Re-geeing

Birdsongs go back to the drawing board
By MATT PARISH  |  July 22, 2009

The old is new: Birdsongs of the Mesozoic bring back Roger Miller. By Matt Parish.

Birdsongs on the road. By Matt Parish.

Remembering how to play music you haven't touched in more than 20 years is hard enough, but this month Birdsongs of the Mesozoic face the extra challenge of relearning all the controls on an ancient pile of electronics.

Erik Lindgren and company are making a point of hauling out the gear they used in the old days instead of any of the sensible tools invented since then. "It's like an archæological escapade where we're trying to retranslate these pieces," Lindgren says. "I dragged out two old drum machines that I have synched up together, which no one in their right minds would do. A Compurythm CR-78 and an Oberheim TX. This is from when you used to back up your data on cassette. Luckily, all the old programs are still saved.

"The thing is, it's very hands-on. You don't just push a button and that's it. There's a lot of starting and stopping, changing tempos and everything. It's a thrill, but I'll be very caffeinated during this tour.

Rick Scott is pulling out his old Yamaha DX7; Michael Bierylo is switching from his usual Devo-looking Steinberger guitar to an old-fashioned Stratocaster and ditching samplers in favor of turntables, the way Swope used to do it.

Says Bierylo, "I tend to look at the epochs in terms of what computer I was using and what software was running. So not having a computer has been great. It's been fun watching Erik break a sweat trying to work the drum machines with no MIDI."

Then his face brightens. "Hey, I'm sure once this gets out, we'll get more guys in pocket protectors coming to the shows."

Related: The old is new, Birdsongs on the road, C Change, More more >
  Topics: Music Features , Roger Miller, Michael Bierylo, Rick Scott,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY MATT PARISH
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   INTERVIEW: TALKING WITH MISSION OF BURMA'S ROGER MILLER  |  January 18, 2012
    This weekend (January 20-21) brings a two-night stand at Brighton Music Hall for post-punk godfathers Mission of Burma, who have somehow morphed into a band that's equal parts internationally renowned throwbacks and prolific local underdogs.
  •   MISSION OF BURMA'S SONIC FURY STILL BURNS  |  January 18, 2012
    It already seems like ages ago when Mission of Burma announced their reunion.
  •   TRYING TO FIND NOW  |  January 04, 2012
    William Gibson — the writer who famously coined the term "cyberpunk" and whose classic tech-punk novels like Neuromancer and The Difference Engine helped spawn a couple generations' worth of bleak, busted fantasies — is now on tour promoting his first collection of nonfiction.
  •   HAVE BILL SIMMONS AND GRANTLAND MADE IT COOL FOR GEEKS TO LIKE SPORTS?  |  December 14, 2011
    "The paper quickly began its operations, grabbing all of the talent money could buy."
  •   DENGUE FEVER ADD ECCENTRICITY TO PSYCH POP  |  June 01, 2011
    For all the kitsch and B-movie flair of Dengue Fever, there are still a few aspects of their obsession with Cambodian pop that they haven't put on record.  

 See all articles by: MATT PARISH