Long-defunct seminal Swedish hardcore band REFUSED will reunite for an appearance at this year’s Coachella Valley Music Arts Festival, to be held for the first time over two consecutive weeks in mid-April.
Coachella, run by AEG-owned concert promoter Goldenvoice, will be held over two consecutive weekends, the first on April 13-15 and the second on April 20-22. Each weekend is a separate ticket. Paul Tollett, who heads Goldenvoice and has organized the festival since its 1999 inception, told the Los Angeles Times last year that the expansion was in reaction to the increased demand for tickets.
REFUSED was only together seven years (from 1991 to 1998), but released three full-length albums before calling it quits. Their “The Shape Of Punk To Come” LP is considered one of the best punk albums ever.
The members of REFUSED released the following statement earlier today regarding their decision to reunite for this year’s Coachella Valley Music Arts Festival:
“We had a band once, in Umeå. We would pile in a van, like every other punkband, and thunder off in pursuit of friends and glory in some basement in front of 20 people, 50 people, in towns 4-5 hours away. Sometimes there would be more than a hundred people and we would later in the week refer to that as a ‘big show.’ We were ambitious, but we didn’t think of it as a career.
“We never made any fiscal sense whatsoever during seven years of touring. Like most punk bands, it never occured to us to even try. We had a scene, we had some politics and we had just a hint of artistic ambition. True to our Swedish roots, we got very serious very fast. And then suddenly we got good. It’s a delicate path to tread for precocious twentysomethings anywhere on the planet, but this particular bunch didn’t make it. And that was fine. Most enterprises in life are unrelated to incredibly violent rock music.
“It’s been a motley 14 years since our band came apart. We’ve all kept busy in our respective endeavors, but we’ve all remained friends and kept in touch. There have been offers, and lots of jokes about these offers. We’ve sort of looked down from our high horses and made fun of people who’ve just wanted to share the psychopathic intensity that we would deliver on a nightly basis in our post-pubescent prime. A reunion has just seemed irrelevant to us. Too much other shit to do.
“But then Kristofer [Steen, bass] got his degree from the Swedish opera academy, Jon‘s [Brännström, guitar] medical studies began drawing to a close and Dennis [Lyxzén, vocals] and David [Sandström, drums] started a new hardcore band together. Finally, after a decade-and-a-half hiatus, Kristofer picked up the guitar again. Which made David want to play the drums again. Which in turn led to all four of us suddenly making new music in assorted constellations.
“As all this was brewing, Coachella got in touch. There were a couple of phone calls, lots of skepticism, some hesitant enthusiasm before one of us basically said, ‘This is ridiculous. There are friends of ours who would murder close relatives just to go see bands there. Let’s just do it, one last time.’ And with that, socialist fag-loving PC scumbags were on the road again.
“We never did ‘The Shape Of Punk To Come’ justice back when it came out; too tangled up in petty internal bickering to really focus on the job. And suddenly there’s this possibility to do it like it was intended.
“We wanna do it over, do it right. For the people who’ve kept the music alive through the years, but also for our own sakes. We feel that you deserve it and we hope the feeling is mutual.
“See you in the pit.”
Two years ago, REFUSED lead singer Dennis Lyxzén told Excite in an interview, “To be in that band is one of those things that half the time I’m sympathetic and understanding towards why people would do it. The other half, it’s just such a useless maneuver. It’s a defeatist attitude but if your objective is to play music with your friends and have a good time, there’s no harm in reuniting your band for a couple of shows. For us, there have always been so many other aspects of what we did, that it always felt like a complete no-no. You can’t do that shit. MINOR THREAT never got back together. That’s kind of our take on it. With some things, the legend is better than the actual thing.”
REFUSED‘s legacy was chronicled via the “Refused Are Fucking Dead” collection, which featured never-before-seen material and videos. In addition, REFUSED‘s landmark 1998 album, “The Shape Of Punk To Come”, was remixed and remastered in 5.1 surround DVD audio format, and was re-released through Epitaph Records. Also re-released were remastered editions of REFUSED‘s “Songs To Fan The Flames Of Discontent” and “The EP Compilation” CDs.