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The Mark Vail affair

Posted by peahix on June 21st, 2000

Anyone who has read my original “Optigans Anonymous” article may remember that one of the first people I tried to contact for information about the Optigan was Mark Vail- the Vintage Synth columnist for Keyboard Magazine. Mark had included a brief mention of the Optigan in his book “Vintage Synthesizers”, but that reference was only in the context of a paragraph about the Vako Orchestron. Still, I figured he might have more info about the Optigan than was included in his book, so I wrote to him. I never heard back. Fast forward to the beginning of 2000, and I get an email from none other than Mark Vail. He told me that he wanted to write a Vintage Synths column about the Optigan, and that he had heard that I was the guy to talk to! So of course the first thing I did was I “reminded” him (all in good fun) about the letter that he never responded to, and he was VERY nice and apologetic and embarrassed, etc! Obviously, I can understand the fact that he must get a TON of mail, and can’t possibly respond to or keep track of all of it. Nevertheless, of course I was willing to help him out with the article. We spoke on the phone for about an hour or so, and he again proved himself to be a really cool guy. The article came out in the Feb. 2000 issue of Keyboard Magazine, and I was very honored that he also included the article in the brand new updated edition of his “Vintage Synthesizers” book! Recently he emailed me again to tell me that he found my original letter to him while cleaning out his office… I figured he ought to send me a reply (better late than never), since he now actually knows all the info I was asking for!!

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