From Buckethead to Queen: The Ten Weirdest Band Reunions

Folks love a classic-rock reunion, even if, in the case of a band like Guns N' Roses, the event may seem to promise only disaster — and hefty paychecks for the band. In the hair-metal world, Florida-turned-Colorado band Tryxx reunited and made a movie about the whole thing. In February, a re-formed Ween will perform a highly anticipated reunion stand in Colorado. In what were likely to be less lucrative ventures, the history of beloved Denver bands, including the Fluid, Warlock Pinchers and others, reuniting for special occasions has been explored in the High Plains Underground Archive. The world has gone reunion-crazy, so it's a good time to remind ourselves that it doesn't always go as fans might hope. Below, we've compiled ten examples of bands getting back together — and getting weird.

10. Queen with Paul Rodgers
With Freddie Mercury long gone and solo projects not capturing anyone’s imaginations, Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen recruited their old pal Paul Rodgers, from Free and Bad Company, and started playing under the Queen name again. They even put out an album of new material, The Cosmos Rocks, as well as a live album, Return of the Champions. The reviews and reactions were mixed for various reasons, not least of which was because, as good of a rock singer as Rodgers is, he struggled with some of the band’s more operatic parts. The results are not a disaster, by any means, but they certainly fall into the “odd” category. But then this happened…

9. Queen with Adam Lambert
Some people felt that American Idol runner-up Lambert was a far more suitable replacement frontman than Rodgers, due to his ability to ape Mercury with some degree of success. But not us. It looked like a pale and tragic version of a once-great thing. At least with Rodgers, the band was looking to go a different route. With Lambert, it all seemed a bit cabaret.

8. Nirvana with Paul McCartney
Admittedly, this collaboration was not technically a reunion. But when Sir Paul McCartney pulled a band together with the three surviving members of Nirvana (if you include Pat Smear) for a show at Safeco Field in Seattle, it was impossible not to smile at the surreal image. Even Macca seemed bemused when he told audiences, “I’m in the middle of a Nirvana reunion.” The gloriously odd quartet played a new song called “Cut Me Some Slack" and no Nirvana classics, but that was enough. Still, we would have loved to have heard Paul have a bash at “Territorial Pissings.”

7. The 
Cars with Todd Rundgren
Just two original Cars members, Elliot Easton and Greg Hawkes, took part in the New Cars, with the band filled out with Todd Rundgren plus former Tubes and Journey man "Prairie" Prince. They lasted from 2005 to 2007, releasing one live album and a single called “Not Tonight” before the surviving members of the original band reunited. But for two glorious years, the Cars were fronted by mega-producer and oddball solo artist Rundgren, and the world scratched its collective head.

6. The Doors with Ian Astbury
This one was really weird. If there was one band people thought that they would never see in the new millennium, it was the Doors. But there they were, touring as the Doors of the 21st Century, with the Cult’s Ian Astbury doing his best Jim Morrison impersonation night after night. It was one short step away from hiring Val Kilmer, who had portrayed Morrison on film. They might as well have done it: Astbury did nothing but ape the much-loved singer. But nope, they left that sort of thing to the Germs.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.