Endless Loop: That’s How I Escaped my Certain Fate

missionofburmaHave you ever had one of those songs that gets stuck in your head for days…weeks…years? Sure you have. These are the songs that always make the cut. The songs on repeat. We all have them. I have a ton. Welcome back to Endless Loop.

“That’s How I Escaped my Certain Fate” by Mission of Burma

I can’t remember where I heard the claim that no band should exist for longer than ten years, but it’s a sentiment I generally tend to side with. No one can maintain quality output forever. It’s just not feasible. Granted, this notion comes from a guy who just this year has purchased albums from Björk (debut in 1993), Blur (debut in 1991), Faith No More (debut in 1985), and Failure (debut in 1992), so there are always exceptions to even the most stridently bellowed ideals. All of this brings us to Boston post-punk act Mission of Burma, a band who initially only existed long enough to produce a handful of singles, one lone studio album, and a live record before calling it quits due to founding member Roger Miller’s developing tinnitus. Like so many legendary and influential groups, they were seemingly a blip on the radar before fading away.

Twenty years later, Mission of Burma came back without missing a beat and released a string of excellent albums seemingly making up for lost time. And they’re still together now, so take that snide, arrogant sentiment from last paragraph! It just goes to show you that I’m wrong sometimes…quite often. But being ever the misguided purist, my money’s on the band’s 1982 LP, Vs., or more precisely, album closer “That’s How I Escaped my Certain Fate,” two minutes of frenetic guitar-jangled energy about a couple splitting up before starting college. The rousing title/chorus could aptly be applied to any number of feelings or scenarios though, a joyous exclamation of dodging the proverbial bullet.

I first became familiar with Mission of Burma upon hearing Moby’s fairly faithful (MTV edits be damned!) 1996 cover version of the band’s “That’s When I Reach for my Revolver,” another fine example of a contemporary artist broadening my horizons with nods to what came before. The band’s early discography would soon find its way into my grubby little hands after that.

And then they reunited and have been together more than twice as long as they were the first time around. So, let me revise my previous sentiment. No band should exist for longer than ten years…at a time. Take breaks or prolonged hiatuses, and then return with new material like a sucker punch to the gut. Just don’t forget to play the old shit sometimes.


Thomas H Williams

Thomas H Williams

From a bunker somewhere in Central Texas, Thomas H. Williams spends most of his time with his wife, his two sons, and his increasingly neurotic dog. He listens to a lot of music, drinks a lot of excellent beers, and gets out from time to time. For even more shenanigans, visit heavenisanincubator.blogspot.com.

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