Not every band officially breaks up. There are those that do via press release or purported farewell tour, the ultra-rare ones like, say, The Rolling Stones that’ll live on until at least Mick or Keith die, but many simply stop recording and stop touring without explanation, only an assumption they’re no more. Catherine Wheel—the British prog-rock quartet responsible for five studio albums between 1992 and 2000—did the latter following the lackluster success of what would become their final album, Wishville.
Former Catherine Wheel bassist Dave Hawes says the band is simply on “hiatus,” before conceding the 15-plus years of white noise more or less implies a break-up. “It just fizzled out, from what I understand,” he says. Hawes was passive-aggressively sacked from the band shortly after a tour in support of their penultimate album, Adam & Eve. Today he lives in Ashtabula, Ohio—thousands of miles from his Kessingland homeland—and mostly works in merchandising, including selling music memorabilia on eBay.
“It just fizzled out, from what I understand.”
Hawes did reveal that one afternoon approximately six or seven years ago, the four original members of Catherine Wheel got on a call to discuss the possibility of a reunion, an idea originally floated by frontman Rob Dickinson. While Hawes says he was game, as was, obviously, Dickinson, guitarist Brian Sutter and drummer Neil Sims couldn’t be swayed. And that was that. (Neither Dickinson or Futter responded to interview requests)
Hawes says he “still has interest” in a reformation and now believes Futter—whom he communicates with regularly on Facebook—would too. “It didn’t finish as it should have finished,” Hawes says. “Especially for me, I wasn’t there right there at the end. I don’t know about recording a new album but I’d like to do another tour.”
Following rehearsals for what would become the group’s swan song, Wishville, the band—perhaps sensing Hawes’s ambivalence with the new material—told Hawes to stay home while they finished the bass parts without him, and they’d call him later when it was time to tour. “Well, that phone call never came,” he says with a laugh. “It wasn’t a big shock. I wasn’t that upset. We’d been together 10 years and you kind of just get the feeling that you plateau out. And [Wishville], from what I understand, didn’t do particularly well. It’s a shame that we went out like that.”
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