2015 A-Z Classic Rock Preview: Part Two
A new year promises plenty of new music -- from the studio and out on the road. Here's the second part of our comprehensive 2015 forecast for your favorite classic rock artists, detailing what they've been up to and what's next. In this edition, we survey John Fogerty through Ted Nugent. (You can see part one here.)
John Fogerty spent the fall taking an in-depth look back at 45-year-old triumphs during a series of Canadian concerts that focused on Creedence Clearwater Revival's ‘Bayou Country,’ ‘Green River’ and ‘Willy and the Poor Boys’ albums -- all from 1969. The new year will bring the same show to the U.S., as Fogerty contemplates an autobiography and a retrospective box set. He says the book (which he called "brutally honest") is finished but needs some final revisions. As for new music, Fogerty is in the very, very early stages of following up 2008's 'The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again,' saying what he has are "not quite specifically songs yet, but the textures of the sound of the music."
A healed and ready Mick Jones is leading Foreigner to a stage near following the recent release of 'The Best of Foreigner 4 and More.' The album features singer Kelly Hansen tearing through new live takes on songs from Foreigner's chart-topping 1981 album, as well as other key hits, during an October show in Atlantic City. Foreigner are in the middle of some U.S. dates before they head to Australia and New Zealand in late January. By summer, they will join forces with Kid Rock.
If a recent tweet from Axl Rose is any indication, new music could be on the way soon from Guns N' Roses. Or not. In the years since 2008's 'Chinese Democracy,' guitarist Richard Fortus says Rose has collected enough music to put out "three albums' worth of material." In fact, some of the songs go all the way back to the Slash era, which ended in 1996. Will it be 'Chinese Democracy II,' as Rose hinted last year or something entirely new? Or both? Last year's dates included a summer residency in Las Vegas, but GNR have no shows scheduled right now -- leaving Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal to turn his attentions to a solo album, slated for release in February.
Even as Heart prepare for more than a dozen 2015 shows, the Wilson sisters are beginning to ponder a follow-up 2012's 'Fanatic.' "We’re at the notebook stage right now," Ann Wilson tells us, laughing. "Notebooks full of new ideas and lyrics -- and stuff that you look at the next day and go, 'Oh God, what was I thinking?'" Heart concluded the year with an appearance on David Letterman's show alongside the Foo Fighters and by releasing a star-studded holiday album -- their second live release of 2014, following 'Fanatic: Live From Caesars Colosseum,' which came out in February.
No Chickenfoot? No problem! Sammy Hagar stayed busy anyway, touring with Chickenfoot bandmate Michael Anthony, recording the all-acoustic 'Lite Roast' album with his solo guitarist Vic Johnson and even forming a new band called the Circle, with Anthony, Johnson and Jason Bonham. The new group seems to have fired Hagar's imagination. "I think the Circle is the band that I want to play with right now," he tells us. "It’s the band that I choose to play with over any band."
Billy Idol returned last year with the comeback album 'Kings and Queens of the Underground.' It was only part of a very busy 2014. He's got a month-long tour line up, starting this month, to support his first LP of original songs since 2005's 'Devil's Playground.' Idol also released an autobiography, 'Dancing With Myself,' which he promoted with an extensive book tour.
Iron Maiden may be planning a return to the studio in 2015, if a series of clues -- including their fan-club Christmas card -- are being read the right way. The band is certainly due, having last released an album in 2010 with 'The Final Frontier.’ In the meantime, fans can catch up with Iron Maiden's first eight albums with a series of 180-gram vinyl reissues, featuring replica artwork packaging paired with collectible 7-inch singles. Still to be seen? Whether a fan-inspired drive to bring back Iron Maiden's original album-cover artist ends up working. The group's 'Maiden England' tour lasted through summer 2014; so far, no dates have been confirmed for the new year.
Elton John's impending retirement made news early in 2014, but he quickly squashed that rumor. Then a 40th-anniversary reissue of 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' arrived, and John released a duet with Smokey Robinson. Otherwise, it was all quiet on the recording front. A few weeks ago, John and his longtime partner, David Furnish, held a long-awaited marriage ceremony, becoming among the first to take advantage of a new U.K. law that allows civil partnerships. An appearance at Bonnaroo was the highlight of 2014's shows. Another lengthy residency at Las Vegas' Colosseum at Caesars Palace begins this month.
Neal Schon seems open to the idea of returning to the studio for a follow up to Journey's 2011 release 'Eclipse.' In the meantime, they've been on the concert trail. A well-received 2014 tour with the Steve Miller Band unfolded, even as Schon released a new solo album, called ‘So U.’ (He’s also continuing to work on a reunion project with Carlos Santana.) Next, Journey will set sail on the Carnival Live Concert Series in 2015 and launch a Vegas residency in the spring. Additional dates with Miller have also been confirmed beginning in March; Journey will also appear with Santana.
Few comebacks are as complete as Judas Priest's with 2014's 'Redeemer of Souls,' which seemed to reinvigorate the band as much as their fans. "That fat metal lady hasn't sung yet," frontman Rob Halford said. Then they killed it at a bunch of U.S. concert dates. Who cares if there was yet another Rock and Roll Hall of Fame snub? Judas Priest will be busy in 2015, performing at Rock on the Range and touring Australia in February, Japan in March and Europe through the summer. There's also talk of joining up with Ozzy Osbourne and Motorhead for some dates. An expanded 30th-anniversary reissue of 'Defenders of the Faith' is set for release on March 10.
Kansas continue their rebuilding phase after enduring a lineup shift in 2014. Longtime frontman Steve Walsh announced his departure over the summer, bringing to a close his second tenure in Kansas. Ronnie Platt took over as his replacement, making his debut in September. (John Elefante fronted Kansas for three years in the early '80s, before Walsh returned.) Five 2015 dates, in the deep South and into Mexico, have been confirmed. The band will also take a look back at their amazing history together with a documentary and retrospective disc, ‘Miracles Out of Nowhere,’ due in March.
The Kinks' on-again, off-again history repeated itself in 2014, as arguments erupted over a reunion and even the genesis of one of their signature moments as a band. Ray Davies confirmed that he worked on some new music with brother Dave, but that a long-running disagreement between Dave and drummer Mick Avory has halted any broader plans to reform. That led to rumors, since debunked, of a Kinks tour without Dave. Ray says he's moving ahead with plans to make an album of songs based on his 2013 book 'Americana: The Kinks, the Riff, the Road: The Story,' with a small tour to follow. A five-disc collection called 'The Anthology 1964-1971' arrived 50 years after the Kinks scored their first Top 10 hit with 'You Really Got Me.'
The question wasn't what Kiss were up to in 2014, but what they weren't up to. Looks like it's more of the same for 2015. These masters of self-promotion don't need a follow up to 2012's 'Monster' to make themselves ubiquitous. The newly inducted Hall of Famers are running a pro football team. They're opening new restaurants. They're hosting a cruise. They're doing reality TV and appearing as movie plot points. They're part of a smartphone game. Oh, yeah -- and they're playing music here, there and in Vegas, too. Dates for 2015 include Japan, South America and Europe. Then there are those two new songs with the Japanese pop group Momoiro Clover Z. In related news, Ace Frehley plans to re-record some old Kiss songs for an upcoming solo record.
Lynyrd Skynyrd kick off 2015 with a special performance of their first two albums back home in Jacksonville, Fla. The February shows, to feature 'Pronounced 'Leh-'nerd 'Skin-'nerd' and 'Second Helping,' will be recorded for a TV special and a live DVD. A six-album vinyl box set collecting all of Lynyrd Skynyrd's classic-era studio and live LPs for the first time follows on Jan. 26. Tour dates begin in March in Canada.
John Mellencamp announced an 80-date tour in support of his new 'Plain Spoken' album, with shows stretching into summer. There are a number of multi-night stops, including New York City, Nashville, Chicago, Toronto and Mellencamp's hometown of Bloomington, Ind. That follows another signature performance at Famr Aid in 2014. 'Plain Spoken' is Mellencamp's first album since 'No Better Than This' four years ago. He also released a live album last summer, called ‘John Mellencamp Performs Trouble No More Live at Town Hall.’
Paul McCartney doesn't have any confirmed 2015 dates yet, but he could use a breather. Among the highlights of his 2014 tour: a concert closing Candlestick Park, where the Beatles played their last show. In between dates, McCartney released an expanded version of 2013's 'New' and an app, reissued a pair of mid-'70s Wings albums and then released a new single called 'Hope for the Future.' An accompanying video turned the former Beatle into a singing hologram inside the world of the 'Destiny' video game.
A final tour for Motley Crue will stretch until Dec. 31, 2015, likely ending in their hometown in Los Angeles. A special show is planned at the Whisky a Go Go on the band's 35th anniversary in January of next year, too. Between then and now? Confirmed 2015 dates include five shows in Japan. "I'm sure we'll come back and do the States again," Nikki Sixx says. "We also have to do Canada, Mexico, South America, Asia, Japan and Europe. We have a long way to go." Nevertheless, Tommy Lee says he's already working on solo material.
Motorhead have half a dozen European dates set for 2015, and possibly some shows with Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest, as frontman Lemmy puts a series of health problems behind him. Despite those issues, Motorhead appeared at the British Summer Time festival at Hyde Park in July, sponsored their Motorboat at-sea concert in October and then reunited with former members "Fast" Eddie Clarke and "Philthy" Phil Taylor onstage in November. Not bad, considering that Motorhead had canceled a month of festival appearances earlier in the year.
Stevie Nicks fit in an impressive new album before taking part in a celebrated reunion tour with Fleetwood Mac. '24 Karat Gold -- Songs From the Vault', which went to No. 7, included newly recorded versions of old songs that Nicks never got around to officially releasing over the years. After those Mac dates are finished, Nicks will help complete work on the band's first album to include its classic lineup since 1987's 'Tango in the Night.' Nicks says she hopes to do another '24 Karat'-style project, as well.
After years of controversy, Ted Nugent got back to music in 2104 -- releasing the well-received 'Shut Up & Jam.' Unfortunately, his political activism still tended to overshadow things, as some tour dates were later canceled. Nugent wasn't about to back down, even as he continued often-overlooked charity work in the meantime. Late in 2014, tiring perhaps of duking it out in the political arena, Nugent got into a public feud with Sebastian Bach. So far, he hasn't announced any 2015 tour dates.