Photo theremin sighted @ Portland, OR Free Geek

Posted: 12/11/2005 5:41:32 AM
Tallwes

From: Portland, OR, USA, Terra, Sol, Milkyway

Joined: 3/1/2005

I just got back from the annual holiday party at Free Geek in Portland, OR. They had a band playing last night called "Golden Greats". One of the band members was playing keyboards and this strange looking box with what looked like a turntable and light bulb on top. The bottom of the box had translucent circles that permitted the light from a strobe light placed in the bottom part to shine through. When the musician was playing the box like device it sounded like a theremin. I did go up while the band was not playing any songs and pass my hand near by the device but did not get any audio response from the device. I talked to the thereminist (the person that was playing the device) and he said that it was a photo theremin. It consisted of four photo sensors mounted on for stalks that faced the centrally located lightbulb. The instrument could be played by controlling the brightness of the central bulb, holding your hand near the sensors and using the controls on the instrument's top panel. The four different sensors each produced different kinds of tones. From a pure theremin like tone to one that sounded drum like.

The instrument had a motorized grinder disk that had carpeting on top located directly under its central light bulb. During one song the thereminist placed a coffee can with a pattern of holes in its sides on this 'turntable' surrounding the central light bulb and the different hole patterns going by the sensors produced some interesting effects. On another song the thereminist took the strobe light out of the bottom of the box and placed it on top of the box shining its strobe flashes on the sensors producing more interesting effects. He combined the strobe light with different brightness levels of the central bulb to control the intensity of the strobe light's effect.

The thereminist told me that this instrument was called a "Drum Buddy". The thereminist and this other guy in New Orleans had built only 40 of the units. This other person that was building these things with this thereminist lost his workshop, which was located in New Orleans, due to hurricane you know who.

Has anybody else heard of these "Drum Buddy"s?
Posted: 12/11/2005 6:20:00 AM
Tallwes

From: Portland, OR, USA, Terra, Sol, Milkyway

Joined: 3/1/2005

Think I just found a website about the "Drum Buddy" Its url is http://www.drumbuddy.com
Posted: 12/11/2005 9:49:15 AM
Jason

From: Sammamish, Washington

Joined: 2/13/2005

Sounds like Mr. Quinton?
Posted: 12/16/2005 10:31:37 PM
Tallwes

From: Portland, OR, USA, Terra, Sol, Milkyway

Joined: 3/1/2005

I just asked on the Free Geek mailing list if one of the Golden Great members is Mr. Quinton. They said no. The person that plays the Drum Buddy is a guy named Danny. Danny is one of less then 100 people who own a Drum Buddy.
Posted: 12/16/2005 10:51:27 PM
Jason

From: Sammamish, Washington

Joined: 2/13/2005

Interesting. I asked because I'd heard of a guy performing under the name Mr. Quintron years ago (around 1996) who had a similar device. I don't know if he bought it or built it though. Thanks for the post!
Posted: 12/17/2005 2:22:17 AM
Tallwes

From: Portland, OR, USA, Terra, Sol, Milkyway

Joined: 3/1/2005

According to Laurel of Free Geek who replied to my last post. She said that "Quintron, the inventor of the Drum Buddy, is from New Orleans.
(Not sure where he's at now!)" During the night of the performance, Danny told me that he worked with a guy in New Orleans making the Drum Buddies. Danny told me that this other guy lost his workshop to hurricane Katrina. Maybe that was Mr. Quintron that Danny was working with.
Posted: 5/15/2006 4:35:48 PM
DrNono

From: Portland, OR

Joined: 5/15/2006

I cannot really take any credit for the construction of the Drum Buddy, nor ints invention. All credit goes to the highly innovative New orleans night club organist Mr. Quintron, AKA Jay Poggi. I have sought to give his instrument greater exposure and notoriety since I purchased it from him in late 2001. I wrote a fairly extensive description for wikipedia, have performed with it as a DJ, stand-up comic and in the 7-piece funk ensemble The Golden Greats. It's been a real treat to be one of only 44 proud owners of what has consistently been a visual and sonic treat for audiences. And I was very fortunate to have seen Spellcaster Lounge in its prime, work with the inventor to build the cans which "program" beats and enjoy meals, drinks and hospitality with he and Miss Panacea Pussycat.

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