Comeback tours: Are they a nostalgia cure or a cash grab?

Comeback tours: Are they a nostalgia cure or a cash grab?

Photo: Jen Rosenstein
Words by Anna Rose

What’s your opinion?

I have a simple question for the giants of heavy metal: when it comes to music, what’s more important, money or your life? Or should that be, when it comes to music, is money your life?

It started with Metallica cancelling their Australian tour as James Hetfield announced a return to rehab, only to then say they’d be playing an additional five shows on their North American tour. Come again?

Then KISS. Australian shows were cancelled just days before they were due to take place as vocalist Paul Stanley was advised by doctors to rest due to the flu. Oh, but they’re still well enough to perform on the back of a boat, a move suitably dubbed by Triple M as the “Great White Farce”. Puh-lease!

Heavy metal’s grandfathers seem to be forgetting a couple of things – they’re getting on in years and the disappointments they’re creating because of their inevitable ageing is a cause for concern. Is making a last grab at the cash cow really worth it? Have heavy metal monoliths become franchises as opposed to vessels of historic sound?

Look at what happened to Mötley Crüe in 2013, when vocalist Vince Neil was rushed to hospital “for internal pain”, cutting their Sydney show short. The quality of their tour suffered as a consequence. And oh look, just as I’m writing this, the news breaks that the Crüe have announced a reformation and ripped up their six-year-old cessation of touring agreement.

Didn’t they do a global farewell thing with ticket prices amped up to the eyeballs?

Come on metal grandfathers, you’ve had your time. Maybe you, and we, could happily scuttle off remembering the historic performances of days gone by.

Maybe it’s time for the metal musos and fans to accept the inevitable – you’re never going to be as good as you were. Maybe we’re going to get more out of the bands and musicians of our generation taking to the stage.

Bring Me The Horizon tore rooves off during their tour in April, while the likes of My Chemical Romance (yes, I know, not strictly metal), the voice of a generation, announced reformation shows while in peak physical health to huge applause. And our very own Parkway Drive are about to headline Good Things from next week! More metal than you can shake your fistful of dollars at.

So, Metallica, KISS, Iron Maiden, and every other band who had their peak of success in the 1970s and 1980s, what’s it going to be? Admit you have enough cash in your back pockets to keep the next four generations of descendants living comfortably, or keep trying to perform until you’re being pushed out in wheelchairs with pyrotechnics infused into them just to try and draw attention away from the fact that your music is not what it once was?