SPROTON LAYER


HISTORY

 


In March of 1969, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Miller brothers Roger (17), Benjamin (15) and Laurence (15) had a mind-altering improvisation session on guitar, bass and drums in their basement.  They called it "Freak Trio Electric", and none of them, or their views on music, were the same after this event.  A few days later, after repeated and amazed listening to the tape - "Sounds like Pink Floyd cut with Captain Beefheart!" wrote Roger in his journal - they decided to form a band.  

Roger wrote many songs that spring incorporating riffs and motifs from their improvisations.  Later that year they added trumpeter Harold Kirchen (brother of Bill Kirchen of Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen fame) and changed their name to Sproton Layer.  Benjamin and Laurence began composing around this time.

Their music was most definitely psychedelic, with many songs based on the "Toke Mythology."  The band played approximately 20 shows in 1969 and 1970 before folding in the fall of 1970 due to the conservative direction rock music was now moving.

In late summer 1970, they recorded and album's worth of material with classmate Mark Brahce engineering, again in their parents' basement.  Good friend Arnold Lelis drew the front cover illustration. This album, "With Magnetic Fields Disrupted", was released 23 years later on New Alliance, along with a 3-song 45rpm single from their 1969 recording sessions, to very little notice.

In 2010, Wolfgang Reuther, owner of the German label World in Sound found out about the group, contacted Laurence. Further discussions with brother Roger cemented the deal to re-release "With Magnetic Fields Disrupted" in higher fidelity.  To the amazement of the brothers, Wolfgang Reuther offered to include a 24 page booklet with photos, song-lists, drawings, journal entries,  and a history of the group.  The CD and LP was released in summer 2011 causing quite a commotion in the psychedelic-music community. In summer 2013 the band reformed to begin performing "live" once again, after 43 years in hibernation, with much favorable review. Truth is stranger than fiction.