For nearly 10 years, Faith No More fans have mourned the demise of one of the most influential and under-appreciated rock acts of the 1990s — all with the firm understanding that there would be no return. And, well, they've never really been given much reason to believe a reunion could ever come to pass, with frontman Mike Patton insisting time and time again in interviews that a reunion wouldn't be happening on his watch. So imagine the shock this week when fans learned that the band had signed on for a strictly European reunion run.
Unfortunately, Patton's publicist says Mike, like the rest of the band, will not be talking to the media about the reunion trek, perhaps because it's one of those monumental reunions that will succeed with or without press. But eight years ago, Patton was talking about Faith No More, telling me he just didn't think a reunion was in the cards.
"It's a band I was in, and I had a great time," Patton said. "It's not that I'm ashamed of it or anything. I think we made some great music. I just don't believe in trying to relive that."
News of the band's impending return was buried at the bottom of a press release announcing Patton's work on the score for the upcoming film Crank 2: High Voltage. The missive provided information on Patton's upcoming live performances (including one with beatbox messiah Rahzel at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in April) before cursorily noting Patton's "highly anticipated reunion tour with Faith No More in Europe this summer."
Eight years ago, Patton scoffed at the suggestion of new music. "We'd suck," he reasoned. "We'd be horrible. It would be an absolute travesty to everything that we did that was good. We would ruin every great moment that we had, and things are not meant to last for long periods of time — especially in the music industry. We made four records, they all stand up, they're strong, and we made a very good statement. We said what we had to say, and we fucking crawled off and died. What's the problem with that? It happens."
While the band has no plans to tour the U.S., one industry insider suspects that, if the European trek goes well, "the right offer" will be the only thing standing between Faith No More and a full American run.
On Thursday, bassist Billy Gould issued a statement detailing the band's reunion lineup. He said the guys recently began talking again, and even hinted that new music could be forthcoming. But eight years ago, Patton could see one reason, and only one reason, for a reunion.
"Trying to rekindle that spark would be for money, and for money only, and the music would just be God awful," he said. "We broke up not because we were not getting along or because one guy had a bigger ego than the other, or any of that crap. I think our music was starting to slow down. I think we'd come full circle, and hell, I thought we had a good thing. I thought it was a very good way of going out realizing that we were slowing down, and pulling the plug."
Of course, the lesson to be learned here is that you should never say never. Patton and the boys came around to the idea of reuniting. So did the Police, Van Halen, Phish, Blink-182, Limp Bizkit, Creed and Rage Against the Machine. So what other fractured bands should mend fences and return to the stage? Here's a wish list, as well as the reasons why you probably shouldn't hold your breath.
Band: Guns n' Roses' original lineup
Date last seen: July 17, 1993 in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Why you shouldn't hold your breath: The bad blood between Axl and Slash seems to have only deepened over time, with Rose telling Billboard recently, "What's clear is that one of the two of us will die before a reunion and however sad, ugly or unfortunate anyone views it, it is how it is."
Band: Led Zeppelin
Date last seen: December 10, 2007 in London
Why you shouldn't hold your breath: Frontman Robert Plant said that the band's surviving members explored a reunion after their one-off tribute to Ahmet Ertegun, but ultimately decided they couldn't do it without late drummer John Bonham. "We were incomplete, and we've been incomplete now for 29 years," Plant told Absolute Radio.
Band: The Smiths
Date last seen: December 12, 1986 in London
Why you shouldn't hold your breath: Despite seven-figure offers to bury the hatchet, guitarist Johnny Marr and cheerless frontman Morrissey insist it'll never happen, with the singer telling BBC Radio 2 as recently as this month, "People always ask me about reunions and I can't imagine why... The past seems like a distant place, and I'm pleased with that."
Date last seen: November 20, 1999 in London
Why you shouldn't hold your breath: While guitarist Scott Kannberg and bassist Mark Ibold have publicly expressed interest in reviving the band, Stephen Malkmus told NME recently that he'd be interested in doing "Something small in 10 years, like the Zeppelin thing sounds good to me." However, the latest rumors suggest the band has retained a booking agent, so who knows?
Date last seen: February 9, 1997 in Honolulu, Hawaii
Why you shouldn't hold your breath: While there doesn't seem to be any animosity amongst the band's members, frontman Chris Cornell told MTV News in 2007 that the band was "happy with how it ended. There was no unfinished business. Soundgarden wasn't a band where we broke up and everyone was like, 'I'm never fucking talking to you again.' It's something we don't feel we need to do."
Band: System of a Down
Date last seen: August 13, 2006 in West Palm Beach, Florida
Why you shouldn't hold your breath: The band's self-imposed "indefinite hiatus" was upgraded by frontman Serj Tankian recently to "permanent," and he told New Zealand's Stuff that "every few months, I am honored to hear interesting rumors about whether the band is going to tour or break up permanently. I find them all to be very entertaining." Meanwhile, guitarist Daron Malakian told MTV News last year, "If anyone's holding their breath for a System record, they're going to turn blue and pass out."
Band: Talking Heads
Date last seen: March 18, 2002 in New York City
Why you shouldn't hold your breath: Reunion talk caught fire soon after Talking Heads performed at 2002's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, but leader David Byrne later told Australia's The Age that the split was too vicious for absolution. "Another [reason] is that musically, we're just miles apart."
Band: The Kinks
Date last seen: June 15, 1996 in Oslo, Norway
Why you shouldn't hold your breath: Lead singer Ray Davies has said he thinks the seminal English rockers could reform, but for new music only. A tour, he told BBC Radio last fall, would be too difficult on his brother, guitarist Dave Davies, who suffered a stroke in 2004.
Band: Stone Roses
Date last seen: August 29, 1996 in Reading, England
Why you shouldn't hold your breath: Both Ian Brown and John Squire have continually dispelled reunion rumors over the years, and neither has spoken a word to the other since Squire jumped ship in 1995. But last month, a spokesperson for Squire said he "has no plans to return to music."
Band: Minor Threat
Date last seen: September 23, 1983 in Washington, D.C.
Why you shouldn't hold your breath: Frontman Ian MacKaye would never sell out that hard, and said as much during a recent lecture at St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas, last November. "Why would you ever want that to happen?," he said, later explaining that the band's music was a reflection of the times, and that it wouldn't be right to play those songs again.
Who else are you hoping against hope to see reunited? Let us know what you think, and tell us which never-going-to-happen reunion you'd like to see come to fruition.
To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here
MUSIC 9 Classic Devo Videos
OLYMPICS 18 Epic Opening Ceremonies