Wednesday, August 19, 2009
When should bands split up?
Question: Here's one ive always wondered, when is it the best time do you feel for a band to call it quits and split up? Bands like sleep, minor threat, Botch, amebix, HUM etc have actually grown in popularity because they split up at the right time. would you or have you ever recomended to a band that it was in their best interests to call time on the band rather than keep on making albums that are actually damaging their legacy eg sepultura. From:
Answer:Thanks for this interesting question.Popularity is indeed cyclical, but in over 2 decades of working with hundreds of bands, I've never known a band ever have that level of self-awareness to actually have the balls to call it quits purely for reasons like "we should split up so we do not ruin our legacy".Deep down, musicians form bands for reasons of ambition, ego and vanity and its hard to switch those traits off at will.Many simply run out of steam.
Most bands split up for more mundane reasons- like being dropped from a lucrative major deal (like Sleep, pictured) key members leaving, the scene dying on its arse which is usually signalled by fans deserting them at gigs and a general air of lack of interest.Bands soon get the message they have overstayed their welcome when the gig attendance drops back from say, thousands in their pomp, down to just single figures.These are the most common reasons bands split, aside from just getting too old.
Many people at the time in 1990 suggested Napalm Death should have split up after Lee and Bill left.Losing a singer and guitarist would cause most bands to fold, but the resourcefulness of Mick and Shane meant they recruited 2 Americans and employed their roadie Barney as new singer, so Napalm Death carried on regardless.I for one was glad they did.
It is strange that there are so many successful comebacks going on.The lucrative festival circuit and the serious money to be made is luring a lot of 90's and 80's bands back, the ones who missed the boom feel a little cheated by the quick of the calendar. The internet since the late 90's has directly spawned the explosion in music appreciation/ownership and file sharing. Long dead bands like Carcass have found out that their glorious past albums and folklore has been continually circulating and passed around for a decade or more- making new fans every time. They figure why not cash on the new found fanbase-I certainly don't blame them.
I do think its significant that in the case of say Celtic frost or Sleep the re-unions only lasted one tour or a few shows before imploding again. Who knows how long the other re-activated bands can survive for, second time round?