With the Moog movie DVD out (review this week), Moog soundtrack (review this week), Moogfest tonight here in NYC (see you there), Theremin festival later this summer, Moog books, Moog t-shirts, Moog action figures . . . it’s only right that this week be declared Moog week (rhymes with brogue or vogue, NOT the sound cows make). For those of you who haven’t been keeping up on Bob Moog’s synthesis lifetime acheivement, here’s a quick timeline:
Born 1934, New York City; piano lessons in childhood
Age 20: makes first Theremin; quickly becomes successful Theremin manufacturer.
1950s: Apprentice of inventor and composer Raymond Scott, whose basement modular synth setup will later inspire Moog’s designs
October 1964: Moog Modular is unveiled at the Audio Engineering Society (AES) convention.
Summer 1965: Bob becomes Dr. Moog, with a PhD in Engineering Physics from Cornell — much-delayed by his synthesis work.
1968: Switched on Bach by Wendy Carlos becomes the best-selling Classical album to date, proving that voltage-controlled Bach was . . . um . . . destined to be a major pop hit.
1970: Moog officially becomes a performance instrument with the creation of the Minimoog keyboard, and a decade of synth sounds follows.
1978: Big Briar is founded in the mountains of North Carolina. (Big Briar would become what is now Moog Music. The original R.A. Moog company was sold; Big Briar was renamed in 2002 when the rights were restored.)
1989: Moog finally meets the man who started it all, Leon Theremin.
1991: Moog returns to professional-grade theremin manufacturing with the Series 91 (Etherwave will follow in 1995).
1998: Voltage-controlled effects are back with the introduction of the Moogerfooger effects line.
2002: With the return of the Moog name comes the first Minimoog in years, the next-generation Minimoog Voyager. Unlike Star Trek Voyager, this one is actually better than the original.
And, of course, the rest is history: at the 51-year mark, Moog is still going strong. The brand, the gear, and the inventor are all at nothing short of pop idol status. Me? I can’t wait to go hear some top Moog players tonight on 42nd Street.