2015 A-Z Classic Rock Preview: Part One
A new year promises plenty of new music, from the studio and out on the road. Here's part one of our comprehensive, alphabetical 2015 forecast for your favorite classic rock artists -- detailing what they've been up to, and what's next. In this edition, we survey AC/DC through Fleetwood Mac. (Part two is here, if you feel like skipping ahead.)
AC/DC have already confirmed 22 dates in 2015 in support of their new album 'Rock or Bust,' with shows beginning in May. The record, AC/DC's first since 2008's 'Black Ice,' arrived amid news of Malcolm Young's retirement. Still unclear, however, is drummer Phil Rudd's role in these upcoming shows. He said he plans to return to the group, despite some serious legal issues. Also up in the air: whether AC/DC will perform at Glastonbury. Their tour schedule leaves room for an appearance.
Between touring behind 2012's 'Music From Another Dimension!' and various outside projects -- from Joe Perry's autobiography and Christmas EP to Steven Tyler's multi-year stint on 'American Idol' -- it's been a busy period for Aerosmith. This year promises some down time, as Perry confirmed in an exclusive talk with Ultimate Classic Rock. There are loose plans for some summer dates, he said, but so far only one July concert has been confirmed. Perry could possibly squeeze in some solo shows late in 2015, too. Meanwhile, Joey Kramer had a health scare in 2014, forcing the cancellation of some summer shows, but he's since returned to full strength.
The Allman Brothers Band said goodbye with an epic Beacon show in October, drawing four decades of music to a close following the departures of guitarists Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks. Still, leader Gregg Allman remains a stalwart figure on the concert trail, and has more than a dozen confirmed dates for 2015, with 10 of them in January alone. Meanwhile, Haynes just celebrated 20 years with his band Gov't Mule, releasing a Pink Floyd tribute album, and Trucks is promising more music from his Tedeschi Trucks Band.
Jeff Beck has already given fans a taste of new, never-before-released material as part of November's 'Live in Tokyo' set, and his first studio album since 2010's 'Emotion and Commotion' is set to follow in 2015. Beck will also return to the road with ZZ Top, after their 2014 tour was put on hold after Dusty Hill was injured on his tour bus. Beck already has nearly 20 shows lined up for 2015, beginning in April.
A rejuvenated Black Sabbath, fresh off their 2013 smash hit '13,' plan another studio album and tour -- with both slated to be their last. Ozzy Osbourne and Geezer Butler have spoken openly about their hopes to finish on a high note alongside Tony Iommi, who's rebounded from a cancer scare. Osbourne hinted that producer Rick Rubin would be on board again, as well. Not much is known beyond that, though Osbourne -- who will also tour without Sabbath alongside Judas Priest and Motorhead -- says sessions will begin "sooner rather than later."
We know one thing Jon Bon Jovi won't be doing in 2015: owning an NFL team, after his controversial bid to purchase the Buffalo Bills fell short. Meanwhile, if he hits the road again with Bon Jovi, it will almost certainly be without the departed Richie Sambora. A disagreement that led to the longtime guitarist's sudden departure in 2013 apparently remained unresolved late into 2014 -- with both camps saying it's time to move on. Sambora played a series of summer dates in Europe while Jon appeared in Vegas with the Kings of Suburbia. Keyboardist David Bryan also saw his stage production 'Memphis: The Musical' debut in London in 2014.
Boston didn't slow down after releasing 'Life, Love and Hope' late in 2013, playing an astounding 68 shows through summer 2014, and even teaming up with the Doobie Brothers on a series of well-received dates. Boston hadn't released a new album since 2002. Leader Tom Scholz spent the interim rebuilding Boston after the death of singer Brad Delp, whose final Boston sessions appeared on 'Life, Love and Hope.' A live, perhaps career-spanning, concert film could be next. "I still have countless recordings of Boston playing every possible song with numerous different arrangements live," Scholz told us. "It’s a very tantalizing thing to do."
David Bowie included a pair of new songs on a 2014 retrospective release, solidifying a stirring comeback that began with the unexpected release of 'The Next Day' in 2013, and hinting at a larger project to come in 2015 ... maybe. Not so fast, Bowie's camp cautioned, as 'Sue (Or in a Season Of Crime)' and ''Tis a Pity She Was a Whore' were part of the ‘Nothing Has Changed’ set. A new tour is just as uncertain as more new music -- though, as longtime producer Tony Visconti notes, you never know with the Thin White Duke. "I don't know and I couldn't predict that, it's up to him," Visconti says of Bowie, who hasn't appeared onstage in a decade. "It's whatever takes his fancy."
Fresh off a December appearance at the Vallarta-Nayarit Classic Rock Festival, the always-busy Cheap Trick have already announced 15 dates for 2015. "We play as much as we can," Rick Nielsen said in 2014. "No record? We go on tour. New record? On tour. Hit record? Flop record? Always tour." While there's been no mention of a new album from Cheap Trick, Nielsen appeared as a guest on the Foo Fighters' star-studded 'Sonic Highways,' and then joined them for a performance on 'The Late Show With David Letterman.'
The wait for a follow-up to Chickenfoot's 2011 album continues. That's the nature of having Sammy Hagar (who has a busy schedule of solo projects) and Chad Smith (also a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers) in one lineup. They've often been ready to get back to work, but guitarist Joe Satriani has been elsewhere. And so it goes, save for several concert pairings of Hagar and Michael Anthony -- and a notable appearance of the full band at Hagar's birthday concert in October. For his part, however, Satriani isn't ready to give up on Chickenfoot just yet. "We're trying to get our priorities straight, and we probably never will," he says. "But I do think there's a couple more records in there somehow."
Eric Clapton announced plans in 2014 to quit the road, even though he still intends to record. Up next? Perhaps a second tribute project to friend JJ Cale, some all-new material or, he says, perhaps both. Unfortunately, any hopes for a rerun of 2005's Cream reunion evaporated with the death of bandmate Jack Bruce last year. Clapton led a musical farewell in his honor; he also released a song called 'For Jack,' Clapton's first new music since 2013's 'Old Sock.' As for performing, Clapton says he might do one-off shows, but he doesn't plan on any more major tours.
Alice Cooper continued building on his own towering legend with a series of 2014 dates opening for Motley Crue ... and he occasionally one-upped the main attraction. He'll stay on the road into the new year, having already announced a dozen dates in the U.S. and Europe for the Raise the Dead tour. Cooper hasn't released a new studio album since 2011's 'Welcome 2 My Nightmare,' though he contributed an update of the Beatles' 'Eleanor Rigby' to the recent tribute album to Paul McCartney and released a terrific concert DVD. And his long-awaited 'Hollywood Vampires' covers record could finally see the light of day in 2015.
As with Alice Cooper, CSN's covers project might finally come to fruition in 2015. But get used to seeing Crosby, Stills and Nash without Neil Young. A sprawling 'CSNY 1974' set, released in 2014, served as a stirring reminder of their success as a quartet. But then Young and David Crosby had another falling out, this time over comments Crosby made about Young's love life -- and that appears to have severed their musical partnership for good. That said, CSN have been touring without Young consistently since 2006, including a string of well-received dates this past fall. They've already confirmed seven concerts in Japan, beginning in March.
Deep Purple spent the year consolidating momentum after storming back to relevance with 2013's 'Now What?!' That meant scores of live shows -- including a rare set of U.S. stops -- and the release of a live DVD. Next are more than 20 European concerts set for 2015. They've also begun work on a follow-up to 'Now What?!,' and plan to once again work with producer Bob Ezrin. "He really enjoyed making the record with us, so it’s a no-brainer really that we’re going to do it again," Roger Glover tells us. "I think that will probably be out sometime next year." Deep Purple also took part in an emotional farewell concert for late member Jon Lord. The show was released as a deluxe set in September.
Def Leppard wrapped up 2014 with the elements of a new album in place, despite a difficult period of health problems for guitarist Vivian Campbell. Singer Joe Elliott was expected to put the finishing touches on the project early in the new year, with a release date for Def Leppard's first album since 2008's 'Songs From the Sparkle Lounge' to be determined. Meanwhile, Def Leppard toured with Kiss and performed in the opening ceremonies of an NFL game in London, with Trixter's Steve Brown filling in for Campbell. They'll begin a string of Canadian dates in April, then hit Europe beginning in May.
The Doobie Brothers will once again team up with some big-name guests in 2015, beginning with String Cheese Incident at the 2015 Lockn Festival. The appearance, called the Doobie Incident, arrives on the heels of 'Southbound,' a multi-artist collaboration featuring some of country's top stars. The album included Tom Johnston, Michael McDonald and Patrick Simmons' first appearance on a Doobie Brothers album since 1978's 'Minute by Minute.' New tour dates begin in February, and include bills with Alice Cooper and War.
A career full of surprising twists will take another surprising turn in 2015 as Bob Dylan issues an album of standards associated with Frank Sinatra. Set for release in February, 'Shadows in the Night' features a cover of 'Full Moon and Empty Arms,' which Dylan began streaming on his website in October. He's coming off another busy year of touring, which unfolded even as 'The Basement Tapes Complete' -- a comprehensive look back at his fabled 1967 recordings with the Band -- arrived in stores. Dylan completed his 2014 run with five-night stand in early December at the Beacon Theatre in New York City; no other dates have been confirmed yet.
The Eagles stayed busy on the road in 2014 (well, when they weren't filing lawsuits about this or that). Nothing surprising there. But Joe Walsh revealed that the Eagles might be inching closer to their first studio release since 2007's 'Long Road Out of Eden.' "We've got some stuff in the can," he said, before reeling off his own plans for a blues-focused solo effort. The group's 'History of the Eagles' tour heads to Australia in February, followed by questions about how many more of these globe-crossing jaunts they have left in them.
Jeff Lynne reignited Electric Light Orchestra for a September performance at London's Hyde Park. Despite some pre-show jitters, he now says there are bigger things on the way. There could be both new music and a full-fledged tour in 2015. “I’m working on a new album, and that’ll be involved in the new times when we play,” said Lynne, who returned to the stage with ELO keyboardist Richard Tandy.
For fans of Fleetwood Mac's classic-era lineup, 2014's return of Christine McVie was a dream come true -- and 2015 promises still more. Putting aside a lengthy retirement, McVie began working on new music with Lindsey Buckingham before returning to concert halls with the group. This as-yet-unnamed new project, slated for completion in 2015, will be the first to feature the complete 'Rumours' lineup since 1987's 'Tango in the Night.' Stevie Nicks also released the solo '24 Karat Gold,' new recordings of some of her old unrecorded songs. Fleetwood Mac have at least 30 more shows lined up for 2015.