The Higher End

Remembering Gizmo

By David W. Robinson

"No, you’re wrong. There are fools – which he was not – and then there are jesters. These are important men in the grand scheme of things."

"Gizmo’s gone."

First a phone call on an awful Monday morning; my

dear audio friend Arnis Balgavis asking me if I had any

phone numbers or contact information for Harvey

Rosenberg’s family. Something had gone seriously wrong

during a trip that Gizmo had made to the Midwest, to meet

with some audio designers. I asked how bad it was; he

wasn’t sure, but said that it didn’t sound good. Harvey had

passed out after his arrival – that was all he knew. He was

trying to track down Gizmo’s family; he’d call back later if he

still needed help.

Then I got the first emails, asking if I had heard the

rumors going around – something about Harvey Rosenberg

being dead. Had I heard anything?


Then came another email, saying that there was terrible

news; Harvey’s www.metagizmo.com site had published

news of Gizmo’s death. I hit my browser at the college in

seconds, and headed straight over.

There it was: Gizmo was dead...

I remember the first time that I spoke with Harvey,

years ago. I was in my editorial office (two revisions back),

working on something, when I got a call that started with

something like, "Where have you BEEN all my life??!!"

It turned out that Harvey had somehow or the other

run across a copy of Positive Feedback over in New York City,

and had fallen hard for it.

"Like, you guys really get it! Most audio mags don’t get

it!! You guys must be smokin’ some great stuff up there!! And

who’s this Lynn Olson??!! That guy’s a maniac!! I love him and

his crazy audio UFO shit!! I’m working on a book – you’ve

gotta read it. It’s just like the kind of shit that you guys do!! This

is fuckin’ wonderful!!!"

Harvey really sounded like my kind of guy: wild,

crazy, satirical, and funny as hell. I told him to send along his

manuscript – I really wanted to see it.

What I got was a box with a loose set of pages, with a

working (turned out to be the final) title, The Search for

Musical Ecstasy: Volume 1: In the Home. I flipped through

it.. .cool and crazy drawings, reminding me of my days

publishing very funky underground magazines in high

school. Wild...nuts! Mad Magazine meets Zorba the Geek! I

started reading, and in seconds was hooting and laughing

and calling a PF audiobud or two to share "some really great

stuff!" Everybody found Harvey to be bust-a-gut funny.. .and

we all laughed our asses off.

I called him back; "1 really want to publish excerpts

from your book in Positive Feedback, Harvey!"

"Really?! No shit?!"


And so I did. And ever since then, an issue of Positive

Feedback wouldn’t go out without something from Gizmo – a

column, a satire, a contest – something. I don’t think he ever

missed an opportunity to get something in...just like this

issue, which has the last column that he sent us. Even after

passing on, there’s something from Gizmo here.

The years went by; Harvey and I became good friends.

We’d talk on the phone from time to time; we’d vent at each

other; we’d make plans; we’d just shoot the breeze.

"Christ, David, you wouldn’t believe what these

bastards are doing to audio! They haven’t got a clue! They

don’t give a shit about anything but their own fuckin’ agendas!

And they don’t GET IT! No wonder high-end audio is in such

shitty shape!!! There’s no creativity at all!!! Just a bunch of egos;

high-end audio is a bunch of old white dudes who can’t dance!!!

No wonder nobody who isn’t a hopeless audio geek gives a shit

about audio!!!"

And you know: he was right....

Not everyone liked Gizmo. Some hated him.

I know. I got the phone calls or letters demanding that I

get rid of "that charlatan." I got to hear from all sorts of

people who sure seemed to have some serious grudges

against Harvey. ..and since I dared to publish him – repeat-

edly – I was now the enabler! Didn’t I know what I was

doing?! How could I possibly publish such a clown??!!

Simple. Because I liked his stuff...because he was

thoughtful and funny and wild and willing to be a jester and

take any risk to further his beloved audio. Why he bothered, I

don’t know; fine audio is filled with a lot of bozos, buttheads,

strutting egos, and insufferable bores. Frankly, I wouldn’t be

caught dead around any of them; neither would he. You

know who you are – you’re the ones who wrote vicious

letters and emails; you’re the ones who cancelled advertising

(as if I cared); you’re the ones who complained that he was

too outrageous; you’re the ones who said that he had to be


And now he is. But not because of you.

Harvey Rosenberg was a dear friend of mine. If he

wasn’t a friend of yours, then you missed the point.

You lose.

Gizmo’s gone. But I’ll never forget him.


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