Whenever Boston sound engineer and
musician Bill T. Miller decides to cut a
record, he turns to his answering machine.
Mr. Miller, who gets about 1,300 calls a
month to his 1-800-OUT BAND number,
(later changed to 1-617-LICK -OBE)
uses the messages to spice up recordings.
Publicized largely by word of mouth, the
number gets calls from his friends, disc
jockeys, fellow musicians, college students
and other curious people.
His first album - "CALL NOW! 1-800-
OUT-BAND" - released on the March 21,
1990, vernal equinox , incoroprated
fragments from 50 telephone messages
into what he calls an "experimental
Alternative" music format. It's a mixed
bag that also features lives voices taped
at Mr. Miller's Headroom Studios-snippets
from commercials and movies-along with
rhythm tracks from hard rock to blues
and "just pure noise."
Some of Mr. Miller's friends call him
the Duke Ellington of Noise-concedes
that some of the phone messages "don't
make sense out of context, and then again,
they don't make sense in context."
The $10 OBE album includes:
somone complimenting the recording
in Japanese; a recording of a Spanish
lesson played backwards; and erotic|
moaning as a man comments, 'That's
the strangest thing I've ever heard."
one speaker pretends to be a
schmoozing record executive, declaring
in a superficial tone: "It's got a kicky
beat. It grooves me!
The "CALL NOW" phone messages are
backed up by a "simulated pseudoband,"
Out of Band Experience," composed of
Boston-area guest musicians who
gather at Headroom Studios.
Though the album deals with such
serious themes as censorship and
protecting the environment, it's really
a satire of popular culture, poking fun
at ads for subliminal-message self help
and tabloid stories of undentified
A first hearing can be perplexing. Mr.
Miller explains that the album portrays
"a tale of an insane genius whose
obsessions with food, TV, sleep, drugs,
rock-n-roll fame and fortune turn out to
be a strange path into enlightenment."
In case you can't find "CALL NOW!" at
your neighborhood store, you can leave
a mesage. Mr. Miller welcomes "totally
wacked-out and original" contributions
for future albums. But he warns,
"I've really got all the burps I could