|Origin||Cleveland, Ohio, United States|
The Exotic Birds was an American synthpop music group formed in Cleveland, Ohio, United States, in 1982 by three Cleveland Institute of Music percussion students, Andy Kubiszewski, Tom Freer and Tim Adams. They wrote their own music, and were described as synthpop and dance. They achieved mainly local success, but appeared as an opening band for Culture Club, Eurythmics, and Information Society.
The band's first single, "Dance the Night Away," was backed with an earlier recording, "Who Knows Why," by Kubiszewski and Nick Capetanakis (who performed with Kubiszewski in a prior group.) The order of the songs was accidentally flipped on the record, so the older song appeared as the A side. "Who Knows Why" received moderate local radio play and became a surprise hit in Japan. The band eventually grew to five members. Adams left to do orchestral work, but Mark Best and Frank Vale signed on. Then by 1985, Trent Reznor (who later formed Nine Inch Nails) joined the band on keyboards, programming and backing vocals. Shortly after that, Freer departed the band for the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra and was replaced by Reznor's roommate, Chris Vrenna who would also later join Reznor in Nine Inch Nails. Still, this was clearly Kubiszewski's band as neither Reznor nor Vrenna wrote any of the songs. By 1988, the band had broken up.
Kubiszewski reformed with a new line-up including Doug Beck and Richard Carpenter, and released the group's first CD Equilibrium. In 1990, Doug Beck left, and Nick Rushe joined on keyboards. The band signed to Alpha International Records out of Philadelphia, PA for what was to be their next album. Instead, Alpha repackaged Equilibrium, cutting several tracks, and adding the new song "Imagination" to lead off the disc. Alpha was bought out just days after "Imagination" was released as a single. After Rushe departed, Rodney Shields (keyboards) and Marty Step (guitar) joined, rounding out would be the final Exotic Birds' line-up.
In 1993, Kubiszewski left to play drums with The The, but returned for one final gig on Saturday, January 22, 1994.
Reznor, Vale and non-Exotic Birds member Mark Addison were the fictional band "The Problems" in Paul Schrader's 1987 Cleveland set movie Light of Day featuring Michael J. Fox and Joan Jett.
One-time Exotic Birds manager John Malm was Reznor's long-time manager and co-founder of Nothing Records.
Kubiszewski played percussion on some of Reznor's early Nine Inch Nails tracks and went on to drum for The The, Crowded House, Prick and Stabbing Westward.
To this day, Freer, now with the Cleveland Orchestra, and Adams, formerly with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, remain close friends and often teach together.
Backing Vocals by Rebecca Harper
All songs written by A. Kubiszewski except +by Doug Beck, and ++by Pete Ham.
All songs written by Andy Kubiszewski except as indicated