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Bob Moog Live

Bob Moog Live

Electronica / original electronic neo-classical Hendersonville, NC  US
Hannibal Crossing the Alps - Moog, Abbott & Lewis - composed by Michael Abbott
Hannibal Crossing the Alps - Moog, Abbott & Lewis - composed by Michael Abbott
Romance in E Major - Moog, Abbott & Lewis - composed by Dan Lewis
Romance in E Major - Moog, Abbott & Lewis - composed by Dan Lewis

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  • Bob Moog Live (Artist)
    Bob Moog Live
    Bob Moog and MIDI: Part 7 Mike Abbott and I spent alot of time with Bob in the summer and fall of 1980 practicing for our concerts, and knowing our mutual interests in electronic music, he often shared things that were ongoing in his life at the time. Even though he was living in a remote part of western North Carolina, Bob was also consulting with Crumar in Italy and a little known (at the time) maker of electronic keyboards called Kurzweil, which later became huge and very well known. I remember the afternoon when Bob explained the concept of MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) to us. Up till then, electronic keyboard designers and manufacturors had never worked together, so while there was an ever-increasing number of instruments and related devices, it was all proprietary; your Moog stuff didn't interface with Korg, Arp, Yamaha, whatever. Apparently, a group of the inventors, including Bob, had determined that the best approach was to be more compatible and allow the various devices to "talk" and interact with each other, and collectively, they were determining what MIDI would do in the future, and by doing so expanding the possibilities of electronic music to even greater horizons. So here was Bob, explaining to us that synthesizers and keyboards were going to be able to send and share note information, volume and many other commands, allowing new possibilities in electronic music performance and composition. To Mike and me, at the time, it felt like we were hearing the secret plans for D Day. Nowdays, MIDI is so accepted a part of the music industry that it interfaces computers and keyboards with virtual synthesis as well as traditional synths; almost every soundtrack for anything worldwide uses MIDI, but in 1980, a very select group of inventors were working on it, and Bob Moog was a part of that too.
  • Bob Moog Live (Artist)
    Bob Moog Live
    THE SECRET BEHIND THE MUSIC: The first challenge we faced before our trio rehearsed even once was massive; Mike and I played by ear and memory, so when Bob asked for charts (his parts written out in music) Mike and I were not only scrambling for material that we hoped would be worthy, but then had to somehow write part of it down. Mike had basic skills in reading and writing music, but I had none, and a fair amount of the music was mine. Heart attack time, but this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I had to come up with something, so I made a graph of the 5 lines and 4 spaces, and spent countless hours leaning over my guitar playing my parts, humming what I hoped were harmonies, then trying figure out what note it was on the guitar, then painstakingly figuring where on the graph the note went and for what fraction of time. Thinking back, it was crazy and would have been much easier had I had a keyboard, but I was too inexperienced to know how unlikely the whole process was, so I spent many entire days fiddling with my cobbled-up scoring system, and somehow pulled it off. I remember handing Bob my scribbled music notes that I literally couldn't read myself, saying "Let's just play it and see how far we get". Unbelieveably, the Muse of Music must have been smiling down on us, because about 95% of it worked. Every once in a while, on a first run-through, I'd hear a serious "clam" in my melody, stop the guys, run over there with my graph, red-faced, and fix the problem. Bob seemed to enjoy the whole process; there was never anything but harmony between the three of us. We laughed and joked all the time. In retrospect, I'm amazed the whole thing worked as well as it did; there was only one part of all that music that was ever written down, that being Bob's parts. Mike and I continued to "earball" our parts, but somehow, it all came together in a way that we all enjoyed, because after our first gig, we all agreed that we wanted to do a second one later that fall. This event is the one that is featured on the "Bob Moog Live" CD. To this day, some 30 years later, although I've created and recorded many songs and instrumentals, I still do not read or write music, and am still amazed that somehow collectively, we pulled that off.
  • Bob Moog Live (Artist)
    Bob Moog Live
    Bob once told Mike and me something I've always remembered. He said "Electronic music should always be changing, because it can". That seems as profound today as it did 30 years ago, when Bob said it.
  • Bob Moog Live (Artist)
    Bob Moog Live
    History:Part 4 Bob went on to consult for many of the world’s great synth companies, eventually reforming Moog Music, while Mike and I went on with our separate and occasionally joint music careers, frequently getting together to perform everything from original work to 50s and 60s rock & roll for dances. Whenever I would run into Bob in Asheville, he was always happy to see me, as if we had just played last week, and always asked about Mike. Michael Abbott passed away some years back, and Bob passed a few years later, leaving me the one to tell the story; I hope they will approve. ABOUT THE MUSIC & THE MUSICIANS... Robert Moog (1934-2005) was the internationally famous inventor of the Moog synthesizer, and the many synthesizer variations and analog effects that bear his name and that of “Big Briar”, which is the name of the cove where he built his home and workshop in western North Carolina. Bob had performed on piano as a young man, but performed rarely after the success of his inventions. It is conservative to say that the fabric of modern music was forever changed and expanded due to the work of Moog and his fellow synthesizer contemporaries. Michael Abbott (1953-2004) was the most accomplished professional musician of the trio, having played and performed steadily since the late 1960s with bands too numerous to list. Playing anything from a Fender-Rhodes to a Hammond B-3, Mike was almost certainly the first in western North Carolina to own and perform on a MiniMoog, and quickly picked up a MicroMoog and several polyphonic synths as they became available on the national market. Mike was a huge asset on any stage; on this recording, he provides the multi-timbral “glue that holds the music together, and composed the instrumentals “Hannibal” and “Someone”. Dan Lewis (1953- ) is a songwriter, composer and multi-instrumentalist since 1974, with 12 albums of original music (6 of them instrumental synthesizer) to date, and is producer/arranger/audo engineer at Acoustic Audio in Hendersonville, NC. Most of the music offered on this CD are his original compositions circa 1980; he began playing music in 1974, is entirely self-taught, and had been playing a total of six years when this music was made.
  • Bob Moog Live (Artist)
    Bob Moog Live
    History:Part 3 We rehearsed with the huge roll-up doors open, looking out across the valley. Once, Bob’s MINI started squalling like an electronic pig, and Mike and I were shocked to see the inventor calmly turn it up on it’s side, give it three whacks with his fist, sending horrific electronic thunder cascading across the hillsides; naturally, the MINI responded immediately to the master’s touch, and performed flawlessly the remainder of the evening. Once the music started to come together, Mike brought his Tascam reel-to-reel recorder and taped the rehearsal, and later had a friend sit monitoring the recorder during both concerts to capture our performances; even then, we knew we were participating in something that felt historic, and Mike was wise enough to record it. Our first performance at Bele Chere 1980 was a success, and the feeling was good for everyone, so we agreed to repeat the performance in more controlled indoor circumstances, and I was able to arrange a concert some months later at the Asheville Art Museum, then located at the Civic Center. The concert on November 23 was well attended and the audience enthusiastic; from that event came the bulk of the recorded music on this CD, the rest from earlier rehearsals. That was the second and last concert of Moog, Abbott & Lewis; as Bob often said, he was first and foremost an electronic musical engineer, and performing music was not his first priority. Mike and I realized that we had been incredibly fortunate to know and perform with Moog; thanks to Mike’s forethought, we also have the recordings.
  • Bob Moog Live (Artist)
    Bob Moog Live
    History:Part 2 Needless to say, Mike and I were thrilled and terrified at this totally unforeseen opportunity, and spent weeks scrambling to come up with something that we could incorporate Bob into, and that we hoped might measure up to our amazing new line-up. The results were far different from whatever we had origin- ally planned as a duo, and the rehearsals with Bob at his shop at Big Briar, some 25 miles outside Asheville, were always productive and memorable. Bob played his greatest invention, the MiniMoog, Mike played a Mini, a MicroMoog, a Wurlitzer electronic piano and an Oberheim OB-8, while I performed on acoustic guitar, a 32-string Ukelin (16 plucked, 16 bowed) a small harp and on one tune, a Moog Sonic Six. Most of the original material was mine, with two by Mike Abbott. Mike and I collaborated by improvisation, experimenting until we had found what we liked and what worked the best, while Bob wanted his parts written out, so I had to invent a graph system quickly so I could write out his parts. It was amazing to me that 99% of my efforts were accurate; once in a while, I'd hear a "clam" when we tried out a new part,and I'd pull out my graph and find that I had misplaced a note, and had to fix it. To this day, after 30 years in music and a dozen albums, I don't read or write down music. Our usual arrangement was this: I'd play the basic tune, Bob would play either a bass line or a melody, while Mike would provide all the middle part, the "glue" that brought the other parts together. Mike was always a great musical asset who anchored any gig we ever did; when we were on stage together, I could count on Mike to not only play brilliantly, but help cue musicians on the back line who may not have known the music as well. Bob had a wonderful enthusiasm that was always a pleasure to be around, and even the most casual conversations were treasured by we two young musicians; we became friends, and at the same time, felt awed to be with him. He never gave you any impression that he was famous, nor thought he was; he was totally accessable, real and genuine. We spent many afternoons at Bob's home in South Turkey Creek, rehearsing in his workshop at Big Briar; afterwards, he always invited us to stay for dinner with his family.

Photos

  • Michael Abbott - Bob Moog - Dan Lewis
  • Bob Moog & Dan Lewis with Ukelin - Big Briar
  • Bob Moog - Practice Session at Big Briar

About

Bio: There were two performances by Moog, Abbott and Lewis, both in 1980, the first at the Bele Chere festival in Asheville in late July, and the second concert on November 23rd at the Asheville Art Museum.
Bob Moog played his greatest invention, the MiniMoog, Michael Abbott (perhaps the best known ...See Full Bio

Status

"Bob Moog Live" CD Release & Concert Event Sunday October 10 at The LAB, Asheville NC. Online CD sales available after event at Bob Moog Foundation website at http://www.moogfoundation.org/shop

Recent Blogs

Bob Moog Live Concert CD Release 10/10/2010
Sep 22, 2010

Bob Moog Foundation and Dan Lewis Announce CD Release Party for Bob Moog Live ... [more]

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