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Thursday April 24, 2014
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Sproton Layer

 

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notable groups, their high school band has been remembered in multiple books, even as their only record disappeared into obscurity. Now Sproton Layer is headed for a major reunion concert--its first in forty-three years.

It's difficult to pin down just when elder brother Roger and identical twins Larry and Ben began playing music together, because all three played a variety of instruments from childhood. But in 1967, when Roger was fifteen and the twins thirteen, they already had their first full-fledged band, the covers-oriented Sky High Purple Band. After discovering the psychedelia of Pink Floyd and the MC5, as well as the properties of marijuana, the boys in late 1968 refocused their energies on hallucinogenic experimental rock. As the Freak Trio, they recorded a small repertoire of original works at their family home--partly in an igloo they'd built in the backyard--and played their first shows at band battles and U-M frat houses. With Ben on guitar and vocals, Roger on bass and vocals, and Larry on drums, the brothers eventually added Harold Kirchen's trumpet to the group.

Renaming the band Sproton Layer, they played only a handful of shows before recording their debut album, With Magnetic Fields Disrupted, in fall 1970. Arriving as the original psychedelic era faded, the record gained little traction, and the Millers went on to other notable projects. In the late seventies, Larry and Ben played with the Detroit experimental punk outfit Destroy All Monsters, while Roger cofounded the cult postpunk group Mission of Burma in Boston.

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