Any band that names their first two releases Academy Fight Song and Signals, Calls and Marches is clearly out to make a statement, and in the case of Mission of Burma, that statement was made rather loudly. So loudly, in fact, that just two years after their debut, guitarist Roger Miller developed tinnitus, left the band, and that was that. Mission of Burma was no more.

Or so it seemed. After being hailed by key figures in grunge as an influence, and a high-profile reissue campaign, the groundbreaking post-punk Boston band reunited—this time, with a plexiglass sound barrier around the drums to protect Miller’s ears. The result, since 2002, has been one of the most fruitful band reunions amidst the glut of cash-in, go-through-the-motions, greatest-hits reunions as of late. Mission of Burma took the novel step of actually writing, recording and releasing new music, which bears the band’s influences of free jazz and 20th-century classical infusing their trademark strum und bang.

If you’ve ever suffered through a rote, dull reunion by a band that clearly isn’t into it, you know the pain of watching old heroes fade away. Since their hiatus, Mission of Burma have kept a vibrant spirit, one that’s still loud, and still inspirational.

No Ho-Hum Reunion for Boston’s Bold Missionaries 22 September,2014Gabe Meline


Gabe Meline

Gabe Meline is KQED Arts’ Senior Editor. He lives with his wife, his daughter, a 1964 Volvo and too many records in his hometown of Santa Rosa, CA. Find him on Twitter at @gmeline.

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