While the KISS Rock and Roll Hall of Fame reunion controversy rages on, (In brief: former guitarist Ace Frehley said he was unwilling to perform at the 2014 induction ceremony with newer band members), we here at Elmore decided to take stock of other seemingly-impossible reunions. From irreconcilable differences to bad blood to flat-out brawling, these reunions can only happen in our dreams (for now). Can’t we all just get along?
Pink Floyd has had its share of dysfunction. Syd Barrett, one of the band’s founding members, famously had a breakdown and left the band in 1968, an event that inspired the album Wish You Were Here and partially inspired The Wall. The Wall, however, would prove to be the end for Roger Waters, who declared the band a “spent force,” and quit after its release. He later sued the remaining members for their use of the Pink Floyd name on subsequent albums. The lawsuit failed, but the acrimony remained. Though the band reunited for a show at 2005’s Live 8, and Gilmour later appeared at a few of Rogers’ performances of The Wall, both have since repeatedly stated Pink Floyd is officially dissolved.
The Police, technically, have never broken up. They briefly reunited in 2007 for a world tour after going their separate ways in 1986. There are many theories about the exact reasons for the split, but pretty much everyone is in agreement on one point: it’s all Sting’s fault. His rising star, combined with his takeover of the band’s direction, sowed conflict. Although their 2007 reunion tour netted the band £75 million, relations remained cool, and it’s unlikely to happen again anytime soon.
The Everly Brothers
In general, having a sibling band members does not end very well. After more than a decade of success, by the late 60’s, Don and Phil Everly’s star was fading fast, and they decided to break up in 1973. At their farewell show, Don showed up drunk, stumbled through a few songs and then Phil smashed his guitar (some say over Don’s head). The two only spoke only once over the next decade, at their father’s funeral. They managed to patch things up, reuniting for an album in 1983 and, later, a tour with Simon & Garfunkel. Things were never the same, though, and with Phil’s death in January, the saga of the Everly Brothers came to a close.
Oasis is another example of the dangers of having a brother as a bandmate. Oasis sold more than 70 million albums in their nearly two-decade-long career, but tensions between singer Liam Gallagher and his older brother, guitarist Noel, came to a head in 2009. Before a show in Paris, the two had a knock-down-drag-out fight ending in a smashed guitar and a blog post by Noel announcing his departure from the band. Although the two reportedly have ended the feud as of January, but there are no plans for a reunion, and, even if it did happen, Elmore bets it wouldn’t end well.
The Smashing Pumpkins’ breakup might be one of the messiest of all time, involving drugs, name-calling and general nastiness. Frontman Billy Corgan has a reputation for being a tad egotistical, and certainly did not shy away from the spotlight. Add in rampant heroin abuse, which resulted in the death of touring keyboardist Jonathan Melovin and the expulsion of drummer Jimmy Chamberlain and bassist D’Arcy Wretsky. Corgan later rubbed salt on the wounds by accusing Wretsky of “being a mean-spirited drug addict.” The band officially broke up in 2000, but Corgan continues to tour and record with the “Smashing Pumpkins,” though he’s the only original member left.
It’s never a good sign when your band’s breakup is news to your bandmates. Such was the case in 1991, when David Byrne officially announced the end of the Talking Heads to the Los Angeles Times. The other band members continued on, releasing a 1996 album called No Talking, Just Heads, despite Byrne suing unsuccessfully to block the album’s release. Since then, the band played three songs together for their 2002 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, but Byrne has quashed all hope of a reunion, telling Australian newspaper the Age in 2004, “The only reason to get back together would be to do one of those ‘sound how you used to sound’ tours. And who wants to do that?”
Sometimes, a band splits up before they have a chance to brawl or do irreparable harm to their careers or images. The Smiths, who only were a band for five very productive years, are an example of this. Tensions between guitarist Johnny Marr and singer Morrissey led to the band’s demise in 1987, at the height of their popularity. “I thought the Smiths would run for at least thirty albums,” Morrissey wrote in his autobiography, Autobiography. Marr had other ideas. When asked about a Smiths reunion, he told Rolling Stone, “…so many other things would have to be fixed and we’re just too different to get them fixed, it appears. Add in a bitter court battle about royalties, and the chances of a reunion are nil. “I would rather eat my own testicles than reform The Smiths,” Morrissey said.