More Moog! Bob Moog Archives, Live CD

 

Michelle Moog-Koussa
talks about the
Bob Moog Live CD,
originally recorded in 1980, plus some of the recent happenings with the Bob
Moog Archives. Hint: Sun Ra fans, listen up.

 

By Fred Mills

 

By way of corollary to our coverage of MoogFest, which takes
place this weekend (Oct. 29-31) in Asheville,
we present more of our conversation with the late Dr. Robert Moog’s daughter.

 

BLURT: What can
you tell us about the live CD of your father that the Moog Foundation recently
unveiled? [The CD had an official release
party on October 11 in Asheville.
Proceeds from the sale of CDs will go to the Foundation, and you can read more
about the project along with ordering info here.]

 

MOOG-KOUSSA: It’s
Bob Moog Live, from 1980, and the
only known recording of Bob Moog performing on the Minimoog in a live setting.
He performed here in Asheville with two local
musicians, Dan Lewis and Mike Abbott, at Bele Chere [July] and then at the Asheville Art Museum [November].

       It’s funny how
he got involved, because we had just moved down here. My father took a year and
a half off work, which was unprecedented, to be home with us. We loved it, and
he was a little bit more relaxed than he had been! So this guy Dan Lewis was on
the Bele Chere planning board, and they were sitting round trying to think of
who they could include in this inaugural event, and someone said, “You know,
Bob Moog has moved here.” They thought they should invite him to participate in
some manner, even if he just appeared, or gave a little talk, and maybe he
would play.

       So Dan Lewis
said, “I’ll call him.” He called, explained what they were doing, and my father
said, “Well, what are YOU doing?” Dan said, “A friend of mine and I are going
to play some music.” Dad said, “Well, why don’t I just play with you guys?” [laughs] Which is amazing, because, (a)
he studied piano for 14 years but did not consider himself a musician; (b) he
hardly ever played piano at our house because he was just too busy; and (c) he
played the synthesizer even more rarely than he played the piano. But he just
jumped right into it.

      It’s a great CD.
It’s neoclassical music, so it’s not the Rolling Stones. But it’s really lovely
music, all original compositions, and my father talks quite a bit between the
songs, both about the music and some of his philosophies about electronic music
and electronic instruments, and also about his life at this time. So it’s quite
a historical treasure trove.

 

BLURT: When our
magazine interviewed you previously in 2008, you mentioned the Foundation’s
efforts to preserve the tapes that had been found among your dad’s archives
after he passed away, how everything was covered in mold and the urgency you
felt in getting it restored while there was still time. Was this show among
those tapes?

 

MOOG-KOUSSA: This
one was not. Dan Lewis has had the tape for 30 years and was waiting for the
right time to share it. It’s interesting you bring up those tapes, though,
because we are at the end of a cycle of preserving what will probably end up
being about 70 or 75 of them. We’ve been able to bake and clean and transfer
them to digital, so now all these incredible tapes we’ve had in our possession
for five years, we’ll now be able to make available to the public.

       It’s going to
take a little bit of time because we have to get some copyright clearances. But
the material is just amazing. We have a concert with Sun Ra playing the Minimoog
Model B, which was just a prototype. We have to get in touch with Sun Ra’s
family [to secure the rights to that]. People had sent the tapes to Bob Moog in
the sixties, or he recorded them himself. We did have some Wendy Carlos tapes,
we have stuff from Switched-On Bach,
from Sonic Seasonings, things from
Tomita, but those were all things that have been published. We have masters of
those, but they are more historical relics.

       And we have 12
hours of tape of Bob Moog and [experimental composer] Herb Deutsch giving a
seminar in 1969 about modular synthesis. And there are works from pioneering
synthesists, their first works in exploring this new medium. So that’s one
thing we’re actively doing and we’re working on the rest of the archive as
well.

 

 

 

 

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