Submitted by Ed Condran — Correspondent
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 didnt make much of a commercial dent, but the songs from 1981s Signals, Calls and Marches and 1982s 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 MOBs 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.
Its funny how that is, vocalist-bassist Clint Conley says. Its even funnier that weve 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 Cats 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.
Its unusual, Conley says. I cant help but be puzzled by the music business, just like I was back when we were together the first time. Its 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. Theres not a standout track, like the acts signature song Thats When I Reach For My Revolver, but the cuts are consistent and provocative.
Just because youre over 25 doesnt mean that you cant 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. Im just pleased that we had a second chance to do it. Were making the most of it. The great thing is that we really enjoy being around each other. We do what we want to do. Its great to get along and have that autonomy.