Eric Idle and Neil Innes worked together a lot in the 70s, but by the 90s it was clear that Idle disliked Innes and undervalued his contributions.
The two made up in 2003, performing together briefly in Los Angeles (which I filmed), and Idle used Neil Innes' 1997 "Rutles Archaeology" album (which was well received) in Idle's 2004 film "The Rutles 2: Can't Buy Me Lunch" (which was not).
This ceasefire didn't last long. Idle has returned to form on Twitter, as has Innes. Innes was not given his due when Idle made the Holy Grail musical, Spamalot. It's been noted that Palin wanted Innes involved in the 2014 O2 shows, and Idle didn't. The Radio Times 50th Anniversary Special has credited Innes at every opportunity - and that's been very rare for a long time. The Self-Abasement Tapes also credit Innes.
It's fair to say that the two had radically different personalities and goals for their careers. Idle moved to Hollywood and burnt himself out, like many comedy writers, on writing a lot of screenplays that didn't get made. Innes ended up living a quieter, more middle-class married life in England. Both were happy with the choices they'd made but frustrated that their work didn't reach a larger audience at the time.
"Neil is a clever and gifted singer and songwriter who's determined to be a failure, and his determination succeeds," said Idle in 2005.
Idle and Innes go way back. "Too far," Idle said, with a laugh. "And no farther."
Innes said in 2005, "I look at it all with some kind of amusement because I'm not showbiz-y, and I think probably Eric is, and if people want to be possessive and don't want to share their toys in the sandpit, I couldn't care less."
https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/bs-xp ... ej45rS9zjQ
Eric Idle on AOL. September 5, 1996.
Question: Question for Eric: Were you invited to participate in the Rutles
reunion, and if so, why did you decline?
EIdleLive: Yes, I was invited. I turned it down because I did not want to do
Question: Tell me, what is the meaning of life anyway, Eric?
EIdleLive: I know the Meaning of Life but I am afraid it is a secret. It's
something about being too old and bald and untalented to be in
the Rutles. Or is that Neil Innes?
Question: (just curious) Why were you not involved in the Rutles
"Anthropology" (sic) album?
EIdleLive: Because I thought it was dumb.
Question: Eric, hi! Heard friends of yours, the Rutles, are releasing a new
disc. Will there possibly be a new film or perhaps reunion tour
... double bill with Spinal Tap? - Kevin in Pittsburgh
EIdleLive: In Mick Jagger's words ... God I hope not!
DMCJ: Idle changed his tune after Archaeology did well, because he realised he'd given consent for the world to officially think of the Rutles as an Innes-led project. He then spent half a decade frantically trying to reclaim ownership in any way possible. Interesting to note that Archaeology was written and demoed in 1992 and had a very slow birth towards legitimacy. It predates Splitting Heirs, which has a 60s pastiche theme song (partly parodying Bad To Me by Lennon/McCartney) almost as if Idle's territorially showing 'I can do it too you know'.