Birdsongs go back to the drawing board
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."
: Music Features
, Roger Miller, Michael Bierylo, Rick Scott, More