The Fate Of The Birotron, Rick Wakeman’s Super-Mellotron


At the 2010 NAMM Show, director Dianna Dilworth presented her documentary Mellodrama, which explores the history of the Mellotron.

Featured in the documentary is the extremely rare Birotron, which was a variation on the tape sample idea, but using 8-track tape loops.

The Hartford Courant followed up with Birotron creator David Biro, to coincide with the release of Dilworth’s film on DVD:

The Birotron has never been completely forgotten. The instrument often described as “ill-fated” has received renewed interest in recent years. Writer Paul Collins detailed the history of the Birotron a few years ago in the literary magazine “The Believer.” David Biro and his creation appear in the 2009 documentary “Mellodrama” (the DVD will be released this week). And there’s talk of reviving the Birotron for real.Part of this might have to do with the “what if?” factor; had the Birotron succeeded, how would it have changed pop music? Biro says he’s surprised by the continuing interest.

“When I first got the idea for it, I only planned on making one for myself,” Biro says. “Making money had nothing to do with it. I wanted it to help further my musical career, but instead it ended up sidetracking my career to the point of no return.”

Cult status, of course, doesn’t pay bills. Today, Biro lives in a mobile home in Bayou George, Fla. He’s been unemployed for the past few months after the car upholstering business he worked for folded.

“It didn’t fail because it was a bad idea,” says David Kean, an electronic music historian and owner of Mellotronics in Calgary. “It didn’t fail because it was poorly designed. It failed because [Biro] counted on the fortunes of a rock star, and that’s always a dicey proposition.”

See the full article here.

via Matrix, Image via 8trackheaven

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