Roger Miller (rock musician)

Roger Miller (rock musician)

Infobox musical artist
Name = Roger Miller

Img_capt =
Background = group_or_band
Origin = Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Genre = Post-punk
Indie rock
Years_active = 1968-present
Label = Ace of Hearts
New Alliance
URL = [ official homepage]
Current_members = Roger Miller

Roger Miller is an American singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist best known for co-founding the groups Mission of Burma and Birdsongs of the Mesozoic.

His main instruments are guitar and piano. Critics ["Guitar Player", January 1997] describe Miller's guitar playing as balancing rock energy with cerebral experimentation, while his keyboard work has earned comparisons to Béla Bartók and even Cecil Taylor."


Miller was raised Ann Arbor, Michigan. Inspired by Jimi Hendrix and Detroit-area bands like the Stooges and the MC5, Miller formed several garage bands in his teens. With brothers Benjamin (Ben) Miller and Laurence B. (Larry) Miller, he formed Sproton Layer; their recordings were collected and released in 1992 as "With Magnetic Fields Disrupted". Miller played bass guitar and was the primary singer and songwriter, and the ongoing collaboration M3.

Attending CalArts in 1976, majoring in composition, Miller also studied piano and French Horn, and studied music by 20th century experimental composers like John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen. He would eventually drop out of college in favor of punk rock.

Mission of Burma years

Relocating to Boston, Massachusetts, Miller was a member of the short-lived Moving Parts before co-founding Mission of Burma in 1979. The group was popular in and around Boston, but was unable to expand their audience. Miller played guitar and sang, and slightly edged out bassist/singer Clint Conley as the more productive songwriter. It was also Miller's idea to invite Martin Swope to join the group and add tape loop effects, giving the group an unusual, experimental sound.

Mission of Burma disbanded in 1983 due in large part to Miller's worsening tinnitus, attributed in large part to their notoriously loud live performances. In subsequent years, Mission of Burma's small body of recordings grew to be regarded as important and influential.

During the Burma years, Miller worked as a freelance piano tuner. [Azerrad, Michael. "". Little Brown and Company, 2001. ISBN 0-316-78753-1]

Other musical projects

After Burma broke up, Miller turned his attention to playing piano the more experimental, instrumental group Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic, which he left in 1987.

Afterwards, Miller had several collaborations, solo efforts and film scores; many of these post-Burma albums were released by SST Records:

* [ Alloy Orchestra] , a trio with Miller on keyboards that composes new scores for silent films. The group's name refers to the many metal objects (hubcaps, springs and pots) used by percussionists Ken Winokur and Terry Donohue;
*Exquisite Corpse, an instrumental group with Miller on guitar, piano and sampler; violinist; percussionist; and a shawm/sackbutt player;
*Binary System, an instrumental piano/drums duo with percussionist Larry Dersch;
*Hooker/Miller/Ranaldo, a free improvisation group comprised of William Hooker (percussion), Lee Ranaldo (guitar), and Miller (bass);
*M3, an ongoing musical collaboration with Benjamin Miller and Laurence Miller;
*Maximum Electric Piano (solo prepared piano with loops);
*No Man (rock-oriented project with Russell Smith on bass and Ken Winokur or Malcolm Travis on drums);
*Elemental Guitar (solo prepared guitar with loops).


Solo albums
* "No Man Is Hurting Me" (Ace of Hearts, 1986)
* "Groping Hands EP" (Ace of Hearts, 1986)
* "The Big Industry" (Ace of Hearts, 1987)
* "Win Instantly" (Ace of Hearts, 1988)
* "Oh" (Forced Exposure, 1988)
* "XYLYL and A Woman in Half" (New Alliance, 1991)
* "Elemental Guitar" (SST, 1995)
* "The Benevolent Disruptive Ray" (SST, 1996)

Alloy Orchestra
* "Masters Of Slapstick" (Accurate, 2001)

Binary System (Roger Miller and Larry Dersch)
* "Live at the Idea Room" (SST, 1997)
* "Boston Underbelly" V/A Compilation "Impov. #4 October 5, 1996" (Sublingual, 1998)
* "from the Epicenter" (Atavistic, 1999)
* "Invention Box" (Atavistic, 2001)

Birdsongs of the Mesozoic
* "A Wicked Good Time" V/A Compilation "Pulse Piece" (Modern Method, 1981)
* "Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic" EP (Ace of Hearts, 1983)
* "Magnetic Flip" (Ace of Hearts, 1984)
* "Beat of the Mesozoic" (Ace of Hearts, 1985)
* "Soundtracks" V/A Compilation "To A Random" (Arf Arf, 1987)

dredd foole and the din (dredd foole, Roger Miller, Clint Conley, Pete Prescott)
* "Songs in Heat", "So Tough" b/w "Sanctuary" (Loose Music/Religious Records, 1982)

M-3 (Roger Miller, Ben Miller, Larry Miller)
* "M-3" (New Alliance Records, 1993)
* "Unearthing" (Sublingual, 2001)

No Man
* "Damage the Enemy" (New Alliance, 1989)
* "Whamon Express" (SST, 1990)
* "How the West Was Won" (SST, 1991)

Out Trios Volume One (William Hooker, Roger Miller, Lee Renaldo)
* "Monsoon" (Atavistic, 2002)

Roger Miller's Exquisite Corpse
*"Unfold" (SST, 1994)

Spronton Layer (Roger Miller, Ben Miller, Larry Miller)
* "With Magnetic Fields Disrupted" (New Alliance Records, 1991)

Mission of Burma reform

Mission of Burma reunited in 2002, with Bob Weston replacing Swope. Because of Miller's issues with tinnitus, he now wears firing-range headphones to protect his ears while keeping the volume level on his amplifier high. On stage he has his Marshall amplifier at the edge of the stage on his right, with the speakers facing away from him (as seen in the reunion footage in the M0B documentary "Not A Photograph").


External links

* [ Official website]
* [ Burmese Daze: A Conversation with Mission of Burma's Roger Miller]
* [ Interview with the Ithaca Times, Nov.2006.]

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