EQ: Where did your love for bending toys and instruments start?
LR: I was at my girlfriend’s house, and her friend’s boyfriend had a Speak ’n Spell that he circuit bent . . . I thought, okay, I need to learn how to do that! Ever since then, I’ve been hooked on buying things and bending them.
EQ: What are your favorite objects to bend?
LR: I enjoy working on Vtech Talking Whiz Kid Plus toys, there’s lots of versatility in them. I also really enjoy bending the Yamaha PSS-460 keyboards, they have the most unreal sounds in them. But really, there are too many to have a favorite.
EQ: What’s the most extreme bend you ever did?
LR: I would have to say the Casio MT-240 keyboard, it just does some of the craziest sounds ever.
EQ: Do you have other bending heroes? What’s your favorite “bending” music?
LR: I don’t really have any bending heroes; basically I enjoy what I am able to do, so can I say I’m my own hero? [Laughs.] As to bending music, for now, I would have to say Vinetian Snares. He uses some unreal sounds and it inspires me to make more interesting instruments.
EQ: What’s your bending philosophy?
LR: Philosophy? Hmmm . . . bend an instrument, then another one, and keep going until my storage unit is empty!
EQ: Do you own a studio, and write music with your modified instruments?
LR: I do own a studio; I love to collect synths and hear new noises. But unlike what I planned, I do not use any of my modified instruments; I know what they are capable of doing, but I can’t find the time to make myself sit down and actually make music for myself. For now it is just musical instruments for other people.
EQ: Who are the most famous musicians who use your bent instruments?
LR: Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo, Buckethead, Trey Anastasio of Phish, Venetian Snares . . . I am sure there are many other artists using them I’m not aware of at the moment. I have sold to a lot of different musicians on eBay.
EQ: Any hints for bending newcomers?
LR: Go to a lot of thrift stores, use good test leads otherwise you will be frustrated . . . but don’t go overboard! And you will . . . don’t buy too much crap!
EQ: What is the difference for you between “bending” and “modding”?
LR: I would say bending is straight anarchy to the circuit chip; modding would be creating modifications to an already finished machine. With bending, you are morphing an instrument into something it is completely not at all.