There's something noble in not going after past glories
Iconic San Francisco politico-punk band Dead Kennedys were recently asked to dust off their Dr Martens and reform their 1980s line-up in order to play a festival in Chicago. According to some rather grumpy band members who were apparently keen on the offer, former frontman Jello Biafra stopped the reunion dead in its tracks. As such, it seems that Dead Kennedys will almost definitely not be playing Riot Fest – which has in the past brought together the classic line-ups of new wave idols The Replacements and horror-punks Misfits – this autumn.
But you know what, despite being a fan of the band as well as of travelling to Chicago in September to stuff my face with soupy deep-dish pizza, pretend I’m in The Blues Brothers and get my shins scuffed in a circle pit, I’m pretty cool with it. In fact, consider this my public call to classic bands to please stop getting back together, no matter how legendary you are.
Over the past decade or so, a seemingly endless list of artists of a certain age have dragged themselves out of their lovely houses in Devon, dusted off their guitars, crossed their moats and sighed a deep, lonesome sigh as they’ve gathered together with people they probably can’t stand the sight of in order to pay off the mortgage on their second holiday home in the Lake District. And to be honest, a swift arena tour is probably a far easier way to raise funds than by selling a few extra cakes at the local village fete. Everyone from The Stone Roses to Rage Against The Machine, Pixies and The Libertines have got back together, not to mention the vaguely terrifying pop likes of Vengaboys and Steps. And I’m not saying that it hasn’t been a laugh. The recently reunited LCD Soundsystem’s gloriously ravey set at Lovebox was a highlight of last summer, while Pulp’s 2011 reunion bought me endless joy as well as an excellent excuse to wear 1970s pussy-bow blouses for a whole summer. But there’s something impressive when a band refuses to scrabble back together, something noble in not trying to go after past glories
and simply leaving your adoring public wanting more.
As much as I love ABBA and their holy disco majesty, the fact that they’ve held firm and refused to risk putting on a show that might not match the sequin-spangled excellence of their 1970s heyday – even when offered a billion dollars – is pretty impressive. The same goes for The Smiths, The Kinks and The White Stripes – all heroes, but heroes who are never, ever getting back together. Good on them.