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Mission of Burma are a seminal American Post Punk rock band from Boston, consisting of Roger Miller on guitar, Clint Conley on bass, Peter Prescott on drums, all three of whom share vocals and songwriting duties. Their original lineup also included sound engineer Martin Swope, whose experimental uses of tape-loop sound processing were partly responsible for their distinctive sound; when the band reunited, Swope did not return and was replaced by Bob Weston.
The band formed in 1979 and released one standalone single, "Academy Fight Song" b/w "Max Ernst", one EP, Signals, Calls, and Marches, and one full-length LP, Vs., before disbanding in 1983. Unlike many bands, however, they did not "break up" due to personal or artistic differences, but primarily due to Miller suffering from severe tinnitus, which had been exacerbated by their notoriously loud and unpredictable shows.
During their nineteen-year absence as a band, their reputation and influence as Alternative Rock pioneers grew, heightened by their very small recorded output, popular covers, and rock histories such as the book Our Band Could Be Your Life.
Then in 2002, they reunited, with Weston replacing Swope on the boards. Again, they refused to follow the usual script for reunited bands: rather than just playing nostalgia tours, they started recording again. In 2003, they released a second album, ONoffON, followed by a third, The Obliterati in 2006 and a fourth, The Sound The Speed The Light, in 2009.
More pointedly, their new records were as well-recieved and just flat out as good (if not better!) than their old material, and they have kept putting out new music - by 2006, they had actually recorded and released more original material post-reunion then they had before disbanding.
Tropes used by or describing Mission of Burma include:
- Doing It for the Art
- A Good Name for a Rock Band - Named for a sign on a diplomatic building.
- Name's the Same - MoB's Roger Miller is no relation to the late country singer with the same name.
- One-Book Author - with Vs., pre-reunion; averted since then with three more albums.
- Punny Name - The Obliterati, and its track "Donna Sumeria".