As Rock and Roll Legends Fall, What Are Fans to Do?
Last week, the music community took another hit as Ozzy Osbourne announced the cancelation of his scheduled 2020 North American Tour (already a reschedule from the postponed 2019 tour).
This news is fairly fresh on the heels of the shocking death of Rush’s Neal Peart early last month, after a quiet battle with cancer. Meanwhile, we’ve seen conflicting reports of Eddie Van Halen’s health struggles, which range from a dire battle with cancer to him taking photos for fans at a Tool concert last fall.
After losing multiple legends in the last several years, including Lemmy Kilmister, David Bowie, Scott Weiland, Malcom Young, Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington, just to name a few, we’re seeing the legends that once, at least to my generation, all appeared impervious to ails. Heck, I found it a bit jarring to see Joey Kramer temporarily sidelined from Aerosmith.
All of this can be a little tough to swallow at times, as we watch what feels like we’ve seen an uptick in the demise of our rock legends lately. Quite simply, we’re running out of time. Will Pink Floyd ever reunite? A proper reunion was put to rest with the death of keyboardist Richard Wright back in 2008. Will Brian Johnson re-join AC/DC? Rumblings would have us believe so, but we’ve already lost Malcom Young and it’s tough to see AC/DC without such a key member missing. How about a Led Zeppelin reunion with Jason Bonham, or at least another run of Paige and Plant? Kind of seems doubtful at this point. We got a fantastic show with “Celebration Day” back in 2007. Hey, the Rolling Stones seem to be defying all odds though. I hope to check them out when they come through town this summer.
Still, despite all of this, there’s so much to be excited about in music right now (assuming you’re not singularly fixed on one decade’s worth of music).
Rage Against the Machine are back, in what seems to be their most legitimate form in almost 20 years. Sure, they’ve played the odd one-off show a few times, but we’re getting a full tour.
Guns N’ Roses have had three of their original members back together for just about four years now. It still seems an impossible feat to get Axl and Slash back together, but here we are. Will we get some new music from them? I hope so, but man, if you haven’t seen this band in the last few years, get out there and do it! They’re playing three-hour sets and delivering all the goods. By the way, Axl sounds great!
Metallica's Lars Ulrich performing in Buffalo during 2018's 'Worldwired Tour'
Metallica are still filling stadiums and selling out tours worldwide. Yesterday, Metallica announced they would have to pull out of scheduled appearances at Sonic Temple Festival and Louder Than Life, as James Hetfield has commitments related to his rehab that he needs to stick to, but otherwise, this band has a pretty busy schedule for 2020 with no signs of slowing down. It’s hard to imagine any fan that hasn’t had the chance to catch them in the last several years, but if not, get on it. They deliver an incredibly powerful and interactive live show!
Mötley Crüe's Nikki Sixx performing With Sixx A.M. in 2016
Mötley Crüe have returned, again. Listen, I was as big a fan as any back in the 90’s. I was introduced to Dr. Feelgood by my babysitter. I will always have a place for this band. I’m thrilled to hear that Vince Neil has a training regimen in place before the tour and I’m absolutely hoping for the best.
KISS' Gene Simmons performing in Rochester on 2016's 'Freedom to Rock Tour'
KISS is still out there working harder than everyone else. Seriously, these guys simply don’t stop. At least, not until July 17th, 2021 when they hang it up in NYC. No, it’s not the original band. Peter Criss is pretty much retired and Ace Frehley is out doing his own thing (which is killer, I went and saw him last fall). Still, it’s hard to call Eric Singer a stand-in, when he’s been in the band since 1991 (with the exception of the reunion years from ’96-’01). Tommy Thayer is also a wicked guitar player. Yeah, it really rubbed me the wrong way that they didn’t just come up with their own stage identities, but whatever. It’s great, I love it, and its KISS. Don’t skip out on this tour or you’ll regret it.
Megadeth's Dave Mustaine performing with Experience Hendrix last spring in Niagara Falls
Megadeth is alive and…well. Dave Mustaine has just made a triumphant return after an intense battle with throat cancer. I got to see him live a few months prior to his public announcement (while he played on the Experience Hendrix tour) and I can’t wait to see them with Lamb of God this summer.
Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson performing in 2019
Iron Maiden – My god, what else is there to say? Here’s a band, that in like the mid-2000’s said they were going to tour less. Since the release of 2015’s The Book of Souls, have toured virtually everywhere. They made two passes through North America on that tour, and followed quickly with a massive run in 2019 during their “Legacy of the Beast” tour.
Judas Priest just announced their 50th Anniversary Tour yesterday. Another absolutely legendary metal act that’s still out there crushing it. Sure, Glenn Tipton has had to step back and K.K. Downing left a while back, but Halford can still wail and Richie Faulkner is an incredibly gifted and entertaining guitarist.
The point is, there is so much out there to be excited about. Hard rock and heavy metal music have so many legends out there selling out crowds and inspiring new fans every night. If this Ozzy tour cancelation has you bummed, or some of the aforementioned passing’s have you feeling hopeless for the future of heavy music, don’t. There’s a ton of music to be thankful for. This is just a handful of what’s going on out there. If you’re looking for something a bit more modern, we’ll be highlighting all of this summer’s biggest tours shortly, but scroll up and make sure you haven’t looked past a band you’ll regret missing someday.