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Spock 'n' Sulu

Dear Canadian Synth Musician Lusting After Sweet vintage Analog Gear

Originally published at C H A N G S P A C E. Please leave any comments there.

Dear synthe4ever,

Man, I feel you on wanting one of these, dog! I’ve wanted a JP8 ever since I saw New Order use one in their first US show in New York (didn’t see it in person, saw it on VHS. Yeah, I’m old!).


If you think it looks awesome you should hear how it sounds!

Vintage Roland gear is pretty dang sweet. You can get all your VR ROMplers and soft-synths with algorithms up the kazzingus and still it won’t sound super-duper fat like a real hot JP8 under your fingertips.  I’ve played one in very good condition at my friends house and it was positively sexual – no joke.

Yeah, I’m a musician, too. Been playing for 30+ years (read: I am old). I’ve still got my first synth I inherited from my grandfather (Yamaha Ce-25) as well as the first synth I ever bought with money I earned mowing about 250 miles of lawns (Korg Poly-800ii).

Come to think of it, all the gear I have – from my lowly Boss DR660 to my beloved Roland SH-101 (Yeah, I love Roland gear but I have a pretty equal showing of Roland, Yamaha and Korg gear with a smattering of Alesis, too) – I’ve gotten by working sometimes up to three jobs at a time. And not all great paying ones.

In fact just about every musician I know (this goes from hobbyists to platinum selling artists; yeah, I know both kinds of musicians!) has worked hard to earn just about every piece of gear (including the guy who told me about your goFundme).

For instance: do you know Moby? Because I do. We went to high school together and were pretty good friends until he moved to New York and began to make it big there. I still see him once and a while but that’s beside the point. What I know is I remember when he was living in a crappy little studio apartment in Stamford, CT with cold water only and had a bunch of precious pieces of gear no one gave a crap about back in 1988.  Among these things were a TR-606, a TB-303 and a bunch of other pedals. Now we all know what happened to Moby and what that gear goes for these days. The guy’s got an amazing collection of gear plus some impressive gold and platinum albums he earned with that gear he got by working his ass off in a variety of jobs and then by his music.

Also the guy whose JP8 I played had a selection of gear I never thought I would see in my life.  From vintage analog synths to modular systems and digital monsters. Know how he got all of them? By working. Hard. A lot. All the time.  Some of those pieces would have gotten him a very nice car. Like a Range Rover, dude. Seriously!

Like I said I have a respectable amount of gear. And I love playing each piece for how they sound and especially because I’ve worked so hard to get them in my studio. My Juno 106 has about $2,000+ invested in it which is way above its market value. But I love it because it has that thick Roland sound you can’t get from anything else.

So just as that analog sound and feel is irreplaceable so is that feeling of knowing you worked hard to get the things you want.

Y’know synthe4ever, I’ve got to be honest: I cannot imagine asking people on the Internet for $7,000 to help me buy a synthesizer. Maybe it’s my age but this is the second instance where I’ve seen someone go begging  on the Internet for money for something that essentially really only benefits them.

Now I saw in your plea that you said music benefits everyone and I get that but honestly: do you really think by not giving anyone anything in return – not even a sticker or a thank you card – that they will give you any money just so they can buy one of your releases later and hold it in their hands feeling good about the fact that they paid you twice for something most people would reasonably expect to pay once for? Me I’ve got a hard time imagining that. But then I’m not Canadian.

synthe4ever, I may be old (I’m not sure how old you are from your videos), but throughout the ages I’m pretty sure musicians have wanted instruments from drums to Stradivarius violins to Roland Jupiter 8’s and realized the only way they’re going to get them is by either stealing them (which has its own risks that I’m pretty sure I don’t need to tell you about) or working hard and long enough to earn the money to buy the instrument in question.

In fact most of the people I’ve known in life – not just musicians – would be kind of shocked and offended if someone approached them either in person or on the Internet asking for donations to buy something for them that by all rights and reason they should be able to earn the money to buy it for themselves.

So I guess that’s what I’m ultimately saying here, synthe4ever, is that unless something is preventing you from working (you may have an illness, I don’t know) you might want to consider getting a job or another job or maybe two jobs so that you can make the $7,000 (is that Canadian dollars, by the way?) for the JP8.

Because I guarantee that the day you purchase it and receive it then plug it in and play it you will feel a far greater sense of ownership and achievement than if you went ahead and begged people to get you the $7,000 for it without giving them anything in return.

Good luck, synthe4ever!



Spock 'n' Sulu

March 2016



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