PARTICIPANTS: Dave (Sluggo) Katz, Joseph LeDoux, John Leventhal
PROGRAM DATE: Saturday, June 4, 2011

What makes us dance? Why do we sing the blues? Could there be a formula for the perfect hit? Whether it’s a pop song or country ballad, musicians and record producers want to capture listeners; individual styles may vary but they’re all searching for just the right lyric, melody, or seductive guitar chord. A few manage to turn out hit after hit – “hooking” our brains with irresistible beats. These songs become part of our collective identity. Years may pass, but as we all know, a song has the power to rekindle memories and emotions long forgotten. Can science illuminate why we respond the way we do?

As part of the BIORHYTHM: Music and the Body exhibit. Note that the gallery and installations are open to the public 12 noon to 6 PM.

BIORHYTHM at the Eyebeam Art + Technology Center is made possible through the generous support of Imagine Ireland, an initiative of Culture Ireland, and the Cordover Family Foundation. BIORHYTHM is created by Science Gallery and Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.

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Joe Levy is the chief content officer for Maxim. A longtime music journalist, Levy was executive editor of Rolling Stone, where he wrote about Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and the Beastie Boys, as well as other artists whose names do not begin with “b.” Frequently seen as a commentator on VH1, MTV, The Today Show, and Biography, Levy is also an adjunct professor at NYU’s Clive Davis School of Record Music. In addition to having worked at The Village Voice, Spin, and Details, Levy is the editor of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and a contributor to the collection, Cassette From My Ex: Stories and Soundtracks of Lost Loves.


Pop Music Writer, Producer

Dave Katz (Sluggo) and Sam Hollander, are the writing/producing team S*A*M & Sluggo, known for their slick production and songwriting skills. The duo played an important role in emo’s history, transforming the genre from an underground phenomenon to a polished, mainstream brand in the early 2000’s. The two have also made forays into other genres writing and/or producing songs for Boys Like Girls, popstar Katy Perry, American Idol alum Blake Lewis, The Virgins, and hip-hop outfit Gym Class Heroes. S*A*M & Sluggo’s strongest work is generally done in the emo-pop arena though, from their production of Metro Station’s double-platinum hit “Shake It” to their work with We the Kings, Coheed and Cambria, and Cobra Starship. S*A*M & SLUGGO were named Rolling Stone’s Hot List Producers of the Year for 2008.

Neuroscientist, Author, Musician

Joseph LeDoux is a professor of neural science at NYU, and director of the Emotional Brain Institute involving NYU and the Nathan Kline Institute. LeDoux’s research is focused on the brain mechanisms of emotion and memory. He is author of The Emotional Brain: The Mysterious Underpinnings of Emotional Life and Synaptic Self: How Our Brains Become Who We Are, and is also the lead singer and song writer in the rock band, The Amygdaloids. LeDoux’s lyrics are about mind, brain, and mental disorders, and are based on his research. Rosanne Cash sings two songs with him on Theory of My Mind, the group’s recent CD.

Musician, Producer, and Songwriter

John Leventhal is a Grammy-winning musician, producer, songwriter, and recording engineer who has produced albums for Michelle Branch, Rosanne Cash, Marc Cohn, Shawn Colvin, Rodney Crowell, Jim Lauderdale, Joan Osborne, Loudon Wainwright , The Wreckers, and many others. As a musician he has worked with all of the above as well as artists such as Jackson Browne, Willie Nelson, Bruce Hornsby, Elvis Costello, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Charlie Haden, David Crosby, Levon Helm, Edie Brickell, Paul Simon, Patty Larkin, Kelly Willis, Susan Tedeschi, Steve Forbert, and Johnny Cash. As a songwriter he has had over 100 songs recorded by various artists. In 1998 he won the Grammy for Record and Song of the year for producing and co-writing the song “Sunny Came Home”. Albums he has produced have been nominated for a total of 11 Grammys. Rosanne Cash’s album The List, produced by Leventhal, won the 2010 Americana Music Association’s Album Of The Year as well as earning a 2010 Grammy nomination for Best Americana Album. In 2005 he composed the score for the film Winter’s Solstice. He lives with his wife Rosanne Cash and their children in New York City.