This time Mission of Burma is inspiring itself

CorrespondentMarch 14, 2013 

Mission of Burma.

COURTESY OF SCOTT MUNROE

  • More information

    What: Misson of Burma

    When: Friday, 9 p.m.

    Where: Cat’s Cradle, 300 E. Main Street, Carrboro

    Cost: $16 in advance, $18 day of show

    Details: 919-967-9053

The old line about the legendary Velvet Underground is that the number of bands it influenced exceeded the number of albums it sold. The same can be said for Mission of Burma.

The seminal post-punk band from Boston released just two albums during its brief four-year run. The band didn’t make much of a commercial dent, but the songs from 1981’s “Signals, Calls and Marches” and 1982’s “Vs.” inspired a plethora of recording artists.

Many of the acts moved by Mission of Burma made a significant sonic mark. Nirvana, The Pixies and R.E.M., which often covered MOB’s “Academy Fight Song,” during the late ’80s, all professed their love for the band.

And now, each of those groups is history while Mission of Burma lives; the band reunited in 2002 and remains a unit.

“It’s funny how that is,” vocalist-bassist Clint Conley says. “It’s even funnier that we’ve released more albums after we got back together than we did back in the day. None of us could have ever envisioned this after everything ended so many years ago.”

Mission of Burma, which will perform Friday at Cat’s Cradle, has recorded four solid albums during its second act, including its latest, “Unsound,” which dropped in 2012, in the last decade.

The head scratcher is that Mission of Burma, like its peer Camper Van Beethoven, is more popular now than it was during its salad days.

“It’s unusual,” Conley says. “I can’t help but be puzzled by the music business, just like I was back when we were together the first time. It’s hard to put your finger on why anything is popular. We just make music and not worry about the other stuff.”

That approach has worked and has helped make Mission of Burma formidable 33 years after forming. Their new songs are urgent and visceral. There’s not a standout track, like the act’s signature song “That’s When I Reach For My Revolver,” but the cuts are consistent and provocative.

“Just because you’re over 25 doesn’t mean that you can’t write and record songs that matter,” Conley says. “I think you can be older and still be vital. We still have the ability to make music.”

Conley, guitarist Roger Miller and drummer Peter Prescott still have that connection, particularly during live performances.

“We still love it,” Conley says. “I’m just pleased that we had a second chance to do it. We’re making the most of it. The great thing is that we really enjoy being around each other. We do what we want to do. It’s great to get along and have that autonomy.”

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service