Noise, sound, car scratch, nails on a chalkboard, the sound of the morning paper thumping against the door at some odd hour in the morning; somewhere amongst that comes a man that championed himself on this palpable eeriness. Somewhere amongst that comes a man who lived his life in the underbelly of clickity-clack-clack noises. Somewhere amongst this is a man whose personal soundscape played out in one triumphant glow of white noise, like beaming television waves and microwave radiation. Like the everyday electronic waves that are constantly attacking us and melding to whatever soul or human connection we have with this world, comes a man that distinctively affected us with his definition of what noise and sound meant to him: Robert Moog.
I was recently lucky enough to attend an event that honored the late Dr. Robert Moog. The Moog Benefit at the Velvet Jones this past Thursday – from which all proceeds went to the Bob Moog Memorial Fund – played out like one huge, head-grooving, synthesized night of, well, awesomeness. Robert Moog was born in 1934 to an engineer father. Playing with that notion, Moog was a TV junkie and played constantly with the antennas on top of the black and white TV model he had in his home. What started the sonic noise experiment for Moog was right there on his TV set as he played with pitch and volume. In the ’60s, Moog made the first musical synthesizer called the “Minimoog.” The story goes that Robert Moog kept making kick-ass electronic noises and machines that you hear used by numerous bands, as well as in your trendy cell phone ring tone or your trusty Nintendo Duck Hunt game. Sadly, Moog died in April 2005 from a form of brain cancer.
To sum up the Moog Benefit shortly and sweetly, it was pretty sweet. Nothing beats the sonic noise of clickity-clack-clack-clickity eeriness like a Moog benefit. Some of the people that paid tribute were: David Scott Stone (who toured with the Melvins), Joseph Karam (The Locust), Steve Fortner (Area 51), Hans Fjellestad (who hails from pretty much any band name you so desire to think of). But all these people take backseat to what this event was all about: honoring Moog and the sonic waves that penetrated his genius brain. Robert Moog was a man that embraced the noises among us. He was a man that experimented with the everyday noises made by spoons and forks; noises that the majority of us forget even exist. Robert Moog will live on through the music he has helped create, the sound he has carved out, and most importantly, in the waves, radiation and white noise of time and space.