From Out of Nowhere: The Reformation Revival
Take That have more integrity than Rage Against the Machine. Whilst many bushy eyebrows were raised when four overweight Mancunians decided to throw shapes again, at least they had the decency to release two albums in their wiser state, and in âShineâ and âPatienceâ two of the best pop singles of the last decade. Rage Against the Machine went as far as taking to the stage, carrying a little extra timber, and some evidence of male pattern baldness, however they merely po... (continued)
Take That have more integrity than Rage Against the Machine. Whilst many bushy eyebrows were raised when four overweight Mancunians decided to throw shapes again, at least they had the decency to release two albums in their wiser state, and in âShineâ and âPatienceâ two of the best pop singles of the last decade. Rage Against the Machine went as far as taking to the stage, carrying a little extra timber, and some evidence of male pattern baldness, however they merely postured and posed, and made one of the most unintentionally offensive gestures of solidarity when they wore potato sacks on their heads pretending to be Guantanamo Bay prisoners, confirming what many of us first suspected - they were frauds all along, flaunting causes and political rhetoric left, right and centre to a series of politically apathetic audiences more concerned with rocking out to the chorus of âKilling in the Nameâ. A reformation satisfies the customer (fan?), financially rewards the act and quenches the thirst of the nostalgia junkie. So, there is nothing to complain about right? Well, no. It would be naÃ¯ve to not look at music as a business, it is. If you were to be extra cynical you would argue that being in a band is merely a job no different to working the nine to five as a rat catcher or stunt cock. Artistry goes out of the window as soon as you sign a contract and allow your art to be watered down, so you flog yourself up and down the country on the touring cycle in a pimped out ice cream van. For new bands around today the cycle follows a familiar pattern - get hyped in the blogosphere around December time, release single in January, get music featured in new series of Skins, whistle-stop UK tour, release album, do the festivals during the summer and hold on tight for another year before the inevitable sophomore slump. If youâre lucky you might get to repeat the cycle a few times over, if this happens you have a career. When your band finishes and five, ten or even fifteen years down the line you are sitting at home with your nagging wife and ugly children and you think to yourself. Man, I miss the band. Youâll get twitchy and then you will swing into life again like Joan Rivers after plastic surgery, first you phone up Dave the guitarist, heâs not in to the idea, neither is the drummer but Smelly Joe the bassist is keen. So youâll make the best of it and reform with whatever original members you can cobble together and jump on stage, pissing all over your legacy; making a whole lot of money in the process, away from the domestic hell that bores you. As the tour winds down to its final few dates you suddenly remember the reasons why the band broke up in the first place - in fighting, jealousy and the infamous coleslaw incident. By the time the royalty cheque clears, and the tour ends, it all comes back like last nights liquor. You hated the bastards. What is most surprising is when a reformation comes after long running inter band tension, and firm stubbornness between members whoâve openly declared that there is no chance in hell the band will reform. You can accept Led Zeppelin playing the 02 for Ahmet ErtegÃ¼nâs benefit charity or Pink Floyd appearing at Live 8 where differences are set aside for the greater good. However there needs to be a few simple ground rules for a proposed reformation, a band shouldnât reform under the bandâs name and banner if either the front man is dead (Thin Lizzy, Queen, The Doors, Alice in Chains The Germs, Ian Dury and the Blockheads sans Ian Dury have all done this), or if less then half of the original line-up are playing. The Guns Nâ Roses playing today are not the real Guns Nâ Roses, no matter what Axl Rose says. Secondly the primary reason for a reformation should not be the money. Though wouldnât be nice if a musician came out and honestly said âYou want the songs, we want the money, at the end of the day everyone will go home happyâ. Itâs the money that I have biggest issue with. For the fifty quid I have willingly paid to see Blur at Hyde Park I could have seen plenty of local bands, vibrant and alive, that are not yet at their creative peak. Instead I have foolishly fed the corporate beast of Live Nation; though Hyde Park is a genius location for the Blur gigs when you think about it, what with the impending summer riots. Chances are the band wonât even make the stage, with Hyde Park a battle zone in the midst of the rioting middle classes, at the height of the summer of rage. They wonât even need to offer refunds because by then the Pound will be of equal value to a kinder egg. Aside from receiving an awful lot of filthy dosh Iâm still not entirely show why Blur bothered to reform. Dave Rowntree was doing alright in politics, Alex James was a Cheese Farmer who made sporadic appearances on an assortment of crap reality TV shows, Graham Coxon was away from the limelight playing music on his own terms and Damon Albarn the supposed mockney pretty boy of the band, had gone stellar in his various projects with Jamie Hewlett and the underrated The Good, the Bad & the Queen. Time adds value to a reformation, the longer the wait, anticipation builds, making a reformation an event which people want to be part of. Live is where itâs at. In the age of illegal file sharing musicians know this, and I guess there is little difference between pimping yourself out like Elton John and Celine Dion have done for long stretches performing in Vegas Casinos and what Blur have done. Faith No More are another band who have recently decided to reform for a lucrative European Tour. The pinnacle being an appearance at the much maligned Download Festival (Donnington after all is the home of rock) where the Album of the Year line-up will blow away the cobwebs and pretend they careâ¦ a lot. Mike Patton in the past has always diverted away questions about the Faith No More reunion, for instance when interviewed by Counterculture.co.uk he onceÂ said "I could work with a couple of those guys, sure they are great musicians. But not as Faith No More. I got too much else to do. FNM had a great run. There are always offers to go back, but it is more interesting to go forwardâ¦ Why go back to rehash old memories when there is so much new stuff to do?"" Once again Patton is an artist who has been involved in a whole host of challenging, innovative musical projects. Why would he want to go back to Faith No More? If he wants to catch up with old pals then why doesnât he just poke them on Facebook or something? Get together and jam in private. Maybe playing live to thousands and thousands of punters is the reason. With all due respect to Patton but making noises with Rahzel to a sparse crowd of spotty geeks and pretentious hipsters at All Tomorrowâs Parties is never going to compare with playing a big time Faith No More show. Upon officially declaring their reformation in a press release Faith No More stated ââ¦we find ourselves at a moment in time with zero label obligations, still young and strong enough to deliver a kick-ass set, with enthusiasm to not only revisit our past but possibly add something to the present. And so with this we've decided to hold our collective breaths and jump off this cliff... â. Reading between the lines they are desperate for cash money and whilst they are still physically able to play the hits for a couple of hours then why the hell not?
Rage Against The Machine