State of Reunions
A couple of years ago, in CityBeat‘s summer-previewing “Hot Issue,” I did a story about the rash of inconceivable Rock band reunions called “Cash Heals All Wounds.” Dinosaur Jr.’s original members had reconvened for a tour that came to the Madison Theater in Covington, hot on the heels of the successful reunion of the equally contentious membership of the Pixies. In the piece, I came up with a few seemingly unlikely reunions and gave odds on the chances of them actually reuniting with all of the founding members. A few things have changed in regards to a couple of those bands, so I thought I’d update.
• Pink Floyd. When Roger Waters and David Gilmour held their noses for a quick set at the Live 8 concerts in the summer of 2005 (with those other two guys), our general manager rushed up to the floor I work on to rub it in — “Hey, guess you’ll have to update your story now that Pink Floyd reunited,” he said, smuggly. But my story was speculating about an actual Floyd reunion, with the band’s original guiding light, Syd Barrett. About that possibility, I wrote, “With Barrett? You’ll see George Bush and Kim Jong-il making out in the stands during a Reds/Royals World Series before that happens: (Odds are) 1,000,000-1.” Syd, of course, died last year, making the odds remarkably higher (hey, maybe they froze his head like Walt Disney). I give the surviving members three years (or three failed solo albums, whichever comes first) before they start up the Floyd Inc. machine again.
• The hot news right now in the world of reunions is the prospect of a tour by The Police. Today it was officially announced that the band would be regrouping to perform at the Grammys on Feb. 11. A follow-up tour to celebrate their 30th anniversary appears all but a done-deal as well. In the “Cash Heals” story, I gave such a reunion 50-1 odds (anyone make a bet in Vegas? I wanna cut), because Sting really didn’t seem to be in much need of such a huge pay day. For why they would get back together, I wrote, “Money (maybe you never can have enough).” On a personal note, I have mixed feelings about a PoPo reunion. Growing up, they were my ALL TIME FAVORITE BAND for years (I had entire walls in my bedroom coated with Police pictures, posters and, yes, tapestries). I’ve always resisted going to see my past-their-prime musical heroes (McCartney, The Who, The Stones), because I don’t want that to mess with my memories. And I’ve lost all faith in Sting as a viable, relavant musician — he’s turned into James Taylor with his solo work (save the lute CD — what the hell?) and when his solo band played Police songs, he always seemed remarkably bored and detached. Another downside is that, according to promoters, the tour would likely play stadiums. I’d rather dust off and crank up my old Crooked Cops live bootleg than sit in the nose-bleeds and watch (or rather squint at) a concert in a stadium. On the upside, I would love to see Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers in that setting again. But, another downside, tickets will probably be as much as my heating bill this month. But, but, but … digging the video at the top of this post (from 1978 — dig the timely Jimmy Carter comment!) gets me all misty-eyed and nostalgic. Alright, I’ll go, but only if they do “Be My Girl Sally.”
• No progress on the Guns N’ Roses front. GNR is theoretically still “a band,” but in that 2005 article, I was discussing the prospects of having more original members than just Axl get back at it. Izzy, Duff, Slash, Steven and Axl. Since Mr. Rose seems bat-shit nuts, don’t hold out too much hope. In related news, Axl has recently said the decade-in-the-making Chinese Democracy album will be out March 6. Tentatively. This marks the 1,243 time this statement has been made. I’m starting to think there isn’t an album, and Axl is just stalling for time like a scared eighth grader who keeps putting off that big science project. “Honest, it’s done — I’m just putting the finishing touches on the baking soda volcano.”
• The last band I pontificated about was The Smiths. A pundit recently told the BBC that, along with reunions by The Stone Roses and The Jam (which seem way more likely), the ground-breaking British band would make a mint in the U.K. were they to put their bad vibes aside. The band has been involved in lawsuits with each over the years, and members have emitted a strong feeling of “no fucking way” when asked about the potential for a new Smiths tour or album. Guitarist Johnny Marr has a cushy new gig in Modest Mouse, making a huge road-trek with his old pals all the more unlikely. I gave them a 100-1 chance of reuniting, but as Dinosaur Jr., Pixies, Genesis, Rage Against the Machine, Slint, Mission of Burma, Crowded House, Van Halen, Smashing Pumpkins, Big Black, Jesus and Mary Chain and Sugarcubes have show us, never say never.
Who else out there in the music world would you like to see bury the hatchet and get back on stage together again?
— Mike Breen