It was with great joy that we learned yesterday that Roxy Music really is reuniting… with Brian Eno! Although Bryan Ferry and co. had been working on new material and racking up tour dates for quite a while, and there had been talk about Eno contributing, we finally got a release date for the record: Bryan Ferry’s Olympia , which also features Roxy members Phil Manzanera and Andy Mackay, will come out October 25 via Virgin. Flea, who is in just about every band at this point, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, and Nile Rodgers of Chic will appear on the album, which also boasts guest spots by Scissor Sisters, Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, and Primal Scream’s Mani. Not too shabby!
For glam-rock fans, this is especially notable because Eno’s departure was the result of a major feud with Ferry. We never thought we’d see them together again, but stranger things have happened. While holdouts still abound (The Smiths, for one), even bands that promised they’d never reunite are touring and recording again. After the jump, 10 bands that claimed they were done for good, only to return months, years, or decades later — with varying results. Watch the reunion videos and tell us which reunions you think were and weren’t mistakes after the jump.
The Eagles The Eagles may be known as a legendary soft-rock band, but there was nothing gentle or caring about inter-group relations around the time of their breakup in 1980, with Glenn Frey and Don Felder at each other’s throats. Don Henley was fond of saying they would reunite “when hell freezes over.” But the divas got their egos in check 14 years later, releasing a live album called (what else?) Hell Freezes Over. Unsurprisingly, troubles bubbled up again and The Eagles fired Felder in 2001. Then he sued them. The two parties settled out of court.
Jane’s Addiction In perhaps the quickest about-face of all time, Perry Farrell quashed Jane’s Addiction reunion rumors in August 2008, when he told Altitude, “There’s as much likelihood of that happening as there being commercial space flights.” A mere two months later, the group — including bassist Eric Avery, who hadn’t participated in earlier reunions — performed together and accepted NME’s Godlike Genius Award. Avery said his decision was based on the fact that the event was about “honoring the past instead of trying to recreate it.” Last year, they toured with Nine Inch Nails… and then Avery quit the band again. He was replaced by Velvet Revolver’s Duff McKagan, with whom Jane’s is collaborating on new material.
Pixies In 1993, Black Francis quit the Pixies the same awkward way you might have dumped someone or resigned from your job in the days before email and text messages: by fax. Ouch! And it’s not like the band was getting along great before that. Apparently, although they reunited in 2004, they still aren’t great pals and haven’t been recording new music. Oh, and they’re doing it all for the money.
The Spice Girls “I would never get back together with the Spice Girls,” said Mel C in 2005, revealing that she suffered from depression while in the group. Less than two years later, they had reunited. These days, a Spice Girls musical, Viva Forever, is in the works, but the future of the band itself is unclear.
The Police The Police threw in the towel at the apex of their career, after their 1983 Shea Stadium performance convinced Sting he’d done all he could do with the band. They did a final victory lap in 1986 but only played together a few times after that. But The Police broke their promise never to reunite in 2007, when they came together for a massively lucrative reunion tour. Of course, that doesn’t mean everyone was getting along. That year, during rehearsal, drummer Stewart Copeland told Sting, “Do not even make eye contact with me, let alone make another suggestion about how I should play my drums … you fucking piece of shit!”
Creed Back in 2004, born-again Christian/drug addict/trainwreck Scott Stapp catalyzed his band’s breakup with a slew of embarrassing antics. As recently as early 2009, guitarist Mark Tremonti was saying that a Creed reunion was never going to happen. But somehow, faster than you could say “Pearl Jam ripoff,” the band was back together that summer, whether we liked it or not.
Blink-182 Mall punks everywhere weeped in 2005, when word got out that Tom DeLonge was burnt out and Blink-182 was done for good. The frontman even went so far as to say that the trio would never reunite because of a deep rift between the band members. But the group that will always be a poor man’s Green Day (without the political heft) appeared on stage together at the Grammys in February ’09. Now, they’re back to performing and are in the midst of recording a new album.
Phish “We’re done,” Trey Anastasio told his fans back in 2004 at a festival in Vermont. Afterwards, he clarified that he really meant they’d never reunite. Five years later, after performing a few songs together at their road manager’s wedding, they were back in the saddle again, beginning with another three-day event in Virginia. Their 14th album, Joy, came out last fall.
The Libertines Always a volatile group, The Libertines imploded in late 2004, when Pete Doherty’s drug use reached disaster levels (again) and Carl Barat had enough of that nonsense and broke up the band. By 2006, Barat had founded Dirty Pretty Things and had this to say about the possibility of a reunion: “Absolutely not. There’s no way. I don’t even talk to Pete anymore. Even if I had seven kids in a few years time and desperately needed the money, I wouldn’t do it. From the point of view of fans, I don’t understand why they would want to spend all that money seeing old bands when there’s so much new music out there.” That’s a dangerous statement to make in an era when everything’s archived online forever. After flirting with a reunion for a few years, The Libertines made their reconciliation public this spring and are slated to play Reading and Leeds next month.
Sex Pistols It was, of course, John Lydon/Johnny Rotten who repeatedly declared his unwillingness to ever reunite with the Sex Pistols. According to the band’s official website, it wasn’t until he wrote his autobiography, won a lawsuit against Malcolm McLaren and regained the right to call himself Johnny Rotten that he changed his tune. Their Filthy Lucre tour of 1996 followed, and other scattered gigs and jaunts have abounded since 2002. Lest anyone point out that reuniting is so not punk rock, it merits mention that in 2006 the Sex Pistols rejected their nomination to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Of course, then they went on to re-record “Anarchy in the U.K.” for Guitar Hero…