In retrospect, it makes cosmic sense that Bob Moog settled in the Asheville area, where he lived and worked for most of his later years. Though he passed away in 2005, his musical legacy has only grown since then. Now, the first full-length biography of the iconoclastic inventor, Switched On: Bob Moog and the Synthesizer Revolution, by the composer and writer Albert Glinksy, will give his fans—local and otherwise—a fuller picture of the man behind a thousand songs.
An obsessive tinkerer with a spiritual side and a lifelong sense of exploration and whimsy, Moog first made his mark by popularizing an accessible version of the Theremin in the 1950s. Then, his game-changing synthesizers provided the soundtrack for the 1960s, ’70s, and beyond, giving distinctive sound to hits by everyone from The Beatles to The Doors to The Beach Boys and even some of today’s top musical acts. He withstood the heavy winds of competition and imitation, and the music industry’s inherent fickleness, with his integrity and renown intact. “It would be egotistical of me to say my ideas were my own,” Moog said with trademark humility. “I believe that there is a network of ideas, and the ideas come through me.”
For all his groundbreaking technological feats, Moog struggled for most of his life to make his business ventures profitable, and Glinsky takes unsparing account of both Moog’s high notes and low ones, showing why the inventor was especially grateful to have found a personal and professional haven in Western North Carolina.
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Bob Moog Foundation
56 Broadway Street, Asheville
11am-5pm; $9.75, free for children under 7; (828) 258-1262; moogseum.org