[Leading up to our Bob Moog Live CD Release Party on October 10, 2010 at the LAB, we are presenting a series of blogs written by Dan Lewis. You can check out the first post “The History”, here. Lewis is the only surviving member of the trio of Bob Moog, Mike Abbott and Dan Lewis who rehearsed and performed together for this recording. Dan will be performing and speaking at the release party.]
The first challenge we faced before our trio rehearsed even once was massive. Mike and I played by ear and memory, so when Bob asked for charts (his parts written out in music) Mike and I were not only scrambling for material that we hoped would be worthy, but then had to somehow write part of it down. Mike had basic skills in reading and writing music, but I had none, and a fair amount of the music was mine.
Heart attack time. But this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I had to come up with something, so I made a graph of the 5 lines and 4 spaces, and spent countless hours leaning over my guitar playing my parts, humming what I hoped were harmonies, then trying figure out what note it was on the guitar, then painstakingly figuring where on the graph the note went and for what fraction of time.
Thinking back, it was crazy and would have been much easier had I had a keyboard, but I was too inexperienced to know how unlikely the whole process was, so I spent many entire days fiddling with my cobbled-up scoring system, and somehow pulled it off. I remember handing Bob my scribbled music notes that I literally couldn’t read myself, saying “Let’s just play it and see how far we get”. Unbelievably, the Muse of Music must have been smiling down on us, because about 95% of it worked. Every once in a while, on a first run-through, I’d hear a serious “clam” in my melody, stop the guys, run over there with my graph, red-faced, and fix the problem.
Bob seemed to enjoy the whole process; there was never anything but harmony between the three of us. We laughed and joked all the time. In retrospect, I’m amazed the whole thing worked as well as it did; there was only one part of all that music that was ever written down, that being Bob’s parts. Mike and I continued to “earball” our parts, but somehow, it all came together in a way that we all enjoyed, because after our first gig in the summer of 1980, we all agreed that we wanted to do a second one later that fall. This event is the one that is featured on the “Bob Moog Live” CD. To this day, some 30 years later, although I’ve created and recorded many songs and instrumentals, I still do not read or write music, and am still amazed that somehow collectively, we pulled that off.
Flat Rock, NC
The CD Release Party for “Bob Moog Live” happens on October 10, 2010 at the Lexington Avenue Brewery’s Music Venue in Asheville, NC from 3:30- 6:00 p.m.. Doors open at 3 p.m. Tickets are $7, with proceeds benefiting the Bob Moog Foundation. Performers include Dan Lewis, Mary Frances (Emyrael), Jeff Knorr (Funknastics) adn Ben Hovey (Asheville Horns) with other special guests.