Five Reasons We're Thrilled About At The Drive-In's Reunion

Categories: Appreciations
Earlier this week, At The Drive-In posted a not-so cryptic message on its not-very-old Twitter page, announcing: "¡ATTENTION! To whom it may concern: AT THE DRIVE-IN will be breaking their 11 year silence THIS STATION IS ...NOW...OPERATIONAL." To say we leaped out of our chairs, did a happy dance, high-fived everyone in our vicinity, and screamed the news out the window would be an understatement (because we also messaged all of our friends immediately as well). We never thought we'd see this day (things in that band did not end well last decade), so we wanted to publicly celebrate the news. Here, then, are the five reasons we're thrilled about the return of At The Drive-In.

5. No One Sounds Like ATD-I

There is no At The Drive-In substitute and there never will be -- no one else can do what At The Drive-In does. La Dispute had a crack recently, but trying to imitate (or emulate, if you'd rather) At The Drive-In is a futile task that is going to kick you in the ass every single time. If you're going to try and be viscerally thrilling, terrifying, raw, cerebral, and sensitive all at the same time, you'd better be At The Drive-In, or you're probably just going to be a giant clusterfuck.
4. The New Bands Just Weren't as Great

Our first reaction to hearing Sparta (the band formed by guitarist Jim Ward and drummer Tony Hajjar, out of the ashes of ATD-I) was "Is that it?!" followed by two minutes of shrugging. Our first reaction to hearing The Mars Volta (Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez's first post ATD-I band effort) was to slap ourselves in the forehead, acknowledge how clever it all was and immediately turn it off. The phrase "too many cooks" sprang to mind. Where Sparta needs to ramp it up, The Mars Volta could do with reeling it in a bit. But when the parties are united, the combination is simply perfection.

3. ATD-I Didn't Dumb it Down for Mainstream Television

The night the above performance happened on the Late Show with David Letterman, you could practically hear the sound of America having to retrieve its jaws from the floor afterward. It was the television equivalent of throwing fireworks through your quiet neighbors' letterboxes just to wake the bastards up.

2. Few Bands Will Ever Be as Thought-Provoking

At The Drive-In lyrics are an exercise in complicated verbosity and frequently surrealist imagery. Bixler-Zavala is a complex, poetic motherfucker and one can spend hours trying to figure out what he's going on about, often with no solid conclusion. Not only does this leave songs refreshingly open to interpretation, but it acts as a brain workout. And on the odd occasions when you know exactly what Cedric is talking about, it can all get a tad overwhelming. We've never quite recovered from the rendition of "Napoleon Solo" we witnessed at London's Camden Underworld in 2000 -- but we will say that more than one grown man openly wept.

1. ATD-I Is Not Motivated by Money

Trust us, money is not a motivating factor in this reunion (as it usually is with all the others). Lest we forget that ATD-I dramatically split at the peak of its powers and no amount of money could have talked the bandmembers out of it (ask the major label they were signed to at the time). We saw them play on their last tour and they looked frustrated and disengaged, like they were going through the motions. So they quit. Our advice is to catch them while you can -- go buy tickets the second the band announces a tour, because At The Drive-In is not going to do a pile of reunion tours for the sake of their bank balances. There's no way of knowing how long we'll have them back for, so let's make the most of this (and please, god, let it include new material).

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I saw these guys several times in 1999 and 2000. They were a great live band who never learned how to write a decent song. Last time I saw them, the infighting (most likely mixed with rumored drug abuse) made for one of the worst shows I have ever seen. I brought a friend from the music industry with me to see them and he suggested we leave so as not to poison his opinion of them. It was that bad.

Now here they are making a boatload of money re-uniteing at the very Festival they opened in 1999. And I mean opened. They were the first band to perform on the least of all stages. Funny how that works.


theyre not in it for the money!!! please put out an album of new material!

doesn't seem to add up..


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