Celebrating Bob’s Spirit on a Hallowed Weekend

Bob Moog lived at the edge of sonic reality, constantly pushing sound barriers. He sought to provide musicians with a new musical vocabulary to communicate to their audiences.

Although it seems to be paradoxical, this pioneering inventor settled deep in the hills outside of Asheville on a secluded piece of land. In 1978, after 14 years of blazing trails in electronic music, Bob Moog left Moog Music, Inc. in Buffalo, New York and moved to Asheville with his wife and four children. Bob sought the balance from years in a corporate environment and immersed himself in the natural beauty of this small mountain town for almost 25 years. His work life was complimented with chopping wood to heat his house, taking hikes to check the spring that provided water to his family and plowing his large vegetable garden on his tractor.

During this period Bob also continued to create innovative instruments: the Crumar Spirit, the little-known Multi-Touch Sensitive Keyboard, an entire line of theremins including the MIDI-capable Ethervox, several moogerfoogers effect pedals and the Minimoog Voyager. He wrote a monthly column for Keyboard Magazine and traveled extensively around the world lecturing about synthesis and more. Each time, Bob loved returning to his mountain home where he spent countless nights on his deck gazing at the stars — listening to the stream flowing amongst the silence.

Bob's creativity was nurtured in these hills, and by the artistic community that grew here over the past 30 years. That creativity spawned Big Briar, Inc. and later the re-born Moog Music, Inc., which is thriving among the same environment that Bob once did. The Bob Moog Foundation, a small, independent nonprofit, was born from this creativity as well. The Foundation seeks to carry forth Bob's legacy and spirit through education and historic preservation.

Come visit us at the Moogaplex, where we are assisting in the workshops, panel and discussions throughout Saturday and Sunday, to find out how we carry Bob's legacy forward.

Moogfest has now come to these hills as well, celebrating Bob Moog's spirit and his technical accomplishments. On the weekend that honors all hallowed souls, Bob's soul will have a special place in many peoples' hearts (and ears) as electronic musicians from all over the world converge to explore the breadth of new technology used to make electronic music.

Someone recently asked me what Bob Moog would think of Moogfest. It hard for me to imagine what Bob Moog would think, but I can conjecture two things. First, he would be a tad bit uncomfortable with all of the attention, as he was a truly humble man who did not endorse the notion of celebrity. Second, Bob Moog worked at the bequest of musicians. He considered himself their toolmaker. His beacon was expanding the musician's sonic palette so that they could create and communicate music that moved their audiences. Just as Bob dedicated his work to music and musicians, Moogfest celebrates both. Bob Moog would have loved to see it all happen, here in this beloved town that he called home.

— Michelle Moog-Koussa is executive director of the Bob Moog Foundation.

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