In my first post I finished off with a picture of my favorite popular music, rock ‘n’ roll band of all time: Sigue Sigue Sputnik (Boom Boom Satellite, translated from the Russian). No, for you youngsters or the unenlightened that don’t know what I’m talking about, they are not Russian, we have a British pop group here with a name supposedly cadged from a Moscow youth gang. The band, briefly popular in 1986, wanted to be the future of rock ‘n’ roll; the look, the feel, the sound. Needless to say we all know now that they never became the future. Why? Probably over-hype that couldn’t be lived up to plus a complete immunity to the hype in the US from the very start. But this isn’t my point.
Over the years there have been several reunion attempts, one actually partly successful from 2000 to 2004. They sounded good again live. Real good. Made some mostly good if uneven albums. The problem is, and this is a big problem with a band like this, they were old. Remember, in the original incarnation image was possibly more important than the sound. This is always gone by the reunion. Plastic surgery and pink fright wigs on men well beyond 40 are just sad not cool. No way cool. Ask anyone 16 to 28 years old, what do you think they will say? Cool? Nope, unless you stick your tongue firmly in your cheek and embrace the fact that you ARE really self-parody. Self-parody can succeed on another level when it is self conscious. Self-parody otherwise is sad when you are actually trying to be serious and capture and relive the past, ergo ’70s Elvis.
In the past few years there has been a clamor among SSS fans, yes we will use the acronym here, for a reunion of the original band. Remember in 2004 they were old by “cool” pop music standards, now in the ripe old year of 2013 they are inching towards walker and wheelchair material. Can you imagine trying to recapture “the magic” of my 29th year in existence when I am now well into my fifties and the band I am going to see is in their sixties, a very special image driven band? Its just sad. The Sex Pistols had a reunion of sorts 20 years on in 1996 and it was okay, but only if you kept your eyes closed. However, nothing new was achieved. The band didn’t make some new important mark on culture or even their own legacy. It was about a bit of fun and making money. Rotten, who always claimed it was all a cheat in the first place, kept his sense of humor throughout the “tour” and refused to have anything to do with it after that. But some took the whole thing so seriously…
Here is a link to the SSS YouTube video of “21st Century Boy” from TOTP in 1986. Go look at it. Really. This will still be here. Can you imagine fat bald old farts doing “classic” Sputnik like this now without embracing the comedy aspects of it? I say again: Sad.
Not only are the old farts trying to pull this thing off a sorry lot, but probably even more so, the fans that cling to it and clamor for it. Just shoot me if I’m still alive in 20 years and they put a SSS reunion special on PBS during “begging for bucks” and I still wanna watch it. Clinging to a fossilized aged 18 youth isn’t healthy. People should live in the now and just think about the past. Of course I still look the same as I did in 1986. Except for the er weight, um wrinkles, and, oh, hair.
The original founders of SSS are putting out some old cast-off recordings and demos for the fans, and this is okay, but it has fueled speculation that the band is going to go back in the studio (maybe alright) and tour again (I’m not so sure about). Martin Degville retains a presence as a solo act trumped up as Sigue Sigue Sputnik Electronic, and it looks like fun and all, but people actually whine that it isn’t up to the old “classic” Sputnik and is ruining the bands image (?). At least he re-recorded everything in a more current techno style and released some new stuff so he wasn’t too hampered by 1986. It seems to be all in good fun though, not TOO serious. I hope Martin, at least, knows not to take it all too seriously.
So, no I don’t want to see a Sigue Sigue Sputnik reunion that goes beyond the studio. It also has to be the original band, not some Sammy Hagar-style replacement singer. Because if I’m going to have to close my eyes anyway and pretend it is 1986, it ought to be in the comfort of my own little home, not some stinking dive pub in Manchester.
A couple of other things. The good old days were only one thing: old, they weren’t all that good you just only remember that part. Remember the REAL future is right around the corner if we can just wait long enough for it. Oh, and excuse my still rudimentary HTML skills, I’m still learning. It looks like the YouTube link at least works. I’ll figure out how to embed next time, maybe, no promises