This is a eulogy, maybe, to a speaker. Not just any speaker, though, but the best and most famous speaker in Stevens Point. And I’m not talking about a person who may be a speaker, but rather the other type – a stereo speaker.
Earlier this week Randy Wagner, owner of Stevens Point’ Radio KAOS – central Wisconsin’s pre-eminent CD/album store – posted on Facebook that he blew out one of the 27-year-old speakers at his store. He posted: “Listening to my stereo in mono. Blew the left speaker which blew the amp. These Klipsch Heresy II speakers have been with me for over 27 years. Hope it can be repaired!!”
Without giving it much thought, one might feel bad for him, as nobody likes to have to replace anything. But anyone who has ever been in his store should feel a little sad, as those speakers have been a big part of the Radio KAOS experience throughout its entire history.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve gone in there and asked Randy who’s on the stereo at that moment. Oftentimes they were bands or artists I had never heard of, but coming from his speakers those musicians sounded as though I needed to own their music. Coming from those speakers, those bands – some of which probably were mediocre – were the most amazing artists of the moment.
Those speakers are one large reason anyone with a love for rock music is probably jealous of Randy. He gets to listen to great music all day that sounds even better because of those speakers. While I’m sure he’ll tell you his job, like mine and yours, has its ups and downs, he’d probably agree that overall he is living his dream job.
I couldn’t help but ask what finally did in his speaker. He said he was listening to Funkadelic when he noticed the blown speaker, but he guesses it was Motörhead that caused it to blow.
For those unfortunate individuals who don’t know the band Motörhead, I’ll give a quick rock music history lesson: heavy metal plus punk rock belted out by the world’s most famous mole-faced man – Lemmy Kilmister. The band’s most famous song is “Ace of Spades,” which has become an anthem for both metalheads and punk rockers, but which is also loved for some of the albums they released in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Motörhead is still around today, and Lemmy is a godlike figure in the rock community.
They aren’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which should be ashamed of the omission. Lemmy and the band’s fans could probably care less, though, as they are probably more proud of the fact that they blew out Randy’s speaker at Radio KAOS, representing the ultimate in what good hard rock music should be about – chaos, complete disregard for property, and destruction of the very thing that it needs.
In other words, death by Motörhead is the perfect way to go, both for the speaker and for the image Motörhead would probably like fans to have.
I said this was “maybe” a eulogy because it’s possible Motörhead wasn’t necessarily the death of the speaker, as Randy may be able to fix it. And apparently that’s the case, as Randy informed me it’s fixable.
For the benefit of the music buying public, we’ll continue to hear those great sounds at Radio KAOS and we won’t have to worry about the sound of the music changing anytime soon. If Motörhead can’t stop it, nothing can.