Jesse Michaels, frontman of legendary ska-punk band Operation Ivy, and later Common Rider, recently posted a MySpace blog addressing questions about the possibility of a Common Rider reunion, and if a full Operation Ivy reunion could ever take place.
The majority of the blog is in the form of a letter to a fan named "Tim" (no relation to former Operation Ivy/Rancid guitarist/vocalist Tim Armstrong), where the logistics of a reunion with Common Rider are discussed. This is followed by a blog commenting on his recent peformance of the Operation Ivy classic "Unity" with former bandmates now in Rancid, and whether any shows could be expected.
If you want to know about an Opivy reunion, take the above description of logistical problems from that Common Rider bit and multiply it by about 2,000, bring in LAWYERS and record companies, interrupt six or seven lives, and also add the factor of putting a band that never belonged in a big rock club in a one to two thousand seat joint. Oh yeah plus doing it without involving Clear Channel or other right wing fronts. So will it happen? The most honest answer is probably not.
Common rider and a couple other music things:
1)Over the years a few people have asked about a Common Rider reunion. I just responded to a letter about it and I thought it might be good to blog the response for anybody else who is curious because I went into detail. Tim asked me if there was any possibility of a reunion.
Hi Tim, Thanks for your letter. I am really glad you dig Common Rider. The second band I worked in wasn't quite as popular as the first (though we did fine, no complaints) so its always nice to get positive feedback.
Since your letter was so thoughtful I thought I would share a little bit about the common rider process. Since we live in different states a reunion would involve plane tickets, finding personell (which could mean up to three people depending on various people's availibility) and practice time in Indiana. I would want at least three weeks to nail the set down. Since I have a modest income right now this would involve extensive planning and at least four thousand dollars of surplus cash (travel, equipment, food, lodging, gas, for more than one person plus making up for income missed from not working) in addition to putting off ongoing employment plans. So you can see that it is really quite a logistical challenge and also a matter of putting responsibilities on hold. Unfortunately bands just aren't money making propositions these days and life has expenses, especially as one gets older (sorry for the buzzkill, youths). By the way, this piece is not a fundraiser or a veiled business proposal! Just thought people might be interested in the some of the details behind it all.
That being said, it is not out of the question. The band never really broke up, we just put it that way since if we don't people would naturally ask about upcoming things.
So to answer your question, if a situation arises where there is surplus time and money, which does sometimes happen in life, then it could easily happen. However it probably won't be any time in the near future.
Thanks and sincere best wishes,
I would like to add in this blog that Common Rider was a great experience. It was a time of a lot of musical experimentation. Some of the songs were more successful than others but I think they were all sincerely written and that there are a few real gems (I can say this in all modesty because I admit there were a few that completely sucked). It was nice to take risks rather than settle for a predictable formula that you know will please the greatest number of people. A friend of mine was asking me why we didn't do edgier punk stuff and stick with our strong suit. I didn't really have an answer for him until one day I was looking at his records and noticed Buddy Holly, The Gang of Four, Blondie, Samhain, late period Damned and the Jam, Augustus Pablo and other Reggae stuff, etc. etc. Punk is, as far as I am concerned, the greatest form of rock&roll but it is not the ONLY form. Our goal was always to create good songs, period. We had some vague career hopes but really it was all on the real. Mass and Dan and Philip are amazing musicians and it was great to work with real pros, not to mention all the people that came by the studio and dorked out with us.
2)Some people asked about or commented about my appearance with Rancid at the Warfield in San Francisco on December 17th. All I can say is it was a really great, special thing that happened very spontaneously but felt like it was meant to be. I knew they were doing Unity and I was going to be at the show so we just kind of said "Oh what the hell." I think Matt and Tim and I were just tripping but we all had a good time and there was a lot of love in the air. I won't get any sappier than that.
3)If you want to know about an Opivy reunion, take the above description of logistical problems from that common rider bit and multiply it by about 2,000, bring in LAWYERS and record companies, interrupt six or seven lives, and also add the factor of putting a band that never belonged in a big rock club in a one to two thousand seat joint. Oh yeah plus doing it without involving Clear Channel or other right wing fronts. So will it happen? The most honest answer is probably not.
Getting too self-referential is poison for a would-be artist so I will cut this short but I hope this will answer some of the questions that trickle in from time to time…