12 unlikely Aussie band reunions that really need to happen
Hell has been freezing over so often lately that even climate denialists are probably noticing something’s up. If it wasn’t enough that At the Drive-In are back in action and Axl Rose is sharing a stage with Slash in 2016, it was recently announced that Glenn Danzig will soon be rejoining the Misfits for the first time in over 30 years.
Plenty of seemingly-impossible reunions are out there in the world – Morrissey and Johnny Marr, Simon and Garfunkel, Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon – but what about here at home? Aside from the surprise return of Cog, the one-night-only reformation of The Vasco Era and Little Red, plus a one-off original Wiggles pub gig, there hasn’t been all that much shock and awe in Australian music reunions. Here are 12 highly-unlikely reunions that would nevertheless be welcomed with open arms.
Yeah, yeah, Daniel Johns is into synthesizers, Ben Gilles is into being a trophy husband on The Real Housewives of Melbourne and Chris Joannou is into… whatever Chris Joannou is into. Even so, you’d have a guaranteed sell-out tour on your hands if they were able to let bygones be bygones and turn the country’s arenas into their own neon ballroom. Gilles even said back in 2013 that a reunion will happen – although he might not be as psychic as his wife.
2. The (original) Saints
Chris Bailey has never given up the dream for the Brisbane punk veterans, serving as the sole original member throughout the band’s 42-year history. He reunited with founding guitarist Ed Keupper for a few shows, and original drummer Ivor Hay even got back in on the action for All Tomorrow’s Parties in 2009. In terms of a full-scale Saints reunion, however – as in, the one responsible for the 1977 classic (I’m) Stranded – fans have been left exactly that.
3. The Sleepy Jackson
It’s amazing to think, for the most part, that Empire of the Sun fans have no idea about Luke Steele’s indie rock past. Before he went bleach-blonde and got weird with the dolphins, Steele was the figurehead of one of Perth’s most underrated exports in The Sleepy Jackson, who produced two albums and delivered one of the weirdest performances in the history of the ARIA Awards back in 2003, when their debut Lovers was up for the top album gong. It’s been nine years since the band were last seen, and it’s growing less and less likely that Steele will give up hanging out with the likes of Jay-Z and Usher to give Malcolm Clark a bell to play ‘Vampire Racecourse’ for old time’s sake.
4. The rest of Architecture in Helsinki
Hindsight is 20/20, so with enough distance past we can all agree that Architecture in Helsinki were, like, way better when there was a whole bunch of them, right? After they slimmed down their line-up, the Melbourne indie-pop kids might have had a few more triple j hits in them but the magic was well and truly gone. Maybe if it was a little more crowded up on stage, it would help to fill in the gaps – and hey, it would mean more tuba. Who could say no to that?
5. Wolfmother (The original lineup)
It was all-too-fitting when Wolfmother opened for the Smashing Pumpkins a few years back, as Andrew Stockdale has certainly become the Australian equivalent of Billy Corgan – dragging a once-great name through the mud with a bunch of randoms along for the ride. When Stockdale was on top of the world with Wolfmother, he wasn’t there alone – bassist/keyboardist Chris Ross and drummer Myles Heskett both put the power into the power trio. The two have still got plenty of muscle, too – see their 2012 album as Good Heavens with theredsunband’s Sarah Kelly. They might not be too crash-hot on the idea, but if they heard anything off Wolfmother’s latest album, Victorious, they’d know Stockdale needs all the help he can get.
6. Nick Cave and Mick Harvey
In 2009, after nearly 20 years of service, Mick Harvey left the Bad Seeds. His relationship with Cave stemmed all the way back to the mid-70s, and Harvey was the sole constant throughout all of Cave’s bands – The Boys Next Door, The Birthday Party and then the Bad Seeds. Although the first Bad Seeds album without Harvey, 2013’s Push the Sky Away, was a decent enough effort; and the aforementioned Ed Keupper did his best to fill in the void, it just didn’t feel the same. It’s time these two shook red right hands and got back to work.
7. The rest of The Avalanches
They’re back in the news as one of the headlining acts of Splendour in the Grass, but there are only three people that still perform under the name The Avalanches – Robbie Chater, Tony Di Blasi and James Dela Cruz. The rest of the collective responsible for 2000’s seminal Since I Left You has fallen by the wayside, including DJ Dexter Fabay and multi-instrumentalist Darren Seltmann. If they’re serious about getting this album out, then they’re going to need all hands on deck. Now, when I count three…
Darren Cross spends his time on stage these days in a suit with an acoustic guitar, and tragically not with a backpack hunched over a synthesizer. Burke Reid, meanwhile, is more likely to be found in a producer’s chair than screaming about space capsules or who someone’s daddy may or may not be. It’s high time this lot got weird again and used Gerling for more than just the occasional nostalgic Facebook post. C’mon, guys, you know you wanna get activated.
9. Yves Klein Blue
The death of Yves Klein Blue was a quick and painless one, and the former members are happy in their new lives – Michael Tomlinson with Many Things and Charles Sale with both Babaganouj and Sans Parents. Even so, they’d be kidding themselves if they said they didn’t miss a room full of kids losing their shit to ‘Polka’ and ‘Gettin’ Wise’. So if they’re feeling that way now, or if they ever feel so inclined, we’d be ever so grateful for the opportunity.
10. Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson
This is a bit more of an awkward one, as the two divorced not too long after their second album together dropped. Still, it didn’t take a genius to notice that both albums brought out the best in both of them as singers, songwriters and performers. If they won’t stay together for the kids, maybe they could stay together for the ‘Rattlin’ Bones’? Plus, those harmonies were just unreal. They can’t be bought by session musos.
Quan and Janet might be happy with the occasional Gurge and Spiderbait nostalgia show, but if they really wanted to blow a mind or two they’d resurrect this one-off project from the late ’90s and put on a performance as wonderfully-batshit as this costumed extravaganza on Recovery:
Seriously. Guys. We know you’re out there. We know you’re reading this. We know Eurovision wasn’t your scene, but seriously. If ever this country has needed you balaclava’d bastards to tear the powers that be a satirical new one, it’s right the heck now.