There’s an old saying that I just made up. It goes: bandmates, you can’t live with them, you can’t be in a band without them. It’s a bit of a tautology, but don’t look at me; I didn’t make it up.
Seriously though folks, the longevity of bands is akin to relationships borne out of The Bachelor: they’re going to break up; it’s just a question of when.
The good news for fans is that reunions are almost as inevitable. Heck (pardon my language), if Guns N’ Roses can put aside their differences and get back together, there’s hope for everyone.
I’ve made a list of groups that no longer tour, and set the odds that they might come back together to give us die-hards one last show or album. Some of it might be wishful thinking, but the rock gods favor the bold. So consider this my part in making these reunions happen before we – or more likely they – die.
Band Reunion Odds
Tangerine Dream: 2/3
Edgar Froese was considered the creative soul of the legendary electronic-infused rock band Tangerine Dream. When he passed away a couple of years ago, his son Jerome Froese said that Tangerine Dream also died.
However, they did a farewell tour in 2014 and there is a bit of buzz regarding the group playing a show in Poland called The Quantum Years – In Honor of Edgar Froese. It’s not known if this one-off gig will spark another small tour, but we can hope. It would be cool to hear what a new Tangerine Dream album would sound like because their retro, futuristic synth sound would fit right in with today’s electronica scene.
The Smashing Pumpkins: 9/11
After their breakup, Smashing Pumpkins became Billy Corgan and a bunch of people we don’t care about. People want to see D’arcy Wretzky, Jimmy Chamberlin, and James Iha again. Let’s get back to the 90s angst of Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.
The recording of Siamese Dream was actually the beginning of the end for the band. Drug addictions, in-fighting, and nervous breakdowns eventually led to the Pumpkins being smashed for good. Or so everyone thought …
Fast forward to March 2016 when Corgan brought Iha and Chamberlain back for a small show in L.A. Corgan has gone on record and said that he is open to bringing back all original members. That sounds like an invitation to me.
The White Stripes: 9/11
Before Jack White’s successful solo career, he was one half of the The White Stripes (maybe you’ve heard of them?) with his ex-wife, Meg. The duo knocked out some big hits and revolutionized modern rock. Their live shows were epic but unfortunately stage fright and anxiety got the best of Meg and they had to stop performing together. At some point, Meg’s nerves will settle and we’ll see The White Stripes ride again, even if it’s just for a festival or two.
Back in 2009, the Gallagher brothers finally hit their peak, not musically, but in brotherly hatred. They proclaimed that Oasis was done for good. You could hear things starting to unravel in their music as their later albums never really captured the magic of their 90s classics.
But a Gallagher is as unpredictable as the wind. It’s not crazy to think the mercurial bros will come back together. Coachella, anyone?
Years ago, there was a lot of talk of a Genesis reunion with Peter Gabriel (lead singer 1967-1975) as the lead, but secret talks broke off when Gabriel got cold feet. That led to drummer Phil Collins (lead singer 1976-1993) taking on lead-singer duties. Although Gabriel is still cold on the idea of coming back, Collins has come out of retirement to release a new solo album and hasn’t ruled out bringing the band back together after that. Collins already joined Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford on an impressive (though Gabriel-less) reunion tour in 2007.
Van Halen: 3/2
The reunion rumors are heating up on the Van Halen front. It appears Sammy Hagar sent pleasantries to Eddie Van Halen on Twitter, which is a start, as they haven’t spoken offline since 2004. That said, Hagar claims that he’s just playing nice with no strings attached. With the back-to-back deaths of friends David Bowie and Glenn Frey, Hagar feels life is too short to have enemies. But he’s also said that Eddie and Alex Van Halen would need to reach out to him if the band is going to reunite.
Led Zeppelin: 13/7
They teased us in 2007 and brought the legendary band back together for a reunion show at London’s O2 Arena. It was an elaborate stage show that got great reviews, and the world was ready for the full pull of a reunion tour!
But as soon as that show was over, they broke up once again. Robert Plant had done a collaborative album with Alison Krauss that blew up big-time during rehearsal for the reunion show. That lead to Plant touring with Krauss. The remaining members considered performing without Plant, but cooler heads prevailed and sadly the Zeppelin reunion lasted a mere two hours. Many still cling to the hope that eventually they will give us one last world tour.
Talking Heads: 3/1
Lead singer David Byrne was an apparent control freak who caused some bad blood that eventually cracked Talking Heads. They were loved by millions for their rock, funk, and new wave-infused music back in the 1980s. Over the last few weeks, there have been rumblings of a new album. Unfortunately the gossip is false. Byrne is the only person holding up a reunion, but that’s a massive impediment. Will he bury the hatchet with the other Heads? I’d like to see it “Once in a Lifetime.”
The Sex Pistols: 17/3
The Sex Pistols broke up back in 1978; Johnny Rotten (John Lyndon) left the band due to Sid Vicious’s rampant drug use and unpredictable behavior. In 1979, Sid was found dead from a heroin overdose.
Although the band only lasted two and a half years, they were able to produce four singles and one studio album, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols. To this day, they are considered one of the most influential punk acts of all time.
In 1996, Rotten and three of the other original members (Steve Jones, Paul Cook and Glen Matlock) reunited for the Filthy Lucre Tour. Do they have another reunion in them?
Creedence Clearwater Revival: 9/1
CCR has an catalogue of music that is chock-full of hits. They were together from 1967 to 1972 until John Fogerty got a little too controlling which bothered the rest of the band. The creative differences led to a great deal of tension which, coupled with a horrendous record contract, caused the band’s breakup.
Fogerty has gone on record saying that he would be open for a reunion tour, but it doesn’t help when surviving band members are suing each other over the use of the band’s name. Bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford formed a new band called Creedence Clearwater Revisited and have been touring. But it’s not CCR without Fogerty.
(Photo Credit: djdroga [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)