Susan Rogers talks about Prince and music

Susan Rogers at Loop 2017Susan Rogers is a remarkable person. After a successful career as a music engineer and producer, she retired from the industry, using royalties from producing the Barenaked Ladies to become a scientist. She earned a doctorate in psychology from McGill University, studying music cognition and psychoacoustics, and currently teaches at Berklee College of Music. Prince fans know her through her work during the period that produced a series of amazing, famous albums. The opportunity came about by chance when Prince hired her as his audio technician during the making of Purple Rain. She rapidly transitioned to become his engineer, effectively taking part in the creation of music by one of the most significant musicians in our lifetime. In an engaging interview at Loop 2017, she addresses wide-ranging topics about music. Continue reading →

Paisley Park: lonely palace or insightful museum?

Paisley ParkPaisley Park stands beside a highway in a quiet suburb some distance from Minneapolis. If you’ve been living under a rock or are too young to know much, you might not know that this is where legendary musician Prince lived and made music, and where he died in April 2016. Prince was arguably the most gifted and accomplished musician in popular music of the 20th and early 21st century. Without doubt he can claim the title of most prolific. In 1987 he constructed the 65,000 square foot complex, named after one of his songs that described a place of “profound inner peace.” Reporter Amanda Petrusich visited Paisley Park and described her experience for The New Yorker (June 25, 2018). Seeking to better understand the enigmatic genius, she came away disappointed by the experience, which evoked the sensation “of being near Prince, but never quite with him.” Continue reading →

Is it true that rock is dead?

Led Zeppelin IV rock albumDan Ozzi writes in a June 14 article in “Noisey” that rock is dead. A provocative declaration. Eclipsed in popularity by EDM, rap, and pop, the genre hangs on for nostalgic elders and young aficionados who follow niche styles like heavy metal. At least so claims Ozzi. I have no doubt this contains some truth. Well-known rockers may still be able to sell out shows, but who is the audience? The charts and tastes of younger audiences favor anything but rock, which has fallen away much as has R&B/soul. Continue reading →

Sheila E. releases powerful anti-Trump album

Sheila E.'s Iconic album coverSheila E. has released a powerful new album, Iconic: Message 4 America, one of the best musical efforts in reaction to a catastrophic presidency and poisonous social climate. Rooted in the socially conscious music of the 60s and 70s, the album aims to reclaim that era’s spirit and its fight for justice. Americans seem to be helplessly watching the most corrupt, self-serving, and dangerous presidency in the history of the republic. Who do you appeal to when the authorities themselves renege on their role to protect basic values? Iconic sends a message to inspire Americans to band together, rise up, and force a change. The album could rightly be called the soundtrack for a movement. Continue reading →