Reunions? Good or bad?
I've worked with my fare share of 'come back' bands....Little Angels, Gun, Fastway, Tygers Of Pan Tang, even Thunder have split up twice, yet they are still going strong. Stronger than ever in fact...
The current big reunion news is of course Guns n' Roses or rather Slash, Axl and Duff. I can't help but feel like this is a missed opportunity. How great would it have been to see the original five guys back together? Or even Matt and Gilby in place of Izzy and Steven. It looks as though it's going to be a couple of guys that were in Axl's version of the band. While, I'm sure they are great players, Richard Fortus on guitar in particular (he also looks quite a bit like Izzy), it's not the original guys but does that matter?
In short, to the majority of the general public, no it doesn't. A lot of the press for the reunion has particularly focused on Axl and Slash being back together while Duff barely gets a mention. To the general public and the casual fans (who will be the ones making this reunion such a big success) the return of Slash and Axl on stage together is all that matters. The hardcore fans that want to see Slash, Axl, Duff, Izzy and Steven are, in reality, the minority.
A similar thing happened with the recent Van Halen reunion. Dave, Eddie and Alex reunited, but instead of reinstating Michael Anthony on bass they opted for Eddie's son Wolfgang, denying the fans that have followed them since the early days one last chance to see the original line up. Mikey's backing vocals were a very important part of the sound of those early VH records. Did people care? The fans on the message boards and social media were up in arms, but they still sold just as many concert tickets as they would have if Mikey was there, so I guess it didn't realty make a difference.
So, with Guns n' Roses is it too little too late? Certainly with Van Halen, David Lee Roth received a lot of criticism for his vocal performances. Those that have seen Axl in recent years can testify that he is not the same vocalist that he once was. Will it ruin the legend to see Axl back with those guys, screeching his was through 'Sweet Child O'Mine' or will people just be glad to see them together!? Probably a bit of both. Everyone that attends Coachella with undoubtedly claim that it was the best gig of their lives. The YouTube footage and following user comments will probably say otherwise. It's easy to get caught up in the excitement, believing it's the greatest show ever, only to get home to watch the same show online and have a completely different experience. And that's ok. At the end of the day you can't beat experiencing it in the flesh! A dodgy YouTube video filmed from the moshpit on someone's mobile phone will never, and should never, compare.
Will Slash, Axl and Duff be able to recreate the old magic? Who knows, but the real questions is how long will it last before it all implodes and Slash and Axl are arch enemies again? One show? A week? A year? Time will tell....
One of the funniest performances that I have ever witnessed was from Baton Rough at Firefest Festival in 2013. They had reformed for the show, but it was clear that the rest of the band did not get on with the singer, Kelly Keeling. At one point the guitarist drew a line on the stage with his foot and instructed the singer to stay away from him and not to cross it. You had to be there, but it really felt like we were watching Spinal Tap. I can imagine that after a few weeks on the road, Slash and Axl might end up feeling the same way, judging by their turbulent relationship in the past!
Let's not be all pessimistic though! Good things can come from reunions.
As previously stated Thunder are currently on a career high having made one of their best records to date in Wonder Days, which charted in the UK Top 10 album charts. The album's success led to the band headlining arenas for the first time including Wembley next month. They seem to be more popular than they have ever been and they are just as good a band, if not better, than they ever were. There's still plenty more to come from these guys... www.thunderonline.com
Following the tragic death of drummer Michael Lee, Little Angels reunited in 2012 a whole 18 years after they played their last show together at the Royal Albert Hall. While no new music was made, a successful tour and appearances at Download and the Isle Of Wight festivals led to the band heading back into hibernation. However, the real achievement of this reunion was that it inspired guitarist Bruce John Dickinson to play again. He hadn't picked up a guitar for 12 years. He eventually came around to the idea of doing the reunion shows and found himself enjoying it more than ever.
Colour Of Noise is Bruce's new band! They have been on the road in the UK and Europe with Thunder and The Dead Daisies and will head out with Toseland next year! The excellent debut album is available now at www.colourofnoiseofficial.com
Fastway returned to the studio and the live circuit a few years ago. Only 'Fast' Eddie Clarke (formerly of Motörhead) remained from the glory days but with Toby Jepson on vocals and producing, they delivered a fantastic record in 'Dog Eat Dog'. They've been quiet for a little while now but rumblings are that Eddie might be getting itchy fingers again... www.fastwayofficial.com
Another band constantly out on the road after reforming (over ten years ago now), are 70's new wave of British heavy metal legends, Tygers Of Pan Tang. Again, only one original member remains (Robb Wier), but he has assembled a group of musicians that perform the classic material as it was meant be heard. They are also keeping the Tygers flag flying with new material on a regular basis. www.tygersofpantang.com
Scottish rockers Gun are also back on the scene with great new albums and tours, thanks to the Gizzi brothers. Dante switched from bass to lead vocals as original singer Mark Rankin had no interest in returning. He has really stepped up to the plate and has developed into a killer front man!
Reunions...good or bad?
Well, it depends...
If it's done well and captures that original magic then why not?! Does it matter if it's not all of the original members?
To the hardcore fans, for sure. For the majority, not really.
However, if it's a shadow of former glory or, in some cases even embarrassing, maybe it would have been better left in the youthful memories of the aging rockers....(yeah, that's you and me)
The Thin Getting Himself Back Together One