Not so Super(grass)

To my extreme sadness and recognition on the passage of time and our eventual demise, it was announced last week that the rock group Supergrass will be calling it quits after this summer, following a few one-off shows in their home country of Britain.

My sadness isn't directly related to their breaking up, although it hurts a bit. Supergrass was a quality outfit and one of the few Britpop groups from the 90s to have staying power and create consistently solid and stylistically varied albums. Releasing six albums, they were always well received by critics and were known for solid live shows (2/3 of the band put out a cover album under the name Hot Rats, produced by Nigel Godrich). So their break up does put a small hole in the current music world (unlike the break up of my beloved Oasis, although I contend their last two albums were solid).

Mostly, my melancholy is based on seeing in a press release that the band had been together 17 friggin' years. 17! Which means they got together in 1993. I started listening to them the following year, so this is a band that I have been following for the most part since they began. For 17 years.

Wow. It's not like this is The Who and they were together 30 years before I started buying them, or any other group that was at least a decade into their existence. I started with them, and their end line is almost two decades later.

This was a big reminder on the passage of time, not only how quickly it goes by, but also how it often fails to effect our perception of music and groups we love. I realized with every album that Supergrass was getting older, as was I, but all I had to do was put on their I Should Coco, and they were 19 again (and in many was so was I). That is part of the wonderful magic that music embodies for us, and while I suppose it can seem a little pathetic (especially to younger listeners who haven't been listening to any groups long enough to generate a sense of time passing), it's also very sweet and reassuring. You're not living in the past- you're just hanging out for a little bit, recalling some sensory memories of getting the first Supergrass CD for Christmas in Wichita and listening to it up in the attic bedroom where my dad once listened to his albums, or laughing at the title track "In It for the Money" with my roomate and thinking how British that title is. When a band that has been with you long enough ends its existence, it ultimately reminds us of our own past and mortality and that eventually, whether it's musical differences or heat failure, we have to call it quits.

The topic I pose then is: What artist's(s') breakup or end has been particularly hard on you? It could even be a group that hasn't been around long, perhaps causing you to mourn "what could have been".

Thanks for our time together, boys!

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Poindexter said...

Another good topic Chris. I'm going to point out an obvious one for us all. Cobain's death.... The first rockstar that I loved & admired vanished so quickly from us. Layne Staley's death was another one that did a number on me. Oh, what could have been for these 2 Seattle giants. A somewhat "recent" group that disbanded much too early for me was The Libertines. I think there only 2 studio albums are brilliant. However, should of seen this one coming a mile-a-away with Pete's very public and rampant drug use. I truly believe they were a force to be reckoned with. I'm sure I'll think of more but these immediately popped in my head.

Bang Potential said...

very well put

think I've only had a light version of that feeling before

Matt said...

I can't really think of any good ones. I'd say The Smiths and Talking Heads but those bands were already broken up by the time I became a big fan.

The only other ones I can think of (Faith No More, Pixies, Soundgarden) have all recently reunited.

I'll have to come back to this one if I think of something.

Poindexter said...

I may have spoke too soon (fortunately). After doing a little "homework" on NME, I came across... The Libertines will perform at Leeds on the Friday (August 27) of the festival, before headliners Arcade Fire. They will play in Reading on the Saturday (28). This is outstanding news. However for U.S. fans, I doubt very much we will see a tour stateside.

Chris said...

I would love to see The Libertines. I'm a fan of Dirty Pretty Things, as well as Doherty's solo album that came out last year. I suppose it could be ugly, but if he's sober that could be a fun time.