RIP Bento, the Keyboard Cat

This is such heartbreaking news.  Bento, the Keyboard Cat has passed away 😿

His humans made this wonderful tribute to Bento and his legacy, including many classic clips; and a sweet story about how he was a source of inspiration for his human companion, Charlie Schmidt.

Bento was actually the second Keyboard Cat.  The original, Fatso, also lived with Schmidt but passed away in 1987, long before the age of internet memes.  You can read more about the story of Fatso, Bento, and Schmidt at the Keyboard Cat Wikipedia page. Like my cats, Bento was a shelter cat and became a public face for the Shelter Pet Project.  We saw him featured in billboards and bus stops here in San Francisco.

Keyboard Cat has always been a favorite of mine – how could it not, given the combination of interests.  We always had fun with the early “play him/her off” videos, and it became a frequent tag-line of mine to say “You have been played off by the Keyboard Cat”, especially when someone loses a political election.  I wish we had been able to cross paths in person.

We at CatSynth extend our sympathies to Charlie Schmidt and the rest of Bento’s family.  Rest in peace, Keyboard Cat, you have been played off. 💕

CatSynth pic: Keyboard Cat, Casio VL-1, and Pedals

Keyboard Cat, VL-1, and pedals

From The Keyboard Cat (yes, the Keyboard Cat) on Facebook. It looks like he has some great gear in addition to his main keyboard, such as the Casio VL-1 and pedals in this photo.

CatSynth pic: Keyboard Cat and Yamaha DJX

Keyboard Cat and Yamaha DJX

Keyboard Cat takes up a (slight) notch with a Yamaha DJX keyboard and an electric organ. From our friend Alex Ookpik via Facebook.

CatSynth video: Grumpy Cat gets Keyboard Cat toy

First CatSynth post of the new year, this one features both Grumpy Cat and Keyboard Cat (in toy form).

Not surprisingly, I have one of those keyboard cat toys. I have used it in performance and it might make an appearance this Saturday at SOMArts’ 100 Performances For the Hole. Stop by between 7-8 to catch my 4-minute feline-themed set!

CatSynth (and HamsterSynth) pic: 1950s Keyboard Cat

“With drum-playing hamster. Playing for Jesus. This is your brain on drugs.”

Submitted by Tom Djll via Facebook.

This might be one of the creepiest things we have ever posted here on CatSynth 🙂

CatSynth video: Keyboard Cat Plays SXSW

Or maybe that’s played SXSW, as this was posted by chuckieart almost two weeks ago.

Austin, TX: Keyboard Cat knows the only way to get real cred at SXSW is to put up a bunch of posters and set up and play on the street! It’s more exciting than an iPad 2 store!

Also reposted on matrixsynth.

CatSynth video: Play Mubarak Off, Keyboard Cat!

I suppose I should have expected this one:

From chuckieart on YouTube.

Play Him Off Keyboard Cat, Christmas Edition

We at CatSynth would be remiss if we did not post this holiday offering from Keyboard Cat, (i.e., chuckieart at YouTube).

And if you’re feeling adventurous, here is the full commercial-style video for “It’s a Keyboard Cat Christmas”:

By the way, they are not joking, you can download this holiday extravaganza from iTunes.
It's A Keyboard Cat Christmas! - EP - Keyboard Cat

Keyboard Cat’s World Series Wonderful Pistachios Commercial!

From chuckieart on YouTube:

“ – Keyboard Cat went to Hollywood and made a commercial for Wonderful Pistachios! Bento even met Perez Hilton and Rod Blagojevich! Get crackin!”

Really, Rod Blagojevich?!

Also on matrixsynth. The keyboard in this case is the classic Ensoniq Mirage.

Keyboard Cat’s New Song: A OK

From chuckieart on YouTube:

The debut of Keyboard Cat’s new summer hit, “A OK”!

KC always knows how to kick out the jams!


Also seen recently on matrixsynth.