Ten Signs Your Favorite Band Is Past Its Prime

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Earlier this week, Weezer announced plans to partner with Carnival Cruise Lines to arrange the first ever "Weezer Cruise." The four-night voyage from Miami to Cozumel will also feature sets by the likes of Ozma, Dinosaur Jr., Wavves and loads of others.

Never mind how awesome we think all this sounds. Fact is, it also makes us feel a little old. Really. Aren't cruises typically the place to find bands like Styx or Journey as the cling to the final shreds of fame?

Does this mean Weezer is officially washed up?

Worse, how is one supposed to figure this out, if they're too blinded by fandom to realize that the band they love is actually holding on way past its expiration date.

On that note, we've put together a list of signs that your favorite band is past its prime.

A member of the band signs on to judge a reality television show. Steven Tyler of Aerosmith is the obvious target here, but we can't let folks like Adam Levine of Maroon 5 off the hook for The Voice either.

There are two competing versions of the group touring.
After original Herman's Hermits lead singer Peter Noone left the group in 1971, drummer Barry Whitwam kept the group going with various replacement musicians over the years. Later Noone started his own version of the group sometimes bills itself as "Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone." And this is hardly the only example.

Avenues such as YouTube are turned to in order to find new members. In 2006, Journey reached out to Arnel Pineda, frontman of a Filipino Journey cover band, after seeing clips of Pineda singing Journey tunes on YouTube. See also: Turning to reality television programs to find a new member, a la INXS.

The band's songs are performed in noticeably lower keys. Roger Daltrey's high-pitched wail in "Won't Get Fooled Again" is undeniably one of the greatest moments in rock history. Too bad The Who have continued to tour a decade past the point at which he was last able to pull that bit off.

The singer has to read their lyrics. It's not just R. Stevie Moore that we caught with sheets of lyrics in front of him at Hailey's a couple weeks ago; Courtney Love was very noticeably having to rely on a teleprompter with both lyrics and guitar chords the last time Hole came through town.

Special medical precautions are required to tour. Since 2005, the Rolling Stones have traveled with defibrillators and a trained medical staff -- just in case any of them collapses while on stage.

They embark on way too many reunion tours. There was probably a reason you guys broke up in the first place, no? By the time most bands reach their fourth reunion tour or so, it gets tired, with each "Farewell Tour" offering coming off as believably as McDonald's saying that this is the last go-'round for the McRib.

Members can't stand one another. It is always obvious when band members stop touring out of sheer enjoyment and start just showing up to collect a paycheck. Clear signs include bands canceling or showing up late to gigs because of backstage fistfights (See: The Vines, Oasis, Days of the New) or when members barely acknowledge one another's existence onstage (we're looking at you, Pixies).

There's no more denying that the band's fan base is aging. When the band stops hawking merch like comic books and action figures in favor of putting their logos on coffins (see: KISS), it's a good indicator its fans are no longer spring chickens.

Too many lineup changes or too few original members. It's almost a crime to use the name Lynyrd Skynyrd when refering to the group of musicians that tour the country as Lynryd Skynryd these days. Now, 47 years after their formation, rhythm guitarist Gary Rossington is the only original member of the group. At what point does a band become its own tribute act? Right about at that point that Skynyrd's at right now.

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14 comments
GBC
GBC

Only plus 40 years together with the same line-up?  You guessed it ZZ TOP, still kicking it all these years with the same three guys playing the same three chords.  New album coming out in the next few months!

Crawling Savior
Crawling Savior

Obviously, you are not talking about Lemmy.  Although diabetic, he still has a fondness for methamphetamine, pussy, & booze.  For him, it is a lifestyle, not a posture. 

anonymous
anonymous

Avenues such as YouTube are turned to in order to find new members. In 2006, Journey reached out to Arnel Pineda, frontman of a Filipino Journey cover band, after seeing clips of Pineda singing Journey tunes on YouTube. See also: Turning to reality television programs to find a new member, a la INXS.

This is not only an idiotic remark but extremely silly. So you'd be willing to pass up the opportunity to recruit an excellent singer just because you found him on Youtube? You think singers who are capable of consistently singing high-pitched Journey songs live night after night are a dime a dozen?

Claire
Claire

Nice article Pete, now go and get your fucking shine box!

Dog
Dog

Most bands are washed up when they release a greatest hits. Very few exceptions to this. Egs are everclear, counting crows, faith no more and incubus.

easily amused
easily amused

when the band says don't worry, the show will be over by 10:00 so noone falls asleep (of course, the audience gets up at 4:30 to watch the test pattern on TV or read the paper and sip coffee made from grounds in a can that heat up in a percolator)

MattL1
MattL1

This list is pretty spot on.  It's not about age, it's about desperately clinging onto that which is no longer there. 

Steve
Steve

Doughy twats with way too short guitar straps and 25 years of facial hair are not rock stars, and are in no way compelling.

The only rock stars under 40 years old are, sadly, a couple of  female pop stars who I will not name here so as not to tangentially alter the conversation.

So I guess I disagree with your assertion that age is the defining component of prime.

crw
crw

Rombello is a perfect example, I think they're fine.

Kevin John Gilhooly
Kevin John Gilhooly

Look at the audience as well - when beer and pot are being replaced by healthy food and white wine, it's probably time to get a cruise gig.

Jon
Jon

The over 40 band members act like they're too cool for the room...

Coleman
Coleman

I'm pretty sure Weezer lost their shit and have been washed up since the Make Believe album.

Maysea501
Maysea501

Music is not just for kids! If you are over 40, then It is quite obvious you were never exposed to any of the greatest bands. I can't fathom why you Would write such an idiotic article. I know, the music industry is just exploding with talent. You sound like my 13 year old.....

John Neely Bryan
John Neely Bryan

No one should apologize for what they like; but your 13 year old is right in this regard - you are dong yourself a dis-service by ignoring great artists at the height of their powers in favor of ones that are a shadow of their former selves.

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