2016. I can’t fucking believe that it’s already over. I can vividly remember typing this same manifesto about 2015 and thinking, “How the fuck will 2016 even come close to ruling as hard as 2015. Honestly, 2015 saw us losing our dear Lemmy Kilmister but 2016 was the year that we would lose an unbelievable number of talented people. Dominating the headlines were the deaths of Prince and David Bowie but hitting closer to home in the metal world were legendary Rainbow/Dio bassist Jimmy Bain and former Megadeth drummer Nick Menza who sadly passed doing what he loved most… playing his drums on stage. In the world of Rock, 2016 also saw both Greg Lake and Keith Emerson of Emerson, Lake and Palmer passing away as well as bidding farewell to long time Black Crowes keyboardist Eddie Harsch.
A lot of people called 2016 the most brutal year for deaths and talked about how much they couldn’t wait for 2016 to be over. For me, I just look at 2016 as a huge slap of reality and as a reminder that life is short. The older we get, the closer death gets and looking back on my heroes such as Alice Cooper, Rob Halford, Bruce Dickinson, Paul Stanley (just to name a few) it reminds me that the end just keeps getting closer for them. Call it grim but it’s true. While these artists are still around, go see them whenever you can because tomorrow very well may be too late.
At the end of it all, I guess you can say that I’m just a glass half full kinda guy. My stance as far as the loss we saw in 2016 is that death is inevitable especially as our heroes get up there in age. We can mourn and honor their memories but to just write off an entire year of great things is just unfair to all of those that accomplished amazing things. Yeah, it sucks but to just say that 2016 “sucked” is just unfair because that totally downplays all of the great shit that happened. For me, there were so many high points and unforgettable moments in 2016. Getting to hang out with Jordan Rudess and talk as friends was amazing. Seeing some of my favorite bands like Savage Master, Scorpion Child, and Blues Pills put out sophomore releases that set the bar even higher was amazing. This year also saw the release of some new exciting albums from bands such as Canadian NWOTHM band Striker, NC metalers Widow, and Swedish war historians Sabaton that proved to me that real, heartfelt, and honest hard rock/metal is still very much alive and well. Getting to interview Dennis Dunaway from the classic Alice Cooper Group was something I will never forget and having the opportunity to talk with former Donnas’ singer Brett Anderson and legendary Stryper vocalist Michael Sweet (for the third time) had me once again pinching myself. I even launched my first ever venture into world of PR with Dark Waters PR. That was a huge accomplishment for me that is something that I’m really proud of.
While 2016 was a rough year for losing artists, it was also a year of butting heads. This year I had 48 hours of fame after a war of words with “the voice of Skid Row”, Sebastian Bach. After giving his shitty show here in Georgia a shitty review, a war of words ensued on Facebook that was picked up by Metal Sucks and even made major news on Blabbermouth. The local radio morning show idiots called me a a few bad words and at the end of it all, I learned a valuable lesson: stick to your guns and always stand by your opinions. Sticking to my guns (pun intended) also cost me press coverage for the Atlanta Guns N’ Roses show. Because of a past editorial calling Axl Rose out for being bloated and tired, I got banned from the Guns N’ Roses press list by not one, not two, but THREE managers. Yeah, I know right? What a year.
2016 was also the year that I bid farewell to two of my favorite bands, Graveyard and Purson. It’s always hard to see your favorite bands call it a day but these two really hit me hard, especially Graveyard. Both Graveyard and Purson had so much more to offer and, in my opinion, had really just begun to even tap into the things they were capable of doing. Both bands exuded a sound that had me so excited and I felt that both bands had true staying power. It really broke my heart to see them pack it in but I can only wish them all the best and hope that maybe we will see some new music from the members of these fantastic bands.
The blog itself grew again this year picking up quite a few new followers. With every passing year, my little blog grows just a bit more but most importantly, it’s hearing from you, the readers that make it all worth it. When I get feedback from you guys and girls telling me that you discovered a new favorite band because of the site, I just get filled with joy. When you send me messages telling me how much you enjoyed an album by album challenge or some other aspect of the site, it just confirms that I am on the right track and for that, I am always appreciative so thank you all.
Just from what I am seeing right now, 2017 is going to be another hell of a year. We have tours coming up from Geoff Tate, Striker, Udo Dirkschnieder, and Anvil just to name a few. See what I mean? We’re not even into 2017 and it’s already looking fucking great and as always, you all can count on me to be there and report back to you my thoughts and opinions of the shows, albums, and interviews. I hope you all have a great, safe, and happy holiday and I will see you all in 2017!
Thanks and Fart into 2017!