Birdsongs of the Mesozoic
home about music

home > about > background

Mission Of Burma
Simply stated, Mission Of Burma were, and remain, one of the most important American rock bands of the last 20 years. Strong words, but over the course of their brief four-year career (1979-1983), the band delivered the goods in spades.

Formed in February 1979 when guitarist/vocalist Roger Miller and bassist/vocalist Clint Conley, fresh from the break-up of the band Moving Parts, decided to join forces with drummer/vocalist Peter Prescott, who had just parted company with the Molls. M.O.B. worked as a trio until the summer of 1979, when they drafted Martin Swope to provide what was commonly seen as the "x- factor" in their sound. Swope, who had worked with Miller in bands around their hometown of Ann Arbor, MI, added tape loops and sonic manipulations (from a visually unobtrusive position behind the soundboard) that often left audiences wondering how the trio on stage were creating the sounds that they were hearing.

Rykodisc's three-CD re-release campaign of band's entire Ace of Hearts Records catalog included the 1981 Signals, Calls, And Marches EP (with the "Academy Fight Song" b/w "Max Ernst" 7" single appended), the groundbreaking 1982 VS. LP (with four bonus tracks not available on the original album), and the posthumous 1985 live LP The Horrible Truth About Burma, which documents the band's final tour (with four previously unreleased bonus tracks). All material has been impeccably re-mastered (using a 20-bit process) by original producer Rick Harte, infusing the songs with a previously-unheard clarity and dimension.

Ken Field
"I had never heard Birdsongs before joining the group. I had been playing with a somewhat prominent Boston "psychedelic funk" band called Skin. We were pretty good, headlining places like the old Channel in Boston, Wetlands in NYC, and other northeast venues. We put out single called Troubled Sleep that got some local radio attention, and followed that by an LP (this was the late 80's) called Sanity. We broke up shortly after releasing the LP, but did one last concert, an in-store at Boston's Tower Records.

As I was loading my gear out of that gig, I ran into Roger Miller on Newbury Street. We chatted briefly, and I told him that my band was breaking up. He said, "hmmm, do you read music?". It turns out that Steve Adams, who had replaced Roger in the group about a year earlier, was leaving to join the ROVA Sax Quartet in SF. Roger put me in touch with Martin Swope, whom I knew vaguely through some mutual friends. Eventually, after a brief tryout, I joined the group on sax, flute, percussion, and keyboards (though my keyboard abilities were quite limited).

We almost immediately recorded Faultline with both me and Steve Adams on some pieces, and a few months later I did a 30-date spring tour up and down the east coast and into Canada."

- Ken Field

Much more information can be found here on Ken Field's own web site.

The Moving Parts
In the late '70s, The Moving Parts created intensely challenging, offbeat music that few Bostonians heard. Members Roger Miller, Clint Conley and Erik Lindgren later became the core of both MISSION OF BURMA and BIRDSONGS OF THE MESOZOIC. The 15-track CD retrospective Wrong Conclusion contains unreleased material all digitally remixed. Mandatory for anyone into early Pere Ubu, Wire or Devo.

Order it now from Arf! Arf! Records!

Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic

Quote of the Moment: