My Musical Background

I grew up in a musical household. Both of my parents played instruments, sang in a church choir and taught music. I loved listening to records. I started playing cello in fourth grade. In my teens I began to play bass guitar in a string of rock bands. I grew to love performing in the small groups; the electrical power of the instrument; the excitement of the audience. I gave up the cello.

When I went to college, I quit playing music to devote myself to studying photography. But then a semester in Chicago, where I saw the Ramones perform, convinced me to get back into a band to play a more vital type of music. This new band, Tirez Tirez, played its first gig as an opening act for the Talking Heads at a 1978 Kansas City concert

Jeff Burk with bass photo

As the band's music progressed, Tirez Tirez self-released two albums and a single, played some shows in Chicago, graduated from college and moved to New York City. There, we recorded a third album that was released on a label in Manchester, England. In time, I grew wary of the direction the band was going and quit. For about a year after that, I joined a friend, John Paul Jones, in a band called John Train. In 1982 I decided to return to the Midwest for graduate study in photography. (During this time, I continued to provide album art for the regenerative Tirez Tirez).

After gaining a graduate degree I moved to Chicago. The rock and roll bug bit me again and I played in a number of respectable but virtually unrecorded bands, including: Beat Generation, Will See and Happyland. These bands got me more interested in the aspects of recording and live sound. When these bands dissolved, I got involved with some friends in building a recording studio, Soundworks, where I learned to engineer. Eventually I produced early releases for a number of local bands and started a label, No Cigar Records, in 1997. I found that running a record label by oneself can be extremely taxing - especially if you don't have a lot of cash to sink into it. I decided to shut the operation down in 2006.

In the last ten years or so, I've rarely performed in a band. Lately, I've turned my energies back to photography. Yet I can't shake thoughts of doing more home recording.

- 2006

Click Band Gallery to see pictures of some bands I played in.

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