At the end of 2020, we promised ourselves that 2021 was going to be the year that things got back to normal. It wasn't. And 2022 might not be that year either.
But hell, at the time of writing all systems (well, most systems) are go Go GO, and this is what we're most excited about. See you down the front.
Download Festival returns as we know it
(Touch wood.) Following last summer’s reduced capacity, covid-friendly pilot event – one of the first moments when we began to see daylight at the end of the tunnel – Iron Maiden, Kiss and Biffy Clyro lead an international line-up at Download Festival’s spiritual home, Donington Park, over the weekend of June 10 to 12.
A new Ozzy Osbourne album
Ozzy Osbourne might have delayed his long-awaited UK tour (with special guests Judas Priest) by another year, but the follow-up to 2020’s Ordinary Man is due by the end of this year. And it features a guest guitar solo from Ozzy’s former Black Sabbath bandmate Tony Iommi. “It’s good. It’s really good. And I like what Ozzy sang on it,” Iommi teases.
Hankies at the ready for those fond farewells
Nothing lasts forever, and it’s time to bid a hearty “thank you and goodbye” to several of our favourite touring acts. In one way or another, Elton John, UFO, Whitesnake, The Stranglers, maybe Eric Clapton and most likely Genesis are all set to tread the boards for a final time.
Will the Rolling Stones continue after losing Charlie?
Although nothing is official, you understand, speculation suggests that the Rolling Stones will continue after the loss of their drummer Charlie Watts, who died back in August. Don’t be surprised if Steve Jordan, the man behind the kit on their recent visit to the States, becomes the group’s permanent touring drummer.
A new Def Leppard album?
Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen recently told Classic Rock that the band are “always working on new music”. Whether or not they’ll get around to following-up 2015’s Def Leppard album before the end of the year remains to be seen, especially considering the not-so-small matter of a summer US tour that co-stars Motley Crue, Poison and Joan Jett, but Allen says “it will see the light of day as soon as it’s ready”.
Eagles and Robert Plant & Alison Krauss play Hyde Park
After the postponement of their dates at Wembley Stadium, Eagles' latest incarnation celebrate the Eagles’ 50th anniversary with outdoor shows in Liverpool, Edinburgh, Dublin and at London’s British Summer Time Festival in Hyde Park. Special guests at the latter are Robert Plant & Alison Krauss.
Anniversaries: Lots of 'em, some belated
A year later than planned, Uriah Heep celebrate a half-century in rock (there’s a new album, too). Better late than never, Saxon throw a 40th birthday party to a soundtrack of their new album Carpe Diem.
The next generation step up
With the New Wave Of Classic Rock continuing to buzz, UK and overseas bands are gearing up for action. Look out for renewed activity from Tuk Smith And The Restless Hearts, Royal Republic, Moon City Masters, The Hot Damn!, Bones UK, Dan Patlansky, Rot TV, Joyous Wolf and those loveable fuzzy faces The Sheepdogs, whose new album is pencilled in for the spring.
Journey turn up the guitars again
Although Journey’s 2022 dates don’t yet include any in Europe, they’re scheduled to play across the US with Billy Idol and Toto in the spring. Guitarist Neal Schon also reveals that more than 30 songs have been prepped for a follow-up to 2011’s Eclipse. There’s no release date for it yet, and the band are considering drip-feeding their new songs. “It’s ballistic, man,” Schon warns. “There’s no lack of guitar on this record.”
Ian Anderson makes the Jethro Till reunion official
Guitarist Martin Barre is long gone, it seems, but following a set of well received tour dates Ian Anderson has revived the brand name of Jethro Tull in album form. Released on January 28, The Zealot Gene is the first studio work released under the name in 18 years.
Foo Fighters light up the summer
Freshly inducted to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Foo Fighters will play four UK stadium shows, their first dates here since their headline slot at the Reading and Leeds Festivals in 2019. In the words of Dave Grohl: “Get ready to make up for some long-ass nights of rock’n’roll.”
The Black Crowes fly again
Two years ago we thought the hard part was over when the Robinson brothers agreed to finally put their feuding aside to celebrate the three decades since the Black Crowes debut album, Shake Your Money Maker. But then along came you know what, and they were forced to trim back their itinerary to Dublin, Manchester and two nights in London. Hey, at least those shows are happening.
Steve Hackett revisits Foxtrot at 50
Fresh from an very well-received tour around the UK playing Genesis’s live album Seconds Out in its entirety, that band’s former guitarist Steve Hackett and his excellent backing band turn their attention to Foxtrot, Genesis’s fourth studio album, in its 50th-anniversary year. Hackett’s upcoming tour currently comprises 25 dates.
Rage Against The Machine play Reading and Leeds
There’s a time and a place for Zack de la Rocha and co. to stand up for democracy, truth and what they consider necessary. And considering world events, Rage Against The Machine are an inspired choice as headliners of this summer’s Reading and Leeds festivals on the August Bank Holiday weekend.
The return of Porcupine Tree
Against the odds, Steven Wilson has put his solo career on hold to revive the band he fronted and masterminded from 1987 to 2010, with a new album, Closure/Continuation (we can’t wait to hear it!), and a European tour.
Ghost: new dates and an album
Everyone’s favourite Grammy-winning ghouls step up a notch or two with their biggest tour to date. Ghost have also issued Hunter’s Moon and Call Me Little Sunshine, their first new tracks in two years. Both are taken from upcoming album Impera.
King's X rescheduled tour and a new album
The Texan trio were forced to cancel a proposed trip to the UK. However, the band have confirmed replacement shows, with support from Trapt, for September. See you down the front! The band are also said to have completed their first album for their new label Golden Robot Records.
Tedeschi Trucks Band back in The UK
The husband-and-wife team of former Allman Brothers Band guitarist Derek Trucks, and singer/guitarist Susan Tedeschi, along with their excellent band, will follow their last, sold-out visit with six dates across the UK and Ireland from November 4 to 10.
The return of Halestorm
Lzzy Hale and her band were forced to postpone a run of European shows billed as An Evening With Halestorm, but those same dates are now back on track. Halestorm also used down-time to record their fifth studio album.
New David Bowie movie
Look out for an exciting new film about David Bowie from Brett Morgen, the director behind Kurt Cobain: Montage Of Heck, Rolling Stones doc Crossfire Hurricane and various other films. At present no title or release date has been announced, although we can tell you that the project is based on thousands of hours of rare performance footage, most of it previously uncirculated.
Brand new music from The Cure, anyone?
Robert Smith and co. will play five arena dates around the UK in December during a tour taking them through 22 countries. Smith has also teased the fact that 20 new songs have been recorded, at least some of which seem destined for release on a new, as-yet-untitled album from The Cure.
And finally... um... Guns N' Roses?
As Slash releases a fourth album with his band The Conspirators next month we continue to wonder whether 2022 will see Guns N’ Roses finally get their shit together and follow suit with some new music. We wouldn’t bet our house on the prospect of a full-blown follow-up to 2008’s Chinese Democracy, but somehow the waiting has started to feel like mildly perverse fun.