13 REASONS WHY YOUR FAVORITE BAND'S REUNION IS OUR WORST NIGHTMARE
Reunion tours are the new remakes. Just when you thought you were bored to death of the same old thing here comes a bright new version with a shiny case of glisten for you to spend your money on. And we throw our hard earned cash like it’s really something different this time over and over again. Spiderman: Homecoming is the ninth version of Spiderman and it just made $117 million dollars in its opening weekend. Surely that means that next version of The Beach Boys with only one original member and John Stamos clones filling in on the rest of instruments will make even more. Huzzah!
Imagine, if you will, a world where The Who never reunited. Where after touring for a few years in the endless drudgery of the hits machine that the band actually got their wish to die before they got old. Now close your eyes and dream a little dream where we don’t have to sit through desperate televised performances of a shirtless 85 year old Roger Daltry (I can only assume that’s his age) hitting fewer of the correct notes than a Chimpanzee trying to play “Hot Cross Buns” on a child’s piano. If your voice can’t do it, get off the stage. Easy as that. If they’d just called it quits when Keith Moon called it quits on life we’d all be remembering them as a classic Rock and Roll quartet with more hits than shit and not the pathetic elderly stadium act music parody that they’ve become. I mean, I guess our boring parents need some excuse to leave the house and see live music every three to five years or something. It’s got to be tough to have stopped evolving in the seventies and not have heard a new piece of music that grabs them since Eddie Money was the hot ticket in town.
It’s not just our parents generation either. We’re just as bad. We beg on the internet and start online petitions and DEMAND that our favorite bands return to the stage. The fans, oh man but the fans!! It’s all about the fans!! Well, the fans must have been fiendishly clamoring for James Murphy and LCD Soundsystem to return to the stage after their (mere) four year hiatus because James Murphy brought his band that was never going to play again back from the dead without a second consideration for that legacy he seemed so worried about. “Shut Up and Play the Hits” was the most brazen display of “we’re done forever, just kidding no we’re not” ever committed to celluloid this side of “The Last Waltz.” Hmmmm… maybe we should take that fat paycheck every third festival is offering us and turn it into a college fund for our kids, eh? Two nights at Red Rocks and they play the exact same set. A crime that should be punishable by band death and dismemberment and sent to band purgatory where bands must live out the rest of their days playing only their biggest hit over and over and over and over again to deaf and blind audiences who don’t even know anybody is playing and talk over it instead. You can fact check me on that Red Rocks thing and call me a liar if you want. Here, I’ll do it for you. On the second night they did an encore of “Time to Get Away” instead of “Yr City’s a Sucker.” WOW! Major difference. Sounds like you totally needed to fulfill those creative juices that were just pouring out of you desperate for the attention of your art craved fan base. Or you were just bored and thought it might be more interesting on tour.
Authors Note: I saw The Who when I was 13 and had my first glimpse into how truly pitiful rock and roll could become if left to its own devices. It wasn’t until I was 30 and a man and saw both nights of LCD Soundsystem at Red Rocks that I was able to grasp how horrible this reunion dog-and-pony show really is. I sat there bored out of my gourd because this aging musician wanted one more shot at greatness. And as I looked around at the sheeple smiling and dancing all around me, singing the same songs like they were 22 again, I realized that I was the only one bothered by this whole thing. But, here’s what I think: fuck the fans. They have no clue what they want. They just need the warm soothing comfort of familiarity. Well how about you suck down a bottle of Jack Daniels instead and put yourself to bed old man because nostalgia is for the weak. This is why we have a guy we saw on television five years ago as our President. This is your fault.
- Outkast’s reunion was such a blatant cash grab that Andre 3000 even wore a price tag on his outfit every night.
- Danzig and the Misfits can only manage to play two shows before they implode and are reduced to knuckle dragging name calling.
- The Pixies went from being one of the most interesting bands in indie rock to inducing more yawns than a nap convention.
- KISS play without their original drummer or guitarist but no one can even tell because they wear the same makeup and who really even cares, it’s KISS.
- Amazon’s new “Long Strange Trip” documentary has the other members of the Grateful Dead insinuate that Jerry may still be alive today if not for their third (or fourth? fifth?) reunion. See ,reunions can even be the death of the most beloved figure in music history!
- Van Hagar. Or even worse: The new Van Halen with Wolfgang Van Halen (aka Eddie’s son) on bass. Nepotism never looked so out of touch. Considering the wild drunk fuckery Michael Anthony brought to the stage, having your stiff ass son fill in on the roll feels kind of wrong. Gonna watch him have sex with the groupies for you too? Let’s watch this Michael Anthony clip for old times sake to wash that thought out of our heads.
The list could go on and on and honestly it would be a lot of fun for me to shit talk every band you’ve ever loved. Let me take this opportunity instead to shine a light of positivity and spin it around for a quick second. Come on man, you’re saying. “Reunions can’t be all bad.” And you know what? You’re right. I’ve got a short list of musical projects that did not come across as pathetic on their second go around. Let’s say you never got your due the first time. Emo acts of the 90s seem like the prime target for this with bands like Cap’n Jazz, American Football and Jawbreaker finally getting to play their music for audiences that care. Or how about acts that play a handful of times only to call it quits again. That’s noble enough. Cream only put up eight shows after the 60’s: their rock and roll hall of fame induction and seven more in London and New York just for the shit of it. Just old dudes having fun, why not? Led Zeppelin only played a couple of times too and all were for charity (none of them being very good but I bet they made a lot of money for the kids or whatever). Rage Against the Machine came, raged, conquered and disappeared agin. Kudos for Zach De La Rocha for not joining up in Prophets of Rage on this last go at it. Yeah, we get it guys, the world sucks. You already did this dog and pony show when the world sucked less and that didn’t change anything, did it?
And then there’s the bands that just got better with age. Phish are like a fine wine in their third incarnation. Sure they don’t hit the highs that they used to, but they also don’t hit the lows. With the band clean for the first time ever, they’re finally hitting their stride as a band people actually might even respect. When you see Pitchfork and Stereogum articles praising them you realize they may have finally crossed over from “hippie jam band” to “band that matters to people who understand the complicated nature of music and are able appreciate complex instrumentation over songwriting type of hippie jam band.”
So, to those bands that haven’t reunited and still can, don’t. I Implore you to not listen to the fans and not listen to the paychecks. They aren’t worth it. Leave your legacy intact and don’t try to cash in on the past. It’s the only thing you have left to do, and it’s not that hard. Just don’t!
Thank the lord Jack White is doing so well in a solo career because I’m not sure he’d be able to recapture that magic he and Meg had in their thirties. Seeing the White Stripes play again would most definitely also be a sad day for the man. Looking out to an audience of red and white screaming to hear “Fell in Love With a Girl” and “Seven Nation Army” be played with your ex-wife would probably be hard for old Jacky boy. Instead of his current reality where he gets to have a hell of a time doing whatever the hell he pleases and doesn’t have to share a lick of the limelight. Why would anybody want to give up that freedom?
Morrissey is already insufferable enough. Nobody needs to see him play with the Smiths and get on one of the biggest platforms in the world. Sure, the hits would be incredible to hear live, but then you’d also have to listen to him drone on and on about veganism and being an old twat or whatever that horrible man talks about while he’s on stage. This would be like watching your worst uncle talk about politics at Thanksgiving, but this uncle is really sensitive and he won’t let you come to dinner if you’ve even smelled a piece of meat in the past seven years. Stay at home and eat a hamburger. Trust me, it’ll sit better.
R.E.M. had a really long run of it. Most bands don’t get a thirty year career full of high notes and very few low ones. If you missed seeing them live during that time span, well then you must have just been too young. Sorry. Shit, I didn’t get to see Frank Sinatra either, you don’t see me crying about it. Just trust me and accept that we’re better off without Michael Stipe and his Duck Dynasty beard trying again on one last tour “for the fans who really matter the most in this world, not money.” James Murphy could have taken a cue from his elder statesman of art house indie rock and stayed underground.
The Talking Heads won’t reunite because they don’t need to. David Byrne has continued on being quite impressive in these post band-that-helped-break-him-but-he-could-care-less-about years. I mean, for a band that started as an art school project, Byrne seems to have a really strong grasp on the meaning and value of “art.” As a true artist, you don’t care about the fans, you care only about the work. David Byrne seems like the kind of guy who could have been painting in his garage alone this whole time and not even been bothered. Sure maybe he would have cut his ear off. But maybe that’s better than reuniting a band that doesn’t need to happen.
Okay, maybe Daft Punk are still technically together. Producing hit songs for the Weeknd and Pharrell has become quite lucrative for the French electro disco electronic house techno legends. But how about they don’t ever play live again? Sounds good. Their Alive 2007 tour (and subsequent album) is in fact the single greatest live set of all time, but if they think they can live up to that hype they’re fooling themselves. With the Pyramid stage they basically invented a new kind of DJ booth that everyone from Deadmau5 to Excision has ripped off. They may be amazing musicians but they’d have to actually be robots from space to be able to top themselves on another world tour go around. Better keep the illusion alive and never play ever again. Especially not that any more of that fucking Grammys bullshit.
And don’t even get me started on those two horrendous fucks in Oasis. The Gallagher brothers as far as I’m concerned are a two hit wonder drop in the bucket nothing and the fact that anyone cares if they play together again (I’m sure to just combust on stage) is a complete and utter mystery to me.
Unless you got a time machine and can prevent John Lennon from getting shot I’m not interested in seeing any bands get back for one last gig, some huge show, ten more tours or 40 more years. Start a new project, be excited by new art, team up with other amazing musicians and try something new. Life is too short to go back into the past. The future is a beautiful place full of hoverboards, self-lacing shoes and FaceTime chatting. We don’t have time to see the guys from Minor Threat play one last show just to really stick it to the man this time around. But maybe it’s on us. Maybe we need to not pay attention when these bands from our past come back just to disappoint us. Unless they finally invent a time machine and we get that Beatles reunion. That’d be sick, man.
From deep within the murky depths of the Los Angeles River emerged a creature: 50% raver, 50% comedian, 10% Robotcop. Kurt Kroeber doesn’t own a dog, operates Soundbleed (the world’s only dance party comedy talk show rave), and is down to party with you. Come up some time and say “Hey dude!” But definitely make sure to casually drop the secret Illuminati password.