I used to sit down every December with a cup of coffee and a cigarette and reflect upon the year as I blog about the events that shaped the year that has gone past. It’s been a few years since I have done that, so my apologies if I’m a little rusty at this.
2015 came in quietly for me, as I sat there finishing off a pitcher of beer at a bar in the quiet college town of Wooster, Ohio. It all seemed like it was going to be just another year for me. Despite the fact that my show had just gotten picked up on iheartradio and I was working on lining up bigger named guests for the show, it seemed like just another year. I usually get excited for the upcoming year, but for some reason it just didn’t seem too celebratory for me. But as time progressed and 2015 pressed on I came to realize just how wrong I was. 2015, like a lot of years, and I know that in the past I have used this word to describe just about every year, but it was a whirlwind. I’ve noticed this, and especially as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that you can sit there and spend all December long planning out exactly how the following year will be, but it never ends up being what you expected.
For myself, and for the world around me, we saw a lot of changes, and a lot of adversities to overcome. We saw a lot of increased media coverage of police involved deaths, we saw the nationwide legalization of gay marriage, we saw a well respected Olympian and reality TV star undergo a sex change, Donald Trump began his presidential campaign, we’ve seen the widespread popularity of social media turn everyone into experts on every subject and then cause the end of many friendships, we’ve seen an increase in mass shootings in America, and we’ve seen our president fail to address the growing issues between America and the Middle East.
For me personally, I got to interview and hang out with bands that I’ve admired and have been a fan of since I was in high school. Bands such as Sponge, Tantric, The Verve Pipe, Orgy, and Flaw. I got enjoyed drinks on tour buses, hang out, talk to these guys on a personal level, and have been able to befriend some of the coolest bands I’ve ever met. I got to emcee a benefit for a friend of mine who underwent heart surgery, where I met some other cool bands. I got to launch another short lived show on No Static Radio with some friends from broadcasting school. And more importantly, I became better acquainted with the city of Cleveland.
Amid a world of controversy the New England Patriots were able to snag another Super Bowl win following a scandal that rocked the sports world and has been dubbed “deflategate.” Its alleged that the Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady had his game balls deflated below regulation weight to make the balls easier for his receivers to catch. After it was found that Brady was responsible for the scandal he was suspended for the first 4 games of the 2015 season, a decision that was later overturned by a federal judge, which caused even more controversy as it was later rumored that the judge only overturned the decision because Brady was on his fantasy team, even though that rumor was never confirmed nor denied. So for Patriots haters the only highlight of Super Bowl 49 was the Katy Perry halftime show.
2015 also saw my team and I putting together our first Wayofest music festival. After a lot of setbacks and disasters, it looked like the show was going to happen, but the show did happen and was a success and a failure all at the same time. With several bands unable to play because of time constraints due to us losing one of our stages, I saw the scene come together as a few of the veterans of the scene decided to gracefully bow out of playing the day of the show to allow for some of the newer acts to get their chance at the spotlight. It was the first time in a very long time that I saw the local music scene come together for the betterment of our local scene. In the months following the festival I had an internal battle over whether or not to return next year and after a lot of thinking I decided that it would be for the best to have this festival return again next year.
As it seems to go, every time that we are nearing the presidential election year, the campaigning season begins earlier and earlier, with many of the candidates announcing their bid for the white house as early as May of 2015, with a year and a half until the general election. With 14 Republican and 3 Democratic candidates still in the running as of right now, no 2 candidates have found themselves wrapped up in as much controversy as billonaire business mogul Donald Trump for the republicans, who has been attracted attention due to his comments that have been perceived to be bigoted and racist in nature; and Senator Bernie Sanders for the democrats, who’s ideas have been perceived as radical, unrealistic, and too socialist for America. However Trump is currently leading the republican polls, and Sanders is trailing former first lady Hillary Clinton in the democratic polls. It may still be too early to tell which direction this election may go in, but I think that the general election will be Marco Rubio and John Kasich against Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley, with Rubio and Kasich pulling off the win. But that’s just my own personal prediction.
Both Faith No More and Coal Chamber put out new albums this year, which begs the question “is rock making a comeback?” Rock may not be dead, it may have been in a coma or on life support in recent years with the rise of popularity of electronic music. But with the return of 2 of hard rock’s heaviest hitters of the last 2 decades, as well as increasing popularity of bands like Korn and Slipknot, it really makes you wonder if 2016 will be the year of rock.
In the past, I have always ended my year in review with a brief reflection of events from the year both from the world around me and my personal lives, things really haven’t shaken the world too much but definitely deserved an honorable mention, then I would close by saying “and still no new Guns ‘N’ Roses album.” However in 2008 Guns ‘N’ Roses quietly released their long awaited “Chinese Democracy” album. Now its 2015 and as of 2013 there have been rumors that GNR was once again working on a new album, and we’re not holding our breath on that one, but this year Axl Rose and Slash both announced that they have ended their 20 year long rivalry and were looking to put together a reunion tour of the classic GNR lineup…again…not holding our breath.
In breaking with tradition, the music world lost a very important icon, former Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver frontman Scott Weiland. Let’s not glorify his tragic death, but instead reflect upon the great music he left behind and hope that others with the same or similar problems as he’s had can learn from this tragedy and get the help that they need.