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
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.
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
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.
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
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