2006: The Year That Rocked (Too Hard For Some)

A small number of fortunate bands managed to make this year a creatively successful venture, but artistic conflict seemed to be the overwhelming theme of 2006.

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The drama. The new releases. The (still) nonexistent Chinese Democracy. Whether or not you enjoyed the state of the music world in 2006, it did successfully embody the roller coaster that is rock and roll via band turmoil, memorable live shows, and some rehab on the side. A small number of fortunate bands did manage to make this year a creatively successful venture, but artistic conflict seemed to be the overwhelming theme of 2006. When we take a look back at it all, one thing is certain: The writers at VH1's Behind The Music will have plenty of material to work with on their hands.

Creative Delays And The Ever-Popular Hiatus

Velvet Revolver seemed to be getting all Axl Rose on us in 2006. Back in late 2005 the band began publicly discussing ideas for the follow-up to its debut Contraband, but not much had been done to further the recording progress. That's when the rumors began to start that Slash's wife Perla was playing too much of a Yoko Ono role, leading to inner strife within the band. There were even reports that Slash wanted out of the band. Thankfully, Slash, bassist Duff McKagan, and vocalist Scott Weiland stepped forward to clear up this nonsense, eventually even declaring that the new CD would be released this spring. Let's all submit our wagers now on which will be released first: the next Velvet Revolver record or Chinese Democracy?

Rumorville was also working overtime this year on a band that pretty much ruled the rock world in 2005. System Of A Down, which released 2 chart-topping albums last year, announced it was on an indefinite hiatus following this year's tour. In a recent interview, vocalist Serj Tankian said all was well and he was still enjoying working with the band. This raised a few eyebrows because it had been reported that on the opening day of the Ozzfest, guitarist Daron Malakian apparently improvised vitriolic lyrics aimed at vocalist Serj Tankian. The bandmates also were traveling on separate buses, which a label source claimed that was nothing new. So fans are still pretty much left in limbo this year in terms of a confirmation for future of the band. Whether or not SOAD are on the brink of a break-up, fans can at least be reassured they'll get a semi-fix of the band with solo projects from Tankian and Malakian next year.

Weezer left the public in a ball of confusion this year, primarily because of comments made by vocalist Rivers Cuomo while he was on his honeymoon. He claimed, I'm not certain we'll ever make a record again, unless it becomes really obvious to me that we need to do one." Guitarist Brian Bell had a very different take on the matter back in August, however, stating that we shouldn't believe the hype. Of course, Bell was the same person who told MTV News last year, We have no idea if we're going to be a band next year. HmmmIt seems the guys has either perfected the art of keeping us our toes or they are one hell of a moody bunch.

Coheed And Cambria didn't have a hiatus, but the group's usual lineup didn't live to see 2007. Bassist Michael Todd and drummer Josh Eppard left the band in November, shortly following the release of the live DVD cryptically titled The Last Supper. Vocalist/guitarist Claudio Sanchez and guitarist Travis Stever have added Matt Williams on bass and Chris Pennie on drums temporarily, but there's no word yet on if this will be the permanent lineup.

Demons To Fight

If you're a band and manage to resist the temptresses that are alcohol and drugs, then you might just be in the minority. There were more than a few cases this year where bands had to cease working until a band member got clean. Seether vocalist/guitarist Shaun Morgan apparently took former girlfriend Amy Lee's song Call Me When You're Sober to heart. After a long struggle with what has been said to be a combination of substances, Morgan entered rehab in July. The decision was a courageous one considering he was set to kick-off a tour for the new release One Cold Night in August.

The Darkness vocalist Justin Hawkins not only entered rehab, but he also called it quits entirely from the band back in October. While bassist Richie Edwards is set to take over vocals in The Darkness, it's hard to say at this point if the same magic can be created without Hawkins falsetto-wailing rendition of songs like I Believe In A Thing Called Love. From the talk going around, it's an impossible task.

Probably the most tumultuous of all rehab stints in 2006 was Babyshambles' vocalist Pete Doherty. The singer was arrested 4 times this year alone, one happening almost immediately after a short time in rehab. In an interview on BBC's Arena program, Doherty even went so far as to say, Abstaining isn't really my thing. I don't think I'll ever give up drugs. Stay tuned to his continued downward spiral in 2007

The Victors

Despite all of the problems that arose in 2006, a few bands managed to not only make it out unscathed, but at the top of their games as well. Of all of the new release this year, My Chemical Romance's The Black Parade and Red Hot Chili Peppers' Stadium Arcadium caused the biggest buzz. Not only did these 2 albums top Ultimate Guitar's Reader's Poll, but they have also have proven successful on the Billboard charts. Red Hot Chili Peppers once again solidified their place in the rock world by going platinum with Stadium Arcadium, as well as garnering 6 nominations for the 49th Annual Grammy Awards - a few more unsurprising victories for a band that has sold 60 million records worldwide.

It's been over 4 years since vocalist Layne Staley died from a drug overdose, but the remaining members of Alice In Chains reunited to pull off a hugely successful tour. On the sold-out opening night of the tour, there were guest appearances from the likes of Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan, Velvet Revolver's Duff McKagan, and former Screaming Trees' vocalist Mark Lanegan. The remaining dates included other surprise guests such as Pantera's Phil Anselmo and Metallica's James Hetfield. The man selected to take on Staley's vocals, William DuVall, even managed to do the impossible by winning over crowds, which reportedly chanted new guy, new guy by the end of one gig.

There were a handful of debut records that made a huge impression on the music world this year, but The Arctic Monkeys' Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not seemed to outshine them all. Released this past January, the record garnered praise from critics and fans alike, with Rolling Stone bestowing 4 stars to it. The album sold over 360,000 copies in the UK during its first week, which made Whatever People Say I Am the fastest-selling debut rock album in British history. Even Oasis vocalist Liam Gallagher (the man who once said, There's Elvis and me. I couldn't say which of the two is best), was taken aback by the talent of Arctic Monkeys' vocalist Alex Turner and has called him a bit of a genius lyricist. It takes great talent to get a Gallagher to stop talking about how Oasis is the greatest band in the entire history of the world.

Axl, Axl, Axl

While Axl Rose could easily have fit under the Creative Delays column, that man is in a whole other category. Earlier in the year, it seemed that maybe - just maybe - the public might see the album that Rose has teased us with since he began recording it back in 1997, Chinese Democracy. According to a Rolling Stone source, the album was given a release date of November 21, 2006. At the MTV Video Music Awards, even Axl himself that Chinese Democracy would hit store shelves by the end of the year. Yeah, I think you all know what happened with that one. Tick-tock, tick-tock

So 2006 was not the year of Chinese Democracy, but we could still be entertained with the abundance of Axl antics:

  • May: Tommy Hilfiger doesn't take kindly to Axl moving his girlfriend's drink. He reportedly smacks Axl's arm repeatedly.

  • June: Axl is arrested for biting a security guard in the leg

  • July: Axl and the current GN'R lineup (with former guitarist Izzy Stradlin onstage as well) are pummeled by bottles and eventually stopped the show.

  • August: A press release reveals that Axl could not complete a July 30th show in London because of low blood pressure and low blood sugar.

  • September: Axl is sued by an art broker who claimed the singer backed out of payment for a 2.36 million-dollar Andy Warhol portrait of John Lennon.

  • October: Guns N' Roses postpone the first 2 shows of its U.S. tour. Shocking.

  • November: GN'R cancel a Maine show after state officials tell them they are not allowed to drink onstage.

  • December: After publicly humiliating the Eagles Of Death Metal in front of an audience in late November, Axl attempts to woo them back as an opening act. Frontman Jesse Hughes informs his manager that Axl can go and f**k himself.

    For any GN'R fan who has the patience of a saint and is still excited as ever to hear the upcoming album, the new-and-improved release date has yet to be confirmed. We could say that it will be in Spring 2007, but that would cruel.

    Amy Kelly @ 2006. For Ultimate-Guitar Holiday Edition

  • 108 comments sorted by best / new / date

      British Josh
      darkfire_storm wrote: does anybody think that axl kinda looks like an angry version of that bald red headed guy from mythbusters? i just saw the connection looking at that pic of him...
      haha! funny
      Shabalaba
      Come on though i mean Axl could try harder, i have liked Gn'R for ages n i think if they want to keep their status as s decent band they are gunna have to release that album, + wtf have the beach boys got to do with anything their turd.
      Partyboy2k05
      umm...what does that have to do with anything? My comment was on the new G'N'R album and how long it took that brian wilson album to come out. What the hell does slash shredding have to do with that? Your comment was irrelevant to the topic or situation.
      Rocker1_1
      Partyboy2k05 wrote: Hmm...interesting how everyone keeps on talking about how this album hasn't come out in ten years and nobody mentions Brian Wilson's and the beach boy's album "Smile" Ring a bell anyone? Was supposed to be one of their best ever and never technically got finished until Brian Wilson did it solo a few years ago. So that one was like 20 some years in the making. It's an album, who cares when it comes out. Might as well bash every new band that comes out too since they spent their first 5 years touring until they released their album.
      ya but did the beach boys shred like slash?
      Partyboy2k05
      Hmm...interesting how everyone keeps on talking about how this album hasn't come out in ten years and nobody mentions Brian Wilson's and the beach boy's album "Smile" Ring a bell anyone? Was supposed to be one of their best ever and never technically got finished until Brian Wilson did it solo a few years ago. So that one was like 20 some years in the making. It's an album, who cares when it comes out. Might as well bash every new band that comes out too since they spent their first 5 years touring until they released their album.
      kasey13
      O MY FREAKING GOD!!! YOU GUYS FORGOT A AND A!!! JERKS but ya, Axl does look like that Jamie guy from mythbusters!!! atleast I think that is his name. Totally see the resemblance, just make him balder and we have it! lol great year. and yes, SLASH IS GOD!!!
      nic the willy
      o joy...get a life man...emo sucks bullocks. moving on, i rekon the new rhcp album is highly overated, probs caus the songs are absolutely flogged on the radio, and mcr, yeh they suck.
      punk_isntemo12
      go the balck aprade. look out world, gothpop, poppunk and emo is going to take over the world!!!:satan:
      Rocker1_1
      mazzieboy wrote: hey guys chill out that sucker Axl Rose ( mix the words together it'll be oral sex pretty fun huh? ) well anyway ... he went to court with the name guns n' roses ... so that's why the band is still called guns n' roses... and he's a bad sucker and a bad singer.. though i love their music (from the early years) slash is great and the other members as well but Axl is wako... and "chinese democracy" can't possibly be a good record ... as he brought his "friends" to join the band ... i've seen those guys trying to handle their instruments ... dude it's like a zoo ... just don't have too high thoughts about this so called Guns N' Roses ... that ship is on the bottom of the (Atlantic) ocean.. that band will never be again... it's too late ... Guns N' Roses R.I.P ... / Martin
      thats exactaly right
      breakingglass27
      SMiLE is a masterpiece. Chinese Democracy is going to be a long overdue piece of crap. It's going to be like when you sit on the toilet for a half an hour and can't push anything out, and when you finally do, it's a dried up, jagged lump that makes your rectum bleed. Do yourselves a favor and pick up SMiLE, skip Axl's *****fest.
      mazzieboy
      hey guys chill out that sucker Axl Rose ( mix the words together it'll be oral sex pretty fun huh? ) well anyway ... he went to court with the name guns n' roses ... so that's why the band is still called guns n' roses... and he's a bad sucker and a bad singer.. though i love their music (from the early years) slash is great and the other members as well but Axl is wako... and "chinese democracy" can't possibly be a good record ... as he brought his "friends" to join the band ... i've seen those guys trying to handle their instruments ... dude it's like a zoo ... just don't have too high thoughts about this so called Guns N' Roses ... that ship is on the bottom of the (Atlantic) ocean.. that band will never be again... it's too late ... Guns N' Roses R.I.P ... / Martin
      v2kv
      TheGuitaristMan wrote: Axl, you're a disgrace to rock music and grow some balls dude. Finish the shows you said you would, go to the gym and don't get your ass kicked by Hilfigure again, etc. Seriously man, what happened to the old Axl. Now you're just a freaking white guy with dreads who can't hit high notes anymore. Other than that, this year was awesome.
      Dude, you're kidding me right? If you were at any of the Gunz recent gigs, you'd realize that he definitley CAN hit the high notes. Their gig in Toronto was amazing, and I'd see them again if they came...
      TheGuitaristMan
      Axl, you're a disgrace to rock music and grow some balls dude. Finish the shows you said you would, go to the gym and don't get your ass kicked by Hilfigure again, etc. Seriously man, what happened to the old Axl. Now you're just a freaking white guy with dreads who can't hit high notes anymore. Other than that, this year was awesome.
      Rocker1_1
      OK i might of been harsh on Axl before but he messed up, plain and simple. he could of done things better
      ZanderB
      What no Tool? Pretty good year for them I'd say. First album in 5 yrs and it topped the charts and such.
      (()()lY
      seether has a great CD called one cold night but i only use it to play aong with and learn songs off of it its only acoustic but its got drums and they sound great live and the whole CD is live its got good songs like Gasoline Remedy and Truth its also got some newer ones like plastic man and a bonus track with no name.
      Ace Diddle Dung
      Has anyone ever felt the need to express themselves but been unable to? Maybe that's how Axl felt for several years. We don't know what goes on inside his head. If you think he's a prick, just leave him the **** alone.
      osamabanana
      what about the not so good things that happened this year or more the tragedies ie Syd Barrett passing away i think thats more important than some delayed album
      tbob
      lol... people need to stop being so negative towards axl and GNR. Just accept that Slash n' friends aren't in the band anymore. Sure, it would be great if Gnr reformed with all of the old members. But its not gonna happen. Just do us all a favor and stop complaining. When Chinese Democracy comes out, then you can decide whether or not you like the new music and the new band. I don't care if it comes out in 2007 or 2070 - no one's asking you to watch and anticipate the album every step of the way. Also, for people who say that axl is a prikc: Hm, that might be semi-true, but honestly if you look at the "mean" stuff hes done this year, its not that much. The two mean things he did this year are 1. Get in a fight with a security guard and 2. Cancel a show because of a Firemarshell's law. He's done a lot of good things this year, too. Off the top of my head, he performed at two benifit events (parkinson's and something else), visted a children's cancer ward, and played somewhere around 70 shows, many of them sold out. Im not saying axl is a saint, but he isn't the devil either. Oh, and btw, axl never tried to get EODM back lol. They were TERRIBLE (I was there) Hope everything I typed makes sense and clearly conveys my point
      90chastan
      Velvet Revolver ROCKS SLASH is the best!!! Without him there's no VR.... and Guns & Roses... that's who he is.....
      Rocker1_1
      j-boy199 wrote: di4gram wrote: That the black parade is considered a highlight of this year makes 2006 rather depressing. I'm really hoping the next big genre isn't Gothpop. WHY THE HELL HAVE MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE GONE MAINSTREAM? I agree with that quote,I hate the wannabes who follow the herd and copy people off t.v its seems depressing. its an insult to true fans
      I've never liked them but they went mainstream because they sold out
      j-boy199
      di4gram wrote: That the black parade is considered a highlight of this year makes 2006 rather depressing. I'm really hoping the next big genre isn't Gothpop.
      WHY THE HELL HAVE MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE GONE MAINSTREAM? I agree with that quote,I hate the wannabes who follow the herd and copy people off t.v its seems depressing. its an insult to true fans
      AlreadyTooLate
      HAHAHAHA If ANYONE on this board believes that MCR are more talented than ANY line-up of GN'R.... i don't think they deserve to call themselves a musician...and i highly doubt they are one. There have really only been a couple of songs of the past decades that i think are going to become labeled as "classics." The only one i can think of coming close to that status from this year is Gnarls Barkley's Crazy. Was there better music than that this year? sure. But i highly doubt Knights of Cydonia by Muse will get as much exposition as some of the other pop hits that came out this year. I'm thinking that Libertad and Chinese Democracy will duel out on the charts ON THE SAME DAY. CD will obvioulsy win though because of all the buildup. WHOS WITH ME ON THAT?!
      _HbK_RoSe_
      For me it's like this there's not one without the other. I'm talking about slash and Axl but obviously GNR without Axl it's impossible and without Slash is...fixable.
      Wulf_G
      slash is what made GNr, without him i think that band wouldnt have the GNR Sound or should i say touch? but then agian, he puts a little too much of that touch into Velvet Revolver?
      _HbK_RoSe_
      Yeah you're right axl is the worst singer of all time i don't even know where all his sucess came from...=P It's everyone opinion we can't change that but i think it's universal that axl is talented, i'm just talking about music not the rest.
      _HbK_RoSe_
      I register just to answer some guys here. Do you know why is the new GNR a sucess ? Because 70% of this conversation is about Axl. Axl is 40 years old, some people say that he's singing bad,well he ain't the same i can see that, but watch Rock am Ring 2006 and you will realise that for his age hi's singing pretty well. Chinese Democracy will come out and it will kick some serious a****. And please don't ever compare Velvet Revolver with the new GNR, if you don't like his voice just don't listen to them, Axl won't worry, the gig this year were all sold out. PS: Don't say that Axl was never a good singer.
      Eddy!
      I don't think the new GNR album will be as good as the former ones but i am still lookin' forward to hear it.
      Rocker1_1
      chainsawkitten wrote: di4gram wrote: That the black parade is considered a highlight of this year makes 2006 rather depressing. I'm really hoping the next big genre isn't Gothpop. it's a brilliant album, and in 20 years time when that album is still being sold to new generations, i hope someone shoves your ****ing foot in your mouth for you...love them or hate them, the album is going to become a classic...don't bad mouth talented people, you're as shit as axl (haha)
      MCR is so brutal man, they just bitch and complain in their songs and sound like teenage girls:S
      dagrocks
      I Have been a Guns'n'roses fan for a long long time and i dont think you will ever hear a better album than appetite for destruction however I am a little pissed off about the chinise democracy album but what really anoys me is G'n'R have been sellin the merch for the new album since it was first anounced years ago I had a black chinise democracy t-shirt it turned grey from being washed hundreds of times and i have since thrown it away i wish i could say the same for the album that never was and may never be! "WE JUST NEED A LITTLE PATIENCE"