Thursday, November 5, 2015

What Good Would Come of It?

the pro and the con

over whether or not the Stone Roses need to release new material in order to justify a second round of reunion shows. I don't know if I buy the premise anymore because I've thought a great deal about what a new album would represent.

One, albums are few and far between now. The distance between the first and second Roses albums--1989 to 1994--was a paltry five years. Everyone waits at least three years between albums (five or six if you're a major artist or band) and so that gap doesn't seem as Earth-shattering as it used to seem. The consensus opinion was that 

Second Coming

took too long to release and therefore the band squandered their chance to make an impact with it. Looking back at the situation, which was fraught with legal problems and creative differences, five years doesn't seem like a big deal. A third Stone Roses album would arrive at just the right time for them and would be released on their terms. Don't hold your breath for a fourth one.

Two, the business favors other models now. The Roses are slated to play massive shows--that's what they do. They don't go on arena or club tours. They are probably not going to come to the East Coast of America and play to 500 people at the 9:30 club in Washington D.C. like Kasabian did after a top billing show at Glastonbury. And why should they? If there's no tour, why do an album? If you can make a ton of money playing a handful of large shows, what's the harm in doing only that?

Three, this is a band that released an incredibly successful album and has had no control over it since the day it was released. Why deal with that again? Why risk it? Granted, they did sign a record deal and they will have more control. But why go down that road? They can play the thing live and reap huge benefits from only doing that. To enter into the retail music world again is to risk having people enrich the very people who screwed over the Stone Roses. Why line their pockets? Play some shows, collect the cash at the gates, and split it after costs.

Four, sales of a new album are going to be problematic at best because everyone expects music for free. Everyone expects an album to be polished and free. Yeah, the hipsters want their vinyl. The purists want a deluxe edition with outtakes. Alright, fine. But don't blame an artist for not wanting to give something away for nothing.

Anyway, that's what I think. If a new album lands, great. If not, I think we can all deal with it. A new album is absolutely not necessary for a second run of reunion shows. There is no artistic imperative to support new shows with a physical product. In fact, you can hardly blame an artist for thinking that the whole point of playing live is to celebrate older rather than newer material. Let's be honest here--the people are there for a dozen old songs. If you fail to deliver, they'll vote with their feet next time,

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