The Exotic Birds was a pop music group formed in Cleveland, Ohio in 1983 by three Cleveland Institute of Music percussion students, Andy Kubiszewski, Tom Freer and Tim Adams. They wrote their own music and were described as synth pop, techno-pop and techno-dance. They achieved mainly local success but appeared as an opening band for the Eurythmics.
The band eventually grew to five members. Adams left to do orchestral work, but Mark Best and Frank Vale signed on. Then in 1986 Trent Reznor joined the band on keyboards, programming and backing vocals. Shortly after that, Reznor's roommate, Chris Vrenna replaced Freer on drums, who was departing for the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra. But 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, they 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 Beck 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 with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra remain close friends and often teach together.