You know how you love bands when you’re a teenager and they become part of you? They become integral to what you’re about. They (as the strap line for the site goes) get scratched right in. Even 20 or 30 years later those bands, those songs, that scene, it stays part of you.
You might steal a bit of their aesthetic in your grown up attire (a pin, a colour scheme, a type of jacket or the same boots) or you maybe use their lyrics in your everyday life as a turn of phrase decades after those ‘fandom’ days. Perhaps you just look back fondly on the nights you saw them live surrounded by people who felt the same as you do about the songs, the sound & the times.
Well of course, when they go the way of all bands and splinter off into side projects, solo outings and new ventures you remember. You remember the rush of the bands you loved when you were a teenager and you hold that keenly.
You can feasibly keep up with the solo albums and the new directions or you can just leave it be. You can remember it preserved in amber without staying on for the unchartered journey. Or you can go all in.
You might be the sort who still goes to the shows when the headliner returns to support act again, or when the style and shape of the theaters changes to something more age appropriate, or you might leave it all behind for something new. Both are fine.
Maybe you keep the greatest hits comp on your streaming service and check in once in a while when the wine with dinner was particularly good and you’re reminiscing. Maybe you check out old YouTube clips when you’re killing time. But you do remember.
Times change and in the 21st century very few bands stay gone unless the key players have died. To paraphrases Edgar Allan Poe (right off the cover of Maiden’s Live After Death) ‘That which is not dead, CANNOT eternal lie…’
Pixies came back with Bagboy and Indie Cindy almost 20 years after Trompe Le Monde, Jane’s Addiction left the scene for a decade between Ritual and Strays only surfacing for the occasional sighting on cash in comps and soundtrack albums. Ozzy and Sabbath left an entire lifespan between Never Say Die and 13 and everything in the gap between is measured by the distance.
Old fans, hardcore OG’s will tell you that Indie Cindy isn’t real Pixies even if you love Snakes as much as you love Letter To Memphis. Old fans will tell you Strays is too polished and doesn’t have the genuine JA grit. There are folks who will argue it’s not really Sabbath without Bill Ward despite Tony being the only constant on everything from the opening notes of the debut album through to THE END. Yep plenty of people will tell you that you can’t go back. It wont be the same. Lightning in a bottle and all that.
People don’t half talk some shit.
Have you heard the new Wildhearts single? It’s huge, it’s ripped and it’s smashing cars up in the street outside your house like some giant CGI monkey injected with super serum. The sort of creature only a gang of Time Travelling Space Pirates armed with electric guitars can control. It’s abrasive, it’s dexterous, it’s infectious and it’s looking for trouble. It’s all the best elements of what makes a Wildhearts record run through the filter of G.A.S.S, Mutation, Urge and all the stuff that came in the decades since Mondo Akimbo-A-Go-Go.
Dislocated is most assuredly a Wildhearts song, but it owes as much to the ¡Chutzpah! era of the bands sound for its heft as it does the PHUQ! era for it’s deeply melodic hypno-chorus. Hookier than a hook worm crawling around the inside of an Earth Vs. Cassette and as seasonably changeable as the most meteorological moments on Fishing For Luckies this is absolutely part of The Wildhearts cannon.
That fearless ‘pop hooks welded to Master Of Puppets on Stiff Little Fingers kit’ sound is in rude health.
Renaissance Men is going to be a monster album when we finally get the whole thing in May. It’s an entirely appropriate album title as the newly reformed seven and a half legged rock machine that is The ORIGINAL Wildhearts are having something of a renaissance.
I saw the Koko show in December playing Earth Vs The Wildhearts in full. It was more muscular than ever before.
Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.