“Dude!” Slipknot’s Corey Taylor hissed earlier this week when asked how he’d feel if Guns N’ Roses’ ‘Appetite For Destruction’-era line-up reformed, as is currently being rumoured. “I would retire from touring, because I wouldn’t want to go up against that.” Looking back through rock history, Slipknot’s accountants probably weren’t quaking in their jacuzzis at this, however. Musicians, the Nick Cleggs of the entertainment industry, have a proud and noble tradition of making bold off-the-cuff promises they never plan to keep. Just remember these legendary rock U-turns…
Fat White Family to join Isis: “Unless Mac DeMarco immediately withdraws from music and the public eye, me and Saul will be on the first plane to Syria to join Isis,” wrote Fat Whites on Facebook last month. Perhaps Isis let them know that frequently naked indie delinquents aren’t their prime recruitment targets because FWF have yet to be drone-blasted off the Syrian front lines.
The Eagles to reform “when hell freezes over”: In 1980, Don Henley insisted The Eagles – a band who were at each other’s throats at the time – would only ever reform “when Hell freezes over”. Fourteen years later, the band embarked on the ‘Hell Freezes Over’ tour. See also premature ‘farewell tours’ from The Who, Status Quo, Ozzy Osbourne, Elton, Kiss, The Stone Roses…
50 Cent to quit music: In 2007, Fiddy and Kanye went head-to-head in a Blur vs Oasis style chart battle for the US number one spot. So assured was Fiddy of success that he unequivocally declared he’d stop making music if Kanye won. ‘Graduation’ hammered ‘Curtis’ by almost 300,000 sales. Yet, just two years later, 50 Cent had another album out. Lying git.
Queen refuse to play synths: “Nobody played synthesizer” read the sleeve notes to Queen’s 1973 debut, a sneer at the lazy electronic cheaters who weren’t going to the same elaborate studio effort as Mercury’s lot. For seven albums they proudly trumpeted their no-synths rule, then, on 1980’s ‘The Game’, they whopped synths all over the shop and spent the next decade synthed to the eyeballs.
Frank Turner to stop playing his biggest song: ‘The Ballad Of Me And My Friends’, one of Frank’s greatest sing-alongs, includes the resigned cry: “none of this is going anywhere.” When he started filling Wembley and the likes, Frank decided the struggling sentiment of the song sat uneasily in such huge venues and vowed to stop playing it. But it soon found its way back into his set lists.
Led Zeppelin to never release singles: Adamant that they were an album band that didn’t fit with radio’s limited two-and-a-half-minute pop format, Zep never released a single in the UK during their lifetime. But in 1997 an edit of ‘Whole Lotta Love’ hit the charts at Number 21. Stinking sell-outs.
Jay-Z to retire: Hova would later describe his 2003 bow-out as “the worst retirement in history”. It lasted all of three years – the standard gap between most established acts’ albums – and involved plenty of live shows and records.
Sam Smith denies recording the Bond ‘Spectre’ theme: Sam Smith solemnly swore, despite mounting rumours and the sheer obviousness of him lending his Bond theme-ish voice to Sam Mendes’ new film, that he hadn’t recorded the ‘Spectre’ theme. Ellie Goulding has done it, he insisted. An act of subterfuge worthy of Bond himself.