For the 40th anniversary of Mission of Burma’s first full-length album, VS., we take a detailed look at how it was made. After Mission of Burma released their first recordings, the “Academy Fight Song” single in 1980 and the Signals, Calls, and Marches EP in 1981, they felt like they hadn’t fully captured the sound they were going for yet. For this record, they decided they wanted a raw and lively sounding record that embraced the chaos of their live performances. By recording outside of their hometown of Boston for the first time, at Normandy Sound in Providence, Rhode Island, they were able to finally translate the unruly Burma sound to tape.
In this episode, guitarist, Roger Miller describes this period when the band was getting more comfortable in the studio and experimenting with song structures and arrangements to craft a wildly diverse batch of songs. Bassist, Clint Conley, reflects on the context of this era and how challenging and contrary the Mission of Burma sound was for that time. Drummer, Peter Prescott, describes how the band used punk rock as a foundation but then were becoming influenced by the hardcore scene that was starting to develop. From the mystery of Martin Swope’s phantom loops to Roger Miller’s esoteric composition skills to Peter Prescott’s evolution into a songwriter to Clint Conley’s struggles with drugs and alcohol to Roger Miller’s worsening tinnitus that ultimately ended the band until their unlikely second act, we’ll hear the stories of how VS. came together.
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