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Not a Photograph: The Mission of Burma Story

Acclaimed Boston post-punk rockers get reunion documented
By JIM SULLIVAN  |  April 19, 2006

NOT A PHOTOGRAPH: The men of Mission of Burma certainly didn't expect to be around in 2006.This music documentary from David Kleiler Jr. and Jeff Iwanicki about three (sometimes four) self-depreciating Boston guys who never in a million years expected to be making music in 2002, to say nothing of 2006, is a great story with a real arc: acclaimed post-punk indie outfit dissolves before the network of alternative nation is formed because of singer/guitarist/songwriter Roger Miller’s worsening tinnitus. Miller moves off to quieter, piano-based projects, bassist/singer/songwriter Clint Conley becomes a producer at Channel 5’s Chronicle, and drummer/singer Peter Prescott fronts Volcano Suns, Kustomized, and the Peer Group before putting live music on the shelf.

The reunion came about because Miller — wearing a rifleman’s headphones and shielded from Prescott’s drums by clear plastic barriers — thought it was now or never. Conley says his life had been “as a suburban dad for a couple of decades.” Prescott expresses doubts: “How can you not do a lame version of what you did when you were 20 years old?” Yet the band kept their cred and gained a real audience. Nothing about the sound seemed dated, as Matador owner Gerard Cosloy notes. And Burma produced two new discs, OnoffOn and the upcoming The Obliterati. Not a Photograph tells the story with humor, smarts, and visceral, art-rocking glee, balancing the ever-so-tricky blend of performance and talking heads. (Full disclosure: I appear as an interviewee.)

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  Topics: Reviews , Roger Miller, Mission of Burma, Clint Conley,  More more >
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