Ballywho: State of the Reunion
  • THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2012

  • Posted by: Matt Davis

Buildup, Hoopla, Fanfare, Hype? How about Ballyhoo? Better yet, BallyWHO? My name is Matt. I love music just like you do. It affects my very being, my soul if you will. I love talking about music and listening to others share their opinions. I hope this new column, Ballywho, will become an informal sounding board. A haven for news, rumors and dreams. A place where the written word will help sum up our perceptions and expand our musical prowess.

In the last year we have seen an overabundance of bands reuniting for anniversaries, new albums and career defining tours. I have a certain opinion regarding these resurrections and have many questions that I would like to pose to all of you. Should they happen? Can they ever be successful? With that in mind, what would define a successful reunion for you? I've racked the brains of friends and colleagues looking for a concise answer and clearly that clarity will not be reached. That said, I'd like to outline a few thoughts that contribute to my own opinion.

I might as well say it outright, I'm not a fan of reunions. Though, admittedly I'm always hopeful to be proven wrong. My opinion is that bands run their natural course which does not include a redo. When a band breaks up, it's probably for the right reasons-- in-band fighting, drug use, excessive partying, the list goes on. I believe once the "magic" fizzles out and a band has to break up, they will not get that back. No amount of nostalgia will change that. Put it this way, there are so many bands that I wish I had seen back when they were changing the world with their sound but to see these same bands now after they went on to side projects, new bands or having kids (true deal breaker) would never be the same. A great example of this would be the new reformed 90s game changers At The Drive In and Refused. Both bands were instrumental in formulating aggressive post punk that gave the world a sound they hadn't really heard before. God how I wish I had seen them then. I wish I had seen ATDI right after I picked Relationship of Command. To see Cedric and the boys tear up a stage in a sweaty, hairy fury would have been life-altering. The thing is, I didn't. It won't be the same now. The sonic hallucinations of the Mars Volta will no doubt infiltrate the raw explosive power that ATDI once was. Now maybe this won't be a bad thing and we'll be left with a new sound that will once again redefine music. But that will not be the At The Drive In that left us 10 years ago. They will be connected only in name. I suppose the fans at Coachella will be able to tell the world if At The Drive In has risen from the ashes or fallen victim to the same fate of 99% of all other reunions... mediocrity. For evidence of this, see Soundgarden, arguably the Get Up Kids (though it pains me), Blink-182, Van Halen (my god), we can keep going if you want...

Despite my rantings, I am a true optimist, waiting to be impressed by a band capturing a fleeting moment when they rocked people to the core. I hope At The Drive In or Refused or Ben Folds Five can change my mind. So what do you think? Do reunions work? Are they normally just for the money? Do they make you yearn for a better time when the music was new and exciting or is it enough for the reunion to make you revisit an album that changed your perception forever?









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