My baby is home.

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My baby is home.

Postby Ghastly on Wed Dec 10, 2003 4:31 pm

Oh Joyous day.

I recently went a little nuts with a purchase on eBay. Let's call it a down payment on my eventual midlife crisis.

There have been two Toms who have inspired me musically in my life. One is Tom Waits who, in my opinion is a musical genius on par with the great Kurt Weill and the other is Thomas Dolby. Tom Waits inspires my accoustic music and Thomas Dolby inspires me in the arts of electronic music. Indeed, as a teenager Thomas Dolby was my music god. It has always bothered me that the bulk of the world knows him no further than his 80's pop hit "She Blinded Me With Science". While a great song it is hardly reflective of the depth of his songwriting genius.

Well many years later I'm an adult now and thanks to the power of technology I've enjoyed the privillege of communicating rather frequently with my keyboard idol and we've shared each other's music. There's one keyboard in particular that's instantly associated with Thomas Dolby and that is his Casio AZ-1 strap-on MIDI controller keyboard. Chances are if you saw him play in the late 80s or 90s you saw him playing with the AZ-1 around his neck. Indeed for musicians the Casio AZ-1 instantly brings to mind the image of Thomas Dolby much in the same way the Yamaha KX-5 brings to mind Chick Corea or the Lync-LN4 brings to mind Jan Hammer. It's just a signature keyboard.

I had told Thomas a few years ago that if he was to ever part with the AZ-1 to let me know as I would be very interested in buying it off him. Well Thomas told me that he was going to be part of a project, an XTC tribute album, and that he wanted some accordion on the track he was going to contribute and if I provided him with the accordion tracks he'd give me his AZ-1 in exchange. Wow! Getting to play on a recording with my keyboard hero and getting his famous keyboard to boot! How could I say no? Unfortunately as things often happen in the music biz, the project never came to be and thoughts of the AZ-1 were pushed into the back of my mind by more mundane day-to-day items.

Well a wee while ago Thomas cleaned up his studio and took a whole bunch of gear that he no longer needed to an Auction Drop centre to be put up on Ebay. This made me think of the AZ-1 and I e-mailed him again asking if it was going up on the block or not and if not would he like to just out and out sell it. Unfortunately it was going on the block and unfortunately he was no longer in L.A. but in England so he wouldn't be able to retrieve the item to sell it to me. So I had to fight for the beastie in the auction ring.

I was kind of hopefull because most of the autographed gear going up on the block was selling for only a little more than market value. Unfortunately it seems the memorabilia collectors had their eye on the AZ-1 so I had some fierce competition from collectors who wanted the keyboard Thomas played on stage during The Wall: Live In Berlin concert as well as many others. As far as a Casio AZ-1 goes the Dolby AZ-1 ended up selling way above market value but to me it isn't just an AZ-1 it's a piece of history that belonged to a musician I admire and respect. And now it's mine.

Today it was delivered UPS. The taxes, shipping, and brokerage fees alone worked out to more than the market value of an AZ-1. Didn't diminish my joy in the least because to me this keyboard is priceless.

Electronically the instrument is very sound which is good since Thomas had warned me that the MIDI channel select button was a little wonky, but it seems to be functioning right as rain now. Must have been a bit of dust that got shook off in transit. Cosmetically it's going to need a little work. It needs new knobs to hold on the straps and there's some residue on it from where he had put duct tape over some of the controllers. Nothing a little "goo gone" shouldn't fix. Little dirt here and there, a few bumps and bruises to testify to it's illustrious employment as Thomas's live performance axe of choice. Nothing a little elbow grease can't take care of. I'll have to take care of the area where he autographed it because the silver paint/ink substance seems to smudge off if touched.

Now that I've got the beastie I'm contemplating doing something I never really thought of doing before. I'm considering the possibility of perhaps creating some original GGC artwork for auction to help cover the costs of the AZ-1. I'm thinking about drawings of various GGC characters posing with my coveted Dolby AZ-1 keyboard. I mean, it's not like I'm not inexperienced in drawing pictures of people with strap-ons. :wink:

I'll let everyone know if I decide to go through with the auction idea. It won't be for awhile though.

Right now I'm just basking in the glory of my new keyboard. Can't wait to get it polished up to play it live.
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Postby Cuteswan on Wed Dec 10, 2003 5:49 pm

Bask! By all means, bask! Thomas Dolby's work is the paradigm of eighties music: fresh, upbeat music that makes people feel good. As depressing and horrible as that decade was for me, the music is unbeatable and always makes me feel better.

I am happy for you... and for the AZ-1 because it is held by someone who truly appreciates it. I can't wait to see Glemph trying to play it.

BTW, you play accordion? How Ghastly! ;)
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Postby Ghastly on Wed Dec 10, 2003 6:13 pm

I not only play accordion, I play it for a living.

I am the Uber Geek.
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Postby RantinAn on Wed Dec 10, 2003 7:19 pm

ghastly, you lucky summa beyotch. By all means, sell us some crap to pay for your purchace. that way there will be a once in a life time opportunities fo us freaky perverse otaku too.
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Postby Ghastly on Wed Dec 10, 2003 8:14 pm

Image

Here's a rather nasty looking fellow playing my keyboard in Berlin.


Pictures of strap-ons. Mine is the model on the top.


Thomas and his KX-5 strap-on.
Image

Thomas and his current performance strap-on the AX-1
Image

And a much more rational looking Thomas playing my keyboard on stage.
Image
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Postby Happypeepeehead on Thu Dec 11, 2003 4:59 am

I actually hadn't heard of Dolby until I started going through your random art files a year or two ago with the Dolby fan pic. In fact, I was also of the mind that 80's stuff sucked ass... until random urge to listen to A Flock of Seagulls came to me along with my younger brother getting GTA Vice City. Dolby's on the sound track with "Hyperactive".

Anyway, I wanna see you with the axe rockin' out!
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