The Sideman

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame acknowledges Scotty Moore, the guitarist behind the King.

"All the writers would call me up on the phone," he says, "but when I would get a rough script, invariably whatever they called to talk to me about wouldn't have nothin' to do with it. I wouldn't even recognize it. They'd always get just enough truth in there to make it believable, and I understood they had to stretch. But it should have been an hour long instead of thirty minutes, and I think deep down they wanted it to be like The Dukes of Hazzard. They'd want Elvis and Bill and me to stop and get gas at a service station, and the place would get robbed, and we'd be involved in some kind of chase or something -- and I hate to tell you, but that never happened. And they always wanted to make Bill look like the heavy in the whole thing. Now, Bill did have a short fuse, but they'd have him taking his bass and walking back to the next town, quitting or several other things like that. And that was just ridiculous."

The failure of Elvis didn't bother Moore much, but when his businesses went south, he was left with time on his hands. He filled it in 1997 with his first recording project in ages: All the King's Men, credited to him and Fontana. The disc, issued by Sweetfish Records, included guest appearances by a wide array of artists eager to pay homage to two such important figures, including the Mavericks ("I Told You So" [295K aiff]), the Bodeans, Cheap Trick, Tracy Nelson, Joe Louis Walker, Joe Ely and Steve Earle. But the biggest names on hand were a pair of Rolling Stones: Ron Wood, who paired with Jeff Beck on "Unsung Heroes," [252K aiff] and Keith Richards, the star of "Deuce and a Quarter" [280K aiff]. The CD was so well-received that Moore and Fontana are contemplating a followup to feature performers who expressed interest in participating on the first platter but couldn't because of scheduling difficulties.

"Bonnie Raitt was going to do it, and Chris Isaak," he says. "And there was a funny little story about Mick Jagger. We were at Ron Wood's studio in Ireland with Jeff Beck, and the phone rings, and it's Mick. He asks, 'What are you doing?' And when Ron says 'We're recording with Scotty and D.J.,' he gets us on the phone and goes, 'Well, why didn't you ask me?' And we were like, 'We already got two of you. We didn't want to push it.' Then, when I saw him later, I asked, 'If we do another one, are you up for it?' And he told us, 'I want to be the first one you call.'"

He's found a new place to dwell: Guitarist Scotty Moore is set to rock Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
He's found a new place to dwell: Guitarist Scotty Moore is set to rock Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Meanwhile, the Hall of Fame beckons. Moore admits to mixed emotions over his admission. "The problem to me is, Bill Black, myself and Elvis were a group, the Blue Moon Boys. We should have all gone in as a group. But I know there's a lot of politics in that kind of thing, and with this new category, I'm happy that it's opening up for so many other deserving guys down the road.

"The time's probably right," he says with a snicker. "I'm gettin' up there. I suppose I'm just about ready for a museum now."

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