Steven Page Leaves Barenaked Ladies

Can’t say I haven’t felt like this was coming for a while, Steven Page has left Barenaked Ladies.

You can see interviews with Steven and Ed on this Canadian TV news site. It really is a sad day, and yet…well…the only constant in the world we live in is change. And change can be good in creative endeavours.

Thankfully, it was a friendly separation by all accounts. It leaves the door open for Steve to jump back into BnL, either temporarily or maybe even as a regular member again someday. (I mean, if Ships and Dip taught me anything, it taught me that artists dropping in on each other is a great thing.)  I’m really looking forward to seeing what both he and the band do in their separate projects. I really liked Steven’s Vanity Project album. And I think, maybe, in some ways BnL will grow into the hole he’s going to leave in the band.

You can follow Steve at his blog, and also read about several really kewl sounding projects he’s doing.

It’s okay to be sad, but don’t write anybody off. Life is all about creation and creation is all about growing and changing., The Facebook User Manual

I can’t help it, I’m a fan of privacy. Yes, I like the red carpet and the public eye. Papparazi swarming around. But I like to have the option of scratching those places that no one else needs to see me scratch, once in a while.

If you’re on Facebook, you might want to take a look at I discovered it today, and read a great article about privacy and security. I was only vaguely aware of the Friends group thing, and actually didn’t think the features were quite as good as they are.

Ships and Dip V – Mike Evin

I don’t have a lot of video of Mike Evin, but it’s not because I didn’t enjoy his performances. Nay, to the contrary. It is exactly because I enjoyed his performances that I don’t have a lot of video. You see, Mike is kind of like…well…the Bill Nye the Science Guy of music. Or something. What I mean is, he’s the kind of person who makes it easy for others to get involved in what he’s passionate about.

It’s quite evident, when you watch him perform that he loves what he does. And that love, that passion for music, is infective. And Mike seems to know it. Mike knows what all good live performers know — that the performance involves the audience. You want people to clap, sing, hum, move. And he actually goes ahead and orchestrates it. He arranges the audience into the performance. And we love it! Which is why I put my video camera down and got involved.

Here’s he and the Brothers Creeggan and Tyler Stewart (from BnL) performing his song, “We Should Dance.” (Which encapsulates quite well, I think, his philosophy of music.) Oh yea, and us, the audience, helping out.

Reading: This Is Your Brain On Music

Did music ever stir your emotions? Make you cry? Laugh? Feel afraid? Feel like getting out of your seat and moving?

Yeah, you macho guys are sitting there, going, “No way…music only makes me want to rawk!” Well, maybe so. But what about the stirring, high-pitched violin string as the stalker sneaks up on the helpless, giggling co-ed, rusty hatchet drawn back over one shoulder? Yeah, that got you. Imagine watching that scene without that gut-wrenching music in it. Watch that scene with the sound turned down. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Something was missing, wasn’t it. It almost seemed kind of funny. It defnitely wasn’t the same emotional state without the music.

What about, did you ever have an ear worm? You know one of those songs you can’t get our of your head?

Did you ever wonder why you rock at Guitar Hero or Rock Band, but you never became a great piano player?

This Is Your Brain On Music book cover
This Is Your Brain On Music book cover

This Is Your Brain On Music is about that, and a whole lot more. It’s a study of how the human brain and music are wrapped up and entwined in an amazing way. How music is so much a part of being human that it’s easy to see why many of us experience it as often as we can. Our very nature is musical.

Daniel J. Levitin carefully constructs both a course in music and in neuroscience in this book. Early chapters explain music theory in a way the accordion lessons I took as a kid never could. (I actually think if someone had explained music to me the way Levitin does in this book, I would have actually learned how to play something more than scales.) He goes on to relate this to how the brain works to perceive things, but rather than just writing a remarkable book about the science of music, he begins to talk about how perception affects emotion, and how when that happens…you get Art. (Yes, with a captial A.)

“The appreciation we have for music is intimately related to our ability to learn the underlying structure of the music we like — the equivalent to grammar in spoken or signed languages — and to be able to make predictions about what will come next. Composers imbue music with emotion by knowing what our expectations are and then very deliberately controlling when those expectations will be met, and when they won’t.”

I can think of how many ways that statement applies to art of all kinds — if you’re a writer, you keep the lovers in your latest novel apart for as long as you can to make their final moment of joining ecstasy. If you’re a comedian, you time your punch line perfectly for the biggest laugh. How fascinating it is that all of this relates back to the same brain adaptations that make humans musical.

Before he was a brain scientist, Levitin was both a performer and a producer, and most of all, he’s a lover of music, and this comes across in his style — he has a passion for music that makes him easy to relate to. Check out the book’s web site, for more info.

Legal Reading of Facebook New Terms of Service

Someone at work posted a link to a legal reading of the new Facebook Terms of Service that I thought others might be interested in. Yes, it sucks as much as you think it does.

Update: Feb 16, 2009 @ 19:20

Here’s a post by Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook on the TOS change. Makes me feel a little better about it, though I hope they do continue to make changes.