leave your house and find the front of the stage. The first t-shirt we made at the Beachland I had Derf create a cartoon scene of some rocker on our stage shouting out Hello Cleveland, like so many of them do, but I asked him to specifically put an image of Jane standing right in front of the action. The thing I hope we always remember, and that we find a way to pass on in this city, is her undying dedication to live music. Just put a peanut butter sandwich in your purse or in your pants pocket…and go. –Cindy Barber