Five Iron Frenzy: Back From the DeadFeatured, Music — By Shawn Dickinson 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?