Band reformations can be a controversial issue. You can never be quite sure if behind the smiles and “we’re suddenly best mates now” image there’s a cynical get rich quick scheme grinding into motion. And maybe it’s just me, but more and more once famous and successful bands are getting back together ever since the economy went bust. Case and point: The Stone Roses, the most recent of these iconic bands to announce a new tour after years of bickering. But who knows? Maybe, just maybe they’re doing it for the music, in which case good for them because they used to be a great band.
In a small homage to bands that reform here are my top bands that just won’t die, bands that should have stayed dead and bands that died before their time.
2 Bands That Just Won’t Die
Now I’m a fan of AC/DC up to a point. They found a killer sound that despite being heavily influenced by 60s and 70s rock music is still uniquely AC/DCish. But after a while it gets a bit old. They’re like the devils on the shoulder of stagnation (Status Quo would be the angels, an ironic band name if ever I heard one).
If You Want Blood You’ve Got It is a brilliant live album and really shows off what AC/DC could do in their heyday, but they never really moved on from that. It’s almost like some bands become SO iconic and SO unassailable that they could release any old rubbish and everyone laps it up because the members have an almost demi-god like status and can literally do no wrong. Which leads me on to the next band…
The Rolling Stones
Perhaps one of the most arrogant bands to ever walk the earth, these fossils really need to bury the band. Now. In the world according to The Rolling Stones, no quality bands existed in the 60s and 70s before them, they literally invented music and everyone should love and adore them with doe eyed adulation. Sorry Mick, it’s just sad now.
You may have noticed that I don’t like The Rolling Stones that much. Yes, they did write some quality albums and yes, they were a big influence but there were so many more innovative bands around when they were at their height. Time to call it a day and move on.
2 Bands That Should Have Stayed Dead
You remember The Darkness. They released that song, I Believe In A Thing Called Love in 2003 that everyone absolutely humped for a short time. They were a novelty band really, a total rip off of every glam rock band that came before them, who managed to write a couple of catchy songs and hit it big. For some reason at the time everyone lost their heads over them, with Kerrang! magazine even awarding them Best British Band after one album. Then they disappeared off the scene a couple of years later having gradually slunk out of view.
Then they came back, as if anyone had missed them, announcing the return of the original line-up in 2011. Despite offering nothing new, they somehow got a slot at Download festival. Really, what is it about this band that everyone goes so mad over?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a massive fan of Black Sabbath. They’re a phenomenal band; Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Sabotage are two of my favourite albums ever, but even the masters have to know when to quit. Once Ozzy left the band that was pretty much the end of it, not because he was the most talented but because they only worked as a whole band, separately they’re just not the same.
Sabbath announced the return of the full line up last year and performed the closing set for this year’s Download festival. But really, their best time is behind them; they should bow out gracefully and let their past work do the talking.
2 Bands That Died Before Their Time (Then Came Back!)
At the Drive-In
Sometimes though there are bands that disbanded way before they had a chance to complete their musical vision. At the Drive-In were one of those bands until they announced their reunion at the beginning of this year and played the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in April.
The good thing about this reunion is that they’re not planning to release any new albums or merchandise, as guitarist Omar said in a recent interview it’s “purely a nostalgia thing”. So no blatant money spinning here. They also plan to play in Australia on July 27-29, surely coming to England would be easier?
Refused are a Swedish hardcore-punk band that were way ahead of their time and who didn’t receive the recognition they deserved until recently. Their 1998 album The Shape of Punk To Come did quite literally change the sound of punk music; at the time they were the only band who played in this way.
They broke up soon after the release of that album but announced their reunion on the same day as At the Drive-In, even playing the same Coachella Valley festival. This time, now that the rest of the world has caught up with their music, they have played Download festival and are headlining Groezrock festival in Belgium, one of the biggest punk festivals in the world. Long live the far reaching justice of Karma!