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Reforming At The Mouth: The Rise Of The Lost Bands

Jul 26, 2008
With dance music evidently experiencing a recession and rock music going through somewhat of a renaissance, the time for old rock groups to reform is nigh. Recent years have seen past giants make a come back to the live circuit - groups such as Genesis, The Sex Pistols, Take That (more crock than rock) and even Rage Against the Machine.

So why reform when you have decided to split? Some say money, whilst others declare they "missed the camaraderie" of being in a band. Last year, Phil Collins announced a summer of live gigs with his band, Genesis. He stated the reason for the comeback was not for monetary issues as Mark Sutherland of Billboard Magazine suggested. "We're all loaded enough not to worry about where the million or two is coming from" said Collins before adding "If money were the issue, we'd be playing more than 20 shows. I just felt now was the right time."

Bands seem very cagey when reporting the reasons for their comeback. Sutherland has put it entirely down to money; "In most cases, these people can make more money in their old band than they can doing whatever they're doing now."

Never has this statement been more true than when considering nineties boy band, Take That. In 1996, the group went their separate ways to work on solo projects. Unfortunately for them, their solo projects didn't get them too far.

Gary Barlow released an album which was an instant success. He enjoyed two number one hits in the UK charts before releasing his second album, Twelve Months, Eleven Days. The second album didn't fare as well and so the ex pin-up was dropped from his label.

Similarly, Howard Donald (the long haired one) attempted to launch a solo career. For whatever reason, the fruits of his loins were never released to the general public. Instead, Donald went back to his DJ-ing roots and became a success in both Germany and England. Is there any connection between his choice of career and Take That's reformation? I think so.

Jason Orange failed to do anything of any significance after the split whilst Mark Owen's highlight was probably winning Celebrity Big Brother in 2002 (and I think we all know why celebrities go on reality TV shows). Perhaps the boys would have been a bit more of a success if they had left with Robbie Williams, a year previously.

With all this in mind, Take That did make a resounding comeback with new material, live shows and a wealth of awards to boot. It appears that Sutherland's opinion is in fact correct.

Johnny Rotten (John Lydon), front man for punk legends, The Sex Pistols openly admitted that "your money" was the reason for their revival back in 1996, but then Lydon has never been afraid of upsetting the masses with his sneering rants. Filthy lucre has never been a more appropriate term.

Perhaps the biggest shock to fans in recent years was the announcement that rock/rap pioneers, Rage Against the Machine were reforming for a number of live shows, apparently in response to the "right wing purgatory" that is the George W. Bush regime. The reason this move was such a shock was due mainly to the band's original split in 2000. Zack de la Rocha, front man for Rage gave the following statement:

"It [their decision making process] is no longer meeting the aspirations of all four of us collectively as a band, and from my perspective, has undermined our artistic and political ideal."

So, for a band that felt that they were not being heard anymore, it seems a little unrealistic that their sole interest lies in the political message of their music. A little extra cash, it would appear, always helps the world of a rock star go round.
About the Author
Samantha is an expert Research and Theatre consultant. Her current interests are UK shortbreaks including LEGOLAND Windsor and Alton Towers.
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