February 2015: Classic Rock Month in Review
February is the shortest month of the year, but we still had plenty of great things to keep us occupied throughout this bitter winter. In our February 2015 Classic Rock Month in Review, we recap what rockers like Paul Stanley and Nikki Sixx thought about Kanye West's behavior at the Grammys, and take a look at some news that doesn't bode well for a new Van Halen album anytime soon. We also remember the rockers who passed away last month. On a brighter note, there's a possibility that the Rolling Stones will be back in North America this summer. Plus, lots of great new music came out in February.
Ever one to stir up controversy, Kanye West walked onstage during the Grammys as Beck was accepting the award for Album of the Year, later saying that the award should have gone to Beyonce, and that Beck needed "to respect artistry." The classic-rock community sprang to Beck's defense. Paul Stanley said that Beck "should’ve kicked Kanye right in the nuts and said, ‘Get the f--- off MY stage!’" while Nikki Sixx wrote an op-ed piece titled No, Kanye, It’s You Who Needs to ‘Respect Artistry.' But it was five-time Grammy winner Michael McDonald who put it most eloquently: "When Kanye gets to a point where he can actually put a couple of notes together either vocally or two bars of valid music playing an instrument, then he might have a right to criticize somebody else. Until then, I think he’s just talking to hear the sound of his own voice.” Meanwhile, metal band Steel Panther uploaded a video that equated West's music with "hamster turds" and "donkey farts."
Eddie Van Halen gave an insightful Q&A at the Smithsonian Institution, which touched on everything from his days growing up as an immigrant to his son Wolfgang's upcoming solo album. But the biggest bomb was dropped afterward, when a reporter from Rolling Stone asked him when Van Halen would get around to recording the follow-up to 2012's A Different Kind of Truth. “Depends on everybody’s timing," he responded. "I don’t know what Dave [Lee Roth] is up to now. I don’t know if he’s living in New York or Japan or wherever he is.”
It took more than five years to get Mick Jagger and Keith Richards to stop their seemingly perpetual squabbling and get back out on the road. Now it looks like they don't want to stop. Ron Wood told a reporter that they plan on adding more dates to the 50 & Counting tour they began in 2012, saying, ”We had a meeting in New York with the boys, and we’re gonna come to North America again in the summer.”
On Feb. 12, Sam Andrew, the guitarist of Big Brother and the Holding Company, died 10 weeks after suffering a heart attack. Andrew founded the group with Peter Albin in San Francisco in the mid-'60s and got signed after they brought Janis Joplin into the band. After the No. 1 success of Cheap Thrills, Andrew left the group to follow Joplin in her solo career, but rejoined them a year later. Other People We Lost in February 2015: Joe B. Mauldin, Danny McCulloch, Mats Olausson, Bruce Sinofsky, Bobby Emmons, Chris Rainbow, Dave "Hobby" Hilsden.
This isn't really a news story, but we had so much fun compiling it that we thought we'd spotlight it again here. We found 53 pictures of Keith Richards, one from each year between 1963 and 2015, and put them all together in one gallery. You can see them here.
The biggest new release of February was the 40th anniversary reissue of Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti, which briefly threatened to top the U.K charts. Bob Dylan took another musical left turn with Shadows in the Night, a collection of standards that were previously recorded by Frank Sinatra, and the not-close-to-retiring Scorpions celebrated their 50th anniversary with Return to Forever.