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R.I.P Everett Hafner, Synth pioneer
summa you might be interested in this... esp. the synth-heads..
Subject: [awizard] RIP Everett Hafner
I posted this earlier today to an analogue synthesizer mail list
I belong to. But there is a Todd Rundgren connection here also.
EMSA helped M. Frog (Jean Yves Labat) with his multiple Synthi
AKS rig. Jean Yves used an EMS PVC (pitch to voltage converter)
for many of the sounds on AWATS. Also, Todd used an EMS VCS3
(also known as a Putney) on many records. You can see the device
on the right-hand side of the S/A inner cover. Most of the sound
in "Breathless" was made on this machine. TR also used a Synthi
Hi-Fli guitar synth on the early Utopia gigs. Finally, Everett
agreed to loan TR the EMS Vocoder 3000 at no cost for the Oops,
Wrong Planet sessions.
I would not be on this list today or have discovered TR without
the influence of Everett.
So as 1998 ends, I think of all the people I have known who died
this year. And I am sad but also inspired. Everett was at least
in his late 70s but was still active and involved. If you have
to go, going down while pursuing your dream of flying doesn't
seem so awful. Sure beats my Father-in-Laws slow decline into
Alzheimer's and Parkinson's in a nursing home. I suspect he will
not be here next year at this time and I dearly love him and
already miss him.
I was informed last night that Prof. Everett Hafner died in a
small plane crash last August 2nd in Western MA. Everett was the
founder and owner of EMSA, the US distributor for EMS products in
the 1970s. EMSA also sold Moog and ARP equipment, the primary
market being colleges and High Schools. Many of us who first
discovered analog synthesis via school music labs have used
equipment sold by Prof. Hafner.
In 1977 I quit my job as a school teacher and moved to
Northampton MA in order to work with Everett in EMSA. Never a
profitable venture, we just scraped by for a long time. In the
office we had many Synthi AKS's, Revox tape machines, a Moog 35
and 2 Moog 15s, a custom built Oberheim 8 Voice, various ARPs,
and a piano.
Everett hosted a weekly local NPR show on electronic music. He
traveled extensively offering classes in synthesis at various
schools. He was also a Physics professor at Hampshire College
and the first Dean of the School of Natural Sciences there. I
corresponded with him via email the last several years, he had
retired, opened a bed & breakfast in the countryside, went back
to UMASS and obtained a doctorate in music theory, and realized
his life-long dream of getting a pilots license.
He composed much music and was often involved in exploring
An eccentric man, he sometimes angered customers with his
business approach. However, he was a true friend and mentor to