Two for Tuesday: Band together after a hiatus… or not
This Two for Tuesday we’ll look at two bands who have attempted to rebrand after long hiatuses (and some public conflicts).
What’s more awkward than losing The Super Bowl due to a bad play call with 30 seconds left in the game while your team is on the one yard line? Possibly nothing… but logging onto Twitter and finding out you’ve quit, or were rather kicked out of, your world famous band comes pretty close.
Last Monday, Blink 182’s Travis Barker and Mark Hoppus announced that they had drafted Matt Skiba for the band’s upcoming performances after revealing band mate Tom DeLonge would be out of the band indefinitely, apparently unbeknownst to DeLonge. Shortly after, DeLonge released his own statement, denying that he’d ever quit the group and questioning the legitimacy of the previous announcement. Over the course of the week the band went back and forth with a “they said, I said” argument on very public arenas including Rolling Stone Magazine and Facebook. It may be time for the band to pick up the phone and work things out privately because aside from hurt feelings, the band stands to lose an extensive amount of creative property and money if they split.
San Diego natives’ Hoppus and DeLonge started Blink 182 in 1992 and were key in the development of pop punk music, a more radio-friendly sound compared to prior punk bands. Released five years after forming the band, “Dammit” became their first hit single, reaching number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States.
In February 2005, a press statement announced Blink 182’s “indefinite hiatus.” During that time the members stepped away from Blink and each worked on their own creative projects, some members crossing paths at times. It was not until Barker’s 2008 plane crash that the trio reunited and began discussing the possibility of a reunion. The band appeared for the first time on stage again at the 2009 Grammy Awards announcing their return. The band’s website was then updated with the statement: “To put it simply, We’re back. We mean, really back. Picking up where we left off and then some. In the studio writing and recording a new album. Preparing to tour the world yet again. Friendships reformed. 17 years deep in our legacy.” Blink 182 embarked on an American reunion tour in July 2009, supported by Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco.
Though the band glorified its return with a very public on stage announcement at the Grammys, the years since have only yielded a single, mediocre at best, album, Neighborhoods. Fans anticipated the album’s release for two years and were left disappointed by its lackluster tracks. Although, Blink 182 will always have a loyal audience, the break was not kind to the trio. During their hiatus, Warped Tour bands like Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance and Paramore were just starting to break out, and Blink’s absence left room for the other pop punk acts to enter the scene and dominate.
Enter Fall Out Boy.
The band got their start in Chicago’s hardcore punk scene before recording their debut album, Take This to Your Grave (2003). Through heavy touring, the band’s fan base grew until they reached mainstream success. The lead single, “Sugar, We’re Going Down,” off their sophomore album, Under A Cork Tree, reached number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States.
With success came an exhausting recording and touring schedule where Fall Out Boy released four albums, including a greatest hits one, in five years. In 2009, after touring with Blink and an onslaught of criticism for their latest album, the members of Fall Out Boy decided to take a step back for a much needed break.
Fall Out Boy’s goal when returning from their hiatus was to reinvent their sound from scratch. Unhappy with their previous sound, public criticism and emo stereotype, they recorded Save Rock and Roll in secrecy from the music industry and fans. Unlike Blink 182’s highly anticipated album, there was no hype or pomp and circumstance in its release. The message on their website announcing their return read “when we were kids the only thing that got us through most days was music. It’s why we started Fall Out Boy in the first place. This isn’t a reunion because we never broke up. We needed to plug back in and make some music that matters to us. The future of Fall Out Boy starts now. Save rock and roll…” The unanticipated album surprised everyone and received tons of praise and sales. And their latest album, “American Beauty/American Psycho,” released last month, was well received by both fans and critics.
Blink 182 could learn a thing or two about having a successful comeback from Fall Out Boy because it’s painful to watch such a great band fall apart so publicly. The name Blink 182 has become much more of a commodity recently then a musical identity. The band’s website no longer offers news, band-member bios or music for sale; instead, the site is devoted to merch with the group’s logo. At this point it seems the band more about moving the merch and less about making music (which they haven’t done in four years). Perhaps if the feud hadn’t become so public last week and if the trio would have actually spoken instead of sending messages through reporters and Facebook, Blink 182 may have had another comeback in the future. It can take years to build a brand or in this case a band, but only a single Facebook post to destroy it.