“Indefinite Hiatus”: AKA Never Say Never…

By on 18 September 2012

Musicians can be a fickle bunch who bore of the norm quite easily, it’s no surprise therefore that “musical differences” have made a casualty of many a great band. But these days, just as quickly as many bands break up do we see them back and touring, which is probably why “Indefinite Hiatus” is becoming the norm for press releases when a close-knit group of musicians is sick of looking at each other.
“Cynical cash ins?!” I hear you cry. Well, maybe. But the truth is we all get excited when a beloved band hits the road “one last time”, or even better, puts new music out, and in recent years we have seen a whole host of break-ups and reconcilliations. Here are just a few…

Bauhaus

Peter Murphy, Daniel Ash, David J and Kevin Kaskins collectively know as Bauhaus were one of the all time great goth bands with a legacy that still inspires new bands to this day. Unfortunately the band had a tendancy to suffer from their differences not once, not twice, but three times in their career. The band originally broke up in 1983 after releasing a string of well received albums and singles. Peter Murphy then embarked on a successful solo career while the others went onto eventually form Love And Rockets. The band patched things up though for a reunion tour in the 1990s, immortalised on the ‘Gotham’ home video, before once again going their seperate ways. Their second reunion led to a high profile tour alongside Nine Inch Nails and some fantastic live radio performances (A bootleg album is in circulation as well as a wealth of YouTube videos) before the band returned to the studio for their fifth album ‘Go Away White’. Unfortunately frictions came to a head once again and the band parted ways soon after the album’s release.

Christian Death

Now this is a complicated one. Christian Death has been a band that has seen a lot of upheaval in its 30+ year history. Originally the group behind the band’s classic debut ‘Only Theatre Of Pain’ parted ways leaving only frontman Rozz Williams as the sole member.
Rozz then recruited members of the band Pompeii 99 to be his new musical foils, releasing a slew of fantastic albums in their wake before Rozz eventually tired of the band’s direction and went in search of more avant-garde territory.
The band carried on with guitarist Valor Kand taking over frontman duties and embarking on a period that saw their most infamous releases including the blasphemous masterpiece ‘Sex And Drugs And Jesus Christ’.
Lineup changes would constantly dog Valor’s incarnation as well until the band essentially became a two person project.
Meanwhile Rozz and the original lineup of Christian Death began to hold reunion shows in the early 1990s which led to two bands both playing and releasing albums under the moniker as well as a war of words between their respective frontmen. Things were eventually settled with Rozz’s incarnation being billed as “Christian Death featuring Rozz Williams”.
Rozz would ultimately move onto several other projects and abandon Christian Death once again before his untimely death, while Valor would continue to roll out the odd Christian Death album periodically.

The Danse Society

The Danse Society were one of the fledgling UK goth scene’s big “What if?” stories. Signed to a label that really didn’t know how to capitalise on the band they were ultimately over just as they looked to join the pantheon of classic bands.
That is until a facebook campaign saw the old members get back together and, with a change of vocalist, release a brand new album. 2011’s ‘Change Of Skin’ was quite simply a brilliant effort for a band that came back seemingly out of nowhere.

Dead Can Dance

Formed in 1981 and pioneering an intriguing blend of world music, neoclassical, ethereal rock and goth melodrama Dead Can Dance were one of 4AD’s more successful acts until after the release of 1996’s ‘Spiritchaser’ when they suddenly split up.
The band subsequently embarked on reunion shows in 2005 which saw limited edition live releases. Since 2010 there has been talk of a new DCD album and tour plans, and finally, after sixteen long years, in 2012 ‘Anastasis’ was released with the news of one of the band’s most extensive world tours to date.

45 Grave

45 Grave along with the likes of Christian Death were one of the LA deathrock scene’s dominant acts back in the 1980s. But due to a number of lineup changes and the untimely death of bassist Rob Graves, the band’s releases amounted to only one full length album, and a couple of singles and EPs. In spite of this the band’s legacy has been a long and influential one in the deathrock world. So much so that frontwoman Dinah Cancer reformed the band for a number of 25th anniversary shows before taking 45 Grave back out on the road as her main project once again. A few tweaks to the lineup later and the band have finally released their sophomore offering ‘Pick Your Poison’.

The Mission

The Mish were the product of one of the most bitter breakups of any 80s band. When entering the studio to begin writing a follow-up to 1985’s debut ‘First And Last And Always’, creative differences came to a head and the former The Sisters Of Mercy members began a very public spat which saw Craig Adams and Wayne Hussey break away from Andrew Eldritch to form The Sisterhood, playing songs they’d written for the next album. Unfortunately “The Sisterhood” was too close of a moniker for Eldritch’s liking and he quickly released a hastily put together single and album (both of which are very underrated) under the name to secure the copyright and a nice cheque from the record label. Adams and Hussey were undettered though and changed their name to The Mission for the release of their first album.
The Mission, like The Sisters, has itself seen numerous lineup changes over its history, leaving Hussey as the sole constant, before the original members would get back together for a nostalgia trip of their own that seems to periodically re-occur every year or so – this time with the help of The Cult.

The Cult

Speaking of The Cult… The band that was Southern Death Cult, that became Death Cult, before finally settling on The Cult as their chosen moniker, is another big name band that just can’t seem to keep it together. First their post-punk incarnation Southern Death Cult split just as they looked about ready to put an album out. Then the new lineup of Death Cult put out only an EP before overhauling itself once again to finally become the southern rock-tinged The Cult. Though this incarnation would finally bring Ian Astbury and co. success, it wasn’t to be a long-lived arrangement as the band unceremoniously split while at the height of their game.
The band returned for 2001’s ‘Beyond Good And Evil’ before parting ways again for another six years with the release of ‘Born Into This’.

The March Violets

Like The Danse Society, The March Violets were another big “What if?” of the scene. Originally affiliated with The Sisters Of Mercy they put out a few singles and EP’s on Andrew Eldritch’s Merciful Release label back in the 80s. But that seemed to be all she wrote for a band who were best remembered through their compiled album ‘The Botanic Verses’. However the band, like many others on this list, would reunite for nostalgia’s sake, not once, but twice before releasing a new EP of, quite frankly, sublime work. A full-length album is imminant.

Dance Or Die

Dance Or Die may not be a common name these days but they were one of the great European dark electro bands of the 1990s. A slew of dancefloor hits and five well received albums saw their name gain a lot of clout in central and northern Europe. Suddenly it all went quiet in 2001 after the release of ‘Schlafende Energie’. Fast forward ten years and the band returned with a vengence with the release of ‘Nostradamnation’. Let’s just hope we don’t have to wait another ten years for the next album.

Siiiii

Siiiii, like a lot of hopeful bands in the 80s, seemed destined to be a mere footnote in the chronicles of gothic rock. That is until their reformation in 2005, which has since seen the band slowly begin to build a worldwide following.
Originally active for three short years in the mid-1980s the band left no legacy beyond “Do you remember that band that supported so-and-so at the so-and-so-club in 84 or 85?” But with the release of a compilation of old songs in the form of 2005’s ‘Ancient’, and their aptly titled début proper ‘Modern’ (2011), the band have finally begun to try and realise their potential. They’ve already carried on longer than their original run, so that’s a good sign at least.

Ministry

Driven by the tour-de-force that is Al Jourgenson, Ministry has become one of the biggest names in synthpop, industrial and metal over the past thirty years. But it hasn’t been easy going for Al and co. A long and well documented history of drug abuse within the band has seen members come and go as well as uncle Al almost knockin’ on heaven’s door a few times himself. But just as it looks to be the end, Al cools off, gets healthy and returns full of piss and vinegar once again.
The most recent farewell to Ministry came after perhaps the bands most commercially successful run of albums. Several high-profile world tours in support of ‘Houses Of The Molé’, ‘Rio Grandé Blood’ and ‘The Last Sucker’ took a toll on Jourgenson’s health and he bowed out after a big goodbye tour. But it wasn’t to be as Jourgenson has got himself healthy and relapsed back into his anarcho-industrial habit once more.

Specimen

Specimen were the original house band of the original goth club, The Batcave. Basically they should have been scheduled for the same heights as their co-conspiritors Alien Sex Fiend but it never quite worked out. After a string of singles and one bizarre children’s TV performance alongside Gary Glitter the band went their seperate ways with vocalist Olli Wisdom forming an American version of the band briefly after relocating to San Fransisco before going on to become a psy-trance DJ… as you do. Specimen seemed destined to remain remembered in the form of compiled ‘best of’ and miscellaneous compilation album appeareances but that all changed in 2007. The 25th anniversary of The Batcave saw the original line-up reunite and rekindle old friendships leading to a live ablbum and all new material releases on 2007’s ‘Electric Ballroom’ . The band currently have a Pledge Music campaign ongoing to raise money to release a new album produced by former Killing Yoke bassist Youth, named ‘Wake The Dead’.

Jesus On Extasy

Perhaps this has to be the shortest period that a band has broken up for since Ringo Starr left The Beatles for a couple of weeks. Anyway, Jesus On Extasy supposedly bit the dust back in January 2011, a couple of months on from the release of their last album ‘No Gods’, when founding member Dorian Deveraux announced the launch of his new band FTANNG!
Not to be put off the band reformed without him to release their fourth album ‘The Clock’ in October of that same year.

Goteki

Goteki, led by Ross Tregenza, have had a few different incarnations in their time. Beginning life as Sneaky Bat Machine in the late 90s, the band that became Goteki were darlings of the cyber-dance scene but they soon grew tired of their cartoony image and rechristened themselves Goteki after one of the teams in the Playstation game ‘Wip3out’. With a new attitude and sound they carved a path through the UK electro scene that abruptly ended after only two albums in 2006.
After a spell in the reformed lineup of Visage, Tregenza announced the formation of a new band called Jetstream Lovers which featured former Goteki bandmate Ali-Star before releasing a compilation album in the form of ”ROBOTS NINJAS PORNSTARS WARFARE: The Best of Goteki 2000-2008′.
Tregenza and Ali Star’s next project was Lamorna which began to sound so much like their previous work as Goteki that they resurrected the name full time. After a charity nostalgia gig, which saw several former members return for one night only, they moved forward with the band as a three piece and have since seen perhaps the busiest release schedule of the band’s history with an album and several EPs over the past couple of years.

Merciful Nuns

Artaud Seth is another musician who doesn’t so much as break up his previous bands as changes his focus and rechristens his projects, as in each incarnation Seth has been joined by his bandmates Jawa and Jón. Initially coming to prominance with the mystical gothic rock stylings of Garden Of Delight in the 90s, Seth and co. had originally planned to make only seven albums each featuring seven tracks. With this done Seth, like the rest of us, obviously still had a taste for more and thankfully kept G.O.D. going for a while longer.
Then things got heavy. Very heavy, and G.O.D. morphed into the more metal orientated Lutherion. Despite a couple of well received albums Lutherion really didn’t escape the shadow of G.O.D. and the project fell dormant.
However rather than resurrecting the G.O.D. name, which would have been the easiest option, Seth opted to return to his musical roots but with a new thematic obsession, and Merciful Nuns was born.

Icon Of Coil

To quote the official line:

 

“Who would have thought that Norway’s legendary industrial/synthpop kings, Icon Of Coil, would reunite in 2011 and plan a new album and tour of Europe and the USA? Well, stranger things have happened and on a short reunion tour of Australia in November, 2011 the 3 members rekindled old friendships and the creative chemistry from the past came raging back.”

 

Speaking to frontman Andy LaPlegua back in 2011 it was a slightly different story:

 

‘We consider it done, but we’ll do another show more for our own sake so we can get together as friends and have a good time playing the songs. We still enjoy doing it, but we don’t have the time for it as we have other important things. But after every show we always talk like, “We have to do something, we have to do another release”, or whatever. But at the end of the day it never happens. So it’s really hard to say but generally speaking it’s done and finished and we’re not doing anything more… but we always change our mind every time we play a show, so who knows?’

 

Threw me a curveball there Andy. Nice one.

The Sisters Of Mercy

As mentioned earlier the Sisters Of Mercy have had more lineup changes than is worth keeping up with having seen members of The Gun Club, Sigue Sigue Sputnik, The March Violets, Girls Under Glass, The Cassandra Complex and many more pass through it’s ranks with only the sole figure of Andrew Eldritch as its constant.
After the departure of Addams and Hussey, Eldritch hired Patricia Morrison (ex-Gun Club) as his right hand woman for the ‘Floodland’ era before ditching her in favour of a full touring band to promote the band’s last studio album ‘Vision Thing’. Two ‘Best of’ albums later and a contract dispute with their record label saw the band go on indeffinate strike. They eventually escaped their contract but only rumours of new music have ever surfaced. Since then the band have been periodically resurrected for world tours, where a handfull of new-ish songs are rolled out for the benefit of those with hidden recording equipment.

The Fields Of The Nephilim

The Neph’ had a pretty good bust up after the release of the band’s ‘Elizium’ album in the early 90s that saw everyone but vocalist Carl McCoy leave to form Rubicon for a while. McCoy rechristened his next effort as simply Nefilim while he explored heavier, industrial tinged metal. But you can’t keep a good goth down and in 1998 McCoy and Tony Pettitt announced they were collaborating again… but it wasn’t to last very long.
A single in the form of ‘One More Nightmare’ appeared but the planned fourth album ‘Fallen’ was released unfinished by the band’s then lable and saw McCoy distance himself from it.
A touring lineup of The Neph’ came into being but without Pettitt who went on to work with NFD. It then fell quiet once again with no new studio album emerging until 2008 with the release of ‘Mourning Sun’ which finally saw McCoy kick the band back into gear.

The Cassandra Complex

The Cassandra Complex were perhaps one of the UK’s most underrated electronic rock acts ever. One of the first bands to blend synthpop electronics and gothic rock they initially left a bad taste in the collective mouth of the UK music press. In spite of this the band would go on to have much more success on the continent and even in America. But it wasn’t always smooth sailing. Multiple line-up changes have been regular occurrences throughout their career with vocalist Rodney Orpheus being reduced to the sole member. After 2001’s ‘Wetware’ album though it all fell quiet for several years until the original line-up plus long-time member Volker Zacharias reunited for Wave Gotik Treffen 2007. They have since played several live dates per year with a series of remastered releases and a new album in the works.

Red Lorry Yellow Lorry

In total thirteen musicians have passed through the ranks of Red Lorry Yellow Lorry. That is impressive by anyone’s standards. Especially for a band that originally only lasted ten years. Guitarist/Songwriter Chris Reed initially broke up the band in 1991 after they were dropped by Beggars Banquet.
The band have since reformed with Reed at the helm once againin 2004 and released several songs via download. The band still occasionally tours and it was announced earlier this year that they are currently working on new material, though no release dates have been given .

Die Laughing

For seven years and three albums during the 1990’s Die Laughing forged a name for themselves in the ever-growing ethereal female vocal strand of gothic rock. Though the band were best known for their activity in the 90s, Die Laughing was actually formed – albeit briefly – in the late ’80s. They released three demos and played a lot of gigs before fading away for four years.
The band’s second run came to an end in 1999 and the individual members moved on once again. The band had been on ice for thirteen years until it was announced they would be reforming for a string of dates supporting The March Violets before heading into the studio to work on a new album.

13 Candles

13 Candles for a while looked like they may have some serious potential to develop a strong following in both the goth and metal scenes back in the 90s. Unfortunately though wrangling with labels and other issues held them back. By the time their strongest album ‘Killing For Culture’ was finally released in 2003, the band had already decided to take a sabbatical to pursue other projects. The band have since reformed for a one off show in 2005, before the “classic” lineup returned in 2009. There have been plans for an expanded lineup and possible new material, but aside from one announcement earlier in the year regarding the recording of new demos, nothing has yet materialised.

Sigue Sigue Sputnik

The most futuristic of all the new wave bands Sigue Sigue Sputnik – led by ex-Generation X (and future Sisters Of Mercy) bassist Tony James – enjoyed both success and infamy in their late 80s heyday. The band have reformed and/or existed in modified forms since 1995 when original members James and Neal X recruited singer Christopher Novak, keyboard player John Green, and Gen-X guitarist Derwood into the fold for a new album. This lineup once again dissolved but in 1998 original singer Martin Degville returned and the band set out as Sputnik 2.0. One more reformation later in 2001 saw the release of a new album in the form of ‘Piratescape’ before Degville left the band again in 2004. He has since performed solo as well as under the monikers of Sputnik2, Sputnik2 The Future, and Sigue Sigue Sputnik Electronic (SSSE).

The Misfits

New Jersey hardcore punks The Misfits and their brand of horror themed lyrics, along with their unique collective look, gave rise to horror punk as a worldwide sub-genre. After vocalist Glenn Danzig left for a career in heavy metal citing the rest of the band’s lack of musicianship, the remaining members looked set to fade into punk’s extensive list of footnotes. However a new Misfits lineup emerged in the 1990’s (much to the annoyance of Danzig) with new singer Michael Graves at the helm to produce two great albums in the form of ‘American Psycho’ and ‘Famous Monsters’. However with the departure of Graves and a couple of short-lived vocalists later (including Mike Hideous of The Empire Hideous, whose experiences formed the basis of the documentary ‘Living The American Nightmare’) the band lapsed into a creative malaise of crappy cover songs and even worse, Jerry Only taking over vocal duties. The band still heads out to play but even with long-time member Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein having left, the band exists more as a retirement home for ageing punks… Still at least the merchandise still sells devilishly well.

 

About Miranda Yardley

I'm Miranda. Bite me.

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