May 222009

(continued from Part 3)

The year was now 2004. My music retail career was going well. Where I had been a keyboard department manager in a music store, I now had my dream job working in management at another very highly respected music dealer, and we were about to have a special training session. Training sessions themselves occurred regularly – usually twice a week, but this time the presenter would be the inventor of the product and their company’s namesake, a far less common treat!

Two years prior, something very exciting had happened. Bob Moog had won back the rights to his name, and he’d announced that his company was going to manufacture an updated version of the Minimoog, which had not been manufactured since 1981. [if you’re still following this story, I’m betting you’re a synth geek like me – but for anyone who knows, the Minimoog is widely regarded as one of the de facto “holy grail” synths, and is a cornerstone in many, many keyboardists’ rigs. Used Minimoogs fetch a premium, and it’s hard to find one in good working order.] That’s right, we were going to meet Bob Moog. In person. Wow. This iconic person, whose name is synonymous with synthesis, whose name was inexorably linked to pop culture’s initial discovery and acceptance of the synthesizer, was going to be standing right in front of me.

Bob did come and do the training session. He was as you’d expect, complete with spectacles and white not-quite-mad scientist hair. He taught us about the new Minimoog (named the Minimoog Voyager), and answered questions in his very humble, sincere, and humourous “gentle professor” manner. In fact, he even did a video interview that’s still posted today. I did get to meet him and shake his hand, though I wouldn’t have expected him to remember me, as I’m sure it’d be next to impossible for him to keep track of all the admirers he’d ever met. It was truly wonderful to meet him and hear what he had to say.

Coincidentally, 2004 also marked Moog Music’s 50th Anniversary. As part of their anniversary celebration, a limited edition of 50th Anniversary Minimoog Voyagers were produced, and we were selling them. Oh, how I wanted to buy one – but even with an employee discount, they were still quite a chunk of change, and a Voyager really is practically the opposite of a great all-in-one synth. But I was through with all-in-one synth solutions, and a without a doubt, a Voyager could be the cornerstone of my new music setup. Still, it’s nearly impossible to make the case for that kind of money to come out of the family budget (especially when my wife had already witnessed my questionable synth purchase history).

2004 came and went, and though I anxiously pondered buying the very last 50th Anniversary Voyager we had in stock before it was too late, it sold before I pulled the trigger on the purchase, and it was gone. And then, that February, as if by an act of fate, it was returned and back in stock. That had to be a sign, right? That had to mean it was meant for me, right? In a bold move, I bought it. I didn’t even call my wife to see if it was ok – I just bought it. After all, I work hard, I’d waited … and I deserve it, right?

Not exactly. The credit card charge got noticed before I broke the news to my wife. Not the best way for her to find out. Me: “It was the last one! It came back into stock, and I had to act fast! It’s awesome!” Her: “Do you need it? What are you going to do with it? Does it do everything you need it to? We really weren’t planning for an expense like this now. Fine, keep it.” But the “Fine, keep it” landed on my ears like when you’re asking your parents if you can go to a party, and you know they don’t want you to, but they say “fine, do whatever you want.” This was not good. I couldn’t have a synth, however awesome, permanently wedged between me and my wife. I love synths, but no synth can compare to the love of my life, and that synth would have amounted to a physical manifestation of my selfishness for as long as I owned it.

Unfortunately, at the company where I work, returning an employee purchase is all but forbidden. A real no-no. Man, this was going to be awkward. But I made the request, citing what I called “the wife factor.” [note: “the wife factor” is not an uncommon reason for returns of music gear or even potential purchases that never come to fruition – I bet any of you married musicians reading this already know this all but too well.] The Voyager 50th Anniversary Edition was returned (sigh), and it was soon sold to another happy customer. My dream would have to wait a bit longer.

(to be concluded in Part 5)

Leave a Reply