Joined: 11 Aug 2008
|Posted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 1:48 pm Post subject: My Moog Story, a letter to Bob
Im writing just to share my thoughts.
I remember the first time I ever heard the name Moog was when I was very young and my father took me over to his Fender Rhodes 73 suitcase that had a MicroMoog sitting on top of it. Before that day all that I knew about that piece of equipment was that it was "Expensive...Delicate" hence, don't go messing around there lolool. My father is a classically trained Jazz pianist and is NOT a synthesist by any means. The Micro Was given to him by the previous owner. My dad proceeded to make "airplane noises" with it and of corse I thought it was neat, and learning the correct pronunciation of the Brand name at that point. But it wasn't something that I woudl really discover to be more than just a brand name until many years later.
Being that my father wasn't a big synthesist coupled with the fact that if it wasn't correctly set up, it woudn't make a sound, we didn't get much use out of it. If i turned one of the knobs the wrong way Id have to get him to fix it, which sometimes he coudn't do himself lolol.
It sat mainly unused for another decade.
At 14 when i began exploring music on my own and trying to collect as many instruments as I could to make my bedroom look more and more like a music room, I brought the Micro back out of its slumber, but only temporarily. I still couldn't figure out how to get a sound out of it all the time. It went upstairs and sat out of the way for a few more years.
Then when i was about 17 or 18 or so, my friend came over and we were experimenting with some different ways to record in the garage when I decided to get the Micro out again. He thought it was the coolest thing ever and I moved it back into the room. He came over another time and I hooked it up to my bass amp and got some super low frequencies out of it and even at low volumes the windows, the walls and my eyeballs were rattling in my head. It was this moment that I developed my affinity for the Moog. I said to him, "you know, you could probably break a glass with this thing....well with enoguh power you could crumble mountians. It wasn't trumpeters that destroyed the walls at Jericho, it was a Moog."
That was all that I needed. At that moment I had officially breathed live back into the MicroMoog given to my father so long ago.
I have been using it on recordings since 1996 and it has appeared on all of my studio albums but 1.
One album though, my parter and I decided that we would feature the Moog exclusively. Looking at the manuals written by Tom Rhea, some of the diagrams of waveshapes look like it is written in an alien language. SOme of the sounds generated by the Moog gear almost echoes that. So as my adoration of the Moog began to grow, I expanded on my idea from years before about crumbling mountians...and I decided that I would dedicate the album to Dr. Robert Moog himself. We called it "Experiments On Unknown Devices"
THe album trailer that we recorded was as such:
"In the late 1960's, visitors from another planet came to Earth and met with a man we will refer to only as 'Bob.' They bestowed upon him a title such as Chancellor or Lord, and as a gift gave to him a device designed specifically for the domination and destruction of worlds.
Bob, sensing the danger of this weapon, harnessed and transformed this alien technology into an instrument of harmonious peace, and thus spread joy throughout the planet."
My partner and I had completed the album in the summer of 2004 and I had contacted Moog Music about wanting to send the album to him. They told me that they would make sure that he would get a copy. I had no idea at the time that he was ill.
I was very deeply saddened to hear the news as I left work at about 3:30 and I caught the end of a quick retrospective of his life on NPR.
You know, I wish that i had not taken so long to wrap up production on that album, because it is not very common to be able to interact with the inventor of the instruments that you love so much.
Saxaphone players, trumpeters, piano players are all very too far removed from the time period in which their instrument was invented to say a humble "thank you" to their inventors and I wish like nothing else that I had expediated the album that was dedicated to him.
I guess thats one of the reasons why I am writing this is just because I cannot describe what it is about Moog instruments that I am so fond of. I really can't quite put my finger on it. Its more than just a regular instrument. I think Bob knew that. He was right when he said that musicians make a connection with the circuits. I have other instruments, i play music and I never did get hung up on a "brand name" like Fender or Roland or anything. Moog instruments are different. Everytime I pick up the manual i learn something else and its just a small testament to the great knowledge that he had.
I currently own the MicroMoog, a Voyager, Drum Controller, a Theremin, Ring Modulator, Freq Box, Delay Cp251/Vx351, and a 921a Osc Driver and im going to have some more Moog Modules built from the remnants of the old Buffalo Company. I will always try to aquire more pieces of this great musical legacy and I will always record with them.
Thank you Bob for your contributions to our culture.