About No Man
Mission of Burma dissolved in 1983, due in large part to guitarist Roger Miller's hearing problems, directly caused by the astonishingly loud band's volume. Miller (along with bandmate Martin Swope) joined Erik Lindgren's experimental chamber music project Birdsongs of the Mesozoic immediately, and simultaneously pursued a more rock-oriented direction with his one-man live project Maximum Electric Piano. No Man is basically a combination of the two approaches, mixing the avant-garde concepts of Birdsongs with the muscular oomph of Miller's rock & roll edge.
The first side of 1986's No Man Is Hurting Me consists of Miller's Maximum Electric Piano improvisations, a combination of Robert Fripp's Frippertronics and John Cage's prepared piano, with a second side of quirky experiments like a cover of the same-named folk-pop singer's "King of the Road" that Miller had been threatening to do since his Mission of Burma days. (Discographical note: the artist credit on No Man Is Hurting Me is actually Roger Miller; besides No Man, the project was also known as No Man Is Roger Miller and, on half of 1989's Damage the Enemy, No Man's Band; Miller also released unrelated solo albums of a more experimental nature during the No Man period.)
1988's Win! Instantly! is more song-oriented, including a new version of Mission of Burma's "This Is Not a Photograph." For half of 1989's Damage the Enemy, Miller retains bassist Russ Smith, who had appeared on Win! Instantly!, and adds drummer Ken Winokur (who would later draft Miller into the Alloy Orchestra) for a series of fractured instrumental improvisations; the other side continues the more conventional art-rock focus of its predecessor. 1990's Whamon Express is more straightforward still, the most conventional rock & roll album of Miller's career. 1991's How the West Was Won returns a little more experimentation to the sound, to good effect. After that album, Roger Miller formed M-3 with his brothers Laurence Miller and Benjamin Miller (who had both played in the seminal Michigan punk band Destroy All Monsters in the mid-'70s), with whom he had last recorded in high school in the late '60s as Sproton Layer. Between that project and new interests, Miller allowed the No Man name to lapse. ~ Stewart Mason, Rovi