Michael Iceberg

Michael Iceberg is an American musician. He is most noted as a performer at Walt Disney World and Disneyland in the mid-1970s to late-1980s and a highly visible early-adopter of new keyboard and synthesizer technology. Thousands of visitors to the parks over the years enjoyed his frenetic live performances on his Amazing Iceberg Machine which were demonstrations of his prowess as a keyboard performer and his ingenuity in creating new sounds. The show was performed at Walt Disney World's Tomorrowland Terrace where Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe currently sits, Disneyland's Tomorrowland Terrace, and also on the Disneyland Space Stage (where the Magic Eye Theater was built to accommodate the Captain EO 3-D film).[1]

Michael's "machine" was created from a collection of synthesizers and mixing devices that he referred to as "The Mechanical Contraption". The result was humorous, educational and amazing. Hunter S. Thompson once said about Michael: "Now, here's somebody crazier than me!"[2]

During the mid- to late-1970s, Michael used a custom Chamberlin he had put together (an ancestor to the Mellotron), using bicycle gearing to change voicings while he played, an Oberheim 4-voice synthesizer and DS-2 Digital Sequencer, a prototype Moog Polymoog synthesizer, which was later sold to make way for a Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 Synthesizer with sequencer, as well as other bits and pieces, some of which were custom-made or modified to facilitate playing in live performance by one person. The Chamberlin was often used to play back sound effects, such as the horse whinny during the William Tell Overture, wind effects, or to simulate having pigs "sing in A", as well as providing realistic violin sounds. Michael's programs featured arrangements of classical pieces and movie music, including a Baroque Hoedown, the Star Wars and Close Encounters themes, and the end of the William Tell Overture ("Lone Ranger theme") as the close to the show. There were also some rock-oriented songs (the Moody Blues' "Nights in White Satin"), Disney songs and an original ("Fanfare") that Michael wrote for daughter Wendy, which he sang at many of his shows.

A major portion of Michael's show was the visual presentation, which started off with a mirror behind and above him, that allowed audiences to see him play his multiple keyboards. Eventually, the "machine" came to encompass a 10-foot pyramid that opened up to reveal Michael and the Machine inside, with the mirror in the top part of the pyramid, an extensive light show and dry ice fog.

Michael had many guest performances and performed on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show.

After leaving Disney (where he eventually performed at both Disney World in Florida and at Disneyland in California), Michael played the Iceberg Machine on corporate engagements and occasional shows at colleges.[3][4] These allowed him to return to his hometown of Aspen, Colorado and semi-retire where he lived as a neighbor to Michael Eisner above Snowmass Creek.[5]


External links

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