November 2015: Classic Rock Month in Review
The most tragic story of 2015 leads off our November 2015 Classic Rock Month in Review, as terrorists killed approximately 90 people at an Eagles of Death Metal Show in Paris. Journey welcomed back Steve Smith as their drummer to replace Deen Castronovo, who learned his fate following his arrest in the summer. The calls for the classic lineup of Guns N' Roses to get back together grew even louder, while a planned reunion of David Lee Roth's first solo band was derailed at the last minute. Dee Snider's friendship with Donald Trump also made the news. We said goodbye to the drummer on Motorhead's most famous records and several others, but we're still making our way through that Bob Dylan 18-CD boxed set.
On November 13, a series of coordinated terrorist attacks struck random locations in Paris, including the Bataclan, a theater where the Eagles of Death Metal were giving a concert. Although the band was able to escape to safety, roughly 90 people, including the band's merchandise manager, Nick Alexander, were killed. The band cut short their European tour and returned to the U.S. U2 postponed the remaining two dates of their four-night residency in the city. At the rescheduled concert three weeks later, Eagles of Death Metal joined U2 on stage for an emotional encore. Both bands visited the site of the attacks.
After Deen Castronovo was fired as a result of his arrest on charges of domestic abuse, sexual abuse and drug possession, Journey hired Steve Smith as their drummer for a two-year cycle, beginning with their upcoming summer tour with the Doobie Brothers and Dave Mason. Smith, who played on the band's seminal records, cited his desire to have his kids see him play with Journey as one of the main reasons for accepting the job. Castronovo was sentenced to four years probation and ordered to undergo counseling.
The rumors about the possible reunion of the classic Guns N' Roses that started in the summer picked up more steam in November. Anonymous sources leaked that they were looking at headlining major festivals in the U.S. and Europe. The band put out some cryptic tweets at the same time that a friend of Duff McKagan's wife said, in her presence, "Guns N' Roses is coming back, motherf---ers!" Then, Nikki Sixx said, "They are. Everybody knows" in response to a question on Twitter about it. As Thanksgiving approached, the band sent out an e-mail to fans that showed that they were selling new merchandise with their classic-era logos, the trademarks of which are co-owned by McKagan, Slash and Axl Rose.
The musicians who played on David Lee Roth's solo debut, Eat 'Em and Smile, were scheduled to play a special one-night-only show in Hollywood. However, the concert was shut down before it had begun by the Fire Marshall due to overcrowding. Although Steel Panther's Ralph Saenz was slated to perform vocals, as it turns out, Roth had heard about the gig and wanted to sit in on a couple of songs. Word about Roth's appearance leaked and, in the words of bassist Billy Sheehan, "All panic ensued." Sheehan said that they will try again at a later date.
Although they have differing political views, Dee Snider gave permission for Donald Trump to play Twisted Sister's biggest hit at his rallies due to their friendship and his time on Celebrity Apprentice. However, after Trump said that, if elected, he would ban Muslims from entering the U.S., Snider was reconsidering his position. "I know the man’s not a racist," he said. "He’s a friend of mine. But when you’ve got white supremacy groups aligning themselves with you and you don’t denounce them [...] that’s a problem for me, and I’m really sort of coming to the end of my road here with this."
Known as "Philthy Animal," Phil Taylor drummed with Motorhead from 1975-84 and again from 1987-92. He died of liver failure on November 11. In a statement, Lemmy said that he was "devastated" by the loss of one of his best friends and that "it really pisses me off that they take somebody like him and leave George Bush alive."
Bob Dylan's Bootleg Series received its 12th installment in the form of outtakes from his remarkable 1965-66 period. The Cutting Edge arrived as a double-CD, a six-disc expanded version and, for the ultimate collector, an 18-CD box containing every note he recorded during those two years. We also got new studio releases from Billy Gibbons (Perfectamundo) Jeff Lynne's ELO (All Alone in the Universe) and Leslie West (Soundcheck).