Mister Laurence's Mom & Dad on their Wedding Day
October 14th, 1940
Meet the man behind "Mister Laurence"
Laurence Miller (aka "Mister Laurence") was born into a musical family where he was exposed to many types of music during his formative years: Romantic Classical and Modern 20th Century orchestral music from his father, 50s Classics into 60s Folk into early electronic music through his older siblings, and then finally drowned in "British Invasion", progressive rock, free-form jazz and new wave punk with his two musical brothers Roger Clark Miller and Benjamin Rush Miller. This variety of influences has been evident in his songwriting throughout his musical career.
In mid elementary school, Miller's folks afforded him formal training in both piano and clarinet. He was soon playing in the school concert band, and by 6th grade managed to showcase his first solo performance. With his teacher's permission, Mister Laurence sang and played the piano theme to the BATMAN TV show for the entire class, backed by a friend on trombone and brother Ben on alto saxophone. He later taught himself how to play the guitar, bass and drums. Being left-handed and unable to afford a "southpaw" model, Laurence learned how to play his brother's right-handed guitar, upside down! Since then he has picked up the accordion, as well as the complex fingerings of the kazoo.
After high school, Mister Laurence attended music college. There he studied composition, basic theory, and performance. As a secondary subject he took art classes, ignoring science best he could. After 2.5 years, Mister Laurence retired from the academic world.
Laurence has lead many original performing music groups and recording projects over the years. Experiences include "live" performances with the late Ron Asheton of the Stooges and Mike Davis of the MC5, opening up for such bands as
The Ramones, Devo, HooDoo Gurus, and The Replacements to name a few. His composition style has ranged from pop rock & roll, to free-form experimental, to ambient. He even tried his hand at lounge music, crooning for Ann Arbor's big band, the II-V-I Jazz Orchestra. Yes, Laurence has covered quite a bit of ground in his day. Eclectic is a word often used to describe the lad.
Through the years, Laurence has acquired a mix of acoustic and electronic instruments which he stores in his home studio. Here is where he taught himself how to record the music he writes. He even taught himself how to write music notation so that he wouldn't forget it. Clever, this Mister Laurence.
MUSIC FOR KIDS
It was in 1998 that he found his true calling - Children's Entertainment. Mister Laurence became the music guy for
many of Ann Arbor's surrounding preschool centers, and it was there that he acquired his stage name "Mister" Laurence. All teachers are addressed as such by their first name, following the formal title. The name stuck. An accomplished musician, Mister Laurence was commissioned to compose the school theme song for Hickory Tree Children's Center. Holly's Hickory Tree was then featured on his first CD, Flaghorn! MISTER LAURENCE and his Play Money Band continues to this day working with kids in preschool centers in and around Washtenaw County.
Having children of his own, he had no trouble easing into CG rated material ("Childrental Guidance strongly suggested"). His years as a single parent gave him a unique view of the work and joys of early childhood education. And though always a child at heart, Mister Laurence's three daughters (Tara, Ashia and Brittany) had a tremendous influence on his creative sensibility. This single-fathering experience in fact helped fuel many of his coolest songs. Credit is given to his children on every CD he produces. NOTE: All three of his daughters graduated from college. "How can that be?" asks Mister Laurence.
How does he do it?
As self described "pseudo multi-instrumentalist", Mister Laurence performs a variety of instruments on each recording.
He produces the sound of an entire band on all his CD's using a sequencing program and creative editing. Performances
are then sung and played along to the bulk of the prerecorded tracks. All his products are released on his own private label and publishing company, FarFetched Records and Bond Voyage Music, BMI. Since the time Mister Laurence reinvented himself, he has written, recorded and released 8 major works plus a variety of novelty Cd's. He also produced two award-winning children's music video collections -- Mister Laurence in Bubbleland and Return to Bubbleland!
NOTE: 2007 thru 2008 saw Mister Laurence taking a backseat to performance, choosing to work diligently in the studio
to finish his next CD, a musical adventure story called MARMALINE ~ My Music Machine
2009 THE MISTER LAURENCE EXPERIENCE
In 2009, Mister Laurence brought a new member on board a.k.a. MS. PRINCESS MELINDA. With a whole new sound and look, the band name then changed from MISTER LAURENCE and his Play Money Band to THE MISTER LAURENCE EXPERIENCE. That year Mister Laurence & Ms. Princess Melinda produced their community cable TV kids variety show, MISTER LAURENCE'S "Enchanted" GREEN TREE FORT. They also produced their music video STAR FISH taking first place at both the 2010 West Branch Children's Film Festival and 2010 Philo T. Farnsworth Festival. Fall 2009 saw their debut concert appearance as a performing duo at Ann Arbor's NICOLA'S BOOKS, celebrating the release of their new CD MARMALINE (My Music Machine. It was a packed house by book store standards. This concert marked the introduction to his "sparkling green" electric guitar, as opposed to his "play money" acoustic guitar he'd played for so many years prior.
2010 OSO the Drumming Bear is born
Unbeknown to the rest of the world, Ms. Princess Melinda was working hard on an animatronic bear throughout 2009, to further expand the performing group. In spring of 2010, they took the next logical step and transformed the group's presentation into a power trio ~ just in time for their new music video "I'm GLAD at You!" This video production won Best Kids Music Video at both the 2010 West Branch Children's Film Festival and 2010 Philo T. Farnsworth Festival. In addition to this, Mister Laurence and Ms. Princess Melinda also won 1st Place in the Entertainment Variety category at NATOA GOVERNMENT PROGRAMMING AWARDS for their community television kids series, MISTER LAURENCE'S "Enchanted" GREEN TREE FORT. Smart move!
Mister Laurence, Ms. Princess Melinda and OSO the Drumming Bear then made their debut performance
as the new power trio at Ann Arbor's OZ MUSIC ENVIRONMENT, December 12th 2010, bringing a beautiful end to another great year.
Here we see Ms. Princess Melinda, during the making of "I'm GLAD at You!". You can clearly see her playing her keyboard parts with her right hand and triggering OSO the Drumming Bear with her left hand on a smaller keyboard. Clever this Princess. They stepped up their technological operation after this production, to where OSO is now fully sequenced, independently, on his own laptop. What a bear!
2011 Performing as a Trio
THE MISTER LAURENCE EXPERIENCE mercilessly taught OSO all his drum parts for nearly every tune in their catalog.
Over the course of the year they performed locally and throughout the SE Michigan Detroit Metro area. Several of these performances were videotaped and continue to show on local cable television, giving them extended local exposure. Performing now as a TRIO gave them time to hone their Kindergarten-Punk-Rock style with that slight touch of satirical parody fun. The volume went up and their "sound" took on a rockier edge with bluesy overtones. A development from the past where the music had owned a more pastoral, poppy quality. 2011 brought them first place awards again, for both their music videos HOW NOW BROWN COW? and THE SKY IS IN THE SKY.
NOTE: All this time the band had been working on their new CD, THE TEDDY BEAR'S PICNIC. They released a CD single
of the title cut, that September. The full CD was then made available in time for their concert release performance February 11th, 2012. Meanwhile, over the course of the fall and winter season the trio videotaped two music video versions of the title cut, THE TEDDY BEAR'S PICNIC. Mister Laurence says: "Now, that was a real bear..."
2012 GROWING GRAPES FOR THE FUTURE
Aside from "live" shows pushing their new CD, THE MISTER LAURENCE EXPERIENCE has worked hard all year on their one hour musical-film, GROWING GRAPES FOR THE FUTURE. This monstrous madcap adventure sports over 14 original songs, featuring the band and a host of other goofball characters. The premise? Why, to predict the future by "reading" the wrinkles in raisins, of course! Absurd, yes, and with tongue in cheek always, The Mister Laurence Experience plan to produce true entertainment value in this grand production. Sadly, that fall Ms. Princess Melinda went back to school and shortly thereafter had to pull out of the band and with her, her brainchild, OSO the Drumming Bear.
2013 Solo once again.
Mister Laurence began performing again as solo artist under the original banner MISTER LAURENCE and his Play Money Band. Needless to say however, Mister Laurence was indeed sad to see his companions leave.
2014 Film Screening / GROWING GRAPES FOR THE FUTURE
May 2014 saw the screening of their "musical film", GROWING GRAPES FOR THE FUTURE, at Ann Arbor's YELLOW BARN to a packed house. It's trailer was screened one month prior at Detroit's MITTEN MOVIE PROJECT. And, a Music Video Short from the film called WHO WANTS TO KNOW? is now set for screening in spring 2015, again at Detroit's MITTEN MOVIE PROJECT. Bravo! Encore!
2015 Continued his children's performances in the surrounding Ann Arbor/Detroit area.
2016 Mister Laurence took a performance hiatus with a promise to come back full swing in 2017!