English chair is also active in the music world.
By Amanda Tetens
English Chair Mike Burton, who has taught on this campus for 32 years, has been writing and playing music in countless bands since 1972.
Burton is now in a recording band, Dream Catcher. But he can recall at least three decades of live performances.
Exit, a fusion of art rock and top 40, played at this college twice and opened for Eric Johnson at several outdoor festivals.
And there was the time in Austin, 1982, when Blue Tassel showed its gospel, folk-rock twist.
Brok/en/glish, with its new wave, new romantic, electronica sound in the late 1980s, was Burton’s final performing band.
Today, though Burton admits he still can’t resist the occasional open-mic night, he and his current band keep it in the studio for the most part.
Dream Catcher was formed in 2000. Band members are Gabe Hernandez, drums percussion and vocals; Daymond Speed, bass; Jeff Segreto, guitar; and Burton, recording engineer and producer. The band’s albums have also featured guest musicians on guitar, keyboards and saxophone.
Burton has always preferred writing to performing. He says his background as an English professor helps him compose.
Burton draws from a wide range of inspiration when writing his lyrics. Musically, Jimi Hendrix and King Crimson are both big influences.
But Burton said a lot of song inspiration comes from 19th- and 20th-century literary figures like William Blake and W.B. Yeats. Burton has set music to some of their poems.
“I find poetry and lyrics different,” Burton said. “Lyrics are more simple where poems, all emotions go onto the page.”
Burton’s idea for a song will start with a lyric, melody, note or past experience, and the wheels of creativity start turning.
“It’s always fun to see where a song comes from and ends,” Burton said.
He describes the genre of his songs as alternative-rock-fusion-jazz and a little bit of country.
Burton said he occasionally misses live shows versus being in a recording band. But it was hard to keep up with the countless hours of practicing.
“(Now) I practice until I can play the song, then record it, then never play it again,” Burton said.