Roses… Sell outs… and The Sugababes


So, I’ve been asked to contribute to the Manc Review on a weekly basis… apparently it’s Michael Reed’s “Rant” – but I won’t be raging about things all of the time I wouldn’t have thought, it’s not my way……. I’ll just be hitting you with my random thoughts. Sometimes it’ll be a real long winded sort of thing and other times, when I’m feeling lazy/ hungover/ creatively void (delete where appropriate) I’ll probably just let you know what I’ve been up to, listening to, reading or watching that particular week.

This week I’ve been reading a book by Mick Wall about Axl Rose. Admittedly my reading habits are fairly narrow. Rock biogs. Football. Biographies. I like to read about real things that have happened. Anyway, looking at Axl Rose and the career of his group Guns ‘n’ Roses, there was one thing that really got me thinking. When is the right time for a band to split up, call it a day, give up….? How many members of a group need to leave before the name should be retired? Axl Rose & Guns ‘n’ Roses for example in 2013 is basically the original singer plus a whole host of hired (albeit highly technically gifted) hands. Yet on strength of the name alone, Axl is still touring the world, headlining festivals and selling out arenas. For sure, he was clever enough in the 90s to have bought the rights to use the band’s name whilst the original line up was falling apart and that’s what he’s living off now – the legacy of a band that made its best music 20/25 years ago… but morally, if the other 4 original members of Guns ‘n’ Roses decided to perform and write new music together with a new singer, regardless of legality – what’s to say they shouldn’t USE the name Guns ‘n’ Roses to sell tickets, T-shirts & albums?

As a younger man I always thought that bands should make their big statement and then call it a day. The classic burn and fade away story that music is littered with. Leave a good looking corpse… but as you get older you realise that music is much, much more than about youth culture, image & fashion. Lots of my favourite bands & artists have carried on into old age and made music worthy of existing at any period of their careers. By the same token, there are so many bands carrying on for the wrong reasons. Arguably the likes of Duran Duran haven’t made any music of any worth or been relevant since the 80s and the time-frame in which they were considered “de rigueur” (ok, maybe “Ordinary World” in the 90s was passable) yet they continue to perform and record…

So what do you all think? Am I being overly picky? I mean… “it’s just music maaaaaaaaan” or am I onto something? Now… I’m going to stop here before I get onto the whole Sugababes charade…