Back for good
Nowadays when bands split, it’s only a matter of time before they’re back.
getting the old gang back together.
First, present it as unfinished business. Take That are the most successful reuniters of our times because they’ve sold each revival as a new chapter, not an unnecessary sequel. Gary Barlow and Robbie Williams’s Shame is probably the most indulgent piece of self-mythologising to hit the top five since The Ballad Of John And Yoko, but they know the story is as important right now as the music.
Second, understand what you mean to people. Barlow and company’s initial return was so triumphant because they knew their fans remembered them as a lost first love and made music that was bittersweet and grownup – the pop equivalent of an old flame friending you on Facebook. If, like the Spice Girls, they had jumped into a reunion pretending nothing had changed it would have been a disaster.
You should also be clear about what kind of reunion it’s going to be. The Velvets disappointed me partly because I expected more improvisation and risk-taking from them, and I got a canter through the hits. My Bloody Valentine played nothing but old material, too, but it was obvious that’s what they’d be doing (and loud enough not to matter). Serial reformers Wire treat every comeback as a fresh phase of their project, setting themselves fascinating new challenges each time.
Not everyone can be Wire, but you can at