Positive Music Place

Archive for June, 2014

Remembering Casey Kasem

Posted by dlockeretz on June 15, 2014

It’s too bad that the last few weeks of his life were lived out in the tabloids, but I’m sure that in time the family drama will be a mere footnote compared to the huge amount of positive energy and happiness he brought to the world.  Casey Kasem died today–in a sad irony, on Father’s Day–at age 82.

Like many musicians, when I first started out I had dreams of stardom which often included playing in front of masses of adoring fans.  However, being somewhat of a nerd, I was also interested in the statistical side of the music business, such as how records did on the chart each week.  Just as I imagined myself playing stadiums, I also imagined Kasem reading my name off on a Top 40 countdown.  (As it would turn out, while I kept “reaching for the stars”, I never really embraced the first half of Kasem’s signature sign-off, quickly getting tired of “keeping my feet on the ground” and never being willing to pay the dues required of stardom.)

At the risk of sounding elderly, there was something exciting about listening to Kasem’s countdowns on the radio each Sunday morning.  It’s nice to have worlds of information at our fingertips these days, but having to wait for the countdown–back then the only way to learn what the new #1 single of the week would be–made it seem like an event.  Kasem saw stories in the charts; he made his listeners emotionally invest in whether “Good Thing” out-performed “Toy Soldiers.”  His first AT40 countdown marked the last time the Beatles and Elvis shared the top 10; his last featured No Doubt, Nickelback and Outkast.  Through all of the musical and cultural changes that happened during his career, he was able to connect with his audiences.




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Rock Spider!

Posted by dlockeretz on June 11, 2014

There’s a new kind of music on the Web, but it’s not available on Spotify, Pandora or Youtube.  It’s not the World Wide Web we’re talking about either.

Music is the universal language, transcending not only culture and time, but sometimes even species.  Whales utilize songs to communicate; Peter Gabriel has taught a chimpanzee how to play the piano.  Now we have anther example of music used by a different species – the spider.

According to an NPR story, spiders tune the strands of their web, tightening and loosening them as one would a guitar.   Just as a guitarist knows (well, hopefully they do) when their string is in tune, so too a spider can instinctively tell if a thread is at the right tension and adjust it accordingly.  They can read the vibrations created when a fly hits the web, thus enabling them to locate prey.  They can also tell if the vibration is caused by a potential mate’s entrance, proving that humans aren’t the only species that can use music as a way of getting lucky.

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