As we are winding down our recaps, we present our Top News Stories of 2009. We picked out the most talked about happenings of the year, as well as some of the absurd. Did we miss a story that you think is big? Let us know in the comments…
Ozzy and Zakk Break Up
The biggest story of the year had to be the really weird way that Ozzy Osbourne decided to kick his longtime guitarist, Zakk Wylde out of his band. Rather than taking a traditional route, like calling the guy, Ozzy decided to announce he's kicking Zakk out via a magazine interview. Zakk didn't even know about it. Initially, he was in denial, then he was a little upset, and then he compared it to his wife banging other dudes. Who know's what Zakk was thinking? We do know that Ozzy's new guitarist is FIREWIND axeman Gus G. who approached the opportunity a bit nervously. At the end of the year, Zakk seems to be over it, taking the high road. Ozzy is currently working on his new CD called Soul Sucka (seriously, that's the title) and getting lampooned on SNL.
Big Four Tour Rumors
It all started with Kerry King yapping about Lars contacting him in September, and then the whole world was abuzz that the Big 4 of Thrash, METALLICA, MEGADETH, SLAYER and ANTHRAX would tour together. Who would open for whom? Speculation was running rampant. In the end, it is happening, except in Europe and for two shows only as part of the Sonisphere festival. American fans need not be disappointed as MEGADETH and SLAYER announced that they are taking TESTAMENT out for a killer area tour in January/February, which is in my opinion, a better offering!
One of the biggest tragedies of the last few years, was the DECAPITATED bus crash which left drummer Witold "Vitek" Kieltyka dead at age 23 and vocalist Covan bed-ridden. The band was blowing up at the time, being one of the best modern death metal acts and this was a huge blow. Well, in 2010, Vitek's brother and the band's guitarist, Wacek "Vogg" Kieltyka issued a statement that the band was reforming and looking to tour in 2010. They have already booked European dates and we can tell you that the band will be coming over to the States this summer.
With the explosion of Twitter in 2009, it was inevitable that there would be some public fighting on there. First up, in the War to Settle The Score 2009, Vincent Bennett from The Acacia Strain showed up at an Emmure show and traded fists after having beef for years. How did everybody (who wasn't at the show) find out about it? Via the interwebs.
About a month later, we learned of a metalcore triangle between the vocalists of SHADOWS FALL and ALL THAT REMAINS and the latter's girlfriend. SF vocalist Brian Fair tried to hit on the dude's girlfriend, so naturally ATR frontman Phil LeBonte went to Twitter to let everybody know what just happened. After that, there was a total back and forth that may seem like two 15 year olds arguing, but was actually two adults in successful metal bands bickering. See the action.
Lars enjoys bathroom stalls
I wouldn't say this is a big story, but it was certainly the most hilarious story this year. Talking about giving up cocaine, Lars says he still enjoys going into the stall with his cokehead friends because of the "bonding." Direct quote: "Two guys in a bathroom stall—it feels like the most important place in the whole world in that moment. I’ve actually gone into bathroom stalls with friends since I quit, just so I still have a little bit of that bonding." Uh, sure, Lars. Original story.
Alice In Chains Are Back
This may have been the year of ALICE IN CHAINS. The band made a full comeback this year. They put out a great record, Black Gives Way To Blue and absolutely blew me away live showing all those shitty radio rock imitation bands just how to fucking do it. Long live Jerry Cantrell!
Soundgarden may get back together?
Are they or aren't they? It all started in March when guitarist Kim Thayill came out of hiding and joined Matt Cameron, and Ben Shepherd of SOUNDGARDEN with Tad Doyle of TAD filling in on vocals, everybody got really excited. A few months later, Chris Cornell joined PEARL JAM for a brief TEMPLE OF THE DOG reunion. The most interesting part was that he came with guitarist Kim Thayil and bassist Ben Shepherd. While, the band didn't officially reunite in 2009, we can only hope that something happens in 2010.
Scion throws a free fest with epic bands
Who knew Scion was so into metal? When it was announced there would be a free show in Atlanta, GA featuring local heroes NEUROSIS and MASTODON headlining and countless other incredible bands. The craziest part of the weekend wasn't even the show as the day after, Atlanta saw the most snow in it's history, resulting in almost all the flights being cancelled. Luckily, Eyal Levi of DAATH put me up in his basement and I spent a whole day getting high. It's a weekend I will not soon forget. Read my full recap.
The industry tries to find new business models
As CD sales continue to decline, this year the labels took some pro-active steps to increase revenues on album sales. It seemed like every band that came out with an album had 20 different types of pre-order package available which came with T-shirts, bonus DVDs or some crazy special packaging. Of all the crazy special editions, nothing tops what former NINE INCH NAILS drummer Josh Freese did offering various levels of special editions, including mildly absurd packages like "a lunch date with Josh to PF Changs" or "Josh washes your car OR does your laundry… or you can wash his car" or "Maynard James Keenan, Mark Mothersbaugh from Devo and Josh take you miniature golfing and then drop you off on the side of the freeway". This is just the tip of the iceberg with his packages. Check out all the packages Josh offered.
For more Best of 2009 features, click here