The Dirt

Great mu­sic, re­turns, farewells, sur­prises, thrills, dis­ap­point­ments… A lot of things can hap­pen in rock in 12 months. Here are some of the most im­por­tant.

Classic Rock - - Contents -

Neil Young slams Trump as “un­fit to lead” af­ter US pres­i­dent’s Cal­i­for­nia wild­fire com­ments; Slayer to sign off at Down­load, with Smash­ing Pump­kins, Dream The­ater and An­thrax also on bill; Bruce Dick­in­son says he would refuse an in­vi­ta­tion from the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame… Wel­come back Zal Clemin­son’s /Sin’Dogs/… say hello to The Wild Things, say good­bye to Tony Joe White, Hugh McDow­ell, Jimmy Far­rar…

2018 was the year of two royal wed­dings, one big Brexit mess, the so-called “end of aus­ter­ity”, an Eng­land penalty shoot-out in the foot­ball World Cup and even a chem­i­cal poi­son­ing at­tack in Sal­is­bury by Rus­sian spooks. But what hap­pened in the world of rock?

AC/DC re­turn to the stu­dio.

Just like every­one else, we were scep­ti­cal about ru­mours that An­gus Young had be­gun piec­ing to­gether the first new AC/DC al­bum in four years – un­til we saw those pho­to­graphs from Van­cou­ver. And Brian John­son and Phil Rudd back on board? Like­wise we waved away the sug­ges­tion that a slew of old songs writ­ten with/by the late, great Mal­colm Young were be­ing recorded. How­ever, we have it on good au­thor­ity that the en­tire Back In Black line-up is to­gether again, in­clud­ing Cliff Wil­liams on bass, for what’s likely to be one fi­nal shot. Will there be gigs? We don’t know. But for now at least, an al­bum is enough.

Queen’s Bo­hemian Rhap­sody film fi­nally hits the sil­ver screen. It had been 10 years com­ing, with cast and di­rec­to­rial changes along the way, but Queen’s bio­graph­i­cal film about Fred­die Mer­cury even­tu­ally be­came a box­of­fice smash. Re­views were mixed, it must be said, but the power of fan sup­port en­sured the me­dia’s gripes mat­tered lit­tle. So far the film has taken more than £100 mil­lion.

Richie Samb­ora and Alec John Such re­join

Bon Jovi at the Hall Of Fame.

Al­though Ju­das Pri­est missed out, Bon Jovi, the Moody Blues, The Cars and Dire Straits were among those in­ducted to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

Bon Jovi were joined at the in­duc­tion by for­mer mem­bers gui­tarist Richie Samb­ora and bassist Alec John Such. Jon quipped: “It took a lot of peo­ple to get us here tonight – and not all of them were hair­styl­ists.” Dire Straits didn’t seem so keen to ac­knowl­edge the hon­our, with Mark and David Knopfler and Pick Withers all de­cid­ing not to at­tend.

Kiss and more call it a day.

Gene Sim­mons and Paul Stan­ley an­nounced a fi­nal Kiss world tour that will run for three years, vis­it­ing the UK in July 2019. Also set to wave good­bye are Lynyrd Skynyrd, UFO, Slayer, El­ton John, Krokus, Bob Seger, The Pretty Things and Paul Si­mon. UFO leader Phil Mogg de­scribed his band’s de­ci­sion as “bit­ter­sweet”, while Slayer’s Tom Araya com­mented: “Af­ter thirty-five years, it’s time to col­lect my pen­sion. It gets harder and harder to go out on the road.”

Some of our favourite rock stars be­came wor­ry­ingly ill.

De­spite step­ping down as a tour­ing mem­ber of Ju­das Pri­est, af­ter hav­ing been di­ag­nosed with Parkin­son’s disease a decade ago, gui­tarist Glenn Tipton vowed to make live ap­pear­ances

This month The Dirt was com­piled by Ian Fort­nam, Polly Glass, Dave Ling with the band when health al­lowed. “I am not leav­ing the band, it’s sim­ply that my role has changed,” he ex­plained. For­mer Sab­bat mem­ber Andy Sneap, co-pro­ducer of Pri­est’s cur­rent al­bum

Fire­power, was in­vited on board in his place. Tipton made a glo­ri­ous re­turn to the stage with Pri­est dur­ing the band’s head­line slot at the Blood­stock Festival.

Else­where, Joe Perry, now 68, was hos­pi­talised and forced to can­cel a solo tour of the United States (see story on page 14).

Some of them died, too.

In 2018 we bade a sad farewell to the last of Motör­head’s Three Ami­gos, gui­tarist ‘Fast’ Ed­die Clarke. Other no­table losses in­cluded Danny Kir­wan, Jon Hise­man, Vin­nie Paul, Aretha Franklin, Ed King, Chas Hodges, Marty Balin and Otis Rush. Thanks for the mu­sic to each and ev­ery one of them, and rest easy.

Def Lep­pard bring their Hys­te­ria an­niver­sary tour to the UK.

By the time you read this, Joe El­liott and com­pany will have cel­e­brated the 30th (and a bit) an­niver­sary of their all-con­quer­ing Hys­te­ria al­bum with a se­ries of in-its-en­tirety arena shows. “We’re go­ing to do the al­bum back­wards and in a for­eign lan­guage,” El­liott joked. They’re also co-head­lin­ers of next sum­mer’s Down­load Festival.

Lind­sey Buck­ing­ham is fired from Fleet­wood Mac.

Lind­sey couldn’t be­lieve it, ei­ther. He had some time to pro­mote a solo boxed set, but with plans for a world tour that hits the UK and Ire­land next sum­mer the band couldn’t wait. It ter­mi­nated what he called “the beau­ti­ful forty-three-year-legacy we built to­gether”. For live shows FM hired not one gui­tarist but two re­place­ments: Mike Camp­bell of the Heart­break­ers, and Crowed House leader Neil Finn. Buck­ing­ham launched a law­suit, claim­ing $14 mil­lion in lost earn­ings. The re­sponse was terse and to the point: “Fleet­wood Mac looks for­ward to their day in court.”

Steve Perry comes in from the wilder­ness.

Af­ter decades away, the for­mer Jour­ney front­man was pre­sumed gone for good. How­ever, the sud­den ac­ti­va­tion of his so­cial me­dia pages sent the melodic rock com­mu­nity into melt­down, and 24 hours later news of Traces – Perry’s first new record since the Jour­ney’s Trial By Fire in 1996 – be­came of­fi­cial. Clas­sic Rock called Perry’s new record “sump­tu­ous”, re­veal­ing a 69-year-old singer in classy, ma­ture form. We un­der­stand that live dates are not out of the ques­tion. In­cred­i­ble.

Greta Van Fleet lead the wave of ex­cit­ing ‘new’ bands.

Hailed al­ter­na­tively as a breath of fresh air or the nat­u­ral suc­ces­sors to Led Zep­pelin ‘im­per­son­ators’ King­dom Come, the Amer­i­can quar­tet were the band on every­body’s lips when their full-length de­but An­them Of The Peace­ful Army slammed into the US Top 5. Hav­ing weighed up and the good and bad, Clas­sic Rock said the record was “shap­ing up to be the finest de­but al­bum of both 2018 and 1972”. In the UK, Greta Van Fleet’s sold-out gigs were at­tended by a mix of young and old. Love them or hate them, but ig­nore them at your peril.

And if you didn’t care for GVF? Well, a sur­vey com­mis­sioned by stream­ing site Deezer re­vealed a form of so-called “mu­si­cal paral­y­sis” which af­fects us by the time we turn 30, caus­ing us to lose our ap­petite for new mu­sic. It’ll never hap­pen to Clas­sic Rock, we prom­ise. DL

“It took a lot of peo­ple to get us here tonight – and not all of them were hair­styl­ists.”

Jon Bon Jovi at the Hall Of Fame

Clock­wise from top left: Greta Van Fleet – the new Led Zep? An­gus Young – a new AC/DC al­bum in the works? For­mer Jour­ney singer Steve Perry comes in from the cold with a “sump­tu­ous” new al­bum. Queen’s lon­gawaited film Bo­hemian Rhap­sody fi­nally hits cin­e­mas.

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