Thank You, Bernie
Today we say a very sad and hard goodbye to beloved Moog family member, Bernie Worrell. As the founding keyboardist and musical director for Parliament Funkadelic, Bernie’s pioneering use of the Minimoog laid the foundation for P-Funk’s futuristic sound. Despite his many musical accomplishments, it’s his joyful soul and gentle heart that touched everyone at Moog most. He is the father of Moog bass and the auteur of the funkiest basslines in history – “so wide you can’t get around them, so low you can’t get under them”. Worrell’s bass never reaches the bottom, it wobbles your inner being and oscillates your soul. His grooves were three-dimensional, and they have the force to unite people under the power of their groove.
Bernie Worrell lived a lifetime of music. A child prodigy, Bernie began piano lessons at age 3, gave his first classical concert at 4 and had composed his first concerto by age 8. His gift of perfect pitch guided him through Juilliard and the New England Conservatory of Music, where he developed an affinity for ELP records and Keith Emerson’s use of the Moog synthesizer, inspiring him to acquire one of the new Moog instruments for himself. Like Emerson before him, Bernie Worrell’s command of the synthesizer would shape a new sound for the future. Bernie’s analog basslines for Parliament Funkadelic were the substructure for the band’s inter-dimensional operas and remain foundational to this day; as one of history’s most sampled artists, Bernie’s sonic vocabulary is heard prominently in the works of hip-hop’s most impactful producers- a lasting testament to his unique ability to move the masses. Bernie’s contributions to modern music cannot be understated, without him, there would be no funk.
Our fondest memories are of Bernie joining us for many Moogfest’s to celebrate the spirit of his friend, Bob Moog. Bernie received the Bob Moog Legacy Award in 2008 for his groundbreaking use of the synthesizer and celebrated his 70th birthday at Moogfest 2014. Just last month at Moogfest 2016, Bernie surprised his fans with an intimate impromptu performance with one of the first new Minimoogs produced in over 40 years. Bernie was a beacon of kindness and warmth, we gravitated to the pull of his heart whenever we were blessed with his presence.
Thank you for blessing us with the funk of life and the deep magic of the groove, Bernie. The Moog family is forever grateful to you for opening the door to new dimensions. You are a true wizard.
Love, your friends at Moog
Learn more about Moog synthesizers and theremins.