Yesterday, I was listening to Love and Rockets when I realized that I love that band so much more than Bauhaus. From the ashes of Bauhaus, Love and Rockets transformed its grandiosity and excesses into boldness and virtuosity. Plus, it wasn't afraid of a catchy hook or two.
In the the high-stakes and elitist world of music collecting and fandom, we operate from an ab ovo perspective. The seed, the first incarnation -- that is the most pure, the most lauded. Minutemen trumps Firehose, Throwing Muses beats Belly, Joy Division over New Order, Operation Ivy ruled Rancid, Undertones instead of That Petrol Emotion. Even going back to earlier decades -- Cream vs. solo Clapton, Small Faces vs. Humble Pie -- we tend to favor a musician's earliest accomplishment. (Furthermore, but slightly off topic, us music snobs, as a means of differentiating ourselves from newer fans who've arrived late to the party, exhalt first records over second or third.)
On occasion, however, despite the learned hierarchy of placing the original at the top and subsequent endeavors further down, we fall in love with an artist's second or even third attempt. We go for The Hold Steady when we could never quite go for Lifter Puller, we understand Le Tigre in a way we didn't quite get Bikini Kill, and we can listen to Wilco because they got rid of the twang of Uncle Tupelo.
These aren't solo or side projects; these are different bands. And, for some reason or another, sometimes it's a musician's later attempts that speak to us more clearly, more concisely. That's the case with me and Love and Rockets. A new tale to tell, indeed.
Please share your examples of musicians whose second, third or fourth bands you love far more than their first.