Monday, October 20, 2008

Let There Be Light ... and there was LIGHT.

Roger Miller & Matt Weston & Ben Miller
(as pictured left to right)
@ OUTPOST 186 on 10.19.08

Turns out they were shooting HD VIDEO (of the Ben/Roger/Matt set) and had two super bright white flood lights cooking, so I just HAD to shoot some photos. Luckily I had my camera along, just in case. HaHa HA. If you have read my older posts, about me trying NOT shoot any more LIVE bands you understand why I am laughing.

The ensemble was put together by BEN MILLER (on prepared guitar) who enlisted his older brother ROGER MILLER (on bass) and MATT WESTON (on percussion) for the concert.

Over the last almost twenty years or so, I have seen ROGER in tons of modes: Mission Of Burma, Binary System, Alloy Orchestra, Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic, no man, Renaldo/Miller/Hooker Trio, DJ ROG, sitting in with consonant, Club d'Elf, Unnatural Axe, Kinodance and several solo piano or guitar Roger sets.

Plus, ROGER played studio bits on my bands recordings (OBE, Drum Army, Orgy Of Noise, Kings Of Feedback) and I engineered/co-produced his bands NO MAN and XYLYL and LaMaster's Saturnalia album (that features Roger) all at my studio Headroom back in the 90s. I first met Roger after my OBE drummer (Andy Deckard) joined his band NO MAN. Andy played him some of the OBE trax to showcase his experimental side to Roger.

Not to mention, I am web designer/co-curator of photographer's SHERI HAUSEY's archives. So suffice to say I have seen assorted VARIATIONS of ROGER as much or more than anybody out there over the last twenty years. Many people have seen more BURMA shows than I have of course, but I am "experienced" in his full range of fun over the second half of his career of the last two decades.

I guess my point is ROGER RULES and always delivers the sonics.

Benjamin and Roger recorded together the night before the Outpost186 show without an audience. They set-up in the another gallery venue around the corner called the Lily Pad. I am not sure if they shot video. Roger played prepared acoustic piano that night, so I was thinking he would be doing that again on the next night for Outpost show, but he ended up nailing it on electric bass guitar. There should be recordings and/or videos from both nights in some form in the future.

Roger and his two younger (twin) brothers, Ben and Larry are all musicians that grew up playing together in Ann Arbor. They formed the band Sproton Layer in late 60s. Brothers Ben and Larry eventually joined Destroy All Monsters (with Roger as peripheral.) Living in the the wild world of Ann Arbor clearly influenced them all. Decades later the trio recorded together under the band name M3.

Roger is a few years older than me, but our trajectory of sounds and interaction with our brothers seems to be on a sorta similar path. My two younger brothers (David & Greg) and I also have a musical history dating back into the 60s, so I appreciate that dynamic. Like Roger, I am the oldest brother, so I had to blaze the trail and break down the barriers. I Which for me meant finding the new sounds without an older brothers to help and make having long hair and setting up a full band in your bedroom the norm. After playing tennis racquets and plastic trash can drums (Virgina - 1966) in The Racquet Band, we eventually morphed into The Electric Onion (North Carolina - 1968-69) adding two of my pals (John & Clifton) from the neighborhood.
Growing up in Virginia and North Carolina presented a major challenge in my quest for rock. Since I was ten, I always dreamed escaping to London, NYC or San Francisco and ended up in California from 1974-80. My youngest brother Greg, followed my lead and became a professional musician and recording engineer. More I think about maybe my tale of discovering The Beatles and rock-n-roll in 1964 at eight years old and jamming with my brothers is not so unique as it seems that was happening all over the world.
BUT the real triumph of endurance is how many of those 60s pre-teen jam out kids are still rocking away as a "career" 44 years later.

Miller Brothers always rock. There were even some Miller Brothers (Clell and Ed) riding with the outlaw Jesse James. BUT I digress... you should be used to it by now. Completely unrelated, a jiffy google reveals that there is even a "Miller Brothers Band" from Memphis laying down the blues out there.

Several years ago, I saw BEN playing as duo with Roger and also, sitting in on sax with Burma, as well as Ben's band Third Border. Shorty after he moved to to New York, BEN even sat in playing one of my circuit bent toys on a song with my band ORGY OF NOISE at BentFest 2004 NYC.

Tonight BEN broke out his stereo-ized prepared guitar rig, while ROGER tore up his Dan Electro Longhorn bass guitar through a pile of pedals, with MATT laying down percussion.

Enough WORDS here's SOME PIX....

Hey that's Josh Jefferson & Vic Rawlings behind me in the audience!

Musicians Rick Scott (keys for Birdsongs) & Jules Vasylenko (sax) & Eric Dahlman (trumpet) & Alexandra D'Maris (aka Sandy Beach - guitar/vocals) among others were there as well.

Of course the opening sets by the duo of Josh Jefferson & Vic Rawlings and then Bhob Rainey solo were solid, man. I have seen and dug and shot all three of them in various combos over the years. They all played in relative darkness, but i did snap a flash shot of the duo and one of Bhob when the lights were still up.

I have seen Bhob tooting and gurgling on his sax more times than I can count, mostly with GREG KELLEY on TRUMPET. His solo set opened a symphony quality performance of him playing coins on wooden table table and then off into sax-like loop drone lung exercise excursions.

Josh Jefferson has recently been hosting a series of shows at the Outpost that will continue on into 2009. Sending thanx out to JOSH and a heap of bonus thanx to Rob Chalfen for keeping the Outpost 186 space alive over the years into the current incarnation. My own Orgy Of Noise "band" may even play there later next year, prob more like sometime in Feb or even March.

Oh wait REWIND to beginning of Ben/Roger/Matt set. THIS snap is right as they were about to hit RECORD and be ROLLING for video and audio. Roger was like HOLD ON, I need to open another beer (bottle) before we can start (or something like that.) So Alexandra, rushed to the rescue with a church key opener, that Roger used as a slide on his bass later in the set.


(Artwork includes photos shot by Bill T Miller)

limited edition cd available from
Hikikomori Records in Denmark

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