Over the years this subject has rudely pushes its way to the fore more often than is really necessary.
Everyone and their dog seem to have an opinion on it. Mostly a negative one.
What am I talking about?
Reformation of bands, and even artists revisiting their past, that's what.
Latest to get the boot put into them is Peter Hook of New Order and Joy Division fame.
The man hasn't even reformed a band. Just decided to go out on the road with some musicians and perform songs from his past.
Yet in some quarters that seems to be a heinous crime deserving of the same level of disgust usually reserved for kiddie fiddlers, coalition governments, city bankers and those hedge fund wanks.
I mean c'mon. What is Peter Hook doing that is so wrong?
It's a strange subject to discuss as no one seems to have a firm stance and flit from being dead against it or all for it depending on who is being discussed.
Every opinion is teetering on shifting sands. The strongest opponent to band reformations will avoid eye contact and shuffle in embarrassment when you hit on the one band that they really would love to see but didn't and then make an exception and try to justify why this one band is different.
When the Velvet Underground got back together critics and fans swooned alike. Here was this legendary band going out on the road one more time. All the key players were there and without a doubt they could still deliver the goods.
Nary a whisper of cashing in was uttered. In one fell swoop they avoided all those accusations because........well because they are the Velvet Underground, and music fans all over the world have all at one point in their development grooved to them, and this was a one off chance to witness the magic.
That they were crap by the time I seen them play Glastonbury was neither here nor there.
Their sharing of a stage eclipsed whether they were good or not to most people. If Lou Reed had farted in a bottle and cast it into the waves of blind adulation that was beating on the Pyramid stage then the act would have been met with riotous applause.
They had slipped beyond the point of criticism it seemed.
The Specials are another band whose reformation was met with ecstatic ravings.
They couldn't even manage to get the Dammers on board, but it didn't seem to matter.
They, both the VU and The Specials, are doing nothing different from any other band who reforms. or from the artist who decides to go on the road and breathe some new life into their back catalogue.
The only difference is that people are willing to give them a dispensation from a slagging because they personally love them.
There is no consistency from people about this.
Peter Hook is also going out and playing much loved material, but for some reason beyond my understanding this is a problem as he is being seen to be slaying the sacred cow, or at the very least slipping it a length when it wasn't looking.
Why do those fans who are having a dig feel that they have a right to do so when their role in the history of Joy Division is one of spectator?
Hooky wrote material, practised it, fine tuned it and then with his band mates recorded and played it live. He was an integral part of who Joy Division was and yet he is accused of cashing in on the past. His past. He put the work in and if he wants to release a remix of their début played on a glockenspiel that was submerged in the deep end of my local swimming pool then that's entirely up to him.
It's up to you if you want to buy it, but you cannot remove his right to do it as he has more of a claim on the material than any band that slips one of Joy Divisions tunes in as an encore at the end of their set, regardless of how respectfully it is done.
Over the years I have seen many bands who have been past their sell by date. I've also seen old guys get back together and recapture every single bit of magic that you may have thought was beyond their reach.
What they should all be judged on is the performance. Nothing more and nothing less.
Not that they failed to get the original bassist in the line up because he died of cancer a decade ago.
As really, how bloody difficult would that be, and is anyone really saying that they can't play their own music because an unfamiliar face is on bass.
Get a grip people.
If you ever considered going to see one reformed band, or have drunkenly jumped about to a tribute band who are doing a good job of recapturing your youth, then you have no right to rain on Hooky's parade with some ill thought out fragments of baseless criticism.
In closing I'll just say that if I had conjured up some crap reason not to go and see bands based on the argument that they are cashing in on their past then I would never have seen Iggy and the Stooges reliving Raw Power or Mott the Hoople in their run of sold out dates in London.
How stupid would that have been?