By Brendan Kane
There are many unavoidable facts in life and one of the most unfortunate, is that all bands will eventually break up. Yes, even your favorite will meet its untimely demise at some point. Sometimes, bands break up after running their credibility into the ground and other times, they break up before they even reach their full potential.
But no matter the circumstances of their dissolution, if the band ever decides to get back together the results are almost always so disappointing that fans would have preferred the band to have stayed broken up.
The main reasons that a reformed band almost never holds a candle to the band in its original run is either that the band cannot reignite the creative spark that led them to success the first time around or that they reformed for financial reasons instead of creative ones. In either case, the bands become a shell of what they once were.
A prime example of this phenomenon is the seminal alt-rock band, The Pixies, who reformed in 2004 after breaking up in 1993. Both albums that they have released since reforming, including last year’s Head Carrier, have been met with mixed reviews at best.
There are countless other similar examples of beloved acts coming back such as The Sex Pistols, Pavement, and The Smashing Pumpkins. And while these new albums do not erase the brilliant music that they released in the past, it often does tarnish their general standing, as a mediocre album forever destroys the image of the band as an unimpeachable outfit in the eyes of fans.
However, there are some examples of bands that reformed and continued to be just as great as they were before they broke up. The difference between a successful and an unsuccessful reformation is the reason why the group got back together, and almost always the reason behind a successful reformation is that the members of the band had a creative itch that could only be scratched by working as a band again.
A prime example of band that came back just as great as they were before is the seminal Riot Grrl act, Sleater-Kinney. They are the perfect case on how and when to reform. During their hiatus, all three members had different musical and non-musical projects that they worked on and when they decided to reform they did not make the decision lightly, but did so because they felt that they had something to say as a group again.
But the vast majority of the time, reforming a beloved band ends up being a mistake that only tarnishes the legacy that the band once had. So, on behalf of all music fans everywhere, I implore all bands to really make sure that reforming is the best course of action when the inevitable discussion occurs.