Reuniting is definitely the new breaking up.
The past few years have seen a steady stream of defunct bands getting back together, from obscure groups like Slint, the Louisville post-rock band that opened the Pitchfork Festival in 2007; to huge bands like Phish, which ended a five-year hiatus in 2009.
Just last week, Van Halen trumpeted a tour with original singer David Lee Roth. And with the release yesterday of this year’s Coachella lineup, we learned that two more seminal bands — At the Drive-In and Refused — are reuniting, in part to play the festival, which happens this year on successive weekends in April in Indio, Calif.
At the Drive-In, considered among the most influential “post-hardcore” bands, broke up in 2001 after 8 years together, spawning spin-off bands the Mars Volta and Sparta. Refused, a Swedish hardcore band, split in 1998 after seven years together, and in typical hardcore fashion, announced the breakup with an earnest and fiery (if not exactly succinct) screed on their website.
Reunions have come to seem inevitable: just wait five years, and as long as (most of) the members are still alive, they’ll hit the road. There’s even speculation that Axl Rose and Slash will patch things up enough when Guns N’ Roses is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to tour again, resulting in a gigantic payday.
Money, of course, is one of the biggest reasons bands get back together, but even a huge pile of cash isn’t enough motivation for some musicians. Here, after the jump, are five groups that are unlikely to get back together, no matter how much money is at stake:
1. Pink Floyd. Although Floyd heavies David Gilmour and Roger Waters have appeared together a couple of times since Pink Floyd’s highly anticipated set at Live 8 in 2005, Gilmour has dismissed out of hand the possibility of a full-on tour — and the estimated billion dollar payday that would come with it.
2. Led Zeppelin. Their one-off show in 2007 in London was the biggest rock ‘n’ roll tease ever, in that the looked-for tour never materialized. Guitarist Jimmy Page and bassist John Paul Jones badly want it to happen, but singer Robert Plant isn’t interested.
3. Uncle Tupelo. Betcha Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy field this question all the time, but neither former member of the alt-country standard bearer needs — or has ever expressed interest in — a reunion. Tweedy has reached enviable creative (and business) heights with Wilco, while Farrar is happily steeped in Americana projects including Son Volt and extracurricular activities such as a forthcoming collection of Woody Guthrie songs he recorded with My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, Anders Parker and Will Johnson of Centro-matic.
4. Soul Coughing. Liking your bandmates isn’t a prerequisite for reuniting with them, but it helps to like the songs. Former Soul Coughing singer Mike Doughty doesn’t care for either, which he makes abundantly clear in his new memoir, “The Book of Drugs.” “I dislike the music rather intensely,” he told me Monday.
5. Hüsker Dü. Bob Mould makes abundantly clear in his memoir, “See a Little Light: A Trail of Rage and Melody,” that he’s moved on, and while he doesn’t completely trash ex-bandmates Grant Hart and Bob Norton, he’s adamant that Hüsker Dü — a crucial part of the ’80s indie-rock underground — is a thing of the past.
Are there other bands you think won’t reunite? Are there bands you think shouldn’t reunite?
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