2012-01-05 / Viewpoint

Hearing sounds from above

Jeff Hogan — EDITOR Jeff Hogan — EDITOR Life is good, again — in fact it rocks!

Not too long ago I drove a drab used gray hatchback, and yet while affordable and fuel efficient at the time of purchase it had a flaw I didn’t notice until several days after I bought the car — the radio didn’t work. It frequently cut in and out, of course during a good song I was into.

Weeks later I dismantled the interior dash assuming I had a simple short somewhere. With pieces of the car’s interior strewn across a buddy’s driveway, the two of us could find nothing wrong. I didn’t have the money to replace the radio unit, so we put it back together and for a long while it worked just fine.

But then it happened. Just before the guitar solo in Rush’s “Limelight” I hit a pothole and it cut out. I was distraught. During one of my favorite rock ‘n roll songs of all time by the Canadian powerhouse trio, my air guitar and drum performance already in fine form, the radio went quiet. I rapped the top of the dash, and then the side from the passenger seat’s perspective. No change. It would not lock on again for any longer than a few seconds.

This is how I lived for years, often opting to drive in silence rather than to the annoyance of the sporadic radio reception.

But then we purchased new vehicles and I discovered euphoria. Working radios and great sound systems. I was back!

As a music lover I played college radio in Traverse City and at an alternative rockgrunge station in Windsor, Ontario several years back. Music is a part of me. I played drums in two bands for a few years during my longhair years, so I’m partial to anything with a rocking good beat.

Enter SiriusXM Satellite Radio.

I have hardly been back to commercial radio since.

I now have hundreds of uninterrupted, crystal clear listening options. Most fall in the categories of “Classic.” New favorites are Classic Rewind, Classic Vinyl and Deep Tracks where I hear timeless instrumentalist artists like Neil Young, The Allman Brothers Band, Steely Dan, The Eagles, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Genesis, Yes and Pink Floyd. You get the picture, art-rock stuff someone who grew up in the 70s and 80s would like.

Oh, and there’s an entire channel called Pearl Jam Radio. How cool is that?

When I need to blow the cobwebs out I turn it up a notch and scan to the Lithium channel to hear Alice in Chains or Nirvana, Boneyard (Classic Hard Rock) for Ozzy Osbourne and Lep Zeppelin and Hair Nation for Aerosmith, Motley Crue, AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, Def Leppard and the like. Did you hear the original Van Halen with David Lee Roth is getting back together?

I’m also a frequent visitor to 1st Wave- Alternative where I’m probably most comfortable. I can’t pass up the punchy, rhythmic electronic dance tracks by bands like The Cure, Depeche Mode, Echo and the Bunnymen, Flock of Seagulls, Modern English, New Order, The Pyschedelic Furs, Talking Heads, Tears for Fears, Ultravox and the list goes on and on.

On a mellower side I like the channel called The Bridge for the greats like Simon and Garfunkel, Fleetmood Mac, Jackson Brown, Elton John, Van Morrison and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. I do after all have gray hair on my head and I should probably act my age once in a while.

And also being a news guy, I can catch my favorite channels and programs as well as the broadcast versions of the Sunday “talkies” like Meet the Press on NBC and This Week With Christiane Amanpour on ABC.

Few people would probably like a longer commute. I would, just to listen to the radio.

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