Ten Bands From The '90s That Haven't Reunited
Mark Ibold, still happier about the Pavement reunion than you are
So Chavez is reuniting, or whatever you want to call it. A Pavement reunion just dominated most of last week in New York City. Before that, it was a never-dissolved-but-certainly-largely-inactive Superchunk. In the past few years, we've seen tours and new albums from a resurgent Dinosaur Jr., My Bloody Valentine, the Pixies, Faith No More, and Mission of Burma. Even bands you wouldn't imagine ever reuniting—Hoover, Universal Order of Armageddon, Swing Kids, Cap'n Jazz, Swans, Floor, Jawbox, Rorschach—have done one-offs or full-blown tours. As SOTC pal Jessica Hopper challenged Sasha Frere-Jones on Twitter last night: "Can you name one band from 1993-99 that is not presently reuniting?" Well, yes. Below, a list of the ten '90s bands we'd most like to see reunite, plus a whole lot of honorable mentions. Most of these probably won't happen. But we can always dream, right?
Is there any '90s band that enjoys more widespread goodwill than Jawbreaker at this point? The culture wars that attended the Bay Area trio's turbulent sell-out/signing to Geffen and the squeaky clean record that resulted, Dear You, are ancient history at this point—long since fought and lost. All that remains are gauzy fond memories of an aphorism-sprouting Blake Schwarzenbach—now happily ensconced in Brooklyn, playing low-key shows with forgetters—and a bunch of Jawbreaker-related tattoos people can't quite bring themselves to remove. If you thought a lot of people came out of the woodwork to proclaim their love of Superchunk when that band came through NYC a few weeks back, just wait till these guys do it. Likelihood of Reunion: Pretty good. They apparently did it already, circa 2008, when they all got together to work on a still-pending documentary, but the only people in the room were the three musicians in the band. It may not take much more than getting them all in the same room again.
Neutral Milk Hotel
It's hard to even picture the music-blog meltdown if this ever actually happens: Jeff Mangum, our very own J.D. Salinger, coming down from whatever metaphorical/possibly literal mountain he's been living on for the past decade-plus to reclaim the mantle of NMH's aggressively deified In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, a surrealist maelstrom of folk, punk, Balkan horns, and mournful singing saws still worshipped with near-biblical fervor (fitting, given the whole "I love you Jesus Christ" thing) despite his near-total disappearing act since. Even Mangum's brief solo appearance at Le Poisson Rouge last year triggered, like, open weeping. The mind reels. Likelihood of Reunion: No idea what anyone could offer Mangum now that he hasn't already turned down. Never say never, but in the interim, find something else to do with your life.
Drive Like Jehu
This one seems like it should have happened already. When the San Diego feedback kings broke up, around 1995, it was for no apparent reason, and three out of four members continued to play music—though bassist Mike Kennedy left the game to become a chemist, drummer Mark Trombino went on to work as a producer, cashing checks from everyone from Jimmy Eat World to Blink-182, and twin guitarists/frontmen Rick Froberg and John Reis formed Hot Snakes, a band they broke up only a few years ago (though they just reunited for an impromptu show). People always hail them as post-hardcore pioneers but has any band come close to matching them since? Refused? This show would be incredible. Likelihood of Reunion: If it never happened in the Hot Snakes days, who knows why it would happen now.
Yesssssssss. In their prime, Cincinnati's Afghan Whigs were a fearsome, lurid, uncouth beast, slowly evolving from grimy Sub Pop upstarts to light-MTV-exposure alt-rock aspirants to, by the time of their 1998 swan song 1965, lascivious garage-funk titans dabbling in blazing soul horns, mournful string sections, and all manner of lyrical lasciviousness thanks to stupendously sleazy frontman Greg Dulli, who's kept at it via his Twilight Singers and Gutter Twins projects since, but belongs back onstage sneering "Got you where I want you, motherfucker" as a jet engine of lewd derision churns behind him. Their reunion shows would be three hours apiece and require three days of bed rest afterward. Likelihood of Reunion: Threatened for years, and nobody seems to hate each other. Don't tell me Pavement's re-deification didn't jar them a little bit.
No Age, meet your makers. The original atmospheric, whimpering, whispering hardcore band, Lync played pretty much every song like it was on the verge of falling apart. Most tracks do—part of the appeal. Their fractured, cracked melodies predicted everything from the Promise Ring to huge sections of the contemporary Smell scene out in LA. If you love them, you have to think they're never coming back (vocalist/guitarist Sam Jayne seems pretty busy with his post-Lync project, Love as Laughter), but we can always hope. Likelihood of Reunion: Slim, though we may or may not have personally witnessed Jayne getting a little misty-eyed when someone played Lync at Enid's, back in the spring.Next Page
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.