What a year!
The UG news team has been scouring the web for rock news almost every day, and it's been quite a ride.
Some memorable moments for us include the drama between Mike Portnoy and his former band Dream Theater, the release and continued success of Foo Fighter's new album "Wasting Light", the tragic death of Slipknot bassist Paul Gray, and the hype around Metallica and Lou Reed's "Lulu" collaboration - and the resulting commercial failure it became.
The contrast between Foo Fighters and "Lulu" can teach us all a lesson about releasing a record. In early 2011 while "Wasting Light" was being released, the Foo Fighter's press team managed to conceive interesting stories on almost a daily basis. The band would be funny and opinionated enough in interviews to warrant writing a fresh story, and it all contributed to a smart marketing campaign that led to an award winning year for the band.
Conversely, "Lulu" was given a similar level of hype, but it felt relatively stifled and formulaic next to the Foo Fighters apparently effortless campaign. This might not have mattered, but let's be honest: most people were not fans on the record, and it's frankly poor record sales only goes to prove that. They might have made the entire rock audience aware of the forthcoming record, but at the end of the day you need great music to cut through the news and impress an audience.
You might not realise, but every day the first thing we do is log in and check out your comments. Most of you are very well behaved, and some of you can be really hilarious. We can't usually acknowledge it at the time, but trust us, we sometimes laugh till our cheeks hurt.
To give commenters the credit they deserve for contributing to our site, we picked what seemed to be the best comment from that article. Some are funny, some are serious, and others simply observant. If yours made it to this list, consider it a huge high five from the UG team - though we should probably cover ourselves and say it doesn't necessarily represent our opinion as an organisation. This is about giving you credit for contributing to the site.
So what were the most visited news articles of 2011? Let's start at number 10, and work towards the most popular story:
10. Westboro Baptist Church Protest
Steve Jobs With iPhone
Apple fans were devastated when Steve Jobs died in early October, but at least there was some comedy relief when the controversial Westboro Baptist Church (the Phelps family, best known for their "God Hates Fags" picket lines) threatened to ruin his funeral.
Their faux-pas? They tweeted the threat from an iPhone:
A brilliant fail from the most hate-filled family in America.
"The Westboro Baptist Church is no Christian organization. They spew hate, and directly contradict God's word in the Bible. Not once does it say that God hates gay people. In fact, not once does it say God hates anybody."
09. Red Hot Chili Peppers Ready To
Release New Album
His replacement Josh Klinghoffer came good though, and the album "I'm With You" peaked at number 2 on the Billboard top 100.
"Did I just feel tingles in my pants? I think I did."
08. Dave Grohl: Sex Tape Fiend?
Grohl expressed an interest in what he described as "traditional" sex tapes, citing the infamous footage of Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson's honeymoon as an example:
"Tommy Lee's goes down as probably the greatest sex tape of all time. Pamela Anderson was acting shy!... She's acting like, 'No way! Don't film me!' It was hilarious. Paris Hilton is a close second."
That should be more than enough for our innocent ears, but instead Mr Grohl continues to dig a shameless hole of old porn:
"In the name of rock 'n' roll, go find the Chuck Berry sex tape... It's old so it has a very nice VHS quality to it. None of that night-vision. That one's pretty good."
Clearly a connoisseur. Maybe Chuck Berry inspired the Foos to record the whole of "Wasting Light" on analog tape. Hey, didn't some copies of that album come with slices of studio tape? Was it really studio tape, or offcuts from a certain Chuck Berry home video? Don't hold it up to the light with minors around, you might get in trouble.
"Greatest man in rock - crappest taste in porn."
07. American Idol
Contestants 'Haven't Heard Of The Beatles'
Speaking ahead of a Fab Four special, presenter Ryan Seacrest revealed the contestant's disappointing lack of heritage:
"A handful of them, I asked, 'What do you think about the songs?' and they said, 'I've never heard a Beatles song before in my life!'"
We could cast shame on them, but reality will have the last laugh. One day they're singing to millions of viewers, the next they're back in their hometown singing into a hairbrush and telling everyone how they "coulda made it".
"If I was Ryan Seacrest, my reaction would be: 'Yeeeah... You can go home, we won't be needing you anymore.'"
"So that means they don't know who Jesus is either?"
06. Slipknot CD Seized During Search
Of Homicide Scene
A 17-year-old was accused of attacking his grandparents with a machete, filming their bodies and burning their house down. This was an obvious tragedy, but we were furious to see the police chief Brandon Clabes highlight his interest in heavy metal, and reports said a Slipknot CD had been seized from his house.
This is always a topic that will draw a hot debate, and we don't want to get into a discussion about this right here - after all, we know better than anyone the good metal can do.
Let's make light of the situation with a thoughtful comment. Correlation does not prove not causation, as they say:
"I have some Led Zeppelin albums. Does that make make me a stoner?"
05. Will Slipknot's Corey Taylor Front
The rumour mill was grinding hardest at the start of the year, when the Slipknot frontman left the press on tenderhooks. He was asked by Billboard whether he would sing for the supergroup, and simply replied "... To be continued!"
Slash later seemed opposed to the idea, and the search for a singer continues to this day.
"A female singer would be interesting. Maybe Amy Lee, or Dryden Mitchell from Alien Ant Farm."
04. Slipknot Announce New Bassist
His death was a moment that could have finished the band forever, and while some members are unsure whether to release another record without him, they found a way to continue performing live when former Slipknot guitarist Donnie Steel took up the bass.
Aged 38, Paul had long been battling with addiction. In 2008, he opened up about how the Slipknot's downtime while other members performed with Stone Sour may have contributed to his drug problems:
"During the downtime I played with Unida and jammed with friends, but mostly I did a lot of drinking and some drugs," he admitted. "Some heavy, heavy drugs. Lots of heroin.
"I was shooting speedballs every day. And then pills. I was on everything, man. In the beginning I kind of had my shit under control, but after a while, I became an addict."
Gray is survived by his wife Brenna and a baby who was born in September, four months after his death in May.
"Paul loved his fans so much. Anyone who met him knew he was the kindest, sweetest, most genuine person in the world... You all touched Paul in such a way that he would always talk about how wonderful you are," Brenna said.
"Glad they were able to find someone in the Slipknot family to carry on Paul's duties. Best of luck to them in the future. Here's hoping for one more album."
03. Creed Song Saves Norwegian Boy
In January, a 13-year-old Norwegian boy saw four wolves begin to prowl towards him, but he was saved thanks to the power of Creed. Apparently.
"I was afraid they would attack me," he said. You think, son? The boy was quick-witted enough to pull his headphones out of his phone, turn the volume up and "blast heavy metal through his miniature speakers."
The wolves retreated, which is surely thanks to Creed playing through a tiny phone rather than the wild shouting and waving he also performed.
Creed singer Scott Stapp later acknowledged the boy's bravery, but credited his mother for teaching him not to run away from the wolves - a sure sign that you'll be an easy dinner.
"I've never met a wolf who liked Creed and never a Norwegian who didn't."
02. Cobain Rumors Confirmed
Let's get to the meat of the topic (sorry). Courtney Love confirmed a long-standing rumor that Quentin Tarrantino once wanted the Nirvana frontman to star in his era-defining "Pulp Fiction":
"You ever wonder why he thanked Quentin [Tarantino] on the back of 'In Utero'? Quentin asked him to play Eric Stoltz's part in 'Pulp Fiction'," she told GQ.
In the same article, Dave Grohl confirmed a statement made by Nirvana's former lawyer Alan Mintz, who once quoted the frontman as saying "Get me off this label - I want to sell millions of records." Grohl recalled a negotiation with a major record label in New York, where Cobain said "We want to be the biggest band in the world."
Interesting stuff, but we couldn't help but laugh at the closing quote from Courtney Love, who has since appeared to be losing her money and reputation this year and may be kicked out of her home.
"I've been maligned as this drug freak for years, and I'm getting tired of it... I still can't escape the stigma for some reason. Even people like Kelly Osbourne feel free to f--k with me... She appeared on 'Fashion Police' with Joan Rivers, the b--ch called me a crackhead."
"Stopped reading on the part where it started talking about Courtney."
01. Dave Grohl: 'You Shouldn't Have
To Do F--king Glee'
He had a good innings, considering the number of Foo Fighters stories that were posted during the promo period for "Wasting Light", but his outspoken feelings on pop-tard drama "Glee" really caught your attention.
Grohl was defending the likes of Slash and Kings Of Leon, who were being slammed by the "Glee" producers for not allowing their songs on the show:
"It's every band's right, you shouldn't have to do f--king 'Glee'. And then the guy who created 'Glee' is so offended that we're not, like, begging to be on his f--king show... F--k that guy for thinking anybody and everybody should want to do 'Glee'."
The rant continued:
"The 'Glee' guy, what a f--king jerk. Slash was the first one. He wanted to do Guns N' Roses and Slash is like, 'I hate f--king musicals. It's worse than Grease.' Then [Murphy's] like, 'Well, of course he'd say that, he's a washed up ol' rock star, that's what they f--king do.' And then Kings Of Leon say, 'No, we don't want to be on your show.' And then he's like, 'Snotty little a-sholes...' And it's just like, Dude, maybe not everyone loves 'Glee'. Me included."
Hilariously, Taylow Hawkins neatly added his own comment:
"Yeah, f--k that sh-t."
You tell 'em, Taylor.
Thanks to all UG readers and commenters, to whom we are proud to report for. Thanks for your daily feedback, and know that we're not out to intentionally rile up the audience with certain articles - we just know how funny some of you can be, and a good debate always brings out the best of you.
UG wishes all the best to the community for Christmas and the New Year, and we look forward to seeing you in 2012. Happy holidays!