Some glimpse in the darkness in today's music scene may be coming our way, although I try to not be overenthousiast just yet before the news gets confirmed. But in an era of musical recyclement, bad covers of great classics, short-lived hypes created in Pop Idols contests, ... one is more keen to believe in the hopeful news coming his way.
The odds look good that A Perfect Circle, one of my favourite bands, is not dead at all and is even returning from its hiatus. A Perfect Circle, which was formed in the late nineties by guitarist Billy Howerdel and Tool vocalist Maynard James Keenan, has risen to fame with 3 albums (of which notably Mer de Noms in my opinion deserves a mention as one of the best metal albums ever) before going into hiatus in 2004 due to Maynard's commitments with Tool. Rumours about the future of A Perfect Circle have been ongoing since then but it seemed long time that there would be no future at all. "We pushed this project as far as we could, I think it's over," said Maynard himself during an interview a few years back. Worrying news confirmed by Howerdel saying that "APC is done for now".
Ever since, the band members never really indicated a possible return but also never called it an end officially. Maynard at some point said APC was over "until this tour with Tool is done" or that "afterwards we may do some APC". It all seemed vague plans and Billy forming his new band Ashes Divide did not seem to point at a bright futrue for APC. Until now, when Maynard confirmed in an interview that he and Billy are writing new material for A Perfect Circle. A few songs would be ready or in advanced stages. The news apparently would have been confirmed by Billy but I have not read an official interview confirming that. Maynard did not mention which of the former musicians involved with APC would be joining him and Howerdel when the songs are being recorded (very likely Josh Freese will be on drums though) nor if there will be more than just a few songs. He indicated the band would not plan a real album ("nobody is interested in those plastic disks anymore anyway" - no, Maynard, we are interested!) and take things song by song, with the internet as possible channel to release the new material. The same story goes for concerts: a few randomly spread occasional concerts but no real tour planned, although I guess we can hope the spark returns and leads to a full reunion including tour. It does seem that, whatever the output will be, A Perfect Circle is alive and well and the hiatus seems to be officially over!
In Het Laatste Nieuws, one of Belgium's leading newspapers, another rumour circulated. The paper cites that The Smiths would be "closer to a reunion than ever before" and that US based music festival Coachella would have asked the band for a once off reunion gig again, this time offering a sum that even Morrissey would not refuse.
While I am a big Smiths fan and would even fly to California to see them if only this were true, I am more sceptic about this rumour. Reunion rumours have existed for several years, especially linked to the Coachella festival. Up until now, it were just rumours but nothing even close to reality. Morrissey has always refused to reunite the Smiths, refusing a lot of money on earlier occasions. Famous quotes about the subject include that he would rather eat his testicles than to reunite the Smiths (note that Mozzer is a very fanatic vegetarian) or that the only way to unite the band would be to drag the members' dead bodies into a single room. In other words, since the famous courtcase in which drummer Mike Joyce sued the band for unpaid sums of money, the band seems to be over for good and without any hope of ever reuniting. The conflicts within the band are very severe and even if together on stage again it would be questionnable if it would ever be the same as in the band's glory days. With a very succesful solo career and new album and tour coming up, Morrissey also has no direct reason to consider a Smiths reunion. Maybe the most we can hope for is a future collaboration between Morrissey and Johnny Marr, but a full Smiths reunion? It has never been a realistic option so far.
So while I would love to see it happening, allow me to be very sceptic about this one. But with A Perfect Circle returning from a long sleep, there is some exciting happenings to look forward to anyways. 2009 looks to be promising as it is, with Placebo, Marilyn Manson, Orphaned Land and Echo & The Bunnymen all releasing new material.
PS: my Alphaville concert report is upcoming, so stay tuned.