Once a band achieves iconic status, the reasons (perceived or real) for disbanding multiply quickly (nowhere to go but down creatively, don’t wanna sully the rep, egos begin conflicting, etc.). But, by example, Sonic Youth have withstood all that: integrity in tact (Starbucks flak notwithstanding), startlingly creative, still cooperative. And yet, Thurston regrets not having ended SY in 1990 (and then come back for lucrative reunion). Here’s a Moore quote pulled by SPIN:
The Pixies reunion was a real success, and Dinosaur Jr. seems like a big success, and both those bands play as good as they ever did. Mission Of Burma blew my mind when they came back. But a band like us never did break up. Which was to our own detriment. What would have happened if we did break up after (classic 1988 double album) Daydream Nation – or even after (1990’s) Dirty – and had gotten back together two years ago? You’d be interviewing me at the Chateau Marmont as I’m waiting for my limousine. We probably would have made so much money. This was our biggest career faux-pas – not breaking up.
Sad, but true — walking away earlier would’ve kept people Youth deprived, and a reunion would’ve incited teen aged riots everywhere. Still, maybe they won’t get that big payout, but they’ve given us so much great stuff to listen to post-Dirty. You got your legacy in one hand, and your checkbook in your other. What to do?
UPDATE: SPIN’s the source of Thurston’s quotage, if you want a little context.