Wednesday, September 21, 2005

What year is this? : The Year Punk Broke a Hip

Pixies, Dinosaur Jr., Gang Of Four, Devo, Kraftwork, Mudhoney, Lemonheads, Slint, Hoover, Mudhoney (back in the studio), Sex Pistols, Mission Of Burma, Bauhaus, Bold, Underdog, Gorilla Biscuits, Judas Priest w/ Rob H., New Order, Cure, Pink Floyd, Motley Crue, Straightjacket Fits, Trash Can Sinatras, Misfits ( again), Depeche Mode ( back in the studio), Camper Van Beethoven, Cream, Dead Boys, Sham 69, Old Skull, Circle Jerks, The Exploited, Kid Dynamite, Lifetime, Living Colour, Stryper, Gin Blossoms, Red Krayola, Coalesce, 108, Promise Ring...

The world could use a lot of things but a 108 reunion? Really? Did anyone need that?

Why do bands do it? It doesn’t take a genius to guess there is money, big money to be made from getting back together again. I have heard rumors that smaller bands like Lifetime were offered 60k for a come back and if that is the case, God knows how much a band like Kraftwerk , The Pixies, or Gang Of Four are given. I wish I could believe a reunion show was all about the pure spirit of rock and roll and friends sharing a stage again but for example anybody who knows Dinosaur Jr.’s band history knows the love died between it’s members in a big way. Heck I saw first hand fists fly on stage during one of their sets back in the mid 90's and fans know their ugly band dynamic only worsened over time. I have read new Dino interviews which reveal a healed relationship between J. and Lou but to put it simply, I ain’t buying what they trying to sell.

Yes there will always be exceptions to the rule, bands that play again for charity or truly because it would be a fun one off but there are waaaay too many bands hopping on planes all in the name of some serious green. As a person who never made a dime off the music I made 10 years ago I understand the lure to finally make a few bucks off of the thing I put body and soul into once upon a time but the rocker puritst in me would rather let it go than milk a band that will never be as good as we once were.

Don’t we have enough new bands to keep us happy or have we become our parents looking to relive our happy days of old? I made fun of my mom and dad for going to see some terrible Motown reunion tour that didn’t even feature more than 25% of each act's original line up yet here it is 2005 and I have friends driving 12 hours to see ancient straight edge bands and 80’s alterna-legends take the stage one more time. I wasn’t scared to mock my parents so don’t think the rest of you are going to be left off the hook.

Come on people; Gorilla Biscuits and the Misfits will never be what they once were. Get over it. Even if Danzig joined the Misfits again, we all know that show would be 1/10 as good as it once was. Sure it’s the Misfits but it wouldn’t be THE MISFITS. Have you seen Danzig or any of the other members lately? I liken it to the uncomfortable feeling I used to get when my Uncle Bill wore a Speedo.

I wish I was old enough to see one of the handful of shows Rites of Spring played but I wasn’t and that’s that. That band is too sacred to me and to see them be anything but pristine would be a crime. I also am happy to say I haven't heard any rumblings about any of the first generation Dischord bands getting back to gether. At least some folks know how to age gracefully.

You can save a piece of cake in a freezer, thaw it out ten or twenty years later and eat it but it isn’t going to be the same as it once was. Yes I know a wedding cake piece preserved is a symbol of something very special but if we are talking about the taste of it as serious cake fans, we would know the flavor didn't stand the test of time, even if our love did.

We all know time happens, things age and decay. A band isn’t a fucking bottle of wine, we are talking about people here. Sure a person can still sing or play their instrument but the passion and energy, the very emotion that once fueled their art has shifted and more than likely faded.

This is the very same reason I hate open coffin funerals. Dead is dead no matter how you dress the body.

I’ve been to enough reunion shows and three day garage rock fests to have learned my lesson the hard way. The idea of you can’t go home again should be applied to most of these events and instead of wondering how a band or artist could age so poorly. ( IE: Echo and the Bunnymen, Burt Bacharach, Question Mark and the Mysterians...) I should have just left the past right where it was, in the past.

Maybe as thoughtful members of the rock community we could get together and build a retirement fund for these older bands and future bands who were never lucky enough to move onto new careers or new bands no less acquire a nest egg from a 401 k plan. If we move quickly enough we can spare ourselves the possible reunions of bands like 7 Year Bitch and King Missile.

All joking aside, let this be a lesson to you freeloaders who download music without paying for it and don’t support bands when they tour in their prime. Musicians need to make money to survive just like everyone else and maybe our government and the people who call themselves supporters of the arts should be more willing to put their money where their mouths are. As bummed as I am on 95% of these musicians trying to give it another go I can't blame them.

People don't seem to think that all music is worth paying for and it shows. ( insert the sound of me stepping off my high horse here.)