Legendary Boston underground rock act Mission Of Burma will play its first shows in nearly 19 years Jan. 12 at New York's Irving Plaza and Jan. 18 at Boston's Avalon Ballroom. The gigs preceed a <a hr

Legendary Boston underground rock act Mission Of Burma will play its first shows in nearly 19 years Jan. 12 at New York's Irving Plaza and Jan. 18 at Boston's Avalon Ballroom. The gigs preceed a previously announced appearance at the U.K.'s All Tomorrow's Parties Festival in late April, alongside fellow post-punk favorites such as the Fall, Cheap Trick, and Wire.

Original members Roger Miller (vocals/guitar), Clint Conley (bass/vocals), and Peter Prescott (drummer/vocals) will be on hand, minus Martin Swope, whose pre-recorded tape snippets served as a key element of the group's sound. It's not yet clear if a replacement will be drafted to fill Swope's role.

The group played its first show in early 1979 and the following year released the "Academy Fight Song" single, heralded as one of the most memorable tracks in the punk rock canon. The "Signals, Calls & Marches" EP and the acclaimed full-length "Vs." album followed, but Miller's battle with the hearing disorder tinnitus made it impossible for him to continue playing live. The group's final 1983 shows were excerpted on the live set "The Horrible Truth About Burma."

"Over the years we have been asked many times to play, and have always turned down the offer," the band writes on its official Web site. "Why have we decided to do it now? We aren't certain, really."

The band goes on to list a number of contributing factors in its decision, including Joey Ramone's death earlier this year, the fact that Conley is writing music again after a long break, and the Mission Of Burma chapter in author Michael Azzerad's recent book "Our Band Could Be Your Life," which group members say made them "nostalgic for the fug and the fume of cruddy vans and pressing unsuspecting listeners against the back wall."

Miller will be wearing special protective headphones on stage, according to Ron Decker, director of product management for Rykodisc, which reissued the group's catalog in 1997. Decker says no further archival releases are in the works, but that the upcoming shows may be documented in some form. He adds that these performances will likely not be part of a full-scale reunion tour.