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.
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.
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
"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.
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).
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
more information can be found here on Ken Field's own web site.
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.
it now from Arf! Arf! Records!