Bob Moog's Journal
Written Aug 19, 2010 2:00pmThis is Ileana Grams-Moog, thinking about the fifth anniversary of Bob's death, this coming Saturday. I am touched that so many people still log onto this site to read the tributes to Bob, and my yearly reflections on his life and death. This year, as always, I am thinking about the joy Bob brought into my life through being the wonderful person that he was, and the joy he brought into the lives of so many others who were privileged to meet him, hear him speak, ask him a question, or spend time with him in some way. The warmth, kindness, humor, and human presence that characterized him communicated themselves even in the briefest encounter with him, from what so many of you have told me.
He brought joy to many more through the instruments he designed and built for others to play. And of course, through those musicians, millions were, are, and will be touched by his work. What a legacy! I know that it is a living legacy not only from the continued popularity of his instruments, but from the feedback the Bob Moog Foundation gets from its activities and appearances. People still care and are moved by his work and his memory.
It is a bit ironic, and sad, therefore, that all of this love and devotion has not translated into a more stable operationg budget for the Bob Moog Foundaton, which still struggles daily to continue doing things that people seem to enjoy and care about.
My mother and father had few things in common (they separated when I was five). But they did share a commitment to supporting good causes, and they passed that commitment on to me. Giving to a cause you believe in feels good. It feels meaningful and empowering. Our consumer culture is focussed on convincing us that life is about the acquisition of things that will entertain us, save us work, or give us more power. But our hearts--as well as lots of research--tell us the truth: Life is about loving and connecting to others, and knowing that they and the world are better off because of us.
Bob really lived the truth of that. He supported many causes he believed in. I would like to ask you to do the same. I believe that giving to others is part of a worthwhile life. I hope you will feel moved to give some amount to an organization you believe in, in honor of Bob. If that organization is the Bob Moog Foundation, that will help to continue to make his presence felt in the world. But wherever you give, choosing to make a difference for good is a fitting tribute to Bob Moog. I can't think of one he would like better.
Written Aug 20, 2009 5:34pmThis is Ileana Grams-Moog, writing on the eve of the fourth anniversary of Bob's death. I want to do three things in this entry. First, I'd like to reflect on how Bob remains present in my life and perhaps your life as well, if you are one of the thousands of people who feels a personal connection to Bob. Second, I'd like to talk about what we are doing at the Bob Moog Foundation that will help to keep Bob present in the lives of thousands to come. And third, for those of you who have logged onto this site because you saw that Bob had a glioblastoma, and were hoping for some help, I'd like to share what was most helpful to us while he was ill.
It is now four years since Bob died. The pain of his loss is much diminished, while the joy of our lives together is something that I am grateful for daily. When people have been as much a source of happiness as Bob was for me and so many others, their legacy of good keeps growing, it seems to me. I know that thousands of you cherish the memory of the time you met Bob and talked to him, or of the first time you played a Minimoog, or the talk you heard him give. Every time you remember, that event lives again and gives you new pleasure--and makes Bob alive still in you. This is what it is like for me. It is a rare thing when someone who contributed as much to a field as Bob did to music is also a genuinely wonderful human being, as he was. It was a blessing to have shared his life for the years we had, and I am truly grateful.
At Bob's death, as most of you know, we started the Bob Moog Foundation to carry on his legacy. We have hoped from the beginning to have a museum that would not only show his life and contributions in the context of the history of electronic music, but show the connection between science and music that underlies his work, and thus serve as education and inspiration for budding musicians and innovators. This year, we received a major grant from the local tourism development board here in Asheville toward actual construction costs of such a museum. Since it does not cover planning, site acquisition, or even most of the construction costs, this grant will need to be augmented with a major capital campaign, which we hope to launch as soon as possible.
For a tiny and new organization like ours, this feels both wonderful and scary. We know we cannot achieve our dream without the help of the thousands of people who let us know how much they cared about Bob when he was alive and while he was ill. It is you who convinced us that there needed to be a place to visit and connect with Bob's spirit, story, and physical legacy of instruments. I hope that you will visit our website, www.moogfoundation.org, to find out about the Moogseum. If you live in the Southern California area, or plan a visit, a six-month major exhibit of Bob's life and work is opening on Aug. 29 at The Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad, CA, with artifacts drawn in large part from Bob's archives here in Asheville. There are many concerts and lectures planned throughout the six-months, including one by Bob's long-time customer and friend, Keith Emerson. Again, I hope you will go to our website to find out details.
There's much more, but I am a bit short on energy, so I'll just say that none of the achievements of the Bob Moog Foundation would have been possible without the determination, passion, vision, and unremitting hard work of Michelle Moog-Koussa, Bob's daughter, and the executive director of the Foundation. She is committed to honoring Bob's life by passing on his legacy, and thanks to her, it's happening.
When I have logged onto this site, I have often found messages from the families of people diagnosed with glioblastoma, asking for any help I could give. Because of my continuing (though improving) chronic fatigue, email and the internet are not really possible for me most of the time. I have felt bad about not being able to respond, and would like to share my tiny store of wisdom about dealing with this malady here.
The most helpful things we did:
Get a second opinion. The diagnosis was different--glioblastoma rather than astrocytoma--and the treatment options were different. The diagnosis was worse, but at least Bob didn't have surgery, and was able to remain at home.
Use the services of Nutritional Solutions, an on-line consulting service run by Jean Wallace, a Ph.D. nutritionist. I cannot say enough about how useful and supportive she and her crew were. There are hundreds of peer-reviewed, university studies of nutrition and its effect on cancer. The effect is huge. She knows the research and puts it into a practical form for you. The only improvement in Bob's condition came during a ten-day period early in radiation treatment, when we were following all the nutritional advice, and the radiation dose was still low. It culminated on the three-day Fourth of July weekend, with three days of no radiation, when Bob felt better each day, and was looking forward to working with the new engineer he'd interviewed just before he was diagnosed. Then came Tuesday, radiation, and he was wiped out. I'm not claiming that nutrition alone would have cured him, only that it made a big and positive difference.
The Moss Reports on cancer are another wonderful resource, with great people behind them. Because of the location of Bob's tumor, and its effect on his mobility, we were limited in what we could do, but I recommend the Moss Reports and the Moss staff wholeheartedly.
Finally, remember that, even without treatment, one in fifty people survives their tumor--why not you or your loved one? It wasn't Bob, but believing it could be was a huge help. Also, since remissions of cancer are seriously underreported (people either just don't go back to their doctors, or their doctors don't know what to do with this anomaly and never report it), the statistics are almost certainly worse than the facts. So don't ask for a prediction--I agree with Larry Dossey, M.D. that this is a form of doctor's voodod, and don't believe the grim ones you may get without asking. Maybe they're right--and maybe not.
And finally, finally, I believe that there is a larger purpose in what happens, so I believe that, whatever the outcome, we need to keep "don't know mind" as they say in Zen. We think we know what's best, but maybe we don't know.
Written Aug 14, 2008 9:52pmOn August 21, in just one week, it will be three years since Bob's death. It is wonderful to know that he lives on in the hearts of so many. And I want each of you who has taken the time to write a message in the guestbook to know that every one is read and appreciated, though I still cannot respond to each one, as I'd like.
The hardest time for me each year begins in March, when Bob first noticed some minor problems using his left hand, and lasts through the end of May, when we had the glioblastoma diagnosis and were contending with treatment choices. In early April I revisit his showing me that he couldn't fully control his left hand after he'd been chopping wood for our stove. We thought he might be having neck problems, and left for a wonderful trip to Portland OR and Anchorage AK, where we visited,respectively, his oldest daughter and her husband, and the U. of Alaska at Anchoroge. There he gave a talk to the Undergraduate Research Program, headed by his cousin Ron Spatz, with whom we spent a happy few days. Through this time, though, his left arm got worse, and we made an appointment with his doctor. When we returned, the saga of MRI, initial diagnosis of a brain tumor, second opinion at Duke, a brain biopsy, and final diagnosis of glioblastoma unfolded from the end of April through the end of May. The glioblastoma diagnosis came on our anniversary, and the neurooncology consultation was on his birthday.
This year was the first since his illness that these grim events didn't completely overshadow the happy ones we normally celebrated on those days. We chose a bench for Bob's memorial, with GOOD VIBRATIONS inscribed on it. On his birthday this year, I went and sat on it and felt his presence. From your messages here, and the many contacts Michelle has had through the Bob Moog Foundation, I know how many of you continue to feel his presence through the instruments he made and you play. That is exactly the memorial he wanted, and I know that he is delighted that his creations continue to inspire musicians and give them pleasure. Michelle and I will go next week to visit his memorial bench, and we will be thinking of all of you, playing his living memorials, his instruments.