Former Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul dies at the age of 54
In June, it was confirmed that drummer Vincent Paul Abbott had died at the age of 54 (opens in new tab).
The former Pantera, Damageplan and Hellyeah icon died of natural causes due to a heart condition.
Artists from across the rock world paid emotional tributes to Vinnie (opens in new tab), with Foo Fighters calling him “one in a million" (opens in new tab).
In July, a public memorial service has held for Vinnie at the Bomb Factory in Dallas. At the weekend event, his former Pantera bandmate Phil Anselmo spoke briefly to the crowd (opens in new tab), saying: “I will always have love in my heart for you. Rest in peace.”
AC/DC sightings spark reunion hopes
In August, estranged AC/DC members Brian Johnson and Phil Rudd were photographed together (opens in new tab) outside Vancouver’s Warehouse Studios – the location where the band recorded their last three albums.
It sparked hopes that the vocalist and drummer were back with the band after they had been replaced by Axl Rose and Chris Slade for the Rock Or Bust world tour.
The pair were later spotted with longtime AC/DC engineer and mixer Mike Fraser (opens in new tab), while guitarists Angus and Stevie Young were also seen in Vancouver.
There’s been no word since, but could some big AC/DC news be coming in 2019? We certainly hope so!
Slayer and Ozzy head out on the road for the final time
We’re so used to our favourite artists recording and touring that when they announce their decision to bring the curtain down, it always comes as a bit of a shock.
And in 2018, we saw Slayer and Ozzy Osbourne hit the road for the last time.
In January, Slayer announced their final tour (opens in new tab), with Tom Araya, Kerry King, Paul Bostaph and Gary Holt playing shows across North America, the UK and Europe this year. The tour will continue in 2019, when they’ll be joined by Lamb Of God, Amon Amarth and Cannibal Corpse (opens in new tab).
Ozzy Osbourne, meanwhile, announced he would head out on the road on his No More Tours 2 run of shows in late 2017.
But he was forced to postpone the remaining dates on the North American leg back in October (opens in new tab) due to undergoing surgery on his hand (opens in new tab). He’ll make up the dates in 2019, where he'll be joined by Megadeth (opens in new tab), while the Prince Of Darkness will return to the UK and Ireland at the end of next month (opens in new tab).
However, despite not touring again, Ozzy won't be retiring.
“I’ve experienced fantastic things – it’s been an incredible journey. I just need to slow it down a little," he said.
It’s the end of the road for Kiss
In September, Kiss announced their intentions to rock the world one last time.
Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer revealed a run of shows that will take place between January and July in the US, Canada, Russia, Europe and the UK, with the band adding further North American dates (opens in new tab) back in November.
Announcing the End Of The Road tour, the band said: “All that we have built and all that we have conquered over the past four decades could never have happened without the millions of people worldwide who've filled clubs, arenas and stadiums over those years.
“This will be the ultimate celebration for those who've seen us and a last chance for those who haven't.
“Kiss Army, we're saying goodbye on our final tour with our biggest show yet and we'll go out the same way we came in... unapologetic and unstoppable.”
And talking of Kiss…
Former Kiss guitarist Vinnie Vincent made his return to the stage for the first time in 30 years (opens in new tab) in November.
Vincent appeared at a Kiss Kruise pre-launch party, complete with his Ankh Warrior make-up, to rip through Kiss classics Lick It Up, I Love It Loud and Cold Gin.
Earlier in the year, Vincent gave his first public interview in 20 years at a Kiss Expo in Atlanta (opens in new tab), where he revealed he was in talks with publishers about an autobiography.
He said: “When it’s ready to be told, you don’t want to miss it. It’s a hell of a book. I read Kitty Kelley’s unauthorised biography of Frank Sinatra, and I’m not a reader, but I couldn’t put that book down. This will top that book.”
Former Motorhead guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clarke dies at 67
In early January, we received news that former Motorhead guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clarke had died (opens in new tab) at the age of 67 after a battle with pneumonia.
Clarke’s death meant that all three members of Motorhead's classic lineup were now gone, following the deaths of Lemmy and Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor.
Clarke played on Motorhead’s self-titled 1977 debut album and also on 1979's Overkill and Bomber, 1980’s Ace Of Spades and 1982’s Iron Fist.
Following the news, tributes began pouring in via social media (opens in new tab), with Phil Campbell, Saxon, Duff McKagan and Scott Ian among those to post messages.
Judas Priest’s Glenn Tipton confirms Parkinson’s battle
In February, it emerged that Judas Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton had been battling Parkinson’s disease (opens in new tab).
He had been diagnosed with the early stages of the disease 10 years ago and played on every track on Priest’s latest album Firepower (opens in new tab).
But for the band’s tour in support of the record, Tipton was forced to take a step back, with producer and guitarist Andy Sneap stepping in for the live shows – although Tipton continued to play from time to time (opens in new tab).
Tipton later issued a statement addressing his ongoing battle with Parkinson’s, saying: “I knew something was wrong with my co-ordination and fluency regarding my playing, but I worked around it and battled on.
“I have good days and bad days but the disease is degenerative and I would never want to compromise the greatest metal band in the world.”
Motley Crue return to the studio
In September, Motley Crue frontman Vince Neil caused a stir when he tweeted that he, Tommy Lee, Nikki Sixx and Mick Mars were back in the studio (opens in new tab).
It had been thought that Crue were done after they brought the curtain down on their 34-year career in 2015. But, following Neil’s tweet, bassist Sixx reported that the four new tracks were for the long-awaited biopic on the band The Dirt (opens in new tab).
Sixx said: “You can trust us these are ball busters. Everybody can relax. We’re soon gonna smack you upside the head with some killer new tracks. Bob Rock is producing. It’s our movie. We know what were doing.”
He later added: “I’m listening to the roughs of the new Motley Crue and it feels real and raw. Everybody is playing like mad and the songs crush.
“Bob Rock brought the sounds. Plus we have a surprise that will confirm that we’re outta our minds.”
We can't wait to hear what they've been up to.
The year when Bohemian Rhapsody conquered the world
Queen’s highly-anticipated biopic Bohemian Rhapsody was finally released in October after years in development hell.
The film was first announced in 2010, with Mr Robot star Rami Malek (opens in new tab) brought onboard to play Freddie Mercury in November 2016 following the acrimonious departure of Sacha Baron Cohen. Director Bryan Singer was then fired in December last year, with many wondering if the project would ever see the light of day.
Well, it did – and it’s enjoyed massive success even though it’s only been out for a couple of months.
Malek is joined in the cast by Gwilym Lee as Brian May, Ben Hardy as Roger Taylor, Joe Mazzello as John Deacon, and Lucy Boynton as Mercury's lifelong companion Mary Austin.
Not only has it become the biggest-selling music biopic of all time, it also received a pair of Golden Globe nominations (opens in new tab) – with the winners set to be announced at the Beverly Hilton, Beverly Hills, on January 6.
Still haven't seen it? Whet your appetite with the final trailer for the film below.
It's been a turbulent year for Fleetwood Mac
Divisions within Fleetwood Mac came to a head in January this year, when the band sacked Lindsey Buckingham (opens in new tab).
He was dismissed due to a scheduling conflict centred around a world tour – and he was subsequently replaced in the touring lineup by Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell and Crowded House leader Neil Finn.
Buckingham then filed a lawsuit against his old bandmates (opens in new tab), claiming that he lost up to $14 million as a result of his sacking. However, in early December, it emerged that the lawsuit had been settled (opens in new tab).
But, despite the end of the legal wrangles, it appears there’s still some acrimony in the air as Buckingham called Fleetwood Mac a “cover band” (opens in new tab) just before Christmas – but also said he would return to the lineup if asked.
Fleetwood Mac have a run of live dates planned in 2019 (opens in new tab), including a handful of European shows.
Guns N’ Roses tease possible new material
Ever since Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan got back together in 2016 for the Not In This Lifetime tour, fans have been wondering if they could return to the studio to make new music together.
Those hopes were raised back in August, when Slash said that they had plenty of ideas for a possible album, adding: “Everybody thinks it’s a good idea, and everybody would like to do it.” (opens in new tab)
That was followed earlier this month with comments from guitarist Richard Fortus (opens in new tab) who reported: “We’re going to try and do another record and get it out soon.”
He added: “I think it will happen faster than you think. I sure hope it happens faster than you think.”
Then, when asked if he thought a new Guns N’ Roses single could be released before the end of 2019, Fortus said: “It could definitely happen.”
We can’t wait!
The end of the road for Rush
Rush have been on hiatus since wrapping up their North American R40 tour in 2015, but fans had still held out hope that the Canadian trio could return at some point in the future.
But 2018 saw those hopes dashed, with guitarist Alex Lifeson saying in January that the band were “basically done,” (opens in new tab) adding: “After 41 years, we felt it was enough.”
Vocalist and bassist Geddy Lee then checked in to say that there was “no chance” of seeing them tour again (opens in new tab) and recently reported that drummer Neil Peart hadn’t just retired from the band, but had stopped playing altogether (opens in new tab).
The end of an era for sure, but Rush have left us with a wonderful body of work.
The strange case of Jered Threatin and his missing audience
One of the most bizarre stories from 2018 is that of Jered Threatin, aka, Jered Eames.
He became the talk of the rock and metal world in November when his European tour turned into a chaotic mess when he played to empty halls, with it later emerging that he had faked a publicist to entice venues to book him and his band, while the dubious websites associated with the vocalist and guitarist were all registered at the same domain registrar around the same time.
With the music world bemused, Eames then issued a short statement on Twitter to say that the joke was actually on us and that he had “turned an empty room into an international headline,” adding: “If you are reading this, you are part of the illusion.”
But the strange story didn’t end there, with Eames then saying that in an effort to generate publicity for the tour, he attempted to tip off the media to his scheme (opens in new tab) by sending an anonymous email ahead of the live dates.
You would think such a stunt would have ruined his young career, but Eames claimed to have sold thousands of CDs since the debacle and that he’d been in meetings with film producers who want to turn his adventures into a movie.
Watch this space.