The Top 13 Rock News Stories of 2018

December 27, 2018

2018 was like a roller coaster ride of good news and bad news for the rock community. We lost a few friends. Some will be saying their final goodbyes. And some of them made some groundbreaking comebacks. So let's look back on a year in review of rock.

1. AC/DC Spotted Reuniting in the Studio

Probably the worst-kept secret in all of music, Brian Johnson and Phil Rudd were spotted together outside Warehouse Studios in Vancouver. AC/DC had recorded their last three albums at these same studios, and all of the evidence suggests that Brian and Phil and back with the band to record a new album.

The duo were seen outside with longtime AC/DC mixer Mike Fraser while guitarists Angus and Stevie Young were also spotted in the city as well.

2. KISS Announces their End of the Road Tour

We've heard this story before, but KISS really means it this time. The band announced that they will wear their iconic makeup and costumes one last time before hanging it up for good in one more massive world tour.

The band said in a statement to their fans, “Kiss Army, we're saying goodbye on our final tour with our biggest show yet and we'll go out the same way we came in... unapologetic and unstoppable.” 

3. Motorhead's "Fast" Eddie Clarke dies at 67

A huge loss for the rock community, former Motorhead guitarist "Fast" Eddie Clarke passed away at the age of 67 due to complications with pneumonia.

The loss of Clarke meant that he was the last surviving original member of Motorhead.

Clarke appeared Motorhead’s self-titled 1977 debut album and again on 1979's Overkill and Bomber. Clarke then played on the widely successful 1980 album Ace Of Spades and then on 1982’s Iron Fist

4. Slayer and Ozzy Osbourne will Tour One Last Time

There appears to be a pattern of goodbyes from major artists throughout 2018 as both Slayer and Ozzy Osbourne announced their final goodbye tours for 2019.

Slayer will take one last bow with Lamb of God, Amon Amarth and Cannibal Corpse throughout North America and Europe.

Ozzy has had to postpone the final dates on his No More Tours 2 due to hand surgery, but will make them up in 2019. Ozzy also said that even though he'll be stepping away from the touring life, he won't be retiring from music anytime soon.

5. Pantera Drummer Vinnie Paul Dies at 54

One of the most devastating new stories of 2018 was the sudden loss of Pantera/Damageplan/Hellyeah drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott at the age of 54 due to heart disease.

He was described by many of his rock colleagues as "one in a million," and received a massive outpouring of love and support from fans around the world.

6. Glenn Tipton of Judas Priest Confirms Battle with Parkinson's

Longtime Judas Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton announced back in February that he would be stepping down from his role in the band due to being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

Tipton learned of his diagnosis ten years earlier, but was still able to play every track on Judas Priest's latest album Firepower.

“I knew something was wrong with my co-ordination and fluency regarding my playing, but I worked around it and battled on," Tipton said in a statement. "I have good days and bad days but the disease is degenerative and I would never want to compromise the greatest metal band in the world.”

Guitarist/Producer Andy Sneap filled in for Tipton during Judas Priest's Firepower tour, though Tipton did make a handful of live appearances.

In his name, the band created the Glenn Tipton Foundation, which helps raise money for Parkinson's research. Judas Priest also announced that they would be touring again in 2019 with Uriah Heep. 

7. Motley Crue Reunites in the Studio

Even though they all signed a legally-binding contract prohibiting all of them from touring again as Motley Crue, that doesn't mean that they aren't allowed to record music together.

Vocalist Vince Neil revealed on social media that he, Tommy Lee, Nikki Sixx and Mick Mars were back in the studio recording unheard songs for their upcoming biopic The Dirt.

“You can trust us these are ball busters. Everybody can relax. We’re soon gonna smack you upside the head with some killer new tracks. Bob Rock is producing. It’s our movie. We know what we're doing," says Nikki Sixx. "I’m listening to the roughs of the new Motley Crue and it feels real and raw. Everybody is playing like mad and the songs crush. 

8. Bohemian Rhapsody Becomes the Top-Grossing Musical Biopic Ever

They were the champions of the stage, and now Queen is the champion of the box office as Bohemian Rhapsody becomes the #1 best-selling musical biopic film of all time, raking in over $539 million worldwide. The title was previously held by the 2015 film Straight Outta Compton, which told the rise of the rap group N.W.A.

Coincidentally, the band decided that the show must go on by announcing their North American tour in 2019 with American Idol alum Adam Lambert on vocals.

9. Lindsey Buckingham Fired from Fleetwood Mac

There was a lot of bad blood brewing within Fleetwood Mac, and it all came crashing down when the band announced that they had fired longtime guitarist Lindsey Buckingham.

He was replaced by Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell and Niel Finn of Crowded House due to scheduling conflicts with a Fleetwood Mac world tour.

Buckingham sued the band for losing up to $14 million in earnings after being fired. The band settled with Buckhingham out of court. Since the lawsuit, Buckingham has called the current lineup a Fleetwood Mac "cover band" and would be willing to return if the band would invite him back.

10. Back Injuries Forces Jeremy Spencer to Quit Five Finger Death Punch

One of the biggest upsets of 2018, 5FDP drummer Jeremy Spencer announced that due to complications with his back, he will be unable to drum at the level he was once able to. Thus leading to his departure from the band. "The rigorous physical wear and tear has got me to the point where I feel I can no longer deliver a performance that brings me satisfaction and joy," Spencer said in a statement.

In his place, Charlie Engen of Scale the Summit has filled in for Spencer on the drums in 5FDP

11. Axl Allegedly Teases New GNR Music on Looney Tunes

It has been ten years since we had heard any new music from Guns N' Roses since their 2008 album Chinese Democracy. But with the massive success of their Not In This Lifetime... tour that brought Axl, Slash and Duff McKagan back together again, hopes for new music from the band's three pillars were set aflame.

But what may be one of the more unusual ways to tease new material, Axl Rose allegedly may have shared a new GNR song titled "Rock the Rock" during a cameo appearance on Looney Tunes

12. The End for RUSH

When RUSH wrapped up their R40 tour in 2015, fans were still hopeful that they might be able to see their favorite band at least one more time.

But according to guitarist Alex Lifeson, the band believed that after 41 years together that they were "basically done."

Vocalist/bassist Geddy Lee added that this indeed is the end of the road for the band, and that following Neil Peart's retirement from the band, they had just stopped playing all together.

13. Threatin's European Tour Scam

Definitely one of the strangest stories of the year, the band Threatin was scheduled to embark on a tour throughout Europe. They had thousands of followers on all of their social media platforms and told venues that fans were burning through tickets like wildfire.

It turns out that frontman Jered Threatin had pretended to be his band's publicist and all of those Facebook likes and YouTube views were fake. As a result, they had played to nearly empty venues.

With the music world baffled by this stunt, Threatin revealed that he had orchestrated the entire thing and that the joke was on us because he "turned an empty venue into an international headline."

Claiming to have sold thousands of CD's following the publicity stunt, Threatin says he is also in talks with film producers to turn his story into a movie.