It’s not easy to keep up with the fast moving worlds of rock, metal, prog and blues – especially when you have access to four monthly magazines pumping out stories and reviews, and producing videos and radio shows daily. Here then is a guide to what you might have missed, as chosen by TeamRock editors.
Even if we do say so ourselves, we OWNED the biggest metal story of the year – the release of a new album by Iron Maiden – through a combination of Metal Hammer’s amazing lenticular cover exclusive (and award-nominated digital edition cover of the year), Classic Rock’s 17 Maiden covers and, beyond the packaging, our great feature coverage – Maiden stories appeared across all our brands (with the obvious exception of The Blues magazine). Read Hammer Art Ed Lewis on the making of their cover here and read the features here, here, here, here, here and… ah, you get the idea. Only have time for one? Try Hammer’s, below:
You might have missed it but TeamRock.com became home to The Best Of Everything, a daily list by artists and experts. Yes, daily. Here’s all the lists we’ve done so far. The most popular one is the one below:
**In 2015, TeamRock Radio moved offices, came off the DAB platform and added listeners.** And then, just to show off, Moose and J-Rock achieved a world first by broadcasting a live radio programme on the London Underground using Google Chrome and the free tube wifi.
The radio shows continued to nail exclusives with the biggest bands in our world. The Metal Hammer show had interviews with Mastodon, Faith No More, Soundgarden, Scott Weiland (just weeks before his death) and many more… The Prog Magazine Show sat down with Roger Waters and the Classic Rock Magazine show built an epic special around the event of the year, including interviews with Brian May, Bruce Dickinson, Jimmy Page, Alice Cooper and Joe Satriani and more. The show was picked up and broadcast on stations across America, Europe, and Asia.
We caught it on video too. Relive it here:
It was the year of Babymetal. Says Metal Hammer Deputy Editor Merlin: “Our decision to put Babymetal on the cover of the world’s biggest metal magazine raised as many eyebrows as it did shit-eating grins, but Eleanor Goodman’s resulting feature was a stark, candid and enlightening reveal of what it’s like to spend 72 whirlwind hours in the eye of the storm. Love them or hate them, you cannot ignore them.” The issue sold out on pre-order in 24hrs.
And if you thought metal had reached a new low, Hammer Editor in Chief Alexander Milas went to Midgardsblot, Norway’s Viking festival, to bring home a thoughtful piece and great video that explores metal’s pagan roots and Nordic influences.
Our video department produced work that grew all of our YouTube channels and they did it through videos like this brilliant piece that introduced Slipknot’s Corey Taylor to The Walking Dead’s illustrator Charlie Allard, by capturing intimate performances like this by Warren Haynes covering U2’s One, reporting on the insanity of metal cruise 70,000 Tonnes Of Metal (with over 3000 metalheads from 70 different nations on a boat together for 5 days, it brings home the global passion for all things Heavy), a load of exclusive Def Leppard videos (including this nice video with Classic Rock’s Geoff Barton and Leppard’s Joe Elliott recalling the first time they met) and smaller super-cool stuff like this about CR’s ‘wet plate’ Clutch shoot or the making of an Iron Maiden ring.
In October Metal Hammer continued in its mission to break the internet by posting The Definitive History of Every Slipknot Mask, Hammer’s biggest ever online feature.
**Dave Everley wrote this ****crushing, hilarious review **of Whitesnake’s new album and Dave Ling followed with this frank Q&A with Coverdale. It even caught the eye of The Guardian’s John Harris who tweeted: “Reminder of how a proper journalist occ’ly interviews ppl”.
Harris also picked up on Lingy’s interview with Lemmy in CR’s end-of-year issue, calling the long-time CR contrib “honest and empathetic” for his touching interview with an ailing hero.
Read it here and remember him fondly:
Dave Ling wasn’t our only writer who managed to bring out the human side of an icon. CR Reviews Editor Ian Fortnam turned in this brilliant piece on John Lydon in which the former Mr Rotten opens up about family, his reputation and his love of Led Zeppelin in an unusually revealing interview.
The death of blues icon BB King led to a brilliant memorial issue from The Blues magazine that included this amazing archive piece from 1969. Says Editor Ed: “Michael Lydon’s eyewitness account of BB King touring the back woods of the Deep South in 1969 was the highlight of our tribute issue. This was King in his prime, a sexually charged performer dealing with racism, his legendary backbreaking touring schedule and, bizarrely, accusations of Uncle Tom behaviour from young blacks.”
And the death of another pivotal figure, Yes’s Chris Squire, brought out the best in Prog magazine. “Even though the new of Squire’s illness was common knowledge,” says Editor Jerry Ewing, “his passing came much quicker than many expected – but the decision to put him on the cover was unanimous. Particular credit should go to Rich Wilson for his sympathetic handling of Squire’s great friend in Yes, Alan White, who graciously agreed to be interviewed so soon after his friend and colleague had died.”
In fact prog, the genre, was all over TeamRock, with Classic Rock muscling in on the act with a great piece on David Gilmour by Mark Ellen – candid, casual, funny and revealing, it also addressed the end of Floyd question and his often tricky relationship with Roger Waters – and Paul Elliott’s Q&A with Geddy and Alex of Rush as they prepared for what could be their last tour:
Our festival coverage was second to none. Check our coverage of the Download festival here or our epic coverage of Aussie festival Soundwave or the exhaustive, saturation-level coverage of Ohio fest Rock On The Range.
You might assume that it’s generated by an army of reviewers, photographers, news reporters, radio presenters, but you’d be wrong. “What makes it unique is the scale of the team involved,” says TeamRock’s Alex Milas, of Rock On The Range and Soundwave: “Five people did this.”
Covering big name bands at festivals is an obvious thing to do. But this year, like every other, we went and found stories too. Like this one about “The White Hendrix” a fascinating you-couldn’t-make-it-up tale about Pacific Gas & Electric’s Glenn Schwartz, a guitar hero that really ought to have been. “Cults, kidnappings and more besides,” says Sian, “there’s a Hollywood film to be made of this.”
Every week, in fact, CR.com celebrates the obscure corners of rock in its Flash Metal Suicide column, a rich source of stories you really ought to know already. Fraser: “The tragic tale of The Coma-tones might be this year’s best. The ever-excellent Sleazegrinder makes are convincing case for them being the best band who never were, a Guns N’ Roses with Jim Morrison up front.”
On the subject of stories you should know already, Classic Rock’s take on Toto in CR209 was the most revealing piece you’ll ever read about the AOR titans. The band still aren’t not talking to them because of it.
One of the most popular features CR.com ran this year, Online Editor Fraser Lewry reckons this interview with WASP frontman Blackie Lawless is “lasting proof of the bleedin’ obvious: ask interesting questions, and you’ll more likely than not to get interesting answers.”
Quality journalism is what brought Van Morrison knocking on The Blues Magazine’s door too, with the great man actually requesting an interview with the only authoritative magazine on the music he loves. Says Ed Mitchell, Editor: “Getting Van the Man to talk about anything is tough enough. So when our writer Gavin Martin secured an interview with the great curmudgeon to talk about his lifelong love of blues we weren’t sure what we would get. In the end, Van warmed to the subject and delivered one of his greatest interviews. As he said after reading the piece himself, “it doesn’t get any better than this.”
Henry Yates’s interview with Chris Rea was also _top drawer. _As Ed puts it, “In a world of punch-pullers and sleeve-mumblers, Chris Rea gave it to us straight”. Funny and honest.
Archive continued to bring you classic stories in 2015. From timely stories about cult figures to landmark content like Jimi Hendrix’s last interview, our archives remain a rich source of stories. And we’re only getting started.
TeamRock has never been as opinionated as it is now. We have mined rock’s moaning minnies and mad-raving gobshites for their rants, raves and righteous anger. From well-researched Metallica-baiting (“Dear Metallica: we know why you haven’t made an album” went the headline on Facebook) to old punks on Paris and rambling old bollocks about the music of 1990, barely a day goes by without us poking someone with a stick. Turns out you like being poked.
It’s hard to believe but TeamRock+ is only a year old. Thank you for subscribing and believe us when we say that 2016 is going to blow your mind. TR+ is going to become Vice-meets-Netflix-meets-the best-digital-mag ever: an app/service that brings you the best rock and metal stories/videos/news/podcasts/radio shows.
It’s going to LOUD.