Roger Powell is a man that needs no introduction. His keyboarding skills are world famous. His time with Utopia should be enough to establish his Bone Fides. While Todd Rundgren may be the name most remember, it was Roger Powell that was the power behind the Synths.

In the 70’s the holy grail in the synth world was to create a polyphonic synth. Robert Moog had created a wonderful tool for musicians but it was limited to one not at a time. Roger Powell created his own multi note synth, but it was largely through some clever smoke and mirrors. He had six synths hidden off stage, and on stage he had a custom keyboard embedded into a guitar shell.

Apparently while touring someone stole the funky keyboard, but, and this could only happen in this internet age! 26 years after the theft Roger spotted it for sale on E-Bay. Slightly worse for wear it is now back in his possession. Alas the synths have long since fallen by the wayside, but this particular piece is a one of a kind.

Roger Powell is a smart cookie. not only did he create a polyphonic synth, but he went on to become a serious software developer. Maybe his greatest creation was an early Midi sequencer.

Utopia called it a day in 1985 and while Roger continued to play music he also explored the corporate world. A time with Silicone Graphics, ten years with Apple Computers, and for the past month he has been with Electronic Arts. EA is likely the best known computer game company in the world. While I could not quite pry out of Roger what super secret project he is involved, even though I assured him that our listeners would not spill the beans, our listeners know how to keep a secret! Well he would not divulge the exact nature of the project, but he did admit that it involves music.

You can catch the whole interview here, oh and you will have the opportunity to sample a couple of tracks from Blue Ridge Note.

Simon Barrett

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