Opinion: Why I refuse to be too cynical about reunions

If 2012 is the last year we have on this planet, then at least the musicians are helping us go out with a bang. Over the past few days a spate of reunions have been announced, including the ‘always rumoured, never happening’ reformations of At the Drive In and Refused.

To many, this news is no more significant than the miserable fart of an asthmatic gnat among the countryside. But it has been enough to send a fair few into frenzied fits of incomprehensible tweets and boisterous Facebook statuses, such is the way this generation shares its most thrilling moments.

There is, however, often a degree of cynicism to these reformations. Those who were lucky enough to have been conceived at the right time to witness the bands first time round sneer at those excited of the prospect of seeing that which they thought they never would.

It’s exacerbated in the case of the two bands mentioned previously, because the members of these bands have sneered themselves at the idea of revisiting the past. At the Drive In all fell out, as did the members of Refused. Heck, any band on the reunion circuit these days has probably had to spend a fair bit of that paycheque to sit on a couch with a therapist and make nice before hitting the road.

And there’s another criticism – the lure of money. When I finally got round to seeing Rage Against the Machine in 2010 (after having just missed them the first time round due to youthful naivety and parents who decided to wait a while before burdening themselves with a child) it was a great experience, but one tinged with hollowness. A bit like finally getting it on with the class hottie… but at a school reunion 40 years later, after she lost both legs in an accident with industrial machinery.

But I couldn’t answer that criticism any better than Radio 1 DJ Daniel P Carter has done, in a reactionary piece for Rock Sound. “I would rather watch a bunch of 30 year-old guys play some awesome songs they wrote than see a bunch of 20 year-old guys play bad rip-offs of those same songs.”

And that’s why – despite a nagging doubt that it just won’t be the same as it was 10 years ago – I’m still excited about the reunions of At the Drive In and Refused. We’ve all seen enough bands acting like these seminal bands. But nobody bests the originals, even if they are rapidly approaching middle age.


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