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Planet Rock's 2012 Preview



2011 was a little quiet in the world of rock as the mainstream moved on to sanitised corporate pop, reality shows and various other fly by night genres with very silly names.

2012 is looking likely to be a different beast altogether.

Here's our little guide to what's going on / what might happen / what we wish would happen / what spurious rumours we've heard which we'll quote as fact...

THE FESTIVALS

While the Olympics might be a big deal for the the country (aka London for people that give a monkeys about the thing) for the next 8 months, it's not all fun and games (sorry) for the couple of festivals that have had to change their plans.

Glastonbury has already announced that it's taking a year off in case it somehow takes the attention away from the so called "Big Event", while its proximity to the Olympic village means that next year's High Voltage will not be happening in Victoria Park. In fact High Voltage may yet not happen at all in 2012. Hopefully more on that in the new year...

But it's not all doom and gloom - BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN is doing a little festival merry-go-round, appearing at both the ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL in June and HARD ROCK CALLING in July. In fact the Isle Of Wight has hit an absolute home-run with their headliners, booking the illusive TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS to confuse the kids and the always welcome PEARL JAM. It's unlikely that any festival in 2012 will bag a trio of headliners better than that.

Meanwhile it's a little heavier over at DOWNLOAD who have performed their second booking coup of the century (after 2010's AC/DC slot) by bagging the reformed BLACK SABBATH for a headline set. They've also got METALLICA performing the "Black Album" in full, which will be something of a crowd pleaser unless Lou Reed turns up with them. PRODIGY are the other headliner, which has got a lot of rock fans' backs up, but there are always the other stages and the veteran dance act are surprisingly good fun live.

There's not a whole lot of announcements yet for the other big festivals, although it would be a big surprise if at least one of the FOO FIGHTERS, SOUNDGARDEN, GREEN DAY or MUSE didn't do something at one of them.

Expect announcements for SONISPHERE and READING / LEEDS in the coming months - plus more headliners for HARD ROCK CALLING and it's possible a reanimated PHOENIX FESTIVAL may live up to its nameafter promoter Vince Power announced back in July that he was bringing it back.

ALBUMS

Again, 2011 was a little quiet in terms of big releases. But 2012 is shaping up to be simply stunning.
  • RUSH will release their new album, Clockwork Angels, in the spring
  • ZZ TOP are scheduled to release a new album - their first since 2003 - also in the spring
  • SLASH is due to release his new solo album in the first couple of months of 2012, and there's still a very slim possibility that VELVET REVOLVER may also start work on a new record if they can finally exorcise the spirit of Scott Weiland from their ranks
  • AEROSMITH have been working on a new album for what seems like a lifetime, and it's quite possible that we'll see the fruits of their dysfunctional labour at some point in 2012
  • SOUNDGARDEN are nearly done recording their first new album since they reformed, and we're expecting that one before the summer
  • JOE BONAMASSA must have found another hour or two in every day, because he's got yet another new album out in May - that's the fourth straight year in which he's released a new solo record (not counting the live albums & DVDs, his two records with BCC and that album with Beth Hart). Rumour has it that he also recorded a recent show in New York which should be released as a film at some point next year as well.
  • BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN has a new record with his E Street Band in the can and will release it early in the year. Early reports are that it's his best for a very long time.
  • QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE end an elongated hiatus with a new album that's already mostly done, and should be with us in April/May.
  • LYNYRD SKYNYRD will follow up their 2009 album God And Guns with a new record before their summer tour
  • GREEN DAY will also follow up a 2009 album, 21st Century Breakdown, with another punk-rock opus. We've heard rumours that this one will be something quite different, though, so it will be interesting to see where they go after two rock opera style epics.
  • MUSE are looking likely to release their next sci-fi proto-prog effort in the autumn.
  • BLACK SABBATH are scheduled to release a new Rick Rubin produced album in the Autumn. It's their first as an original line-up for the best part of three decades.
  • JOE WALSH and DON HENLEY are both due to release new albums. Joe's is called Analog Man, Don's is probably called something else.
  • KISS will release a "back to basics" type album called Monster in the spring. We're promised no keyboards, no ballads no choirs. Hopefully plenty of quality, though. 
  • And VAN HALEN are doing what we like to call "a Chinese Democracy". The story goes that the album is finished, although Sammy Hagar reckons it's made up of finished off old demos. A video for a single has apparently been filmed, although no one can seem to confirm this. The band has a new label... we think. Various members of various bands have heard the album and apparently it sounds like "old school Van Halen." They were supposed to announce the album at the Grammy nominations last month... they didn't. Whether or not we ever see this album, let alone in 2012, is decidedly unclear right now but we're still hopeful. They have at least announced a tour (see below), which suggests that they have something to promote.
Elsewhere there's vague whispers about another new Motorhead album, Fleetwood Mac have been making the right noises, perhaps a new one from Alice In Chains. Neil Young always has a new album in him, Them Crooked Vultures could get together in QOTSA / Foos downtime late in the year, Crosby, Stills And Nash have been working on a covers album for yonks, U2 have been threatening us with a variety of dance / pop / ambient albums for about 18 months and Metallica are due to start working on the follow up to 2008's Death Magnetic (but judging by their past recording schedules we're not likely to see this one until 2015).

REUNIONS / TOURS / OTHER

There's not a lot of bands left to reunite after a few years of bandwagon jumping / money-making / feud resolutions (delete as appropriate) but there's still a couple that could / should / may happen.

The ROLLING STONES "reunion" (we know, they've never split up - but after Keith's comments about Mick's manhood...) is the one that everyone is expecting. 2012 is their 50th birthday and it would take a very fractured relationship to deny the world at least one momentous gig. After all, half a century is quite a long time - there's not many musicians that can last that long. It's basically just the Stones and Sir Cliff, and he's still pulling his weight.

VAN HALEN again. Will they tour? Actually, yes. They have just released this weird video, which confirms that they will be on the road in 2012. No idea where, when or for how long but the band WILL play dates at some point in time in the next 12 months.


One reunion that's looking very likely, albeit very briefly, is the FACES who will almost certainly see the surviving members performing together at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction in Cleveland in April. Whether that leads to something else remains to be seen, but the band members do at least still get on...

...unlike fellow Hall Of Famers GUNS N ROSES, who will almost certainly lead us on a merry little dance until April when they almost certainly won't do anything together. Expect to get sick and tired of the "will-they-won't-they" soap opera as Axl and Slash contradict each other in the media repeatedly for the next four months. We would love nothing more than to be wrong on this one.

And over in the Hell Freezes Over file (in the Eagles sense) we have bands such as THE KINKS, who's warring Davies siblings may in 2011 have driven a final nail into the band's coffin, THE RUNAWAYS (this one became much more likely since Lita Ford offered an olive branch to Joan Jett recently) and GENESIS (although Phil Collins' health imposed retirement may get in the way).


And that's that - we're sure that more stuff will happen, but that is likely to be just a bonus as rock music performs a great big fightback in the media to prove that there's still life in the old dog yet.

There's a good chance that we've missed a few things on the list, so tell us what you're most looking forward to in the next 12 months.

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