Bands that tour together go through all kinds of ups and downs. Let's face it - if you spend more time with your bandmates than your own family for good amounts of time, people are going to get on each other's nerves. It's a given. Especially since there tend to be multiple strong artistic personalities all vying for supremacy and there will be inevitable clashes. There's screaming, yelling and possible flying projectiles. Then people usually suck it up and move on. These bands couldn't get past those conflicts and found themselves breaking up, depriving fans of more albums together. Here's five examples of world-known groups who fractured.
There really hasn't been a phenomenon as gigantic as the Fab Four were when they first hit the music scene in the sixties. The mere sight of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison or Ringo Starr either in person or on TV could send fans into fits of gleeful shrieking. After unparalleled success for years, the band broke up in 1970, a decade after its creation. There were many causes, not one singular event. They stopped touring four years before the split and their manager died in 1967, but the final straw was the collapse of their shared company Apple Corps, Ltd. and an ensuing intra-band legal battle over who should look after their business affairs, ruthless Rolling Stones manager Allen Klein or McCartney's new father-in-law Lee Eastman. Solo careers also contributed to the demise. After a sustained period of brilliance, the band was no more, Sadly, there will never be any reunion, with the shooting of Lennon in 1980 and Harrison's death from cancer in '01.
Another supergroup that formed not too long after The Beatles. After seeing Syd Barrett, their guitarist, leave from too much drug use, they brought in a new guitarist, David Gilmour, who quickly proved himself as one of the best in the business. Soon there was growing tension between Gilmour and frontman Roger Waters, who wanted to control all aspects of the band. First they fired Rick Wright, their keyboard player - he doesn't appear on the last Waters/Gilmour Floyd album, The Final Cut. They then split and there was a huge fight about the Pink Floyd band name. Gilmour reunited with Wright and drummer Nick Mason to make two more albums (though when they were touring to promote the first non-Waters album, they had to have lawyers on call on every city so they could play any songs that Gilmour had co-written with Waters). There has been a recent thawing in the ice, as Gilmour and Waters have played together at several concerts, including the legendary guitarist making an unannounced appearance during Waters' The Wall tour. It's a shame that fans were deprived for decades of the collaboration, though and Wright is now dead, so we will never see a full Pink Floyd again.
The Police burst onto the scene in 1978 with the hit song 'Roxanne.' There was a period of time after that where Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland could lay claim to being in the biggest rock band in the world. But the group was so tired of each other after the end of the Synchronicity Tour in 1984 that they split up. They briefly reunited to do another version of 'Don't Stand So Close To Me', but they had to use a drum machine in place of Copeland, since he had broken his collarbone. It was an argument over drum machines that turned out to be the final straw that led to the group's undoing. Sting wanted to use an incredibly complicated one and Copeland used another. Copeland actually credited his drum machine as the inspiration to become a composer. The band reunited for a concert tour but they haven't done any new studio albums. Sting actually just released another solo album, further dashing any more reunion hopes.
This band serves as a warning for those groups that include family members. The fallout is Liam and Noel Gallagher, two brothers, who now despise one another to the point that one of them would turn down tens of millions of dollars to reunite. There was a lot of success early on with the the release of their first album, Definitely Maybe in 1993. They had an even bigger hit in their next album, (What's The Story) Morning Glory? Sadly, there were continual conflicts amongst themselves and various bandmembers kept quitting. Finally, after the birth of his son and a scary incident involving a fan running onstage and assaulting him, Noel got so fed up with Liam (a fight where Liam broke his guitar didn't help) that he quit the band in 2009, replete with a dramatic announcement on the band's website. So that's where we are, and it looks like nothing's going to break the (Wonder)wall between them.
Guns N' Roses
While the group has never actually 'broken up' in the sense that the other four have, it's a far cry from the lineup that was featured in Appetite For Destruction. The only constant has been lead singer Axl Rose. The first to go was Izzy Stradlin, who had problems with how Rose ran the band and his less-than-stellar treatment of fans. He also found it hard to be sober among a group of hard-partying rockers. After that began a steady trickle of band members leaving, including guitar legend Slash, until it was Rose with a whole new band. There was so much bad blood that Axl Rose refused to attend the '12 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions if it meant being in the same room as the other orignal members. It's a shame, since this current incarnation is a pale shadow of the powerhouse that took the world by storm in the late '80s.
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There's probably still someone somewhere that would fall for one of Sacha Baron Cohen's weird and wooly scenarios but let's face the facts: the days when Ali G. could snag an interview with Pat Buchanan or Gore Vidal are long gone. 2009's Bruno definitely let some steam out of Borat's tires not to mention the ensuing lawsuits. But it's refreshing to see Cohen and his Borat/Bruno cohort director Larry Charles flex their muscles in the fictional universe of The Dictator a vehicle that doesn't skimp on their signature cringe-worthy humor.
The world of The Dictator gives them the leeway to create crazy spectacles — at one point Cohen's General Aladeen rides down Fifth Avenue on a camel surrounded by a giant motorcade. Having a plot helps too; although part of the genius of Sacha Baron Cohen's schtick is how the viewer is made culpable by proxy by our amusement and horror at how he tricks and torments people who aren't in on the joke The Dictator continues the self-reflexive satirical bite. We're certainly not off the hook. Aladeen says and does truly outrageous things but they're also exaggerations of the world we live in. It might be a stretch to call Sacha Baron Cohen the British Lenny Bruce or George Carlin in a face merkin but rest assured that no topic is off limits. If you are offended by jokes about abortion rape feminists body hair race religion politics STDs war crimes ethnic cleansing necrophilia and/or bestiality don't even bother. However if you like the kind of comedy that makes you hide your face in your hands feeling like each laugh is being pried from you against your will you're in business.
Cohen eats up the screen as both General Aladeen and his incredibly dumb body double; the latter prefers the intimate company of one of his goats to a human while the former is a fairly stupid ruthless dictator whose own people are so disloyal to him that they actually ignore his commands to execute people. (He really likes to execute people.) When he arrives in New York City to attend a summit at the UN his uncle Tamir (Ben Kingsley) has the two switched so he can easily manipulate the "General" into signing a treaty to make Wadiya a democracy and reap the financial benefits. Aladeen finds refuge with Zoe a hairy-pitted activist who thinks he's a political dissident and is excited to be able to give him a safe haven in her touchy-feely Brooklyn grocery co-op. Instead of being typecast as another blonde dummy Anna Faris is finally given room to play as the wide-eyed naïf who takes Aladeen's very serious statements as jokes or simple miscommunications. She's a great foil to Baron Cohen who is easily half a foot taller than she is and has a wolfish grin. Their banter is often the most politically incorrect of the bunch but also the funniest.
Alas the plot. It's a bare bones situation to get a very broad character from A to B. Aladeen is obviously an outlandish mishmash of modern dictators; he spouts racist misogynist rhetoric endlessly and after a while...yeah we get it. However like all of Sacha Baron Cohen's humor The Dictator also takes a direct shot at Western countries (specifically the United States) which would be all fine and dandy if he didn't wedge an expository speech in about it as well. The problem with making a traditional narrative movie is that with some exceptions you've got to play within the guidelines. The Dictator isn't trying to do anything fancy; all it needs a few big beats and a neat ending to wrap it all up. It doesn't quite manage to tie it all together in a way that makes The Dictator more than an hour and a half or so of laughing and cringing.
Besides Faris and Kingsley there are a number of cameos by a very wide variety of comics and actors. Megan Fox plays herself Kevin Corrigan appears as a creepy dude who works at the co-op John C. Reilly is a racist security guard and Fred Armisen runs an anti-Aladeen café in New York's Little Wadiya district. The very funny Jason Mantzoukas has a large role as Nadal the former head of rocket science who was supposedly executed for not making Aladeen's nuclear warhead pointy. It's a good ensemble and hopefully Sacha Baron Cohen's next feature-length film will build on The Dictator's weaknesses.
Ryan (Freddie Prinze Jr.) and Jennifer (Claire Forlani) first met on a plane when they were 12. He’s terrified of planes she promptly tells him about her first period so it’s granted that they don’t exactly click. Fast-forward to high school where they bump into each other again. Now he’s the school mascot she’s the homecoming queen. No sparks. Fast forward to college where he’s the geeky engineering major (yes you read correctly) and she’s the free-spirited rocker-dating Latin student. Finally here they become friends help each other with their love issues and despite their opposing viewpoints … well take a guess.
Prinze the BMOC in "She’s All That " is supposed to be an anal-retentive doofus. And while the pageboy cut (split down the middle) and glasses do little to mask his good looks he plays against type surprisingly well doing his best to rise above the cliché-filled script. Forlani who was calm and luminous in the sluggish "Meet Joe Black " still has "proper British upbringing" written all over her so she’s not really believable as an outrageous one-night-stander (she also looks too old for Prinze). Heather Donahue (showing a promising comedy career post-"Blair Witch") and Amanda Detmer make a great supporting cast but the show is stolen by an underused Jason Biggs. As Ryan’s woman-chasing roommate Biggs also gets the single funniest scene in the film which you’ll miss if you walk about before the credits roll.
"She’s All That" director Robert Iscove is back and using the same traits again. First we have the you-are-there flashback narration ("So I was watching him play with his band " a character might reflect in her dorm room and suddenly she’s sitting at the concert still in her pajamas). Then there’s the choreographed dance number. Disguised as a scene to show Ryan trying to loosen up at a "foam club" (like a car wash soapy water douses the dancers) it’s really an excuse to show off Iscove’s choreography background by having all patrons wiggle simultaneously to Apollo Four Forty’s "Stop the Rock." It’s cute and all but the biggest faux pas Iscove makes is having Ryan and Jennifer take a "walk" from Berkeley … and miraculously wind up at the Golden Gate bridge.