Thursday, February 11, 2010

Taylor Hicks ~~ On my musical radar--Who? and What?

Who knew what would show up on my musical radar this week?

Classic rock legends, The Who, rocked the world as they entertained at halftime for the Super Bowl. I was with them heart and soul when I heard the familiar sounds of a harmonica. I excitedly asked the twitter community, “When was the last time you heard a harmonica at Super Bowl halftime?”

A fellow tweeter, Taylorsezine, who knows a thing or two about music, tweeted back the harmonica stats and said “…the ghost of The Who past LIVES!!!”

The blogging community review was immediate and widely mixed with its reaction to the performance of the rock superstars. The Lefsetz Letter instantly judged that “The Who just killed classic rock.” Others said “Great.” The debate went on. Even one reviewer suggested all that was needed was to add the question mark.

The Who?

Then a very unexpected bleep flew onto my radar. I was introduced to hard core metal this week when a young college student wrote an essay about his favorite music genre—one not in the mainstream. No kidding.

Of course, I thought he was talking about some kind of new “heavy metal,” which I had actually heard of. No, this was definitely not the heavy metal of the late 20th century.

In the ensuing discussion after I had read his composition, other students eagerly joined in, one calling it “screamo” music since the musicians scream. I asked if there were actually lyrics, and they said yes, if you could understand them, or wanted to. They seemed to mumble something about bad language. Okay, that’s not new in music.

He explained also that hardcore metal concerts featured hardcore dancing where attendees take fake swings at each other in aggressive “dance” moves that often ended up in fights and brawls.


If someone accidentally gets hit, well, it’s what you expect. One popular dance move is throwing your arms out and if someone is in the way…well, it’s the dance. “It’s fun. We meet lots of people and make friends.”

Everyone at the concert rushes the stage. I said that I had stood at the stage and had to stand my ground. It was painfully evident that they were not impressed and that I had been no where near a stage like theirs and “standing my ground” was no where near hardcore metal’s “standing your ground.”

Since most young students today learn by laptop, I asked for him to show me hardcore metal on his laptop…in a few seconds we were on YouTube and I was listening to, yes, “screamo” music. “There is a beat,” I lamely commented. And there was.

These were not young people with lots of body piercings and green hair.

Punk rock is so totally passé.

These were intelligent young people working on their education.

Where have I been?

Then I received an email with the link to a promotion with the picture of Taylor Hicks on the cover of a “Hot Metal” Hohner harmonica for sale.

Now we are talking “ metal.”

Taylor Hicks playing a screaming harmonica is hardcore metal that I can embrace! I have been there at the stage and heard that kind of metal…

Now, I know that I should have some kind of lofty and worthwhile point to all of this. I don’t.

It was just an interesting week of extremes on my musical radar…from classic to not so.

Speaking of radar…there was still a lot of snow on the radar.

Just ask Taylor Hicks.

Taylor and Hohner have been friends for years:

The Taylor Hicks “Hot Metal” Hohner harmonica is available here:
Photo credit:


Anonymous said...

NO WAY, NO HOW, NADA, NEVER EVER !!! The WHO could have been the WHAT , the WHEN or the WHERE. My question was WHY. The answer , of course, is generational.
There is music that spans the ages, but I don't the heavy metal genre will be one of them.
The closest thing to enjoyment of heavy metal for me is a Hohner Harmonica. That "I can dig." (generational expression intended)

The WHO could be The WHO cares.


Anonymous said...

Loved it, San!


juliegr said...

Good piece, San.

I've been holed up in the house in Virginia while the storms raged in DC and VA but my meanderings all centered on food.

I'm pleased to see the results of Taylor's association with Hoener Harmonicas -- may it be long and fruitful.

san said...

Thank you all for reading and commenting.

I liked The Who compared to some other years' entertainment. I did think the music was kind of all over the place... But the harmonica got me!

Food tends to be a great motivator to "meander"! The storms seem to really be centering on DC!

I have a very young granddaughter who loves music. I think that Hohner might be in her stocking come Christmas! Taylor and Hohner is a natural!

Thanks for your kind words!


Anonymous said...

I have found a new use for HEAVY METAL

Heavy-Metal Music, Other Sounds Aimed at Beetle Pests

Beetles don't like heavy metal ...., suggests new research, but the sounds that really drive them mad are manipulated versions of their own noises.

Beetles are destroying ponderosa, pinyon, lodgepole pines and other trees important to the ecosystem. The beetles have their place in the ecosystem too, of course, but climate change and human activities have allowed beetles to take over more than they should.

To combat such infestations, scientists thought up the "nastiest, most offensive sounds" they could. Those included recordings of Guns & Roses, Queen .... and manipulated versions of the insects' own sounds.

The scientists then played these recordings near beetle-infested trees that they brought into a lab setting. The sounds disrupted tunneling, mating and reproduction for the beetles, making it harder for the insects to eat through the trees.

The project, dubbed "Beetle Mania," concluded that acoustic stress may disrupt the tenacious insects' feeding and even cause the beetles to kill each other, according to a presentation recently at the National Meeting of the Entomological Society of America.

Taylor's harmonica renderings could never be considered "offensive to the ear", though. ergo , I will never think of the harmonica as HEAVY METAL MUSIC.