28.10.11

5 facts about Bob Moog and his famous synth

Moogfest kicks off today in Asheville, North Carolina, for three days of music from artists including Tangerine Dream, Moby, Kode9, Oneohtrix Point Never, Ford & Lopatin, Holy Fuck and Chromeo. While not all the artists play the synthesiser that Bob Moog developed back in the mid-60s in Trumansburg, New York, they were “chosen for their role in creating unique and groundbreaking musical experiences that embody the essence of Bob Moog’s visionary and creative spirit.”

  1. Although famous for his synthesiser Bob Moog actually started out making theremins, that really weird instrument that you play by waving your hands above it.
  2. Moog “idiot-proofed” his synthesiser for the mass market by allowing a young David Borden to visit his studio at night and tinker away to his heart’s content.
  3. Early Moog synths were super temperamental. “They would go out of tune if it was too hot or too cold, or even if more people came in the concert hall,” David Borden told us in Pittsburgh recently.
  4. Some of the first mainstream musicians to get switched onto the Moog included Stevie Wonder, the Beatles and, a touch surprising perhaps, Bing Crosby.
  5. Moog is commonly mispronounced. It should rhyme with ‘vogue’. So there you go.

If you’re into Moog, or just utterly vital music history in general, you should definitely look up Analog Days. It’s a great read.

Plus Scott Wright’s love letter to Moog’s friend and colleague Wendy Carlos from last year is definitely worth a read.