How to re-form your cult indie rock band

  • @willydean

Besides those with key dead members, almost every big musical act of the last four decades – with a handful of exceptions such as The Smiths and The Jam – has re-formed.

The latest to crumble is Neutral Milk Hotel – Jeff Mangum’s cult act who made one of the greatest albums in history, 1997’s In the Aeroplane over the Sea, before disappearing into the ether. Almost literally in Mangum’s case – he was barely seen for a decade before returning for solo shows in late 2010.

But on Monday, the band  released a cryptic message (“and of water course womb rume is a wandering the welkin woman…”) along with five gig dates. Thankfully, the band have followed the four commandments of re-forming a cult band without shredding your legacy, namely:

Keep them waiting A minimum of 10 years…

Do it slowly Even though fans know you’ll play everywhere, announce only a few shows at first.

Be mysterious A gibberish pronouncement helps.

Cash in Unless you’re Oasis, in three years’ time no one will begrudge you making the money you didn’t earn first time around (cf. Pavement, Pixies et al.).