Metallica, Slayer, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Green Day and the list could go on. What do all those bands have in common?
- They have had a visible impact on the history of rock music.
- They have gone on way past their sell by date.
Think of it like this, what if Metallica had called it a day after Load and Reload? What if the Chilli Peppers had checked out after Californication? Would Slayer be looked on differently if they’d gone before they got old and how would the punk world view Green Day if they had hung up their guitars before they tried to become U2? If these bands had done those things, how much bigger would their legends be?
Except they didn’t, and we now get a Chilli Peppers with all the zing of a week old pizza, a Metallica and a Slayer that only occasionally touch on their greatness and I already mentioned that Green Day being U2 thing. These are still great bands and those albums which shaped the world I love still exist, but by hanging on long past their time they have dented and bruised those reputations. And it’s all just a bit sad.
A band who won’t be doing that are The Dillinger Escape Plan.
The Dillinger Escape Plan are a fascinating group. They are one of those bands that take whatever rulebook there is left in rock and roll and rip it up. Rip it up put it in a plastic bag and take a shit on it if you like. From the creeping pop of ‘Black Bubblegum’ to the schizophrenic assault that they used to make their name to Greg Puciato performing at Reading while lying on a sofa and reading the paper. Whenever they think you’ve got them figured out, they pull your trousers down and kick you in the balls. Then you go right ahead and thank them for it because they are that damn good.
All of which is why it is devastating that they are calling it a day. The news that Dissociation will be their final album and that next January they will tour the UK for the last time genuinely sent my brain a tumbling. For a band that good and that inventive to be leaving us feels like a tragedy.
However, then I listened to That’s Not Metal – my go-to podcast for all things musical – and on that show, they made the point that I’m hinting at here. That by calling it a day on their terms, Dillinger Escape Plan leave us with the memory of one of the greatest bands on the planet. Not a shallow husk of what they might once have been.
Because if you listen to that music, it’s not meant to be played by old guys. This isn’t Black Sabbath where slowing it down causes it to become all the heavier. Can you imagine trying to play ‘43% Burnt’ in your fifties? It isn’t going to end well for anyone. I don’t want to one day go to a Dillinger Escape Plan show and walk out of it feeling like I have the last couple of times I’ve seen Metallica. I don’t ever want to think of them being alright and nothing more.
I feel sorry for those that have never lived The Dillinger experience. I feel sorry for those kids who will discover these albums in the future and when they look to see if they can witness that madness live find they can’t. I’ve been lucky. I may not have seen Dillinger from the start, but I have seen them live, and you can goddamn guarantee that anyone that tries to stop me getting tickets to that final tour will come out of that fight worse off.
But by calling it a day in the here and now Dillinger Escape Plan leave behind a legend that few can compete with. I don’t care if you like them or hate them, you can’t deny the power this band have had. Dissociation may be their final album, but the impact that Dillinger have had on the musical landscape is undeniable. I grieve to see them go, but I celebrate the fact we had them at all.