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Rescued from the brink by a well-timed move to Southern California, M.I.A. first got its start as a Las Vegas punk act by the name of the Swell. After some lineup shifts and a move to Orange County, M.I.A. was born, and tracks were recorded and the party circuit was played. The resulting demo found its way around the influential members of the punk circle, but the band came to a halt, with vocalist Mike Conley moving back to Las Vegas. In 1982, the aforementioned tracks found their way onto a split LP with New Jersey's Genocide, entitled Last Rites. The buzz created by the collection, and the move back to California of Conley, resulted in the re-formation of M.I.A. By 1984, the band had scored a deal to work with Jello Biafra's Alternative Tentacles label, which would release the Murder in a Foreign Place EP that year. A national tour followed, as well as some studio time and a few small release singles and 7" records. In 1985, the band released Notes from the Underground, and split up after a final show opening for the Dead Kennedys. Breakups be damned, M.I.A. found their way back together again in 1986 and released the LP After the Fact on Flipside in 1987. An attempt at a stylistic shift would prove to be the band's undoing, and they split for good in 1988. Members Frank Daly and Mark Arnold would reappear in Big Drill Car. ~ Christopher M. True, Rovi

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