In our first ever annual awards ceremony, we pay tribute to the best bands, people and music of 2012.
Posted on Dec 24, 2012 12:55 pm
The official Ultimate Guitar Awards for 2012 are here!
For the past two weeks the UG community has been voting in a range of categories to help separate the great from the good.
First of all, we want to thank all of you for taking part. We've been sifting through thousands of replies, but the results are in and we can finally announce the winners.
This is our first major annual award ceremony, so your feedback (and usual hilarious banter) is welcome in the comments.
Band of the Year: Rush
Rush have had a storming year, from start to finish. By March they had been honored with the Governor General's Performing Arts Award from the government in their native Canada, which guitarist Alex Lifeson said was "the highest accolade" an artist can get in the country. Shortly after, they won the Ronnie James Dio Lifetime Achievement Award at the Revolver Golden Gods ceremony. Pretty impressive - that's nearly as awesome as winning a UG award!
Their 20th album "Clockwork Angels" was released in June and debuted at number 1 in the Canadian album chart. Our reviewer awarded it 9/10, and called it one of the best albums of the year thanks to "riff after memorable riff".
Rush would be probably content with this much success already, but then the Rock And Roll Hall Of Famefinally found room after ignoring them for a decade. The band commented that it was just a popularity contest - and ironically proved themselves right when they eventually led the fan vote.
As members of Rush turn 60, they're inevitably getting closer to retirement, as Alex Lifeson discussed in October. "We've had a great run, we've left a great legacy that we're proud of, and who knows what will come after that?" he said. But he says fans shouldn't worry: "I think my fingers will still work for a little while longer."
Hear "Headlong Flight" from the new Rush album "Clockwork Angels" here:
Album of the Year: Periphery "II: This Time It's Personal"
With a storming 22% of the vote, Periphery were way ahead of the competition in winning Album of the Year thanks to a campaign on Facebook.
In the interests of disclosure, we should note that in this category we experimented with a poll plugin, which may have led to multiple votes being cast. But any band could have benefited from that, so who cares?
This album is absolutely nuts - if you haven't heard it, check out the sample track below. It also features guitar solos from axesmiths like John Petrucci from Dream Theater.
Hear the lead single "Make Total Destroy" from the Periphery album "II: This Time It's Personal" here:
Commiserations to Billy Talent with "Dead Silence" who came in a close second place.
Guitarist of the Year: Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath)
Tony Iommi is such a legend that he'd probably win a vote for guitarist of the century.
He's been busy writing and recording tracks for the hotly-anticipated Black Sabbath album, which is well underway with producer Rick Rubin.
But all the while, Tony has been working on it with the burden of his cancer diagnosis in January. It turned out he has lymphoma which affects cells related to the immune system, which meant Black Sabbath had to re-arrange a tonne of new live appearances without him.
By all accounts his treatment has been going well thanks to an early diagnosis. Keep strong Tony, we're all rooting for you.
Meanwhile, we want to give a shoutout to UG user Slackerbitch who managed to come second in the vote for Best Guitarist. Dude, whoever you are, consider yourself an official runner-up!
Person of the Year: Dave Grohl
Everyone knows Dave Grohl is one of the coolest guys in rock, and in 2012 he did plenty to remind us why.
Besides relentless touring with the Foo Fighters, he teamed up with Queen Of The Stone Age as a drummer on their forthcoming album. He was great on 2004's "Songs For The Deaf", so we can't wait to hear his return.
Grohl's campaign for real music continued with the production of "Sound City: From Real To Reel", telling the story of the legendary Sound City recording studio. Last week Dave made a point of reaching out to everyone who likes to rock and called on them to help change the world with real music. Right on, brother.
Dave doesn't do all this for the awards, but he keeps winning them anyway. This year he's been inducted to the Songwriters Hall Of Fame, and was honored by his hometown of Warren, Ohio with the biggest pair of drumsticks in the world. Seriously, they weighed 900-pounds.
See the trailer for the Sound City documentary directed by Dave Grohl:
Best Music Video: Tenacious D "Roadie"
Tenacious D sure know how to record a great video.
This song pays tribute to the unsung heroes of live rock music: the roadies. Comedy actor Danny McBride plays the perfect roadie in this brilliantly crafted short story.
Watch the winning video "Roadie" by Tenacious D here:
Best Live Event: 12-12-12 Hurricane Sandy Benefit Concert
It'll be hard to top a lineup like this.
Some of the biggest rockstars in the world teamed up to perform a benefit concert after Hurricane Sandy devastated the east coast of America.
12-12-12 wasn't just a lineup of awesome musicians - it was history in the making. Members of Nirvana teamed up with Paul McCartney for a new live jam that didn't disappoint; Roger Waters performed tracks from "The Wall"; The Who rocked the roof off as usual; The Rolling Stones jumped in as part of their 50th Anniversary tour, and many more artists took part to make for a memorable night of music that raised money for people who needed it most.
The event could have appeared forced and uncomfortable, but it proved to be a great night of entertainment. Congratulations to everyone involved - and remember to donate to the Sandy benefit cause if you enjoyed watching it too.
Watch some highlights of the 12-12-12 Sandy benefit concert here:
Best Comeback: Black Sabbath
2012 was the year of the reformed band. It seemed like all kinds of old metal and hardcore punk bands were getting back together over a matter of weeks, and the trend kept growing.
Some highlights: the new album from Soundgarden, the return of Van Halen, and the unexpected punk resurgence with Refused and At The Drive-In. Good times.
But Black Sabbath are one of the most influential acts of all time, and their return was a sign of great things to come. They're currently working on a new album, which is the most exciting thing to happen to metal since welding was invented.
Of course, the drama surrounding drummer Bill Ward's exclusion from the reunion over a contractual dispute was a tragedy to see furing the first half of the year. Fans would love to see Bill as part of their modern legacy, but the band couldn't reach an agreement over his fee and Bill took the dispute online, which in hindsight, might have made matters worse.
But whatever the results, we're hopefully that the new record will be a timeless classic anyway. Let's hope they see more live action in 2013.
Biggest Drama Of 2012: Randy Blythe Manslaughter Case
When Lamb Of God went to tour the Czech Republic in June, they had no idea singer Randy Blythe would be arrested and charged with manslaughter.
The story goes back two year to when a fan sustained an injury at one of their gigs in Prague. Blythe was accused of causing the injury, though he denies it, and the evidence remains under scrutiny.
The band have been working to raise money for his legal fees, and Blythe has acted in dignity while responding to the accusations. The case continues in 2013, when there may be more twists and turns before this drama has fully played out.
Other notable dramas in 2012 were Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong having a "breakdown" on stage and going to rehab, the Guns N' Roses soap opera in the lead up to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction, and the Baroness bus crash.
That's right, a set of Rammstein dildos. What the f--k indeed. Moving on...
Best New Act: Art By Numbers
There were some awesome entries to this category (Skyharbor, Alabama Shakes, and the mighty Tame Impala), but it was great to see a genuinely up-and-coming band win out.
Art By Numbers are a young progressive metal band with a jazzy edge that we really like. We heard their debut album which launched this year, and there's a lot of impressive work on there. Congratulations, you're the first winners of our Best New Act award!
Hear the full Art By Numbers debut album "Reticence: The Musical" here:
Here's a video of their guitarists Victor Corral and Dustin Georgeson which is worth seeing too:
Awesome work guys, keep us updated on everything!
That's the end of the first ever Ultimate Guitar Awards.
Did you like it? Send us your feedback in the comments, and let us know who you would give the awards.