Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Reunion Revulsion: When Is Enough, Enough?

At The Drive-In reformed this week. 

At The Drive-In Website Intro from MONDIAL on Vimeo.

So did Refused.
"We never did "The shape of punk to come" justice when it came out, too tangled up in petty internal bickering. We wanna do it over, do it right. For the people who've kept the music alive through the years, but also for our own sakes." [Full statement]

Jane's Addiction will be playing lesser known venues later this year and Soundgarden sauntered back onto first festivals, then regular stages last year. I saw Faith No More do much the same the year prior. Hell, even Pink Floyd might be back this summer, celebrating my homeland's attempt to not look daft in comparison with Beijing's massive Olympic effort. 

Rage Against The Machine... Portishead ...Kyuss (Lives!) ... I could go on, on, and thrice on with the much vaunted reunions that have peppered the last few years.

Rejoice! This is truly the golden age of classic bands returning! A second chance to catch all those you slept on in their heyday.


The Loss of Legacies

In all honesty, I am excited at the prospect of some of these second chances. ATD-I in particular could be the single most regrettable live oversight of my formative music years. Still though, it's impossible to ignore that nagging feeling that it could all go horribly wrong (admittedly, this pessimism may stem from all these long years supporting Everton FC). 

Firstly, there's the stench of dirty filthy lucre. I begrudge no talented musicians a pay day, yet the announcements usually centre on providing another opportunity for the fans and artistic objectives. Why, then, are the ticket prices often so insanely inflated - and the channels so restricted - that many of those fans are immediately cut off from the very spectacle they were so crucial to making a reality?

Beyond that, even if we offer the benefit of the motivational doubt, there's the more fundamental question of whether or not the band can still cut it. Many of us have deep rooted associations with these acts and their seminal works - myself very much included in the cases of At The Drive-In's 'Relationship of Command' and Refused's 'The Shape of Punk to Come' - and the sense that they stand immutable in time is an essential part of that. If they're to be resurrected, polished or prodded for a new audience, then we want it to be effected by musicians who still have the passion and chops to push boundaries still further, rather than rehash their way to an inferior version and experience. 

Money Where Your Mouth Is

So, by all means come back, worthy artists of my formative years. But be prepared to work even harder to prove that it was the right decision, not some  easy meal ticket before the demand for physical reissue product finally dries up and fans move on to greener digital pastures. 

We're ready, willing, and passionate to support you....if you are willing to support - and enhance - your own legacy with the qualities that caught our attention in the first place. 

If not? Then expect a rapid descent, from iconic standard bearers of a genre to laughable imitations of former glories, as quickly as you can say The Sex Pistols.



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