We all have our guilty pleasures, whether it's the easy-listening rock sounds of The Eagles, the dated '80s pop-hop of Neneh Cherry, or the country cheese of Garth Brooks. But even with such a place in our heart, are any of these bands deserving of a place back on stage in a comeback tour?
Hey, Molly Hatchet, If you're staging a comeback, how about taking a hatchet to that hair?
While the criteria for what makes a bad band reunion varies from group to group, the following acts check off a least one box in the "hack" category. Whether it's the fast track to an easy buck, or a tour in support of their latest Greatest Hits release, these bands just won't stop injecting their brand of has-been tuneage into our lives.
1. Let's talk The Eagles, who have been reuniting, breaking up, suing each other, and openly touring for fuckloads of cash since the '80s. With a hardly-hard hitting, yawn-inducing mellow rock style that inspired this popular Seinfeld vignette, the group has been taking a slow, easy ride to Has-Been City for decades.
Does the double-neck guitar count as one axe or two?
2. Pavement: Anticipation was through the roof for the reunion of these '90s indie alt-stars after nearly a decade. According to our very own Chris Kornelis, he cites the band's 2010 Sasquatch performance as a "glib train wreck," and many other outlets, like NME, report the same disappointing thing.
3. NKOTBSB: Among throngs of screeching female fans, admittedly, I indulged a guilty pleasure when the New Kids + the Backstreet Boys combined boy-band forces on the NKOTBSB tour last year. Brass tacks, New Kids haven't released a good album since they were kids: 1990's Step By Step, and latching on to the Backstreet Boys marginal success in the aughts played out like a pathetically desperate nostalgia tour.
4. NIN/JA: Pretty much the alternative version of NKOTBSB. When Nine Inch Nails teamed up with Jane's Addiction for the NIN/JA tour in 2009 it seemed the end--of the world, that is--had finally come. Somehow, the only thing both bands shared in their heyday--the same spatial place in time--got mixed up in this misconstrued vision of '90s alternative rock.
5. Phish: After a hiatus from 2000 to 2002, and an official break up in 2004, Phish returned in March 2009 after founding member Trey Anastasio got his drug use under control, and the band recovered from exhaustion "on every level"--news that flew in the face of their announcement that they'd never reunite. Sure, it's a boon for Phishheads, but the annoying flip-flopping signals a huge downturn when the group's best albums were in the '90s anyhow.
6 & 7. No Doubt & Bush: These two just go hand in hand. 8 years since Rock Steady, No Doubt hit the road in 2009, with little more than a stash of played-out hits and a Clockwork Orange stage set-up. Gwen Stefani's husband Gavin Rossdale, of UK alternative group Bush, got the band back together last year for a tour in support of 2011's forgettable The Sea of Memories, which would be better if it were only awash on one.
8. The Pixies: The much-revered Pixies have toured sporadically since reuniting after 11 years in 2004, but frontman Black Francis put a wet blanket of lame over things when he claimed reunion shows "ain't about the art anymore," indicating the group's just in it for the cash.
9. The Beach Boys: This "walking corpse reunion," as a Weekly staffer recently put it, functions on the same logic as New Kids, only removed by nearly two generations. If your band name includes the word "Boys" or "Kids," and you are long-removed from such adolescent distinctions, better to let the royalties trickle in than to let your weary body trickle something else on stage (see Rod Stewart, above).
10. Rock Legends Cruise with Kansas, Foreigner, The Marshall Tucker Band, Blue Oyster Cult, Foghat, Molly Hatchet, and more: The reunion cruise is an emerging and disturbing trend on the reunion bandwagon; in this case, it's a tugboat full of groupie grandmas and washed-up rockers, like an antique, southern-fried jukebox set to sea.
Honorable mentions: INXS (upon finding a new singer via reality TV), New York Dolls, and Loverboy. What did I miss? Let me know in the comments below!