Crap 90’s bands reforming to steal your money? I blame Take That…

Posted on March 11, 2009

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“I blame Take That” is fast becoming a very versatile phrase in today’s vernacular. Admittedly it’s most common place of use is in the pub, but almost any situation can be blamed on Britain’s favourite purveyors of boy band schmaltz. Unfortunately unable to perform in the bedroom? I blame Take That. Uniformly awful couple of weeks at work/ University/ begging on the street corner? I blame Take That. Fell over whilst dancing like a tit when you should have known better? I blame Take That. See? The applications are varied, numerous and almost as hilariously puerile as “Your mother…” jokes

Unfortunately for the U.K and the United States of America however, there is one phenomena that Gary Barlow, Mark Owen and the other two can genuinely be blamed for, and that’s the sudden and almost unprecedented resurrection of bands from the 90’s, many of whom should have clearly been buried in deeper graves.

As if seeing Robbie Williams’ old mates appearing on every flagship ITV possible at least twice a year as well as advertising Marks & Spencer wasn’t bad enough, we’re now seeing a glut of other bands following their lead. If that wasn’t bad enough most of these bands tour for a year or so without doing anything of actual creative merit, instead touring as a way of topping up a bank account that has emptied faster than the average student loan. In the past few weeks alone we’ve had tired punk-pop god fathers Blink 182, Nu-metal founders and rock legends Faith No More and, er, Limp Bizkit who I’m struggling to find a suitable adjective for.

Some of these bands broke up due to the very creative tension that made them great. Faith No More are such a band, as Mike Patton (the band’s second and most renowned vocalist) is notoriously hard to get along with and by the time the band called it a day in 1998, pretty much every body hated each other, but at least they hadn’t gone out with a whimper.

The same cannot be said for Blink 182, who after a lacklustre final album and shambolic U.K tour finally called it a day in 2005 to start separate bands. Sadly though, both +44 (Hoppus’ and Barker’s band) and Angels and Airwaves (DeLonge’s overblown attempt at stadium rock) were less than inspiring and so the band have taken the easy money route to reclaiming their previous exposure, success and arena filling capabilities. The same can be said for influential indie band The Pixies who after never achieving a massive level of fame, reformed several times purely to tour and in their own words, to make money. The Pogues are also guilty of the same attitude, although Shane Macgowan is hardly capable of writing as poetically as he could twenty years. When a band reforms without writing new material and tours every year, an inevitable sense of hollow enjoyment follows them. In all likelihood they still hate each other and won’t or can’t be placed together to make new music. Each time you go to one of these reformation shows that hollow feeling grows until you decide to preserve the image of the band that you have in your head and decide not to go to the shows anymore. Its a sad moment and one made even worse by the thought that if they did make new music it could be so awful or far removed from their work years ago that the band will end up suffering an even slower and lowlier death than that started by the incessant touring.

Of course not all bands end up sharing this depressing fate. The Wildhearts have split-up and reformed several times and are now a stable line-up that are once more a force to be reckoned with on stage and in the studio, Iron Maiden regrouped with their “golden age” vocalist and guitarist (Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith) and have since become a bigger and better band then they were in the 80’s.

It’s important to remember however, that these are a few positive examples on the hard rock and metal scene, where fans are much less likely to tolerate a band touring for the royalties and t-shirt sales. The real atrocities take place in the realms of mainstream pop. By some curious phenomenon, all the wretched Smash Hits fodder from the 90’s have resurfaced in the past few years to varying degrees of success. East 17, Boyzone, The Backstreet Boys, and most unforgivably, The Spice Girls.

A real horror show this tour, what with Victoria Beckham pouting away whilst simultaneously letting go of any delusions she held about being a recording artist, Scary Spice trying to scrape together some dosh to take Eddie Murphy to court for a paternity test and Geri Halliwell being, well, Geri Halliwell. Scary stuff. All of this was made worse by the simmering animosity that still existed and the fact the band made it known they were just doing the one tour, just stopping short of shouting “stand and deliver!” at their fans. Of course such soul sapping spectacle would never have happened without the groundwork being paved for them by one band, fivelads who formed band in Manchester, Take That. I blame them for inflicting the Spice Girls on the world for a second time round. Them and Robbie Williams. You should too.

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