There is angst, poetry, sex and raw-power in rock music. There is also science.
“The Science of Rock ‘n’ Roll” exhibit, opening at Huntsville’s U.S. Space & Rocket Center July 23, depicts the engineering and math behind music.
“Technology and music have always been inseparable,” says the exhibit’s content curator Alan Cross, a Canadian radio host and documentarian. “Sometimes one takes the lead, sometimes the other takes the lead. It’s as symbiotic relationship that goes back centuries as a matter of fact.”
“The Science of Rock ‘n’ Roll” is the brainchild of Bryan Reinblatt, an entertainment industry veteran who saw “a gap in the marketplace” for a science exhibit “more contemporary than da Vinci or dinosaurs.” When “The Science of Rock” was in its embryonic stages, Reinblatt toured rock-themed attractions like Seattle’s Experience Music Project and Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Places, he says, “where you put your hands behind your back and look at costumes behind the glass, which is wonderful in its own way.” For “Science of Rock,” of which he’s managing director and founder, Reinblatt wanted something that told a story but also was “a little more hands on,” where “you get to play drums, play guitars.” Reinblatt brought in Cross, who wrote the exhibit and provides narration, in his resonant voice.
From his syndicated radio show “The Ongoing History of New Music,” Cross already had significant experience and research in such areas as the rise of the compact disc and the story behind vinyl records. Just the sort of arcs Reinblatt was looking for. “The Science of Rock” debuted in Kansas City in 2012. The exhibit will show at Space Center, address 1 Tranquility Base, through Sept. 4. The center is open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is $24 ages 13 and up, $16 ages five to 12 and free for ages four and under.
“The Science of Rock” is transported in four, 53-foot trucks. It typically takes two weeks to set up and one week to tear down. Reinblatt, age 42, is a huge fan of alt-rock bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam and he makes sure music is blaring during installation. It takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to take in “The Science of Rock.” Here’s a look at the exhibit’s eight sections.