Yesterday twitter delivered some exciting, if mysterious, news. The band who spearheaded a scene, made some of the best albums of the 90’s and gave me the name for this blog, The Promise Ring, announced themselves on twitter with one simple tweet “hello again”. And with that a shot of excitement was sent tingling down my spine.
So far, this remains the one tweet from the band. What can it mean? What is it we should be getting excited about?
Well, as the Promise Ring remain one of my all time favourite bands, it could mean anything and I’d be happy. There has been a trend in recent years for bands to reform and either do a few shows or give it another go and make a new album. Most can be taken with a pinch of salt but as Sunny day real estate proved last year, sometimes nothing beats seeing a band you never thought you’d ever see reforming and playing the hits for your nostalgic pleasure.
There has got to be a reason for a band to reform for it to work. Maybe some unfinished business to attend to. Some bands come to an end far too early for whatever reason and leave a longing amongst their fans. Take At the Drive-in for example. They release ‘Relationship of command’, an explosive album that still blows me away to this day, and within months they are no more. It was gutting to know that you would never get to see them live if you hadn’t already. I don’t think anyone who was a fan would begrudge them playing together again.
The same can’t be said of other bands that have taken it upon themselves to make a come back. Take Smashing Pumpkins for example. A once great band that fizzled out way before they called it a day. Then Billy Corgan takes out a full page advert in a newspaper announcing the return of the ‘Pumpkins’ before checking to see if any of the other members wanted to do it. So now you have an ego trip of a band made up of who cares who with just one remaining member.
I guess there are people that still care that they’re still going but I certainly don’t, and that’s unlikely to change regardless of how many special edition versions of old albums they may release.
Back to the Promise Ring and to me they definitely left me wanting more. I was lucky enough to see them live but in a way it was heartbreaking. I saw them supporting Jimmy Eat World at Brixton Academy in 2002. The crowd of nearly 6000 youngsters were there to hear JEW play the hits and nothing else, they didn’t give the Promise Ring a second thought. As the band had just released Wood/Water the set was mainly made up of songs from that but they did play some old songs in between. Just before playing ‘Red & blue jeans’, singer Davey Von Bohlen announced “We’re gonna play some old songs, as if you care” and had a cheeky laugh with the rest of the band. I cared, and I tried to make myself heard to the band as much as possible much to the annoyance of the people around me. It didn’t work, the band looked defeated when they left the stage. Maybe it was times like that that brought an end to the band, which would be a true shame.
In recent times there has been the odd flicker that they were coming back. A reunion show in 2005 and then talk of a best of album to be released a couple of years ago. That, as yet, has not surfaced. In the meantime, Davey has been making some great music with ‘Maritime’, who are certainly worth checking out.
So, if the Promise Ring are reforming and touring, I sincerely hope they play here in England. I would truly love to stand in a room with other fans, screaming our lungs out and showing much deserved appreciation to a band that changed music for the better.
Hassle them on twitter, @ThePromiseRing, or come and bother me @alextb3. A couple more reviews will be posted this week. Thanks for reading xx