Musical Rant: The Let Down of Band Reunions

Well, it’s finally here. The news is out, pre-sales started, and scalpers are ready. Guns N Roses are officially hitting the road this year. But not just a bloated Axl Rose with new young replacements to be his backing band. It’s Rose and most of the original members, minus Izzy Stradlin. Everyone is freaking out with excitement at the thought of catching the original bad boys performing together once again. But it seems like people are forgetting something. This is Axl Rose we’re talking about.

How many concerts has this guy walked out on or not showed up for? He infamously got the group banned from St. Louis because security didn’t deal with a guy who was taking photos of him. He’s known for his random rants and hissy fits as if anything can set him off. And he’s notoriously late. In 2010, the band got on stage an hour late causing them to play til 2AM. The crowd couldn’t take anymore and started walking out. Personally, I don’t think this reunion stands a chance. There’s a reason the band moved away from Rose in the first place. And it already got off to a rocky start with Rose canceling his appearance on Jimmy Kimmel.

This got me thinking about band reunions in general and I came to one conclusion: they suck. Sure, some of them are pretty successful, like Refused or Black Sabbath. But most of them are nothing but disappointing ventures that produce lackluster new material. Just look at Van Halen. It took two attempts to reunite them with David Lee Roth before it finally worked out. Even then their latest output hasn’t been great. And how about Blink-182? They set fans’ hope high with a reunion, new album, and tour. It looked like things were looking up until the band imploded. Now, they’re trying again with a new guy, but that’s a rant for another day.

When there’s bad blood between band members who then try to reunite are like that one friend you have. You guys used to hang out and talk, but somewhere along the line you stopped contacting them. Then one day you’re bored, they pop into your head, and you contact them out of the blue. And then you remember why you guys aren’t friends anymore. It seems when a lot of bad blood exist between bands there’s no amount of money that can heal those wounds. If it’s not a band trying to put their hatred aside for yet another reunion, it’s a band who haven’t done anything together in a while and release a new album. And man, is it disappointing.

This is another reason band reunions suck. They never seem to live up to expectations. Maybe it’s the fans putting too much stock into it. Maybe the band doesn’t work well together anymore. For one reason or another usually the new output is nowhere near as good as their past work. As I said before there are exceptions, but how about No Doubt? Gwen Stefani returned to the band in 2012, more than 10 years since their last album, and they released Push and Shove. It performed decently on the charts, but the album was overall unmemorable. Now, Stefani is out of the band, maybe. Some bands just can’t get it together after being apart for a considerable length of time. It seems something is lost when you don’t work with someone for over ten years.

I get it. Your favorite band getting back together is exciting and brings back so many good memories. You want those moments and good times back, but no matter how good something is the reformed band won’t live up to your expectations. The music won’t be as good, the vibe will be different, or they just won’t sound the same. No matter what you think, something is going to be different and chances are you’re going to hate it. But I guess you can’t blame a band for trying to recapture that old spark. After all, it’s worked out quite well for other bands, like Megadeth. Maybe we as fans need to remember when we hear a band is getting back together, it’s not gonna be perfect and it may just not work out at all. So don’t get those expectations up too high when buying those Guns N Roses tickets.

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