What’s worse; a break-up or a departing?


15 juin 2008, 21h23m

I was upset, no, maybe not upset, upset is too strong a word to use, but it definitely wasn’t a feeling of indifference when I heard that RiotBecki and Rosay left The Pipettes. Maybe because I love doo wop pop, cause its punk and cell phones aren’t! Anyways, once again it’s again it’s left me thinking; what’s worse? The end of an entire band or have members leave and be replaced? Like The Pipettes is already starting to look like the UK Subs which is like many black metal bands, a rotating rolodex of members. Check out Dødheimsgard, a great lineage of black metal members there. But the departure of their latest vocalist Kvohst, erked me, he left the band after only one record. I loved his “necro” vocal style.
Many departing I’ve kind of accepted as; “fuck, it isn’t the end of the world?” It’s not my life choice?
So why make a big deal out of it? But sometimes when music moves into that gap where it is your life and its helped you through some shitty times it’s hard to let go.

There are a lot of great punk bands that form after the death of a band, and some not so great. I could go on and on about it but I’m gonna talk about the ones that really pissed off when they announced to call it quits. I was born in the 80s and grew up in the 90s, those being the pre-internet days for me meant that I didn’t know any news about any band till it was too late. My sources were the worst at best, being people I’d talk to at the record stores, who their sources would be from rumours or bullshit. I had never bought any kind of music press during that time either, because I never saw or found any that talked about punk rock. Plus I didn’t have any money.
The thing about some breaks-ups is the “Legend” and “Legacy” status proving that the end of a band could be considered a greater contribution than when they were around. Examples like; Refused, Misfits (No Danzig = No Misfits), At the Drive-In, Black Flag... etc and heaps more that I probably can’t remember at the moment.

Long Hiatuses that seem like break-ups.
A hate the super long hiatus not because the band does nothing, (they’re always doing something you just don’t know it). It’s the bullshit that the press and fans then like to talk about and spreading rumours about how a band is now dead, next thing you know it a new records comes out. The press and fandom is born out of dumb-shit phenomenology (Heidegger). The irony. (Not unless you think of the irony.)

Departings List
The hardest departing for me, in my music consuming history has been John K. Samson’s departure from Propagandhi in 1997. At the time, I was in high school and didn’t know shit. So I didn’t find out about this till the next Propagandhi record in 2001. When I couldn’t hear Samson’s voice, I checked the linear notes and he was gone! He may have mostly done backing vocals on the How to Clean Everything but when he did Anchorless and gifts on Less Talk More Rock, I was in awe. Lyrically it was on a totally different level from the rest of Propagandhi. And of course he went on to form The Weakerthans and I’m glad he did. I didn’t learn about that till 2003 and I’ve been a Weakerfan since. That’s one departing that resulted in something good, right? Yes it did. And he has his solo stuff too.

Another a departing of a singer/bass player was Matt Sharp from the old Weezer days. Those were the salad days of Weezer for me. But when he left the next batch of Weezer songs proved to me that his contribution actually made a difference. What about The Rentals? Well I like the first one Return of the Rentals, uh... yeah...

The Dillinger Escape Plan, Irony is a Dead Scene (EP) with Mike Patton on vocals was definitely one of the best Epitaph releases in a long time. The Patton contribution may have not been permanent but it was amazing while lasted and Patton went on to create more and more etc etc...

Sara Algrem left The (International) Noise Conspiracy in 2004 and she’s was doing stuff in the Ny Våg scene with The Vicious . And she did play keyboards on the new Sahara Hotnights record. That’s fucking rad! So just by her history of random acts of punk rock radness from the Doughnuts to whatever, who knows what her next project will be.

Mr. Brett and Bad Religion has always been the core component for their ferocity in songs. Although I actually liked New America, but I thought the rest of the stuff for Warner/Sony or whatever major it was pretty mediocre generic.
So when Brett left for a second time during when I was really into them, I was naturally into The Daredevilswhen it came out. Too bad that didn’t last. A two song EP was not enough.
Error is alright but that’s a side-project and not a post-departing group, so it’s not included.

Break-Ups List
Schleprock were badass when I was growing up. Everyone was really into The Offspring, Green Day and Pennywise but I had Schleprock, Bad Religion and Propagandhi to match. It’s pretty weak when you think about it, but for a 14 year old I thought that was badass. Any way I didn’t know much about Schleprock at the time, (I only had a tape copy of “(America’s) Dirty Secrets”) but I thought they were way better than most of the punk bands around at the time. I didn’t even know they broke up until I learnt how to use the internet, which was like in 2001. Yeah, way behind the times. I’m not a massive fan of Doug’s new band The Generators but I’ll always have Schelprock.

I’m glad to hear that Jawbreaker is reuniting, but I’d doubt that they would tour Australia (ever). (Same with Social D.) That’s shithouse. The first Jawbreaker I could ever find during the 90s was Dear you, which I love. I didn’t even know they had broken up, and I doubted it because of the record, which was amazing. Funny I should say that now, but that record was the final nail in the coffin for the so called “loyal” fan base that abandoned Jawbreaker for being “sellouts!” Geffen were dicks to the band and the touring sucked; that combination pretty much killed the band. I could go on and on about how Jawbreaker were stabbed in the back and left for dead. I also like make comparisons to Against Me! and their new found major label success. But I’ll leave it for another.
I always lumped Jets to Brazil with The Promise Ring and just about every other 90s Jade Tree emo rock band.

Monster is definitely one of my favourite two-tone ska bands of all time. Unknown and underrated.
Anders Wendin has an amazing voice, it’s like part Joe Strummer part Swedish Jello Biafra if that’s even possible. I could never afford any of their LPs but I always got the Burning Heart - Cheap Shots compilations and Hang the VJ which I think everyone’s got. Thats how I discovered Sverige punk/hardcore.
When Monster broke up Anders went on to become Moneybrother which went on to become massive in comparison to Monster. It’s alright and it’s clearly not Monster but you can hear familiar Monster elements that would go on to form Moneybrother.

Hot Water Music has broke up a couple of times but now I don’t fear that when they break up that it will be permanent (Like Naked Raygun). Though I did think that the one in 2006 was, because Chuck Ragan did his thing and the rest when on to do The Draft, but now since they’re together again I can only hope for another HWM record. And just like No Division it will be an awesome record.

Sleater-Kinney’s break-up or indefinite hiatus or whatever you want to call it sucks real bad. I’d just seen them last time when they toured (2006) and by the end of the year it was all over. I’m still waiting for the announcement that they’ll be reuniting. Fingers crossed.

Modern Life Is War’s break-up seemed senseless to me. They helped keep hardcore relatable (for me), revitalising my faith in hardcore in a sea of tough-guy HC bands. By being extremely passionate, thought provoking and self-referential MLIW stood out. All the things that I thought many bands were missing or doing it wrong and coming off looking egotistical.
“So the band is over...big fuckin' deal! Seriously though, those six years were very interesting and i wouldn’t change a goddamn thing. I have no reservations or bad feelings about leaving it behind.” - J. Eaton
That’s a punk perspective if any.

Hypothetical Break-ups
And then there’s the “what ifs”, hypothetical scenarios of what happens when a key songwriter of a band or a member that has great potential moves-on and creates something else. And I probably don’t mean side projects, I don’t know about that. Side projects don’t mean they’ve completely severed ties so it’s not considered a break-up, right? Just look at JP AKA Justin Pearson or Speedo AKA John Reis, a slew of side projects pre and post break-up and most of them seem like the same band in a way. There are heaps of bands that I think would benefit from a split and some that I don’t.
But onto the hypothetical’s...
I just have to say something about Maria Andersson (Sahara Hotnights), I’ve just got to. She’s an amazing singer-songwriter and it’s becoming more evident as the band progresses. Like the latest record is like a Credance Clearwater Revival meets Blue Oyster Cult meets Evie Sands. A bit of step from the power pop, punk rock and grunge, but it’s still rockin’ tunes with a cow bell. Maria could follow a path like Marit Bergman from defunct Candysuck.
I just hope Sahara Hotnights puts out a couple of more records before they call it quits.
Tom Gabel from Against Me! is also definitely someone who I think will do something after Against Me!. Just like those before him in the country hardcore punk genre. Chuck Regan, Paul Westerberg, John Doe, Joe Strummer, Jamie Hay (Conation/Fear Like Us) etc (There’s heaps of other names I could chuck in but like Tim Barry, but Avail will never break-up.) And it will be like the good old days of Against Me! before the big electric band sound. Like that Bob Dylan cover Wagon Wheel. Great things to come I reckon.


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