An Open Letter from Bryan Bell, President of the Board of Directors, The Bob Moog Foundation
The past three weeks have been hard ones for the children of Bob Moog and the staff, board and friends of the Bob Moog Foundation (BMF). As President of the BMF Board of Directors, I am profoundly disappointed in Dr. Ileana Grams-Moogs decision to withdraw her support for the BMF, a not-for-profit organization devoted to perpetuating Bobs love of music and innovation, the manner in which she chose to do it, and her exclusion of key facts.
I knew Bob well. We were colleagues and friends for more than 30 years. During that time, we collaborated on projects and solved problems that changed the way music is made. I serve on the BMF board because it is the truest representation of Bobs legacy. That is why I also know how sad it would make him to see what is happening in his name, and why we should all be asking Ileana a few questions.
Whats behind the sudden decision to take the archives away from the BMF?
- On Feb. 14, 2013, after 18 months of personally and directly negotiating with Ileana, we agreed upon the BMFs temporary custody of the archives and management of Bobs Rights of Publicity (his name, image, signature, and voice). This was the first step towards a much larger agreement between us. In the words of the interim agreement, we were working together in good faith to define and execute a mutually satisfactory [larger] Agreement as rapidly as possible, or so I thought.
- Suddenly, on February 25, Ileana notified me that she would not sign the interim agreement, based on information she had received from Moog Music President Mike Adams. (Note: Mr. Adams was a BMF board member at the time these discussions took place.) The BMF quickly addressed Ileanas concerns in writing, concerns that she never voiced to me as the BMF board president and concerns that were later proven to have no basis in fact.
- Why was there no consultation with Bobs children about the future of their fathers archives and his Rights of Publicity?
What about money?
- We all agree that Bobs legacy is priceless, but his share of Moog Music and his Rights of Publicity have price tags. Because Ileana has chosen to publically disclose the BMFs offer to purchase the archives, I challenge her to disclose the detailed terms, both financially and legally, of her sale of Bobs share of Moog Music and her sale of Bobs Rights of Publicity to Mike Adams.
- Was there a financial contribution to Cornell from Moog Music regarding the archives? Will Moog Music, for example, have access to the Cornell Archives for their commercial purposes? Will the Bob Moog Foundation and Bobs children have access to the archives for their own use?
Has The BMF been a good steward of Bobs archives?
- The answer is an unequivocal YES. For seven years The BMF has consistently acted in the best interest of Bob’s legacy, rescuing his archives from moisture, dirt and mildew; storing the archives in secure climate controlled storage; entering into a lease with the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources to secure state-of-the-art archival facilities in Western N.C.; and making the difficult but prudent decision to defer a capital campaign to fund building of the Moogseum.
- Ileana has said that her decision to move the archives was based, in part, on the fact that construction has not started on The Moogseum, the eventual Asheville home for Bobs archives. At no time did she ever communicate that requirement to the BMF Board or me. Furthermore, during her tenure as president of the BMF Board, Ileana personally oversaw the decision to postpone the Moogseums capital campaign until the economy recovered from the nations worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. The economy aside, great museums take a long time to build. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, for example, took 16 years to plan before breaking ground.
The BMFs leadership, board and staff have intentionally stayed above the fray, and we encourage our supporters to do the same. Ileanas decision to move the archives, which was announced in a press release written and distributed by Moog Musics public relations firm and posted on Moog Musics website, has unleashed negative comments, many of which raise questions about the role Mike Adams and Moog Music played in Ileanas sudden change of heart. The BMF has chosen to take the high road, and we will continue to do so, despite many inaccurate comments from Ileana and Mike Adams. Thats what Bob would expect of us. But Ileanas decision and its timing, the wording of the announcement and the secrecy surrounding its release raise troubling questions about whose interests are really being served by Ileanas actions.
As for The BMF, we will continue to do what we do best inspiring and igniting creativity through historic preservation of the Bob Moog Foundation Archives and creating programs like Dr. Bobs Sound School, that introduce children to the power of music, science and innovation. Nothing would have made Bob happier or prouder.
(Trademarks referred to in this letter are the property of their respective owners)
Bryan Bell, President
Bob Moog Foundation Board of Directors
Bryan Bell is President and Founder of Synth-Bank Consulting, LLC (Synth-Bank®) a technology practice focusing on using technology to enhance business and creative processes. Bryan spent 20 years consulting and pioneering technology innovation for high-profile corporations and entertainers, including Apple, Domain Chandon, NBC, GEIS, Herbie Hancock, Carlos Santana, Neil Young, Branford Marsalis and INXS. He has served continuously for over 20 years on the board of directors of The Bridge School. Bryan holds a DIS from Harvard Universitys Graduate School of Business Administration and has been a speaker at conferences around the world. Bryan Bells latest music production project, Duality, by Nestler and Hawtin was recently released on iTunes.