Roger Miller (rock musician)

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Roger (Clark) Miller
Roger Miller live at the Lizard Lounge.jpg
Background information
Origin Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Genres Post-punk
Indie rock
Soundtrack Composer
New Music Composer
Years active 1968–present
Labels Fire Records
Ace of Hearts
New Alliance
World in Sound
Feeding Tube
Website official homepage

Roger (Clark) Miller is an American singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist best known for co-founding Mission of Burma and performing in Alloy Orchestra.

His main instruments are guitar and piano. Guitar Player magazine describes Miller's guitar playing as balancing rock energy with cerebral experimentation,[1].


Miller was born and raised in 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; Miller played bass guitar and was the primary singer and songwriter. Their recordings were collected and released in 1992 and again in 2011 as With Magnetic Fields Disrupted. The Miller brothers have an occasional ongoing collaboration called 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[edit]

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.[2] He has composed numerous film soundtracks, including the documentary TV series Big Ideas for a Small Planet. In 2008 he began composing in a more formal fashion, and has had numerous compositions performed at the New England Conservatory, many featuring Prepared piano. Miller's current rock trio, Trinary System, released a 5-song EP in 2016.

Non-musical activities[edit]

Miller creates frottage drawings, using a technique developed by the surrealist Max Ernst, and is a writer. He has blogged for Slate and Huffington Post, and written a book review for The Wall Street Journal. His short story "Insect Futures" was published in Penny Ante III. His drawings have appeared in numerous shows since 2003.

Other musical projects[edit]

After Burma broke up, Miller turned his attention to playing piano with 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:


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

  • L'inhumaine Blu-ray
  • Phantom of the Opera Blu-ray and DVD
  • Man with the Movie Camera DVD and Blu-ray (Image)
  • STRIKE! DVD (Image)
  • Fatty Arbuckle Vol. I and II DVD (KINO)
  • The General/Steamboat Bill, Jr. DVD (Image)
  • Slapstick Masters DVD (Image)
  • The Lost World DVD (Image)
  • Phantom of the Opera Blu-ray (Image)
  • Dragonflies the Baby Cries DVD
  • Manslaughter DVD (KINO)
  • Wild and Weird DVD
  • Masters Of Slapstick CD (Accurate, 2001)
  • Lonesome CD (Accurate, 1996)
  • Silents CD (Accurate, 1998)
  • Metropolis CD (Alloy Orchestra)
  • Underworld CD (Alloy Orchestra)

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)
  • Dawn of the Cycads (Cuneiform, 2010)

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)

M2 (Roger Miller, Benjamin Miller)

  • At Land's Edge (Feeding Tuber Records, 2012)

M-3 (Roger Miller, Ben Miller, Larry Miller)

  • M-3 (New Alliance Records, 1993)
  • Unearthing (Sublingual, 2001)

Roger Miller 45s

  • FWP 45 (Fun World Products, 2011)
  • Big Steam (Good Road Records, 2012)

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 Ranaldo)

  • Monsoon (Atavistic, 2002)

Roger Miller's Exquisite Corpse

  • Unfold (SST, 1994)

Sproton Layer (Roger Miller, Ben Miller, Larry Miller)

  • With Magnetic Fields Disrupted (New Alliance Records, 1991)
  • With Magnetic Fields Disrupted (World in Sound Records, 2011)

Trinary System

  • Amplify the Amplifiers (5-song EP and 7") (Fun World, 2016)

Mission of Burma reform[edit]

Mission of Burma reunited in 2002, with Bob Weston replacing Swope. On stage, Miller 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). The band has released four albums since reforming, the latest is UNSOUND, July 2012, on FIRE Records.


  1. ^ Guitar Player, January 1997
  2. ^ Azerrad, Michael. Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991. Little Brown and Company, 2001. ISBN 0-316-78753-1

External links[edit]