Some bands make it easy on us as fans. They quit. Plain and simple. They make an announcement, something along the lines of disbanding due to personal reasons, creative differences, or succumbing to the desire to move on. A date is set when the band will no longer exist; that date features a concert where goodbyes are said, tears are shed, memories are made. When the sun rises in the morning, we have all moved on.
Some bands are just straight-up toying with our emotions, though. Instead of breaking up, they go on hiatus.
Hiatus (noun): A period of time when something (such as an activity or program) is stopped.
Something is “stopped,” not finished, but stopped. A band quits, and it’s definite. A band goes on hiatus, and it’s indefinite. It’s open-ended. As a fan, you wait with baited breath for news that maybe, just maybe, the hiatus is over. What do you do during a hiatus? You find other bands, and you try to fill the gap left behind. Phish went on hiatus (or broke up, depending on who you ask) from 2004 to 2009, and neo-hippies everywhere flocked to lesser-known jam bands like Moe and String Cheese Incident, bands who could provide at least some semblance of that warm feeling Phish provided. It wasn’t the same, though. It never is. Bands are like friends in that you come to rely on them, and you value their company. If a friend is all of sudden not around, you feel a little lost. You try to replace that friend, but it’s not the same. But that old friend isn’t around, and life moves on.
But hold up… that friend is suddenly back in town! Awesome!
In a very roundabout way, this is about Faith No More.
Faith No More recently released Sol Invictus, their first album since 1997’s Album of the Year. That’s 18 years. Congratulations, Faith No More’s hiatus. You can now vote and buy cigarettes.
But that old friend analogy doesn’t just apply to Faith No More. Here are few other artists who left us for too long, only to recently return. Whose absence was mostly deeply felt?