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Since we just listened to the Gerard Cosloy/Boston ‘core episode of the “Turned Out A Punk” podcast, we were reminded of this 2004 e-interview we did on our Agony Shorthand blog with Clint Conley of Mission of Burma about Boston hardcore.

Why did I think of asking him these questions? I’m truly not sure, but I knew they’d been fans of hardcore at the time & I thought it’d make for a nice, short piece. Short it definitely was.

AGONY SHORTHAND TALKS TO CLINT CONLEY ABOUT BOSTON HARDCORE!

This small chat with MISSION OF BURMA’s Clint Conley took place a few weeks ago in cyberspace, and was slated to be part of another online magazine’s since-revamped Burma tribute next month. My proposed angle for my piece was a handful of questions on Mission of Burma’s proximity to the 1981-83 Boston hardcore scene of SS DECONTROL, DEEP WOUND etc. – thinking that they had played on some of those bills, I reckoned that there might be some rich stories of fistfights, stagedive mishaps and having to play songs like “Trem Two” a zillion MPH to keep from being murdered onstage by a pack of angry baldies. You be the judge! :

Agony Shorthand: Mission of Burma’s first round of recordings and bulk of gigging happened during a time (1981-83) when Boston was well-known, at least in underground rock circles, for a particularly aggressive brand of hardcore punk. To what extent, if at all, were Burma influenced by this sound?

Clint Conley: Hardcore was certainly a force. We dug the energy and speed and audience ‘participation’. I’d have to say though, the bands we really dug the most were mostly from out of town – Flag, Minor Threat. We played with Black Flag at the Peppermint Lounge in NY on their first gig in NY. They completely killed us – we loved it, our minds were blown. Did we start playing faster? It’s possible.

Agony Shorthand: You mentioned in a previous interview that, “We did play with some of the hardcore bands, but the whole hardcore scene hadn’t hardened into a rigid thing yet, it was just craziness. Crazy guitars – that was our language. These guys were just doing it twice as fast”. Can you say anything more about the similarities?

Clint Conley: Burma always leaned in the direction of hi-speed confusion, and that aspect of hard core was a total rush. Later the hard core scene became more regimented and codified. It’s the old story – an initial burst of anarchic freedom turns into small-minded intolerance w/ a list of do’s and don’ts.

Agony Shorthand: Were there any standouts for you in Boston’s hardcore days, and was there any affinity between you guys and those bands?

Clint Conley: I loved the first Jerry’s Kids album – played it a ton. But I didn’t know any of those guys. I suppose we knew Springa from SSD best on a personal level. They had a massive guitar sound that was completely frightening, and his ‘little big man’ voice added a hard-core cartoon element that was entertaining.

Agony Shorthand: There must be at least one good story of Mission of Burma on stage, confronted with a boatload of angry hardcore kids who couldn’t wait for you to leave the stage.

Clint Conley: The gig that stands out was in Hollywood, playing with the Kennedys and Circle Jerks in ’82. Us thin-skinned art-weenies from Boston got a rather hostile response. No applause after songs, just yelling and spitting. Maybe they were trying to show affection? I don’t think so. It was somewhat intimidating, but much more interesting than the typical non-response of many of our gigs for ‘new wave’ audiences. Offstage, Jello offered his condolences: ‘not exactly the most open minded crowd, eh?’

Agony Shorthand: Similarly, were there times when you were able to win over what might have looked to be a hostile crowd there to see, say, SS Decontrol or Negative FX?

Clint Conley: We never really played with the Boston hard core bands, that I can remember – except on our last gig we asked Neg FX to open. They played a completely chaotic 10 min. set that ended with the stage jammed with kids and cops. Fun. But in general when we played in Boston there wasn’t enough hostility.

Agony Shorthand: What was a typical bill for you to be placed on in the band’s early days, and how do you contrast that with what I assume is the band’s current ability to pick and choose who you play with?

Clint Conley: We were often selected to open for the latest Brit band – Go4, the Cure, Psych Furs, etc. The club owners musta thought we sounded Limey. It was cool – we made some friends, and they’d sometimes ask us to play with them in NY and other places.

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Accidentally uploaded this as I was getting ready to record the next iteration of Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio later tonight….and proceeded to listen to it three times in a row. It’ll rip a hole right through Friday and straight into Saturday morning. Lou’s Anxiety Song!!!

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Back with yet another hour-long radio programme, recorded at home on a laptop. We call it Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio. Every few weeks I save a bunch of righteous songs I want you to hear in a file folder on my laptop, then I unleash them upon you in a logical, carefully-curated order, with spoken interludes full of important discographical information and far too much navel-gazing reminiscing to be healthy (or interesting). 

This show, Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio Podcast #18, features some new releases by CONSTANT MONGREL, SKINNY GIRL DIET and the OCCASIONAL FLICKERS, as well as host of underground and obscure releases from the past forty years by The Piranhas (pictured here as they were back in 2000), Deep Wound, Detective Agency, The Wilderness Children, 8 Eyed Spy, Mondo Guano, The Coachwhips, Delmonas, Whitefronts and many more. Songs I like. Songs I want you to like.

Download Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio Podcast #18.
Stream Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio Podcast #18 (on your desktop or mobile). 

Track listing:

THE WHITEFRONTS – Get Out Of The House Or I’m Calling The Cops
CONSTANT MONGREL – Under Collar (Little Boys)
THE PIRANHAS – Piranhas Attack
LOUD FAST RULES – Your Clock
FIERY FURNACES – Straight Street
DETECTIVE AGENCY – Smoke A Cig
SKINNY GIRL DIET – Dimethyltyptamine
39 CLOCKS – Psycho Beat
PRESSLER-MORGAN – You’re Gonna Watch Me
MONDO GUANO – Deadwood
8 EYED SPY – Motor Oil Shanty
OCCASIONAL FLICKERS – Capitalism Begins At Home
THE WILDERNESS CHILDREN – Plastic Bag From Tescoes
INTERNATIONAL STRIKE FORCE – Just Not Ready
THE PRETENDERS – The Phone Call
THE DELMONAS – Dr. Goldfoot & His Bikini Machine
COME ON – See Me
SUBURBAN REPTILES – 45 Single
THE COACHWHIPS – Couldn’t Find Love 
DIE KRUEZEN – Conditioned
THE NECROS – Sex Drive
DEEP WOUND – Lou’s Anxiety Song
DISSOLVE – Strand