ASHEVILLE, NC- If nothing else, Bob Moog deserves to be remembered as a tenacious high-tech entrepreneur.
Forget the fact that Moog set the music world on its ear some 40 years ago when he created the music synthesizer.
Also, overlook the 1968 revolutionary LP (that’s long-playing record, or vinyl for those under 30 who never had the pleasure of listening to scratches, pops and bangs as part of “Tommy”) called “Switched-On Bach” — recreations of many Bach hits via Moog synthesizer that stayed on the charts for half a decade.
Oh, and don’t forget, please, that Moog won an Emmy earlier this year for lifetime achievement.
What brings Moog and his Asheville company back into the headlines is the fact he has regained the use of his name for the firm and the synthesizers he creates.
After a long legal fight, Moog announced a couple of weeks back that “Moog Music” is now the name of “Big Briar, Inc.”, the music company he launched in 1978 when he moved to Asheville. Moog’s synthesizer technology — which recreates eerily well the sound of a variety of instruments — was the foundation of the R.A. Moog Company in 1954. Moog Music, Inc. launched in 1972. He was president until 1977, moved to the mountains, saw the old Moog Music fold in the 1980s, and launched a fight to regain use of the name for his new company. He prevailed in a recent court decision.
The news sent a lot of people scurrying through record collections to see if “Switched-On Bach” was still there.
“I know how hold you are,” said a chuckling Anne Ogg, a spokeswoman for the company when a reporter called and acknowledged digging through a closet. “I found mine,” she added.
New product, new president
But there is more news than just the name change. The company also unveiled its new so-called and trademarked minimoog synthesizer called “Voyager”, its first new product in years. And Moog also announced a new company president — Michael Adams, who formerly was vice president of sales and marketing at CII Technologies.
“This is definitely 21st century stuff,” said Ogg when asked about the new minimoog. “Dr. Moog remains on the cutting edge of this kind of music.” His title is vice president of engineering.
The company notes that the music created in analog — not digital — and that the synthesizers are hand-produced just as someone would expect to find at a Blue Ridge craft shop. Musicians can buy a Voyager or other products autographed by Moog, too. The company says the devices, which can cost well north of $1,000, have also been test played by the creator himself.
Moog, now 68, unveiled his first synthesizer in 1963 and introduced the minimoog in 1969.
“I am very pleased to once again be able to offer products under my name,” Moog said when the company name change was announced. “This is timely for the company and for the imminent unveiling of the re-engineered and greatly enhanced minimoog Voyager.”
Moog Music employs approximately 15 people now. More information as well as synthesizer sounds can be found at its Web site: