Moogtown USA, Part I

November 03, 2010

If you've been keeping up with Keyboard's Facebook and Twitter posts, and email newsletters, you've probably notice we've been talking about MoogFest quite a bit. There have been ads for it in the magazine as well. What began as a single-night event at B.B. King's nightclub in New York City evolved this year into a three-day, five-venue extravaganza of diverse bands coming together to celebrate the Moog synthesizer and the legacy of Bob Moog. The setting was Moog Music's home of Asheville, North Carolina--one of the friendliest and most supportive-of-live-music towns we've ever had the privilege to visit. It's sort of a micro-Austin: smaller in size (the local population is roughly 74,000) but not in enthusiasm.

MoogFest coincided with Halloween weekend, and Moog-inspired costumes, from giant synths to Bob Moog himself, abounded. If you think the synthesizer could never be an icon that permeates pop culture to the same degree as the electric guitar, Asheville is the model of what the world would look like if you were wrong. Musicians and non-musicians alike there are into it. It's truly Moogtown USA.

We managed to interview most of the artists who performed at MoogFest, and below is the first of several video blogs we'll be providing. Two quick plugs before we get to the videos: By the end of day 1, the wonderful gastropub Sazerac became our headquarters for unwinding, networking, reviewing the day's footage, and of course, imbibing one or more well-deserved cocktails. The food was impeccable and filling (a small bowl of lump crab and brie soup was both deliciously decadent and sufficient fuel for an entire night of repeated inter-venue hoofing), and the mixology is competitive with what you'd find in the too-cool-for-a-sign speakeasies of New York's lower east side. Nope, they're not buying ads and we have no business relationship with them--we're just customers who really liked the joint.

Second, and on a more serious and important note, if Bob Moog were alive and you were sitting at the bar with him, would you buy him a beer? "Of course," you say. "Who the heck wouldn't?" Well, you can express that sentiment by donating the price of a pint of your favorite microbrew to the Bob Moog Foundation, a non-profit which is run almost single-handedly by Bob's daughter, and is separate from booth MoogFest and the Moog Music company. You can read about their various important efforts--including building a permanent Moog museum--in this story, and you can now even buy Bob that beer via text message: text MOOG, a space, and a dollar amount (without a $ sign) to the number 27138. So, for example, to donate ten dollars, the syntax would be MOOG 10

We think that if everyone who'd buy Bob a beer in real life would donate five or ten bucks to the Foundation, they'd get that "Moogseum" built before you know it. In fact if you do, let us know about it on Twitter. Shout out to @keyboardmag and @moogfoundation, say "I bought Bob a beer," and include the hashtag #buybobabeer - we're trying to make that go viral.

Okay, you probably feel like you're listening to an NPR pledge break about now, so onto the videos. In this installment, we have interviews with hip-hop icon Big Boi and underground super-producer and rapper El-P, the presentation of the Moog Innovation award to Mark and Gerald from DEVO, a sneak peek at the gear of Matmos (full interview with them coming soon), and gear tours onstage with Shout Out Out Out Out and Javelin. Can't see the player? CLICK HERE.

More to come in a couple of days!



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