Seminal indie-rock band The Pixies released a new song last week, just after news broke that original bassist Kim Deal left the band. Now, we get word that the remaining members have found a new bassist, are playing a bunch of European dates and have hinted a new album may be in the works.
This all leads me to the question: When does a band, cease being a band?
When your favorite member leaves, I’d imagine.
It’s not odd that a band continues (or even reunites) without an original member. It happens all the time. AC/DC, Black Sabbath, The Misfits and scores of others have enjoyed entire second careers (or third, in the case of Metallica) after losing original members. The Beach Boys are notorious for having, like, no actual Beach Boys anymore (OK, there’s Mike Love), yet people still flock to watch them play “Kokomo” or whatever.
Somehow, it feels extra off for the Pixes. It was such a big deal when the band reunited in 2004 that this new turn reeks of a money grab. Even if the band’s official release says it was Deal’s decision and that she will always have a place in the band.
Maybe this is the trend.
Greg Ginn’s reunited Black Flag gives me a similar cringe. During its run, the seminal punk band had so many lineup changes no one could keep it straight. Everyone had/has their favorite. This new Black Flag isn’t any of those, but is still touring as “Black Flag” and working on a new album and released a new single in May. The song is good, but it feels like Ginn is trading on the name. I suppose you can’t blame him. Or can you?
I’ll let my original question stand. When does a band cease being a band?
Check out “Bagboy” the Pixies’ new single: