*Images taken from the internet and likely copyrighted
The dreaded Holidays are upon us. With Thanksgiving on the books, we can now officially shift our focus to Christmas. Actually once Halloween hit, the stores shifted their focus to Christmas so I guess we’re behind schedule? Ah, unchecked materialism’s high holy season. The Holidays seem interminable. I have long ago confessed my feelings about the Holiday season, Confessions of an Ex-Grinch: My Christmas Epiphany. I will say, meeting the Rock Chick aka Mrs. Claus has helped turn my Xmas attitude to a more positive place. I will also admit, I’m a huge fan of Thanksgiving. I show up, drink a bunch of wine, eat a bunch of turkey and sit drowsily in front of football games on television. I give thanks knowing not everybody can celebrate like that these days. Other than St. Patrick’s Day, where I go out and drink in the streets with the rabble, you can’t beat Thanksgiving.
The Holidays can be seen, through a gimlet eye, as a mini-family reunion of sorts. On Thanksgiving, we always head over to my parents’ house. I see my brother, an in-law or two, and my aunt and uncle. They’re all great people. It’s a nice, small, controlled group. We all had enough practice veering the conversation away from politics in the Bush era that there aren’t any screaming fits accompanied by thrown plates anymore. And in our defense, that only happened once and it wasn’t in the presence of my Sainted Mother, thank God. Invariably, this small gathering of relatives and occasional stragglers turns the conversation to reunions.
For as long as I can remember, my dad’s family has been having family reunions every August. I’ve never understood the need to get everybody together on an annual basis, but hey, it’s what they do. And then they talk about the reunion for the rest of the fucking year. It’s inescapable. When I was a kid, like 12, every year I was drug out to a little farm house on the outskirts of a small town in Southeastern Kansas that was filled with people. I was a shy kid and going to this reunion was like watching someone give a cat a bath…unpleasant doesn’t cover it. My parents procreated right out of the chute – I was born 9 months after the honeymoon. Nobody else had kids with that kind of alacrity. The family reunions consisted of adults – from their 30’s to their 90s – and children who were infants to kids maybe 5 or 6. And then there was me… I was right in the middle. Not adult enough to get drunk with these semi-strangers, not young enough to play with the kiddos. My brother, the old soul that he is, would sit with the 90 year olds and talk about the heat. For me, it was 12 hours of wandering around a large farmyard, or across the street to a strip-pit (created by coal mining) that was basically a small lake that we weren’t allowed to swim in. The strip-pit’s water glimmered in front of us like the window of a closed ice cream shop. Cool and wonderful in the August heat but you couldn’t get in. I had nothing to do out there.
This has naturally colored my opinion of reunions of any kind in a very negative way. It wasn’t until I discovered that many rock bands have reunions that I realized there could be positive reunions. I’ve never even attended a High School reunion. And believe me, there have been plenty of opportunities, I graduated a long time ago. I grew up in Kansas City, but on the Kansas side, then moved to the Missouri side as an “adult”… It’s like I moved to Paris. I never see any of those people, but I know they’re out there just over the state line. I went by my 10 year reunion only to meet a friend. I thought we’d slip away from the maddening crowd and get a beer only to find out my friend had gone sober on me which was bracing because the guy could really party back in the day. I ended up sitting in a hotel room surrounded – and I mean surrounded – by sleeping children. It’s not that I was upset about it, but when I was that young, children frightened me. I still demure when someone wants me to hold a baby… I fear I’ll break it. I figure I’ve stayed in touch with anybody I wanted to from high school and I don’t need to hit the reunion circuit to compare myself and how I’ve done with everybody else still standing.
The only reunions I’m down for involve rock and roll bands. I was so immersed in music as a teenager and young adult, it felt that these guys (and gals) I was reading about in liner notes and Rolling Stone were like friends of mine. I was emotionally invested in these bands and many of their members. I certainly feel that way about the Stones. I recently saw that the feuding Robinson brothers have reunited the Black Crowes for a tour next summer. I greet that as good news. Motley Crue caused a ruckus when they announced they’re taking back the “no more tours” contract they all signed to much fanfare and are going on tour next year. I say bravo! We need kick ass hard rock in our lives. Many people long for bands to reunite, get back together, record and tour… Wasn’t it Billy Joel who once sang, “Oh baby you got nothing to play on your stereo, “Why don’t the Beatles get back together.””
I have people all the time who say, usually in a bar, “I wish XYZ band would get back together. I never got to see them.” I personally prefer these old bands record a little something new… if the chemistry is there, fuck radio, record an LP. Motley Crue had three or four good, new tracks on ‘The Dirt’ soundtrack. Hell, yes! However, even though I enjoy a band reunion as much as the next rock n roll fan, and certainly much more than a family or high school reunion, I’m pragmatic about it. There are just some bands who are never gonna get back together. While I’d love to see anybody on this list reunite even just to tour, I fear it’s just not gonna happen. I’m here with a wake-up call for you rock n roll dreamers. If any of these bands are on your Rock Reunion Wish List, alas, I’m afraid you’re not gonna see them. I limited this list to bands who have all or at least a majority of their key members still alive… I don’t have the Beatles on here as its only Paul and Ringo now. As much as I love Ringo (Peace and Love), without John Lennon or George Harrison, it ain’t much of a reunion. If a band has all original members on this side of the dirt, one has to wonder why won’t they try and make it work again? Whether it’s egos, money or chemistry gone sour, these bands just aren’t going to stage that reunion.
- Led Zeppelin – Even Pete Townshend said recently, “Robert (Plant) would make a lot of people happy if he’d just agree to a reunion tour.” While true, I think Plant has refused to reunite with Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones for a Zeppelin tour because he fears the massive expectations that come with it. I loved the 2012 Celebration Day concert/album…they’ve still got the fire. Jason Bonham, John’s son filled in admirably. Plant won’t even record with Alison Krauss because they had such wild success he can’t face those expectations. He’s never coming around on this.
- Pink Floyd – After years of slagging David Gilmour, Nick Mason and the late Rick Wright, Roger Waters has pursued a reunion with these guys like a teenage boy pursing a cheerleader on prom night. Gilmour has wisely refused save for a 1 off concert years ago. With Wright gone it’s likely too late. But lets face it – there’s no way Gilmour is going to forgive the hateful shit Waters has said over the years.
- Van Halen – Roth can’t sing anymore. Not that he ever really could. The last time I saw these guys Roth looked like he’d had a lobotomy. Dr Rock once described their live album as sounding like a “pet store burning down.” Eddie and Alex Van Halen have become the Howard Hugheses of rock n roll… who knows wtf those guys are doing. Eddie has even bagged on Michael Anthony, the only nice guy in the band. Hell, I don’t think the the VH brothers would even entertain working with Sammy again. Sad, indeed, sad.
- The Faces – Rod’s management has him focused on money, money, money. It’s a shame he Ronnie Wood, Kenny Jones and while still alive Ian McLagan couldn’t have worked it out. Even with Ian gone, I’d have rather heard a Faces record than this symphonic crap Rod just put out. It’s just too late. Ronnie Lane has been gone a long time too… maybe that’s why Rod refused… but my gut feel is his management was demanding the lion’s share of the money. Sigh.
- No Doubt – I saw these guys in concert with the Rock Chick and fell in love with this band. Great bass, drums and guitar… alas Gwen Stefani is more focused on building her own brand and cosmetic surgery to actually commit to her original band.
- R.E.M. – After recording two great, late period albums these guys called it quits with more of an exhausted sigh than a bang. They seem content to just release archival stuff, and revisiting old albums and the accompanying bonus material. They all still get along and Bill Berry is still knocking around out there. It’s baffling but these guys seem done.
- Rush – The same story for R.E.M. could be told for Rush. The Prog-Rock giants did their last tour and that was it. I read that Neil Peart doesn’t even have a drum kit in his house anymore. Geddy has written a book and is doing a book tour… Alex Lifeson is likely loaded somewhere in Canada. They were great the last time I saw them but as the kids say, “they done.”
- Simon & Garfunkel – I’m not a huge fan of these guys, I actually prefer Simon on his own. But these guys were old friends… I hate too see this kind of animosity near the end.
- The White Stripes – Sure, I love Jack White on his own and with the Raconteurs (LP Review: The Raconteurs’ (Jack White) ‘Help Us Stranger’) but I miss that primal White Stripes’ sound, driven by Meg White’s drum… Come home Meg, all is forgiven. She’s the Greta Garbo of rock, she wants to be alone.
- CSNY – I don’t think anybody will talk to Crosby, let alone work with him. He’s even admitted what an asshole he is. When Young left his wife for Darryl Hannah, Crosby was vocally critical. Hint: Don’t bag on your friends squeeze if you ever wanna see them again… trust me on this one, I learned the hard way.
- Oasis – Despite Liam’s begging Noel will never work with him again. Liam actually questioned the paternity of Noel’s daughter. I have loved Liam’s two solo records but he’s a terribly unpleasant man… don’t ever air guitar in the front row at his show, he’s brutal.
- Jeff Beck & Rod Stewart – For odd reasons Rod turned his back on the Faces but has always been receptive to working with Beck. Jeff even showed up and played a 5 or 6 set encore at Rod’s last Hollywood Bowl show. I’d love to hear these guys tear into some blues, with or without Ronnie Wood on bass. Jeff Beck is just too much of a stubborn asshole to make something substantial happen.
- Fleetwood Mac and Lindsey Buckingham – Stevie Nicks is now the spiritual leader of this band. It would appear that her distaste for Buckingham has spelled his doom with this band. He also recently had surgery that may have damaged his vocal chords… I hope not. He’ll never work with Fleetwood Mac as long as Stevie is alive.
- Guns N Roses – I was delighted Axl finally reconciled with Slash and Duff. I get that Steven addled Adler doesn’t have the chops anymore but I’d sure like to see Izzy Stradlin back in this band. He was one of the key cogs in the songwriting and if they ever want to do a new album, they need him. From what I hear, the evil money is the reason they won’t let Izzy come back. They offered him a salary vs a full cut not the ‘Not In Our Lifetime’ tour.
- Red Hot Chili Peppers & John Frusciante – Come back John, we need you. They wouldn’t even have to fire Josh, they could morph into a 5 piece. I think Josh is a better rhythm player anyway and then Frusciante wouldn’t have to do so much heavy lifting. Never going to happen though. Frusciante, rock and roll’s Vincent Van Gogh is clearly never coming back and it appears the Peppers have moved on albeit in a less rocking direction.
Those are my top 15 bands I’d love to see reunite who, alas, will never get back together? Who are yours? Let me know in the comments section.
16 thoughts on “Rock N Reunions We’d Love To See But, Alas, Will Never Happen”
Credence Clearwater Revival?
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Very, very true. Everybody but Tom Fogerty, rhythm guitar are still around but those guys HATE each other! Good add!
Seasons Greetings as they say…
..and another great read.
So as Jake Blues once said “we’re putting the band back together”
Unfortunately this usually happens 6 months after the singer has died, their greatest hits compilation has snuck into the top ten of whatever chart they happen to qualify for and management see $$$.
It kills me to say it but these days its Brands not Bands.
Its the Robinson Brothers not the Black Crowes..
Would Jeff Lynn sell out Wembley Stadium or Hyde Park? probably not but ELO sure can.
Anyone want to buy tickets to see the Angus Young Band?
And don’t get me started on imposters in Spaceman and Cat make up Grrr.
…and breathe..So rant over.
Refried bands I’ve seen that haven’t fallen into the milking the cash cow category.
Crowded House – Always a great live band that I’ve seen several times.
Neil Finn never sounds better than when he’s playing with the Crowdies, Reformed with Matt Sherrod occupying the drum stool after Paul Hester’s tragic suicide. Word is they’re touring next year but without the multi-instrumentalist Mark Hart. Mitchell Froom has big boots to fill… We’ll see.
Living Colour – Saw them in a local club that usually hosts tribute acts a year or so back..Its that small, and they blew the roof off they were bloody awesome. It was one of those gigs where you don’t know who to watch and your face hurts because you’re smiling too much.
Duran Duran – Went to see them a couple of times on the Astronaut tour when they got back together with Roger Taylor and Andy Fucking Taylor. That guy knows how to Rock and he looked the bollocks. Then he left…
..Unfortunately not to re-reform The Power station as he’s the only one left [RIP Robert, Bernard & Tony]
So the only band that I can come up with who I’d like see on the “Before one of us kicks the Bucket world tour”
Bad English – I’d love to see these guys reboot and go again. Love John Waites voice and wore the cassette out of the first album. Who knows maybe they’re just waiting for a movie soundtrack..
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Brands not bands!! My god that is so true! I thought immediately of Kiss. They’re talking about franchising the costumes and having other musicians play concerts. Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley must be the envy of Mcdonalds.
I thought there were more Black Crowes involved in the reunion – Steve Gorman the drummer was supposed to be involved? Maybe I’m wrong on that.
Love these bands – especially Crowded House, I never saw them. I love Andy Taylor on guitar in Duran Duran, the guy does rock. He played on Rod’s ‘Out of Order’ album way back and he was the best thing on that album. I’m intrigued on Bad English. I hadn’t even thought of those guys. I love John Waite’s voice… “Missing You” was the soundtrack to a messy break up, sigh.
Lastly, I’m so bummed I didn’t use the Joliet Jake “Were getting the band back together” line, it’s marvelous!!
As always thank you for contributing to the dialog.
Oh and forgive me for not saying so earlier… Seasons Greetings to you as well…
just thought of another.. Eat em And Smile band
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Steve Vai on guitar, Billy Sheehan on bass… very good band. I can’t believe Roth drove those guys away too!
I caught VH back in 2012. Roth ran out of gas vocally as the show went on which was no surprise to anyone attending. EVH was on the money as was Alex and Wolf.
Rush went out the right way not saying a calling it a farewell but u knew it. You should check out there Touring history book called Wandering The Face of the Earth which is beyond awesome. If KISS was to release this book it would cost 200 bucks not the 50 that Rush is charging.
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I saw VH on that same 2012 tour. It was a far cry from what I saw on the ‘Fair Warning’ tour long ago, but yes, Eddie and the band sounded great. Roth’s decline was indeed of no surprise.
Couldn’t agree more with your comments on Rush. They went out in a very classy way. I kind of hoped, since they left the door open we might hear from them again. I’ll have to check out Rush’s book… Christmas is coming, perhaps I’ll put it on my list. In terms of Kiss, and what they might charge for something similar, I’ll say what I said to another reader earlier, McDonald’s must envy Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley.
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Holy Moly you caught the VH tour I wish I could have seen. Fair Warning everything about that era. The album/tour it was massive. I remember seeing an VH article in Creem magazine and they had a ton of pics from that tour.
Unbelievable you caught that. If only I had a time machine!
Put that Rush book on your wish list. One of the best books I have seen ever.
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Oddly enough I’ve always said that if I had a time machine I’d only use it to go back and catch famous concerts… Woodstock, Beatles on top of Apple, Hendrix in Golden Gate Park…
VH on ‘Fair Warning’ was my first time seeing them. During the performance of “Mean Streets” when Roth starts the soliloquy “A gun is real easy, in this desperate part of town…” he was on the left side of the stage, on a platform. The stage was dark except for a spotlight on him. When he got to the end where he says, “Lord, shoot that poor boy dooooown,” he fell on the floor and a second spot lit up the platform on stage right and it was Eddie who killed us with the solo. It was the climactic moment of the night… simply awesome!!
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Wow man thats a great story. Thanks for sharing and remembering it as well!
That’s the great thing about concerts past as we all have vivid memories that stick with us years even decades later!
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Well one of your (our) wishes has come true…
..dreamin’ Of some californication…
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Or some Stadium Arcadium!