Scour the internet for wish lists of bands who fans want to reunite, and you’ll find that quite a few of the biggest “gets” are returning this year.
Rage Against the Machine will end a nine-year hiatus with a series of 2020 shows, including a stop in Phoenix on March 30 at Gila River Arena before headlining Coachella. The surviving members of Nirvana and The Doors have already reunited for benefit concerts this month. Bright Eyes and My Chemical Romance have announced reunion tours for 2020. If that weren’t enough, Genesis members recently were spotted at a Knicks game, reigniting “Turn It on Again” rumors.
Who isn’t reuniting in 2020? Aamer Haleem and his intrusive VH1 camera crew, that’s who. You may recall Haleem as the annoying host of VH1’s Bands Reunited, where he and his video posse ambushed former members of mostly forgotten ’80s groups to try to get them to sign an album cover and commit to a one-show reunion. (Although let’s be honest, a lot of these bands could’ve probably been coaxed out of retirement to play a supermarket opening with a promise of a tasty burrito.)
At least four of the bands that didn’t reunite on the show (Information Society, Squeeze, Extreme, and New Kids on the Block) eventually did after their show aired. If you’re going to reunite, doing it to spite Haleem seems as good reason as any.
Read on for some reunions we’d like to see, and how a restarted VH1 Bands Reunited could play a role.
The current situation: The Gallagher brothers are no strangers to sibling sniping (“Wibbling Rivalry,” a bootleg of Liam and Noel arguing, charted at No. 52 in the U.K.), and their estrangement has been going for over a decade. Liam hinted at a thaw in some recent tweets at a headlining gig at this year’s Glastonbury’s 50th anniversary, but Noel was quick to shoot it down, stating that his brother was drunk on leftover Christmas Babycham, a sparkling alcoholic drink marketed directly to women (thanks for asking).
The VH1 solution: Family gatherings haven’t improved relations, and they even let the 25th anniversary of Definitely Maybe pass without commemoration. Maybe Haleem can use the ex-Beatles’ playbook of getting the estranged brothers together under false pretenses of contributing songs to a solo album by Oasis’ version of Ringo, Paul “Bonehead” Arthurs. It’s the least they can do for a guy they forced to go through life with the nickname “Bonehead.”
The current situation: Four-fifths of N’SYNC made a surprise appearance during Ariana Grande’s Coachella set last year. Any guesses as to which member didn’t appear?
The VH1 solution: Since Justin Timberlake caught hell from wife Jessica Biel when paparazzi caught him holding hands with his new co-star Alisha Wainwright, which resulted in a very public apology tour, it wouldn’t be hard to lure him to a VH1 soundstage with the words “more incriminating photographs.”
The current situation: On hiatus since 2016, One Direction gave fans hope when their official website went back online, likely due to a 10th anniversary documentary on the group in the works. Bookmakers currently have 1-2 odds for a 2020 reunion and 6-4 for a new album, but the same oddsmakers are saying a reunion with Zayn Malik is a 5-2 proposition.
The VH1 solution: Malik said he left because he wants “to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax.” Haleem could pose as a psychiatrist who convinces him that nothing is as relaxing as being in a boy band that doesn’t dance.
The current situation: One of the few Britpop bands of the ’90s to find success in the U.S., Elastica (three of their members, at least) reunited in 2017 to oversee the remixes of some older music for a Record Store Day release. But former frontman Justine Frischmann, now a painter living in the States, has expressed disinterest in ever making music again, noting: “Haha, honestly? Everyone looks so oooold.”
The VH1 solution: Since the group split amicably in 2002, Haleem might see reuniting Elastica as low-hanging fruit. He could pose as an art collector interested in Frishmann’s pricey abstracts and deplete VH1’s cashbox faster than the time he ordered oysters for Dave Wakeling in an attempt to get The English Beat back together.
The current situation: With three-fourths of The Smashing Pumpkins working together again and Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlain in close proximity, what are the chances that the rest of this grunge supergroup could see active duty? Since the band all had to sign confidentiality agreements, they can’t really talk about it, but Corgan has no such problem disclosing: “You’ll never see Zwan. I’ll never go anywhere near those people. Ever. I mean, I detest them.”
The VH1 solution: Haleem will never get to step one of this reunion attempt, as nobody can find an actual copy of Zwan’s only album to sign.
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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
The current situation: Everybody hates David Crosby. In the past, the band has split and reassembled because they could break up into different factions and still work together. But when Croz badmouthed both Neil Young and Graham Nash for ditching their wives, he united his partners in their hatred for one man. And this time it wasn’t Nixon.
The VH1 solution: Haleem could work the obvious angle — reunite in an election year because the stakes are too high and their collective hatred for Trump and love of democracy would supersede their animosity for Crosby. But if the guys can’t reach a harmonious conclusion, you have to admit that Hologram, Stills, Nash & Young has a nice ring.