Spin It Round, Flip It and Reverse It

They’re back! Over the past few months,
a handful of band reunion rumors have been deemed true, causing dedicated fans to either jump for joy, or fearfully hide under their desks while clutching onto their favorite vinyl, rocking back and forth and hysterically crying. Rage Against the Machine, No Doubt, The Police, Van Halen and the Smashing Pumpkins all have reunion tours, performances or CD releases discussed and planned for the near future. But, what’s the motivation behind these breakup makeups? Is it nostalgia for the good ol’ days of alcohol, drugs and boobs, or the need to redecorate their house? In this week’s Spin It, Brian and Carlye discuss – are band reunions for the love of music, or just for another fistful of money?

Carlye: For Love!

Just when you thought the music industry couldn’t dream up anything else … they don’t. And that’s how it should be. Our society loves reconstruction, and only in a nation full of Botox-ed foreheads and how-to-redesign-your-home television shows can we truly appreciate the art form that is the musical comeback.

Everything’s worth a second chance.

A bad sandwich usually gets a bit better after you take another bite, rewriting a paper always gets you a better grade, and rekindling an old flame may not result in a beautiful, fancy-pants wedding, but you’ll probably get some decent to good sex out of it.

There are some issues though. Two members of the Smashing Pumpkins – guitarist James Iha and bassist D’Arcy Wretzky – have not made statements regarding their participation in the reunion and are speculated to not be joining in on the fun. Also, there’s the unavoidable problem of band members still hating each other, which may plague RATM’s reunion show at Coachella and will most likely end Van Halen’s 40-show tour early with a bloody fight to the death onstage. But, maybe the new members of Smashing Pumpkins will be just as good as the old ones, and if not, you all know a David Lee Roth fight would make for a great YouTube video.

These are just small problems, and if bands want to reunite, we should support them with our eyes, ears and checkbooks. If we love the artist, and the artist loves playing music, we should therefore love their new music. (It’s like the Pythagorean Theorem, but a lot less boring.) I’m not just saying this because I’m a Phish-head who is crossing her fingers for a reunion tour (please Trey, please!), but we should definitely embrace these comeback shows, tours and CDs. After all, respectable artists playing decent music always trump shitty artists making shitty music. And that’s that.

Brian: For Money!

Maybe they aren’t doing it for money exactly, but they are definitely coming back for all those wonderful things that would appear on word association lists based on “money.” For instance, when I think of money, I think of fame, attention, dead presidents and status. When looking at that list, each word boils down to the same thing – the same reason why bands are so driven to reform … sex.

John Quincy Adams got it whenever he wanted, and he wasn’t even a good president. The same goes for musicians – even bad ones get the pinnacle of human desire satiated in a ridiculous quantity. (We’ve all seen the Kid Rock/Scott Stapp sex tape). Well, OK, I really doubt Sting has problems getting some, but it’s the sexiness, the fame and the glamour the rock band represents that is bringing back all of these staples of popular music, and with the exception of Sting and The Police, it disgusts me.

Particularly vomit-worthy is Billy Corgan reforming the Pumpkins with only his ego returning from the original roster. Jimmy Chamberlin, the band’s drummer, is also confirmed to tour and record under the Pumpkins’ name later this year, but that still is not enough to overshadow that Corgan is a money-grubbing, fame-whoring has-been. Corgan and Chamberlin are in no way reuniting; they both performed in Zwan, the upbeat project following the Pumpkins’ breakup, and have worked together since. The Smashing Pumpkins are not reuniting; Corgan has simply decided to release his songs under the Pumpkins name to sell more records. D’Arcy and Iha are not coming back to support the Corgan charade, and I applaud them.

In general, bands are like TV shows, book series or any other ongoing creative media-based endeavor. You have to know when the project is over and move on from it. Those who don’t, (except for The Police, which this doesn’t apply to), are just clinging to something that is no longer pertinent or important.

About Carlye Wisel and Brian McGovern

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