December 2015: Classic Rock Month in Review
Our December 2015 Classic Rock Month in Review begins with some bad news that happened at the end of the month. Lemmy, the frontman for Motorhead and a figurehead for metal, died of cancer only two days after learning of his diagnosis. And we also lost Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, whose 20-plus-year career was beset by problems with drug addiction. Motley Crue's farewell tour came to a conclusion with three concerts at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and Neil Peart of Rush sort-of declared himself to be retired. However, we did have a lot of good news. Former Journey singer Steve Perry is ending a 21-year recording drought, four legendary rock bands are getting their long-overdue induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and AC/DC are coming back to the U.S. in 2016. Finally, classic albums by Bruce Springsteen and Fleetwood Mac received the boxed set treatment.
On Dec. 28, four days after turning 70, Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister, the bass player and frontman of Motorhead, died of an aggressive form of cancer he had only learned about two days earlier. Following his death, dozens of rockers he befriended and influenced over the years shared their thoughts on him, while Motorhead drummer Mikkey Dee said he was "incredibly grateful over the years we had, and that we had such a good time together," and stated the obvious when he said that "Motorhead is over, of course." We also looked at the legacy that Motorhead left on the world of music.
After briefly resurfacing in 2014 to sit in at a few Eels shows, Steve Perry kept a very low profile this year. The reason, as he revealed is that he has spent much of 2015 working on a solo album, his first since 1994's For the Love of Strange Medicine. Although he doesn't have a release date yet, he is hoping to have it finished in early 2016.
After years of being overlooked, Deep Purple, Chicago, Cheap Trick and the Steve Miller Band were announced as next year's inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, with N.W.A. as the fifth group. Bun E. Carlos, who hasn't drummed with Cheap Trick since 2010, has said he will attend the ceremony in April, but Peter Cetera told Robert Lamm that he "emphatically declined" to participate. However, Cetera will make an "important announcement" regarding his involvement in early 2016. Ian Paice of Deep Purple has no idea if Ritchie Blackmore will show up, while Ian Gillan was upset that the newer members of the band will not be inducted.
Scott Weiland, one of the biggest stars of the grunge era as the lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots and later launched Velvet Revolver with former members of Guns N' Roses, died on Dec. 4 at the age of 48. His body was found on his tour bus outside a Bloomington, Minn., hotel. According to the medical examiner, Weiland, who had a long and much-publicized history with drug addiction, died of an accidental overdose, with cocaine, ethanol and the amphetamine MDA contributing to his heart stoppage.
Nearly two years after their Final Tour was first announced, Motley Crue called time on their career as a live rock n' roll band with three shows at the Staples Center in their hometown of Los Angeles. Up next for the group is the film adaptation of their memoir, The Dirt, and we looked at what could lie ahead for the members. As for a return to the road? Don't count on it. Nikki Sixx said it would happen "over my dead body." And he would know a thing or two about being dead.
After finishing what they said was likely to be their last major tour, Rush's Neil Peart said that his daughter "has been introducing me to new friends at school as ‘My dad – he’s a retired drummer.'" A day later, Geddy Lee issued a clarification "I think Neil is just explaining his reasons for not wanting to tour, with the toll that it’s taking on his body," he said. "We’ll get together eventually and chat about things. But in my view, there is certainly nothing surprising in what he said."
Bruce Springsteen gave the boxed set treatment to his 1980 album The River. The Ties That Bind: The River Collection re-packaged the double-LP with a disc of outtakes, a DVD of one of the most famous concerts from that tour, a documentary and the original single album that Springsteen pulled from release at the last minute. We also got a deluxe edition of Fleetwood Mac's Tusk and a live document of Roger Waters' The Wall shows.
The last week of 2016 gave us the strongest indications yet that there will at least be a partial reunion of Guns N' Roses in 2016. They changed the homepage of their website to their classic "bullet logo." Then, teasers featuring "Welcome to the Jungle" and black-and-white crowd shots began popping up in pre-show reels in movie theaters across the country. Finally, rumors began circulating about a 25-city tour, including a stop at the Coachella Festival, with only Slash joining the current Axl Rose-fronted lineup.
Following the success of their world tour in support of Rock or Bust, AC/DC announced that they will return to the U.S. for two months worth of shows next year. They will begin on Feb. 2 at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Wash., and end on April 4 at New York's Madison Square Garden.