Lee Keeley: A Man and His Memorymoog

My Journey to Owning a Memorymoog

I first saw the Memorymoog at a local music store in 1984 when I was 16 yrs old; I had been taking piano lessons for about 4-1/2 yrs, was into progressive rock, was singing and playing keys in a high school rock band and was looking to eventually purchase a synth. I had stopped into this one music store once every other week over that summer with my best friend and I would always gravitate towards the Memorymoog they had for sale. The salesmen tried on a couple of occasions to convince me to purchase it on a payment plan. Given what limited income from my summer jobs I had at that age, I would have been paying for the synth well into my 20s, so sadly I never was able to afford that Memorymoog, but it always stuck with me, and as far back as I can remember since that time, I’ve always wanted to get one.

MemoryMoog ad

Fast forward to January 2007; I’ve been getting back into making music and collecting keyboards, and bid on an auction for a Memorymoog Plus in need of repair. Unfortunately I wasn’t the successful bidder, however the winning bidder backed out of the deal and I was approach to purchase the Memorymoog (Yea, I finally get to own my Dream synth!). The seller and I communicated to conclude the deal, but the seller was very busy with his studio work and didn’t have time to pack-up and get all the customs paperwork done that week (I live in Canada, and he was in the USA), and would get back to me when he had time, unfortunately he didn’t get back to me.

Fast forward to January 2008; by this time I’d been following a few online auctions for synths, and even bid on a few Memorymoog auctions, but was never successful. My holy grail was ever illusive, until finally another Memorymoog Plus in need of repair came up for auction.  I bid, but again, was outbid in the last few seconds! By some coincidence, the same thing happened as before, the winning bidder backed out of the auction and I was approached by the seller to purchase the Memorymoog Plus for the highest bid. After some communication with the seller, It turned out that he was the same seller from 2007 and this was the same Memorymoog Plus (his computer got corrupted last year, he lost all his e-mails, and didn’t know how to get in touch with me), this time the seller had time to complete the paper work and waited for me to have a flight case shipped to him so he could ship the keyboard to me in a flight case, he was even kind enough to reduce the price, closer to the winning bid from the 2007 auction. (Finally I own a Memorymoog!!)

Within a few years, I’d amassed a respectable collection of vintage synths and other musical instruments (suffering from a very bad case of G.A.S. – AKA: Gear Acquisition Syndrome), was playing in a few bands as vocalist and keyboardist and, given that I had taken some electronics in college, I was doing basic repairs on my other instruments. So I decided that I’d see if I could get the Memorymoog working again, after a few attempts it proved to be more than my limited knowledge in electronics could solve, so I put it in its’ case and started looking for someone local that I could trust to repair it.

Forward to 2013; I’ve located a local keyboard tech who is also a local musician, I retained him to work on some of my other keyboards and after doing a great job for a very reasonable price, I had him start working on my MemoryMoog Plus. Unfortunately a few months after he started working on it (in his spare time) he became very ill and passed away suddenly. I was sad that he passed away as I was developing a friendship with him and we shared a passion for these vintage instruments and playing music! A short while later, his daughter contacted me to come get the keyboard back.

Fast forward to 2016 August 6th; I’m lying in my dentist’s chair getting some dental work done, I get a call on my cell phone, and of course I let it go to voice mail. On my way home, I listen to the voice mail and it’s a call from Michelle Moog-Koussa, telling me to call her back and that I should know what the call was about.   I get home and tell my wife that I think I won the Bob Moog Foundation raffle I entered a few weeks back and that this was going to be an awesome birthday present from my Dad who had passed away 3 months earlier, on April 31st that year (my birthday is August 13th). When I called Michelle back later that evening, I offered to donate my non-functioning MemoryMoog Plus to the Bob Moog Foundation to keep paying it forward!   I also wanted to go and meet her in person with the donation, and pick-up the MemoryMoog I had won in the Raffle. We corresponded a few times to coordinate the best date and we were off. My wife and I flew down to Raleigh, NC and drove to Asheville, NC on Friday September 16th, 2016 (this date would have also my Parents 55th wedding anniversary).

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The 2016 raffle Memorymoog (left) next too Lee’s donated Memorymoog Plus, which is the subject of the Foundation’s 2017 raffle.

 

 

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Lee Keeley, in the Bob Moog Foundation offices, with both Memorymoogs

 

It’s been a year since winning the Bob Moog Foundation Memorymoog Raffle, and I still pinch myself when I sit down to play with the Memorymoog I won (and thank my father!), to finally play the synth I used to drool over in the local music store at 16 yrs old! I’m very grateful to count Michelle as a friend and I’m very happy that my donation is going to have a positive impact on the Foundation, to help young people learn about the science of sound through music and technology via Dr. Bob’s SoundSchool, to keep Bob Moog’s legacy alive, and to make a dream come true for another synth lover!

You can enter the 2017 Memorymoog Plus raffle here.

I was blown away when Michelle had contacted me to tell me that the Memorymoog Plus I donated was completely restored!  Wes Taggart did a fantastic job, it sounded amazing!   I’ve also been reading a lot of peoples reaction to this year’s Memorymoog Plus raffle on social media and it warms my heart that so many people are supporting the Bob Moog Foundation by participating in this raffle to have a chance to own the Memorymoog Plus that I donated!  I’ve read some great comments and a lot of people have had the same dream as I had to own a Memorymoog!  I truly hope this raffle breaks all records for the Bob Moog Foundation and one lucky winner gets to live their dream like I did last year!

Lee Keeley

Ottowa, Canada

2017-08-08

2 Responses to “Lee Keeley: A Man and His Memorymoog”

  1. Steve Greenberg

    Lee- thank you for sharing that story and for supporting the cause with your donation. I too have a long relationship with the MemoryMoog going back to selling mine in the 90s and still missing it regularly 🙂

  2. Bill Hoff

    Great story and a great “pay it forward”.

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