Which is why the Grammy Awards send me spinning. As the rock blogger for The DenveR Post and a longtime regular contributor of concert reviews to heyreverb.com the newspaper’s groovy and award-winning online music blog, I attend lots of concerts and tune in to music on a more than casual level.
This Sunday, January 26, the 56th Annual Grammy Awards will be staged in Los Angeles, one of the world’s musical centers.
But did you know there’s a Grammy Museum in Los Angeles? And that at the Grammy Museum, you can get a drum lesson from Ringo Starr?
Last October, while on assignment in Los Angeles, I had a free afternoon before jumping into a ten day multi-media project for a client based in the City of Angels. My client graciously put me up in The Hilton Checkers located in an elegant 1920s building in the Arts District, right next to the Los Angeles Central Public Library. Heavenly!
At the top of my list of cultural wishes was a visit to the Grammy Museum, so I headed directly to L.A. Live, the complex housing the museum. An enterprise of AEG Live, the media empire owned by Denver titan Phil Anschutz, the Grammy Museum entertained me for an entire afternoon.
As if establishing right away that the music world turns things upside down, the 30,000 square foot Grammy Museum begins on the fourth floor and winds downward toward the ground floor.
The Grammy Museum is not exclusively about the Grammys, but about music, in general.
Interactive music exhibits make the Grammy Museum educational and also irresistible for any music-lover. Knowing nobody knew me at the museum, I felt free to try my amateur hand at banging away at the trap set. In a recording booth, I laid down two wobbly vocal tracks to “Yellow Submarine.” I got down on guitars and tickled ivories of keyboards and took a taped drum lesson from Ringo Starr.
Exhibits also include musical timelines, genre descriptions and examples, bits of paper with lyrics scrawled, and other ephemera tracing the creative process of songwriting. When I visited, a collection of Michael Jackson’s glittery costumes were on display.
The Grammy Museum offers a peek into the technology of music-making, too. Exhibits track music-making machinery from the earliest days to the most current science of recording songs. I learned a lot experimenting with the mixing board, where visitors can play around and listen to various sounds.
A beautiful theatre hosts lectures. The day I visited, the Grammy Museum was preparing for a talk by opera star Placido Domingo.
The Grammy Museum celebrates all sorts of music and educates fans such as myself. I can’t help but believe the museum must serve as a source of inspiration for musicians.
In Los Angeles and in the world of music, the Grammy Museum is a high note. And the Grammy Museum’s gift shop rocks, too.