Oral History -
David Cockerell designed one of the earliest synthesizers produced in the United Kingdom. The Synthi was introduced in the late 1960s by EMS Ltd. The unit, which came in a case with a KS keyboard, used patch cords to root reverb and ring modes. David also included two oscillators both with shape and level controllers as well as a frequency control.
Ravi Shankar was called the Godfather of World Music by his long time friend George Harrison. Ravi’s role in bringing Indian music to the world was the beginning of many musical exchanges that have since been referred to as world music. Ravi’s role as a player is only matched by his amazing teaching, writing and arranging skills that have been showcased in concerts and recording during his long musical career.
Abigail Ybarra was hired to work in the Fender factory back in 1956; just years after the famous electric guitar company released the Stratocaster. She conveyed in her interviews that the early years of the company were very exciting and that she and the rest of the factory workers were very proud of the popularity of the instruments that they were making.
Speedy West was inducted into the Pedal Steel Guitar Hall of Fame as one of the instrument’s most innovative performers. He was able to apply his unique style to country, jazz, and popular music. As a driving force on classic recordings with Jimmy Bryant, Speedy was also a long time product endorser for Fender Guitars.
Morton Subotnick composed one of the earliest and most important works of electronic music. When his album “Silver Apples of the Moon” was released in the late 1960s, it represented an entirely new era of composition. Years before the recording, he hired inventor and engineer Don Buchla to create a musical synthesizer, which preceded the Moog synthesizer by a few years.
Artie Shapiro played the double bass during the golden era of the big bands. His approach to the bass was steeped in the tradition of his classical background. Studio orchestras soon hired him, where he worked extensively for live radio programs.
Hargus “Pig” Robbins became a member of the Nashville studio group of musicians known as the A Team. As a gifted piano player Pig gained the attention of producers such as Owen Bradley and Chet Atkins who repeatedly used him to back singers and performers for countless hit recordings. While interviewing Pig it was clear that it might be easier to list the recording artists he did NOT work with either on stage or in the studio.
Horst Mucha is one of the most recognizable faces within the music products industry. As a past president of Hohner and a pioneer in the expansion of the company’s product line, Horst has truly become a legend in the industry.
Lloyd McCausland has worked with Remo Belli ever since the famed Hollywood drummer began creating his own line of synthetic drumheads in the late 1950s. Lloyd has become a fixture at the company and is known to dealers and musicians alike. As vice president, Lloyd has played a large role in the marketing of the product line as well as improving on the manufacturing process.
Max Mathews was working as an engineer at the famed Bell Laboratory in 1954 when he was asked to determine if the computer Bell was designing could create music. The landmark Music 2 and later Music 4 projects put the two concepts together as early as 1957-–the computer and music had a future and Max was there for the birth.