A LOT OF THOSE BANDS HAD NO CHOICE BUT TO KEEP IT AT A SHOWBIZ LEVEL OR ELSE THE WHOLE TENT WOULD COME DOWN. THE EARLY PUNK AND INDIE MUSICIANS FROM THE '80S SEEMED TO HAVE AVOIDED THAT. Right. The model shifted because punk was a very DIY thing. It wasn't that you put out a hit and you kept putting hits out so you're huge. The model was that if you could keep playing and you could make a living, that's good. I think that's the main part of it. I can't explain it any more than that.
YOU WERE HELD A BIT MORE ACCOUNTABLE FOR YOUR ACTIONS, IT SEEMED LIKE. Right. And psychedelia was like that also, but the punk thing had to do with not caring what people thought of them — "We're going to stick by our guns." A lot of bands didn't, but whatever. That kind of model and that kind of thing did sink in to a certain degree. There could be a tier — like there are certain bands that Bob called "hobby rock." I mean, Mission of Burma is not a hobby for me, but you can call it whatever you want.
BUT IT'S AT LEAST AT THE LEVEL WHERE PEOPLE A FEW NOTCHES BELOW CAN STILL IDENTIFY — YOU'RE STILL WORKING IT OUT AT YOUR ALLSTON PRACTICE SPACE JUST LIKE THEM. Right, it's not this quantum difference: "You're way up there and unless I can make the leap from here to here, I'm nobody." Which I think is a really healthy thing. It's better than you have to be a superstar or be nobody, and after two years you must die.
WHENON OFF ONCOME OUT, DID IT JUST SEEM LIKE THE TOKEN REUNION ALBUM? We toured for a couple years on it, and it wasn't bad. It didn't knock me out. The reviews were really positive but, yeah, the audiences got smaller. When the Obliterati came out — when we were mixing it, that's when I started writing this piece for the Conservatory because I thought Burma wouldn't be existing anymore. Then Burma took off again. It was a shock again.
The reviews for On Off On were so raving because they had to be. It was almost an obligation that you had to rave about the damn record. If you looked at it, the reviews weren't as good for The Obliterati, but the people that really knew it all said, "This is the record we'd really hoped Burma would make. It blows On Off On away." You just didn't have those goggles on that made the other look so much shinier than it was.
>> READ: Mission of Burma's sonic fury still burns by Matt Parish <<
YOU'RE LUCKY TO HAVE EVEN MORE MATERIAL FROM DIFFERENT GENRES TO AWAIT REVIVAL — YOUR FIRST BAND, SPROTON LAYER, IS JUST CATCHING THE PSYCHEDELIC WAVE NOW WITH A NEW REISSUE IN GERMANY. ARE THERE ANY OTHER HIDDEN BANDS WAITING FOR NEW RESURGENCES? Ha, not for me! Maybe there's some stuff in between that's kind of interesting. It's hard for me or Mission of Burma to bite the hand that feeds us, but the very fact that there's so much interest in these older bands makes you think. I mean when punk rock was happening, you dismissed everything as much as possible and just focused on this little area. Now, bands like Mission of Burma can keep playing and Sproton Layer is being reissued. So it must mean that there's a void, because it wouldn't be filling something if there wasn't. And it's not Mission of Burma's problem — I think we're actually rising pretty well to the occasion.