As 2019 comes to a close, many will remember it as the year of nostalgic rock and roll reunions. Three massive bands – Mötley Crüe, Rage Against The Machine and My Chemical Romance all unveiled their comebacks, with stadium tours, cautious festival dates and tantalising rumours of world tours sweeping the web.
However – despite all the excitement at the possibility of belting out ‘Bulls On Parade’ with all four members of Rage present, it’s worth asking – where were these bands when they called time on their careers in the first place, and what can we expect, both in performance quality and longevity?
We took some time to look at the three acts and check out where they were when they left us in the first place.
When The Crüe hung up the (cowboy) boots in 2015 and signed their apparently legally binding contract to never tour again (heh), they hadn’t released any new music in seven years and were coming off a four-year activity hiatus.
That being said, their last studio LP Saints Of Los Angeles, a lyrically cringey throwback to the good ol’ powder sniffin’ days of the mid-’80s, managed to recapture some of the bite and danger heard on earlier classics ‘Dr Feelgood’ and ‘Shout At The Devil’.
Despite this, one couldn’t help but notice how awful Vince Neil sounded on the band’s farewell tour, with the singer barely coming within a hair’s width of hitting some of the notes pumped out on classics ‘Kickstart My Heart’ and ‘Girls. Girls, Girls’.
Still, a ‘farewell’ tour that touted some of the most spectacular pyro seen in arenas, as well as a freaking drum solo on a rollercoaster, proved that the band had lost none of their live pizzazz that made them such a hit.
Watch: Here’s hoping this isn’t what Vince Neil sounds like on the reunion tour
When the band announced their reunion earlier this year, they cited the “whole new generation of Crüeheads… relentlessly demanding for the band to come back together”, fuelled by their divisive biopic The Dirt. Mötley Crüe might be a band with a tendency to exaggerate their own relevance to modern rock, but when they left us there was certainly a sense that there was a lot of love left to give from both fans and the band.
They might be a bit more reflective than party focused in 2019, but a kickstarted Crüe certainly isn’t a bad thing in the new year. Don’t expect any free tickets to shows, though.
Rage Against The Machine
To be fair, most members of the celebrated politically charged rock icons have never really stopped raging – it’s all been dependant on whether singer Zack De La Rocha has been up for the fight.
The band had a checkered history in the ’00s, first breaking up after the 2000 MTV video awards, before reuniting in 2005, and playing sporadically whilst keeping their feet on the ground with protestors at numerous political rallies and events throughout the ’00s and into the start of the current decade.
After their legendary performance at Finsbury Park in 2010, however, things began to slow down with the band withdrawing from any questions about the possibility of new material (their last LP Renegades dropped post-breakup in 2000).
While the lack of new material from the band has been frustrating, the Prophets of Rage project, which featured all members bar De La Rocha, dropped the excellent self-titled album before calling it a day, with rappers B-Real and Chuck D taking on vocal duties.
The record shows that the group still have plenty of creative fuel in the tank, and De La Rocha’s own post-Rage venture One Day As A Lion is evidence that he’s lost none of his lyrical abilities.
The time for new RATM has never been better, given the current political climate, and with all members keeping their musical chops flowing, we doubt they’ve lost any of their sparks.
Check out the passion of a live RATM show below
My Chemical Romance
The hysteria when My Chem announced their return earlier this year was unprecedented, even by their standards. The band’s return show in LA, set to go down this weekend, sold out in a mere three minutes, while the announcement of the band headlining our very own Download Festival sent the internet into a frenzy.
But while there’s no denying the genius of albums Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge and the operatic The Black Parade, the 2010 mixup of Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, while proving to be a smash hit with critics, was a massive departure from the emo image the band had so confidently owned on albums previously.
Not that this is a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination – to hear the band maturing and changing their sound is always refreshing, and as quoted by AllMusic: “There’s no emo bloodletting but for most listeners, it’s crystallised fun.”
My Chem certainly wrote some smash hits in the ’00s, but they kicked off the 10’s by throwing out the rulebook. Expect the unexpected from these return shows – they might not be as nostalgic as many old MySpace and Tumblr users might be hoping.