By Tobias Handke
The news that Rage Against The Machine would be reuniting to play shows in 2020 filled my teenage self with joy.
Being lucky enough to have caught Rage live when they last reunited, I’m well aware of the presence and power these four musicians create on stage. But as much as Rage’s political and social commentary is needed in the current music climate, there’s a raft of other acts from other eras whose reformations would send fans into a slobbering frenzy. From 80s indie darlings The Smiths to Aussie icons Silverchair, here are eight bands we hope get it together in 2020… although I wouldn’t hold your breath.
R.E.M – ‘It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)’ is the song that best describes how many fans felt when alternative icons R.E.M. called it a day in 2011. For almost three decades the group had established themselves as one of the biggest bands in the world, influencing the entire 90s alternative scene and demonstrating you could be a huge success without becoming U2.
Odds on reforming: Although R.E.M split amicably and remain good friends, nobody in the band appears to have any interest in reforming. Michael Stipe is happy doing his own thing, and Peter Buck has been vocal in his disdain for the music industry. While it’s best R.E.M. preserve their legacy and stay retired, if they did reform it would no doubt remind people how important the band really were during their heyday.
The Smiths – In just five years, The Smiths went from struggling indie act to leaders of the Manchester scene, but in-fighting and creative differences soon brought things to a crashing end. Despite the undeniable musical chemistry between frontman Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr, the two clashed personally and The Smiths called it quits in 1987. The band had a massive impact on the indie scene over a very short time and their presence can still be heard in many modern-day acts.
Odds on reforming: Morrissey famously said, ‘I would rather eat my own testicles than reform The Smiths, and that’s saying something for a vegetarian.’ That statement alone should tell you where the band currently stands on a reunion.
Fugazi – Having roused audiences across the world with their art-punk sound and successful DIY business model (that earned them a tidy sum), post-hardcore legends Fugazi went on an indefinite hiatus after their 2002 UK tour. Since then, there hasn’t been any word of the band releasing new music, although that hasn’t stopped festivals and promoters throwing huge amounts of cash at them to come back.
Odds on reforming: Fugazi are known to hang out and play together in private, but there seems to be no interest in releasing new music or touring. As a band that embraced the punk ethos of the 70s, it makes sense Fugazi are happy to do their own thing, but for fans, it would be incredible to catch them live one last time.
Oasis – While there was a time a few years back when I believed an Oasis reunion seemed possible, the current relationship between Noel and Liam Gallagher indicates the band will never reform, no matter how many millions they’re offered. The feud between the two continues to fester, with Liam recently calling Noel a bully in an expletive-laden interview and Noel declaring he won’t attend Liam’s upcoming nuptials. It really is a sad state of affairs. Not only are fans missing out on witnessing one of the biggest bands of our generation, but the animosity between the two can’t be good for their family or mental health.
Odds on reforming: It seems extremely unlikely we’ll ever get the chance to see Oasis, but if the brothers can somehow put their egos aside and embark on a tour, they’ll no doubt solidify their legacy as one of the greatest bands of all time.
Fugees – At the height of their fame in 1996, American rap trio The Fugees were the biggest hip-hop act in the world. Their sophomore album, The Score, won two Grammys and became one of the highest-selling records of all time. But a year later the Fugees were no more. Nobody knows why the band imploded, but many point to the affair between Wyclef Jean and Lauryn Hill, the constant infighting and the trio believing their own hype. Since calling it quits each member has gone on to have various success as solo artists before an ill-fated European reunion tour in 2005 officially put an end to the Fugees.
Odds on reforming: With Jean busy carrying out his charity work and having recently released a new album, and Hill continuing to cancel shows and perform erratically—plus Pras’ legal troubles, the Fugees’ time to shine has long passed, leaving The Score as a lasting memory of how great these three artists were together.
Silverchair – It’s been almost a decade since Silverchair went on an indefinite hiatus and that seems unlikely to change as the three lads from Newcastle continue to live their lives outside the Silverchair bubble. Bursting onto the music scene as teenagers, Silverchair went from longhaired metal lovers to sophisticated virtuosos creating absorbing pop-rock compositions. Each album showed a growth and maturity well beyond Silverchair’s years, and frontman Daniel Johns became something of an enigma as he channelled his personal issues into the band’s music to create thought-provoking songs that were also massive hits.
Odds on reforming: Silverchair remain solid friends and have never ruled out getting back together, so this is one of the few bands on this list who we might actually see live again.
White Stripes – Jack White seems pretty happy doing his own thing these days. Whether performing solo, with supergroup The Saboteurs or running his label and studio Third Man Records, he keeps himself entertained. As well as being an extremely busy dude, White and his ex-White Stripes partner Meg White don’t seem to have much of a relationship these days. While Jack is still a huge presence, Meg has drifted into the ether, happy to live off the royalties of her former band while doing whatever it is that makes her happy.
Odds on reforming: The White Stripes will never get back together, but the good news is Jack still plays plenty of White Stripes songs during his performances, so if you get along to a show there’s still a chance you might hear ‘Seven Nation Army’ if you’re lucky.
Powderfinger – While it’s true these Aussie legends played a one-off show at Splendour in 2017, it doesn’t really count as reuniting when your drummer is absent and you only play three songs. Over the course of two decades, Powderfinger went from unknown 90s alternative act to arguably Australia’s biggest rock band, releasing seven albums and winning 18 ARIA awards. They became more political and socially involved in issues during the latter half of their career, and left an undeniable mark on the Aussie music scene.
Odds on reforming: Considering all the members still get along well and have performed with each other over the years in different guises, there’s a good chance the boys from Brisbane might accept a big cash offer and head out on the road in the near future.