FT5: Extended Hiatuses & Welcomed Returns

0911top5coverWe all have our hobbies. Whether it be collecting records, knitting, or making graffiti stencils, we all have something that steals away our time and makes the monotony of everyday life a little more bearable. But sometimes our hobbies consume too much of our time or, God forbid, our hobbies become just as monotonous as our day job. You must take a step back and to see what you loved about that hobby in the first place.

For this Friday Top Five we will take a look at several bands that have for one reason or another taken a break. These bands have never formally broken up; they have just gone on extended hiatus.

sleepytimetrio5. Sleepytime Trio

This band rose to moderate popularity in the mid to late nineties on the backs of their chaotic live shows and several blistering 7”s and a single LP Plus6000 (all of which was collect by Lovitt Records and released as Memory-Minus). After singer Drew Ringo relocated to Seattle, Sleepytime Trio went on extended hiatus. During the hiatus the band has formed several notable bands: Milemarker, Engine Down, Supine to Sit, and the Rah Bras. In 1998 and 2007 Sleepytime Trio reformed to play a string of shows.

atthedrivein4. At the Drive-In

In the late nineties, if At the Drive-In were in Houston, I was there. Say what you want about their recorded material, once you seeCedric Bixler-Zavala crawling on top of amps with a microphone cable wrapped around his neck, screaming until he was blue in the face, you became a fan. After a string of successful releases, ending with 2000’s Relationship of Command, the band placed itself on ‘indefinite hiatus’ due to in-fighting and drug use. Its members went onto form The Mars Volta and Sparta, as well as numerous other one off affairs. In interviews in 2009 members of the At the Drive-In were open to the idea of reuniting.

thewhitestripes3. The White Stripes

For the tenure of the White Stripes career their output has been fairly steady, an album every couple of years with touring in between. This output was halted while touring behind 2007’s Icky Thump, when Meg White began suffering from acute anxiety problems. During this break Jack White has been down right prolific with his release schedule: a new Raconteurs album, forming and releasing the debut Dead Weather LP, and being featured in the new documentary It Might Get Loud. The Stripes performed together for the first time since 2007 this year on Conan O’Brien’s final episode on Late Night.

godspeedyoublackemperor2. Godspeed You(!) Black Emperor (!)

Of all the bands featured on today’s list, GYBE!’s hiatus is the one I most understand. The thought of the logistical acrobatics that need to be performed to write such lengthy compositions, touring with up to nine members, and performing these mini-symphonies night after night boggles the mind. But anyone who has been lucky enough to the group perform knows that there is something indescribable about the event. Since initiating radio silence in 2003 the members of the band have gone on to populate some of the most exciting bands: A Silver Mount Zion, HRSTA, Fly Pan Am, and pretty much the entire Constellation Records roster.

fugazi1. Fugazi

Fugazi is a band that feels like it has been around all of our lives. Like Sonic Youth or the Melvins, you were always expecting a new Fugazi record to come out soon. I still get that feeling even though their last release, The Argument¸ came out eight years ago. Unlike the other bands discussed today, no members of Fugazi have started a project that could possibly outshine their original band. They always resign themselves to supporting role as a bassist or a producer, never a leading role. Maybe that’s why we feel that the next Fugazi release is always right around the corner.

Discuss: Would you shrug off these new projects started by the various band members to bring back the familiar old band? Is it worth seeing these bands remain in their old molds, shaking the chance of progression?


  • I had to go back and find this quote from dahv-dahv just because it was too appropriate for today’s Top 5:

    “How has Chris Cornell not figured out by now he needs to get Soundgarden back together? Im sure Kim Tayhil is just snorting coke off of hookers somewhere, but I refuse to believe he is busy with anything else.”

    Me, I’m still waiting for the mythical Pavement reunion.

  • In 2009, Thayil played with Soundgarden’s Matt Cameron and Ben Shepherd at a show in Seattle on March 24, 2009 at the Crocodile Cafe that was headlined by Tom Morello’s The Nightwatchman. It was the first time the three had played together in public since the band’s 1997 breakup. The three were joined by Tad Doyle of fellow ’90s Seattle band TAD, and performed three Soundgarden songs. For the last song (Spoonman) they were joined by Tom Morello.

    Talk about a grunge boner.

  • I wold kill for an At the Drive-In return.

  • Hey PAVEMENT’S BACK…next year.

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