Five Iron Frenzy: Back From the Dead

Featured, Music — By on January 26, 2012 at 7:00 am

Eight years ago tonight it was snowing in Denver, CO. I know because I was there, along with thousands of Five Iron Frenzy fans, some who had traveled from around the world. We were there to see the end of something we had loved; to experience it one final time; to put it to rest.

In November, Five Iron announced a new album and possible tour. This news didn’t make me happy. I kind of felt like I attended my best friend’s funeral — and then ten years later, he calls to tell me that he might want to get the boys back together.


Before you send off a careless internet comment my way, know that I too was one of you. I went to every show that they played within a multi-state radius of where I live. I have all of their albums, even Cheeses of Nazareth, which should have come with a rebate for the purchase price. And yes, I still wear my Five Iron Frenzy shirt often. I was as stunned as anyone when I found out that they were quitting.

But on November 22, 2003, I watched Five Iron Frenzy play a memorable show that would never be forgotten by those that were there. It was a moment of deserved recognition to a band who had given more to their fans then they would ever know. Everyone there, both the band and fans, sang until their voices quit and they were forced back into the Denver cold.


Based on the response to their return, I am in the minority. At this moment, the band’s Kickstarter campaign is 693% funded with $207,980 pledged. The band’s webpages are filling with fans’ comments happy to see the band return. Many of them are probably pushing thirty, but they sound like teenage Bieber fans.

Maybe I’m feeling like the memories we made on November 22, 2003 are being tarnished. Or maybe I am being realistic. A couple years ago, I went to see MXPX almost ten years after the first time I saw them. It was awkward watching grown men playing teenage anthems and sounding like they were still chasing unattainable dreams. It wasn’t nostalgic, but sad. Nostalgia only lasts so long and it is only great because we’ve chosen to remember the parts that satisfy our need to revisit those feelings and memories. If we actually got to go back to our high school days, we’d quickly remember all that we worked hard to forget.

What if this upcoming album isn’t very good? What if the band has changed as people (which they hopefully have) and their message doesn’t sound exactly like we want to remember? Or what if we’ve moved on and they are right back where they were? What if watching a 40-year-old Reese Roper dance and sweat until he pukes just isn’t the same? What if it is actually awkward and sad?


I am not trying to be a pessimist. Five Iron Frenzy ranks in my top three favorite bands ever. But I am worried that our excitement about a return might be fueled more by our feelings about who they were, rather than the reality of what they might be. Their return is a high-risk endeavor that puts their legacy to the test. Will the next Five Iron chapter be remembered like a U2-late-career resurgence, or a “remember when Jordan tried baseball?” failure?

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  • ted says:


    • josh says:

      Ted’s drunk! Shawn, thanks for your thoughtful and nuanced fandom. You too, Nathan.

    • EmilyTimbol says:

      Can I just say, ted’s response is really brilliant, when you think of what our responses would have been if someone had told young us that Five Iron Frenzy is coming back and they weren’t excited.

  • Darylldorman says:

    Really? I too was at the final show. It was amazing. I also went to a 20 person Roper concert…didn’t ruin the final concert. But was sad. FIF cannot fail. Admittedly, I was simply hoping for one big reunion show. A cd still two years away? Yet five iron has always been a band that is real, and that won’t change. Now they jut have some money to tour one more time…no more wrappers sticking to shirts in stinky vans…in style.

    Can’t wait to see them again!

  • Karla azahar says:

    I 100% agree with this article. I just found out today that they’re back together and I felt as if FIF pulled a joke on me.

    I am 33 years old and have been a fan of them since I was 17. I anxiously awaited for the very first CD as I had gotten a hold of a demo before they made it big. I own everything they put out, I went to all tours and saw them more times than I could count. I easily saw them over 30 times. I saved and travelled to see them play that one last time in Denver. I got a tattoo that day, the snow, the feeling, the songs that burned my throat, the tears that changed my life as I yelled “Every New Day” for the last time. It was an incredible time, to have followed and grown-up with such an amazing band.

    Two years ago I relieved the moments and remember how wonderful it had all been through the DVD of the Rise and Fall of FIF. What happened today? I was astonished to find out they are back. I feel so let down. Do they need money? Are they bored? It hasnt even been 10 years and now there back? Why didnt they just call it a “break” instead of making a big drama out of something they were just going to take back. I feel very disappointed and let down. I have no interest in hearing 40 year olds sing about kittie doggies, i dont really care for the rock with horns sound. I loved the ska sound they put out and the songs that shaped me. But I am an adult now and dont want to be embarrased with a joke. I feel as if everything they did and everything they are to me, is about to be tarnished and will never be the same again.

    This feels like the true definition of sell-outs.

  • Tasha Firestone says:

    I know how you feel. :)

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