There are a lot of bands who have had long and respectable careers based on principle and evolution. When asked who my ideal template is for a band's career, the one that always stands out most is the Australian monolith, Midnight Oil.
Eventually (and almost inevitably), major labels started sniffing around. The Oils, led by singer Peter Garrett and his recently-acquired law degree, tore up every contract that came their way, feeling the terms offered were not artist-friendly on a financial or creative level. Their first three records were released independently as a result. When The Oils ultimately did sign with a major label, it was on the conditions of: you don't tell us what to do, you don't tell us when to do things, and you don't tell us how to do it.
With the leverage of a dedicated fan base and the bargaining power of the education of the band itself, The Oils got exactly what they wanted and began to mount an international campaign to become of the most respected and exciting live attractions in the world. Not only that, they never shied away from political subject matter, and delivered it in a way that, in their own words, didn't exploit the victimization of the people they were helping give voice to.
The Oils commanded respect, and seemed to have no trouble maintaining it across the board. Strangely, unlike many other successful artists who are often told to "shut up and sing" when they infuse politics into their music, no such cries were ever made to The Oils. They were, and still are, held in the highest esteem and regard as artists, activists, and global citizens.
It was assumed at that point that Midnight Oil would never record or tour again.
Garrett resigned in 2013, expressing no intention to seek re-election (which he could have easily gotten had he decided to run).
This past week, it was announced to the surprise of the world, that the Great Circle Tour 2017 would see The Oils making their return to the global stage. Needless to say, I'll be front and centre when they come to Toronto in May.