The Bells’ Toll on Rock ‘n’ Roll

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Posted September 28, 2007 in The Small Screen

“I look into the mirror and I see a rock ‘n’ roll ghost . . . “

–The Replacements

 

It’s been a long, lonely, lonely time since many powerhouses have rock and rolled. Countless bands throughout musical history have broken bonds in one Battle of Evermore after another, proving the glue infamous for fusing creative partnerships to be a sometimes-faulty substance. Inside struggles involving addiction, royalties, clashing egos, and, most traumatically, death have commonly deconstructed the sturdiest musical foundations.

The result: unfinished band business up the hedgerow.

While a hiatus, break-up, or all-telling “greatest hits” compilation may signify the time to move on in band logic, music composed during union lingers, haunting the past, present and future. Ooh, it makes us wonder: can a band rock once and never again roll?

After disbanding many bands declare reuniting a prospect only conceivable on inconceivable terms (recall the Eagles’ Hell Freezes Over tour). Nonetheless classic rockers the Police, Van Halen and Led Zeppelin have entered no man’s land, forging reconciliations and possibly attempting to satisfy the voices of splitsville spirits.

Apparently the world is being swamped by rock & roll ghosts of an earlier, better time. Consumed by what was and what would purportedly never be, these forces are shining white light, demonstrating that everything can still turn to gold, even post-band glory.

Or maybe we are being arbitrarily optimistic to assume this reunion rush transcends riches. Dancing days are here again

Still if rock & roll ghosts are like all ghouls, only closure unlocks the stairway to heaven. The ghost of Zeppelin past could not walk in through the outdoor, then, without extensive plans to tour; prior to the alcohol-drenched death of drummer extraordinaire John “Bonzo” Bonham, preparations had begun for a U.S. misty mountain hop, the last of which was in 1977.

Here’s a musical equation for you:

When IV became III in 1980, Zeppelin’s incendiary career ended after 12 years. It could have rambled on for many more (though many is a word that often leaves one guessing) but replacing the best “deep Sabbath” skinsman that ever existed was unthinkable. Zero fans celebrated. Now new days are arising from the shambles of the old.

Following nearly three decades of separate schemes, Zeppelin confirmed a one-time reunion last week.

The death of Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, who first signed the band in 1968, and Jason Bonham’s coming-of-age and skills, polished with Foreigner and VH1′s “Supergroup,” evidently spurred the turnaround.

The November 26 concert cements the release of Mothership, a 24-track best-of, and whispers of a tour are echoing through the wind. This traveling saurez would denote an anniversary–30 years gone since going to America.

Spirits in the material world

Zeppelin’s phantom must have high-fived wandering spirits in the material world. Despite the notoriously wobbly relationship between Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland, The Police are in the middle of a reunion tour celebrating 30 years since “Roxanne.”

Though an official break-up was never declared, the band officially stopped releasing new material in 1984. Supposedly Sting’s escalating celebrity caused a rift too rough to repair; some called it cowardice but the band was not prepared to go on like this. Egos conflicted and Sting’s affinity for literary allusion matured in solo endeavors.

Sometimes it’s not so easy to be the music world’s pet.

Trailing 1981′s Ghost in the Machine, the band went on sabbatical, releasing “Synchronicity” in 1983 and, unofficially, fading away. Future meetings were strained, naturally forcing the ghost in the Police machine to send a S.O.S. for peace among the trinity, or at least an umbrella fit for three.

Best of both worlds

Every little thing the ghost in the machine did was magic, possibly inspiring another holy force to finish what it started back in 1978. And so the Van Halen cradle will soon rock with David Lee Roth at its helm. We say rock on.

Everyone wants some Roth, who quit VH at the peak of 1984′s success, allowing tensions involving his asinine antics, Eddie Van Halen’s alcoholism and power free-for-alls to overthrow future possibilities. Having already reconciled and toured with second throat Sammy Hagar, a Roth reunion would eclipse in-house turmoil, allowing the band to experience the best of both worlds.

A North American tour begins Sept. 27, sans bassist Michael Anthony, who was substituted by Eddie Van Halen’s son Wolfgang. Coincidentally enough, plans for a new album and worldwide tour are also anticipated in 2008, 30 years after the release of Van Halen I.

Bigmouth strikes again

These ghosts are not alone at being alone; 100 billion castaways are still looking for homes. Will the Inland Empire’s own Moz–yes, we claim him–inspire the next rockin’ reunion?

Magic 8-ball says: outlook doubtful.

Morrissey has repeatedly turned down lumps of money–$5 million for a Smiths’ reunion at Coachella 2006, and, most recently, $75 million for a 50-date tour with Johnny Marr–awaiting the right apology, not the right price. Either Manchester’s saddest sack is onto something or the Smiths’ ghost is hanging around in purgatory, hating its ghastly friends for being so successful. His fall tour begins September 20 in Tijuana, indicating that the most interesting drug is self-satisfaction. Moz’s ghost must be the king of pain.

All of this makes perfect sense–the number three houses holy significance. Rooted in the Trinity, it symbolizes completion, most significantly through the passage of time. Needless to say, three is a charm and 30 years, a prime time for closure. Knowing this to be an absolute fact, here’s betting Bigmouth strikes again in 2012.


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