Roger Powell to Donate Historic Keyboard Controller to the BMF
Bob’s longtime customer and friend returns dual manual modular controller to it roots
Below is a blog written by Roger Powell (Utopia, Todd Rundgren, David Bowie) about his recent donation of a historic keyboard controller to the Bob Moog Foundation. We are honored and grateful to have such a unique part of history added to our collection–thank you Roger!
My custom dual-manual Moog keyboard controller was built in 1974 along with two System 55 cabinets containing a host of Moog modules. I had been doing clinics in the US and Europe for the Moog company, was hanging out with Bob a lot, and had just joined Todd Rundgren’s Utopia that summer. The big system was put together for me to perform with on tours. The keyboard was designed to my specifications: two keyboard manuals, pitchbend and mod wheels, a mixer section with four faders, an effects loop, VU meter, and sockets for a Ribbon Controller and standalone Sample/Hold module. Bob himself worked on the mixer circuit design, and also handcrafted aluminum edge protectors for the 55 cabinets to help with wear-and-tear on the road!
After the first evening of a two-night booking in Cleveland, OH, the custom keyboard was stolen from the stage! Strangely, the modular system cabinets were left untouched. My guess is that the thief believed the keyboard itself to be playable, as it resembled a two-manual organ. The 100-pin Centronics connector should have been a tip-off that this was no ordinary organ however! A few years later, the System 55s were destroyed in a warehouse fire, thus removing all remnants of the original system.
In 2002, much to my surprise, the missing keyboard was listed on eBay. The person offering the keyboard had no idea it had been stolen and was not the thief (he was younger than the age of the keyboard.) I was able to negotiate it’s return and have held onto it since, hoping to refurbish it but never completing that project. After Bob’s demise and the creation of the Bob Moog Foundation, it occurred to me that the custom keyboard deserved to be in a place where it can serve as my personal tribute to my dear friend Bob Moog.
It is my honor to donate this little piece of Moog history to the Foundation so that people can enjoy seeing it and hearing about its interesting past. Bob and I spent some very happy times together; I will always remember laughing a lot with him as we both shared an acerbic, wisecracking sense of humor!
To see more photos of Roger from the 1974 demonstration in Kalamazoo, click here.
CALL TO ACTION:
If you’re a longtime Moog fan and have something of interest to donate, the Bob Moog Foundation Archive can use whatever you have – old newpaper reviews, vintage Keyboard magazines, Moog catalogs, photos from shows or college music studios, photos of your Moog/synthesizer rig, music you’ve written. These things can help us tell the story – keeping people interested will all facets of the Moog legacy. With your permission, we can use the materials to teach people about the evolution of electronic music, and how the Moog Legacy still affects the world today. Be creative – and add your own history to the Foundation’s growing collection. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please help us keep Moog history alive for future generations. These photos and so much more from our archives will form the basis of our traveling exhibits and eventually our permanent exhibit at the future Moogseum. DONATE TODAY to help our preservation efforts.