The Current

'Some things can just end': Why getting the band back together isn't always wise

To reunite or not to reunite the band? Music writer Carly Lewis has the answer to that existential question.
The Barenaked Ladies perform during the Juno Awards in Edmonton on April 4, 2004. They are set to reunite this weekend at the Juno Awards after lead singer Steven Page left the band in 2009. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

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Band reunions aren't always a great idea, says Canadian music writer Carly Lewis, as she awaits to see what sort of dynamic unfolds on stage when the Barenaked Ladies reunite at the Juno Awards.

The band will meet again for a one-time performance with former lead singer Steven Page to mark the group's induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Page abruptly left the band in 2009 and hadn't spoken to the remaining members until recently.

Former Barenaked Ladies vocalist Steven Page talks about why he left the band, and why getting back together is not an easy thing to do despite regular pleas from fans 1:10

"It's taken me a long time to accept in my life that some things can just end. Some things can just be over," Lewis tells The Current's guest host Laura Lynch.

"I think it's OK for bands to run their course and do what they're going to do together and then leave it."

After all, albums exist to soak in the nostalgia of the music and can be listened to at any time, she says.

When asked if there was a chance that Oasis would reunite, former lead singer Liam Gallagher said, 'We have to become brothers first ... before we start talking about music.'

Malice as momentum

Animosity plays a role in driving members of the band apart, Lewis says. But she argues animosity can — at the very least — make for a better reunion.

In the case of Oasis, the public animosity displayed between the two brothers "is the best thing in terms of momentum for an eventual tour," she says.

"My cynical, kind of conspiracy theory mind thinks about whether the Oasis brothers have been publicly feuding for so long just to stoke the fire of an eventual reunion because it will just be so shocking and such a big deal if they did announce that they were getting back together, even for one show."

Lewis tells Lynch she admires bands like R.E.M., which split after 32 years, to "preserve the legacy" of what the band created.

"If R.E.M. toured tomorrow, [it] would be sold out. They're huge." 

'I think we did it the right way,' said R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe on the breakup of their band. (Ints Kalnins/Reuters)

Lewis says R.E.M. was at the height of success and recognizes it wasn't an easy decision to make.

"It would have been hard to walk away from the career that they had."

Listen to the full conversation which includes hearing from former Tea Party drummer Jeff Burrows.

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This segment was produced by The Current's Alison Masemann, Samira Mohyeddin and Vancouver Network Producer Anne Penman.


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