Iconic American post-punk outfit Mission of Burma have been reportedly broken up since 2016, according to a recent commentary made by Jim Sullivan, of the Boston radio station WBUR. While the band has never released a statement regarding this dissolution, Sullivan states “Mission of Burma existed in two phases, 1979-1983 and 2002-2016, or Mach I and Mach II, as (the band’s guitarist-singer Roger) Miller puts it.”
Mission of Burma formed in Boston back in 1979 by Miller, bassist-singer Clint Conley and drummer-singer Peter Prescott, who remained in both iterations of the group. Their first debut album Vs. came out in 1982, serving as the only studio album recorded during their “Mach I” period and was welcomed with warm critical reception that grew over the years. The band originally broke up in 1983 due to Miller’s tinnitus, which led the trio to pursue other projects.
Miller eventually decided to reform the group in 2002, after deciding that advanced ear protection, in addition to Prescott utilizing plexiglass partitions around his kit, would allow him to perform with the group. Mission of Burma was noted for their abrasive sonics, which would also garner them praise during their second phase.
The period of 2002 to 2016 saw the release of four studio albums, which began with ONoffON in 2004 and ended with 2012’s Unsound. Their final show took place in Berlin on April 25, 2016, where they reportedly played through a setlist of 20 songs including “That’s How I Escaped My Certain Fate,” “Max Ernst,” “Academy Fight Song” and the fan-favorite “That’s When I Reached for My Revolver.”
Prescott and Miller continue to make music, while Conley is reportedly a producer at WCVB-TV’s Chronicle. Prescott now plays guitars and synths, heading an experimental rock outfit known as Minibeast, who have released four studio albums. Miller works on a couple of different projects, including Alloy Orchestra, a group that scores classic silent films. He is also a part of a different trio called Trinary System, and was set to debut a project called Dream-Interpretations for Solo Electric Guitar Ensemble at the several prominent Northeast museums this spring, however they were put on hold due to COVID-19.
Regarding the Mission of Burma’s legacy, Miller stated in 2012: “We’re definitely one of the weirdest rock bands in the history of rock music. We broke up just before we possibly could have screwed up or even got famous and then we picked up where we left off.”