Chuck Treece is a true renaissance man. You may be familiar with his lengthy career as a pro skateboarder, but what drew us to him was his musical work. He’s played drums with Bad Brains, bass with Billy Joel, guitar with the Roots, and has sung for 25 years with the band McRad. His varied credits also include recording sessions with Tommy Guerrero, Underdog, King Britt, David Garza and G. Love and Special Sauce. This remarkably humble guy told us about his musical philosophies, and it made for a great conversation. From the great city of Philly… ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Chuck Treece.
Happy Independence Day,
When a stranger asks what the words “Conshohocken, Pennsylvania,” mean to you, you’d be forgiven for not having a snappy response right out of the gate. For us, the notoriety of this town just west of Philadelphia rests on its distinctive role in recorded music. Conshohocken is home to Studio Four and the great Phil Nicolo, our guest in today’s video. This Grammy-winning producer, engineer and mixer has worked with legions of legends, including Aerosmith, Billy Joel, Joan Osborne, Urge Overkill, Dave Grohl, Yoko Ono, Kris Kross, the Hooters and… wait for it… Mr. Zimmerman himself, Bob Dylan.
And if you would like to exchange Twitter tweets, “Pandora Presents…” is on there (as ‘pandora_kevin’) and friendly. Generally friendly, at least.
Well, we finally got our concert series off the ground, and what a start! Matt Nathanson came by and played an amazing acoustic set, including tracks from his latest album. Matt holds a special place in our hearts – one of the most spun artists on Pandora with over 11 million spins. We’re all psyched to see all the great things happening for his career. Lord knows he deserves it after all these years.
It was great to have a bunch of folks in from the City of Oakland, Redevelopment/Economic Development office, Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Dellums staff, Steve Daubenspeck from Lockwood Elementary, and many other friends from the local community.
Matt kept everyone entertained with his music and humor. Check out the pictures from the event. This is the first in what we hope will be an enduring tradition at Pandora. Matt, thanks for kicking it off on the right note for us!
A couple more verbal answers to commonly asked questions. This week’s topics:
WHY DOESN’T PANDORA HAVE WORLD MUSIC?
CAN I BAN AN ARTIST FROM MY STATION?
HOW IS BOOKMARKING DIFFERENT FROM A THUMB UP?
HOW CAN I GET MY BAND ON PANDORA?
(One minor correction to this video — if you want to ban an artist from a particular station, you only need to thumb down TWO songs from that artist, not three.)
Please feel free to post any questions you’d like elaborated… we’re all ears!
Cheers. Tim (Founder)
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We are having a Pandora meet-up at the Lucie Stern Community Center in Palo Alto. Hope to see you there–excited to meet our Palo Alto listeners!
If you would like to attend, please RSVP by sending an email to Angie at firstname.lastname@example.org with PALO ALTO in the subject line.
When: Tuesday, June 17th, 2008 @ 7 PM
Where: The Lucie Stern Community Center, 1305 Middlefield Rd, Palo Alto, CA 94301 (
Some people hold the misconception that musicians are irresponsible ne’er-do-wells and slackers. It’s a misconception that we are pleased to dispel. In honor of daddies everywhere, we meet three musical men who are also great fathers. Our guests this week are Darian Gray, Jeffrey Burr, and Eenor, three young dads who manage to balance their family lives with their creative endeavors. See how their kids influence their music, and vice versa, on an episode we call “Studio Stories: Dads Who Rock.” Happy Father’s Day!
If you want to download the full-sized video rather than stream it from the page, subscribe to the feed in iTunes or any other feedreader.
Papa’s got a brand new bag,
What’s in a voice?
You could make a good case that popular music is all about the voice, since for some listeners a likable or even lovable voice is all it takes to make or break a song. But, as with most things musical, what can be stated simply – “I love that voice!” – turns out to be practically unfathomable upon further reflection; and so it appears to be with the human voice.
To start, there are some purely technical dimensions to any vocal performance: things like dynamics, pitch, and rhythm. Obviously, these determine to some extent a voice’s effectiveness and power in music (though I might argue that they are really only noticed to the extent in which they are missing and thereby reduce the believability of the vocal). Be that as it may, surely we’d all agree that the various technical aspects of singing can and sometimes do provide the basis for an effective vocal performance.
But of course we all also know that there’s much more to our experience of any vocal beyond the simple technical facilities of the singer. For example, while timbre (the texture and sound of the voice) has a musical dimension, it also engenders a kind of basic, animal sense of attraction or aversion. Just as we find some people to be beautiful and others not to be, the same is true of voices. This consideration is not technical, but it is certainly a primary determinant of our reaction to a voice, right?
OK. So far so good. We’ve established that technical and timbral qualities affect our reactions to voices (no surprise there). Now we can get to the good part.
We human beings are so deeply attuned to the nuances of other human voices that a whole bunch of other information comes sneaking in along with that pleasing or grating timbre, that good pitch, or that laconic phrasing. There is something fundamental and deep that is suggested simply by the way the voice is used in the song; and this ‘ethos’ (or ‘vibe’, if you prefer) is very influential in our determination of whether we like something or not.
It is with great regret that I’m writing to let you know that, for personal reasons, I have to postpone our town hall meeting this Wednesday. To say I’m extremely disappointed would be a collosal understatement. The response from listeners in the DC area was utterly overwhelming and it promised to be an evening to remember…we even had some local Pandora artists who rsvp’d and offered to provide live music before and after.
Don’t worry. We are already trying to figure out a new date.
In the meantime, as I know you may have questions about the rates issues that are so imminent, know that we will be in touch as soon as there is a specific action to take.
My apologies again for this late notice. I sincerely hope you’ll be able to attend when we get back on the calendar. I very much look forward to it.
Think of your favorite song, and chances are good that the first element popping into your mind is the melody. It’s that melodic arc that leaves the indelible mark, inspiring you to sing along in your car. This week, special guest Melody Parker sings as she surveys the steps and leaps taken by some of the 20th Century’s greatest melodicists: Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Brian Wilson, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Richard Rodgers, just to name a few. Spend ten minutes thinking about melodic construction, and watch your brain light up.
Tra la la,
Details to be announced soon!
When: Tuesday, June 17thth, 2008