An Open Letter to Five Iron FrenzyFeatured, Music — By Nathan Baker-Lutz on January 26, 2012 at 11:00 am
We’ve been chanting for eight years. Standing shoulder to shoulder as our hair disappeared and our children were born, with sweat dried on our foreheads as we yearned for more of what only you gave us.
Of course we knew you would never come. You don’t do encores and we admired you for it. We came for fun, fellowship and worship; you gave it all right up front, not saving the best songs for triumphant walks back on stage. Still, we pumped our fists and chanted nonetheless, knowing the lights would never come back up and you would never come back out.
Until now. After an exactly eight-year break backstage, you’ve announced that, with our help, you will reunite to record a new album and play a select tour of shows.
You have been an anchor point for some of the greatest events of my life. I met my wife at your final show in Denver. Your song “Every New Day” was the last song played at my wedding. My greatest moment as a musician came opening for you when your tour came through Chicago. My band even tried to end its existence like you, with one final show and no hard feelings, no scandal and no hint of a possible return.
Yet I am torn between the return of the greatest band of my childhood and the fact that you always said there would be no encores — that you wouldn’t come back out to play just because we called your names.
I, and so many others, stood and pumped our fists and chanted that last night in Denver because it was the end. We were saying “Thank you.” And now suddenly you are peeking out from behind the curtain, asking us to keep standing, chanting, fist-pumping for one more year — while we pick up the bill.
Of course it’s exciting. All the lyrics are still in our heads and the t-shirts are still in our drawers. But what have you heard this time that you didn’t hear before?
What did you hear while you were starting other bands, writing poetry, getting married, having kids and growing up (except maybe you, Reese)? Maybe you see that your brand has carried on despite your absence and now a little extra cash would be nice. Maybe the shows you’ve played with other bands just don’t feel the same way; maybe they aren’t as crowded.
You’ve had your kids now, just like us. You’ve grown up and learned who you are, just like us. And hopefully, just like us, you are excited about a reunion because what you have been missing is the same thing we have always wanted from you: coming together with friends and worshiping the God of the farsighted.
I hope you have heard something now you never knew to listen for then. We wanted our lives to continue the change you gave us. We wanted more of the courage that came bonding us misfits in the crowd. And more than anything else, we wanted our voice to be gathered collectively as one and pushed through your speakers. You heard “We love you.” And we did, but not because you were gorgeous and awe-inspiring but because you were real people with similar problems that united our unique faiths in one heartfelt moment of music.
That’s why we are excited now. Please don’t let this return be a sad reminder of how old I’ve gotten or just a half-hearted nostalgia walk. I hope that you have been gone for eight years and realized that you are still a loud voice to a generation that no one seems to understand. I hope you’re feeling encouraged to follow a call to change people’s lives. And most of all, I hope you are returning now because you’ve been slowly becoming nearsighted, just like us, and have seen better things. That’s what we have been chanting for.