2013 has been a year filled with drama in alternative rock, with bands like Stone Temple Pilots and the Pixies undergoing huge lineup changes. As the year comes to a close AlternativeNation.net reporters Brett Buchanan, Mike Mazzarone, and Riley Rowe are here to break down many of the major events of 2013.
Riley: OK let’s get this over with.
Brett: That’s what your mom said last night.
Brett: Oh wait, shit. I just dissed myself. Welcome everybody to our 2013 year in review roundtable discussion. Doug McCausland couldn’t join us, he’s reportedly walkin in a winter wonderland.
Mike: I wonder if he makes creepy faces like Scott in his sleep.
Brett: Speaking of walkin in a winter wonderland, let’s discuss the year’s top story. Scott Weiland being fired from Stone Temple Pilots in February. What were your reactions?
Riley: Was that a transition?
Mike: I mean, it was one of those things where no matter how much you saw it coming it was still truly shocking. At least to me. Scott Weiland WAS STP.
Riley: Anyways, I guess I wasn’t too shocked. I felt like it was bound to happen. If my lead singer showed up late every show and didn’t deliver, I wouldn’t want him in my band.
Brett: The rumors started coming during the 2012 tour that they would go on hiatus, but I didn’t think they’d fire Scott until Slash said in December 2012 that they had. I was still shocked though at the firing, especially the one sentence ‘termination’ notice.
Mike: Well yeah there is always that. But how many of us really pictured STP without Scott Weiland in it.
Riley: I think his replacement was more surprising.
Brett: If you’d told me a couple of years ago that they’d ever fire Weiland I’d have called you nuts.
Riley: If you would’ve told me Chester Bennington would replace him I would’ve called you bananas.
Brett: When it comes to Chester, I didn’t think they’d find a replacement. When they announced the firing I had assumed they’d just look for a singer forever like Velvet Revolver.
Mike: The moment I heard it was Chester Bennington of Linkin Park…I think my reaction would have been the same as if you told me Scott Stapp replaced Weiland. It just didn’t seem to make any sense…to fit at the time. However I’m eating crow now to say the least. The High Rise EP was wonderful and he truly sounds like at times if Weiland stayed clean.
Riley: I mean the more you look into it, the more it makes sense due to Chester’s love for STP and all that jazz.
Mike: I expected Richard Patrick honestly.
Brett: I think the way they did it worked well. I got home one night and was bombarded with e-mails about Chester joining STP but the key was that they released “Out of Time” right after their surprise performance at Weenie Roast and it impressed me.
Mike: As a brand Stone Temple Pilots > Army Of Anyone. By far. But to this day you have people saying that they shouldn’t call themselves STP.
Brett: I was in shock though still when it happened. When it comes to the name I understand why they have to use it. This is their job, and they’re not going to fill the venues under another name. They shouldn’t have to give up all they’ve worked for because of Scott’s problems. Obviously in a perfect world they’d be called something else, but I cannot fault them for wanting to make a living.
Riley: Same debate happened with AiC a few years ago.
Mike: But I don’t think people make a big deal with AIC as they do with STP for some reason
Brett: I’m just happy Dean, Eric, and Robert are staying together rather than sitting at home, and that they’ve found a singer they have good chemistry with.
Mike: No one says “AIC shouldnt be called AIC.”
Riley: I remember the AIC name debate.
Brett: I do hope though that this isn’t the end to the STP story. I’ll enjoy the Chester led lineup as long as it goes on and look forward to a full album, but I hope Scott gets sober and comes back someday. That’s the happy ending we all want. Not a legal battle. Now onto the Pixies drama. Are they trying to break the Smashing Pumpkins bassist record?
Mike: They have a while to go for that right?
Brett: Pumpkins have had 4 bassists. 5 if you count temporary bassist Mark Tulin. Pixies have now had 3 bassists, in the span of 6 months.
Riley: Look at the big brains on Brett.
Brett: All I know is I hope the Pixies make another documentary.
Mike: ONE MORE BASSIST! ONE MORE BASSIST! Gotta tie that record.
Riley: And then… *Drum Roll* Pixies/Pumpkins tour!
Mike: Lolyes! The band members can change every show.
Brett: That leads to the Smashing Pumpkins hiatus. What do you think the state of the band is?
Mike: Whatever Billy decides. I really think he is tired of touring and performing Pumpkins shit to be honest. I wouldn’t be shocked if this was a long, long break, or if BillCo does a solo album.
Brett: I think that could happen. I see Jimmy coming back next time the Pumpkins make an album, at least I hope he comes back.
Riley: He seems quite conflicted. Dissing and then apologizing ex-members.
Brett: It seems like a complete waste that the greatest drummer alive has been sitting at home for the last 5 years. Nicole and Jeff are great, but Jimmy is irreplaceable.
Mike: Neil Peart is already in a ban…oh.
Riley: Maybe he’s honing his skills. So, when he makes his return, he’ll be even better than Neil Peart!
Brett: I wouldn’t be shocked if the original Pumpkins reunite in a couple of years. I don’t think it’ll happen in 2014 but I see it happening someday. It may be the only way Billy can headline arenas again. You do make a good point. But Jimmy’s is still relatively young. Anyways I think Billy will lay low a bit before making his next move.
Mike: THERE IS NO DRUMMER BETTER THEN NEAL FUCKING PEART!
Brett: Next, another lineup change, Lincoln Parish left Cage The Elephant recently. It’s sad to see an original member leave a band so early in the run.
Riley: I think it’s a bummer, but it won’t make a huge difference in their sound.
Brett: Cage The Elephant also have a very collaborative method of songwriting, jam based a lot. They’ll obviously carry on and still be great, but I thought they’d be a band where the original lineup would stay together.
Mike: Well if they can continue to put out great music and efforts like their last album then they should be OK. Lineup changes arent always bad. Its when you become like Wolfmother then it’s questionable.
Brett: Wolfmother’s was like Spinal Tap this year. I got a headache writing those articles every few weeks when a drummer would leave. The drummer I saw them with in July was there for about 3 weeks. Now the former rhythm guitarist is the drummer. Maybe he’ll switch to jazz flute next. But anyways, I had hoped in 2006 that they’d be an arena act.
Mike: Well they do play arena rock
Riley: Both albums of theirs are quite solid.
Mike: But their multiple lineups and off stage antics prevent them from being an arena band.
Riley: Off stage antics?
Brett: I’d say it’s a lack of consistently releasing albums. Moving onto an arena band with some issues, The Killers’ bassist Mark Stoermer missed several gigs this year for mysterious reasons.
Riley: DRUGS! [/sarcasm]
Brett: No I doubt that, it’s burnout.
Mike: With Stoermer missing gigs, it seems like burnout for me. They just did that massive tour, their last studio album wasn’t that long ago, and now they had to do some dates to promote Direct Hits. It’s a lot.
Brett: I was worried at first but I think they’ll be fine with a hiatus.
Riley: Some people can’t handle touring and all that. That’s why Jack Irons left PJ.
Brett: Speaking of drummers, Matt Cameron is taking a leave of absence from Soundgarden in 2014.
Mike: Soundgarden got dumped for Pearl Jam.
Brett: I don’t get why they don’t just take a break in 2014, that’s what I’d assumed they’d do. But I can’t fault them if it’s what they need to do to make a living.
Riley: It’s probably more fun to drum for PJ.
Brett: I think Matt’s loyalties lie with Pearl Jam because that’s been his band now for nearly 16 years. Soundgarden lost first dibs when they split in 1997.
Mike: Plus PJ is the more active group at the moment.
Brett: I love Matt in Pearl Jam but I do miss Dave Abbruzzese. In my dream world Dave would be back with Pearl Jam and Matt would be with Soundgarden. And they could tour together and have a Temple of the Dog set.
Riley: Join the club
Brett: No Pearl Jam drum performance will ever top “Go.” It sounds like Dave is shooting a gun with his drums on that.
Riley: Arc’s drumming was pretty good.
Mike: I’m sure our readers will debate the drummer issue. I don’t disagree however.
Brett: One of the biggest stories of the year is Eddie Vedder and Jerry Cantrell both getting haircuts. What’s the verdict fashion police?
Riley: “Friends don’t let friends get haircuts.”
Brett: I think Jerry looks 10 years younger now.
Mike: Same with EdVed.
Brett: Yes Eddie’s is good too. Those haircut stories got huge traffic. But moving on, what did you guys think of the Uproar tour?
Riley: Great! I was more impressed by the younger bands than the headliners.
Mike: Uproar was great. Alice In Chains to me were trumped by Jane’s during the show I went too though. Dead Daisies, Middle Class Rut are great acts.
Brett: Walking Papers were the highlight. I enjoyed AIC and Jane’s as well.
Mike: Beware Of Darkness need to work on their live act though. Worst band that I saw there. Which is a shame because their studio stuff is good.
Riley: I dug em. I saw the last show of that tour.
Brett: Moving onto Nirvana’s Hall of Fame induction. What will happen with that?
Riley: Weird Al performing “Smells Like Nirvana”
Mike: I’m really happy that Nirvana got in. I truly am. They deserve it and I’m not questioning that. However I wish the Rock Hall waited to induct them and the other Seattle bands together.
Brett: They’re different bands dipshit.
Mike: That seems like it would have been more fitting.
Brett: That makes no sense at all.
Mike: How does that make no sense?
Brett: They’ve all had their own careers. But when it comes to who should front them for a performance, Frances supposedly can sing according to Courtney. I hope she fronts them at the Hall of Fame.
Mike: Frances Bean should front them. I couldn’t think of anyone more appropriate besides maybe Paul McCartney after the 12-12-12 concert to front.
Brett: So you agree with me.
Mike: That’s his daughter. Could you really think of anyone else more appropriate then that If it isn’t Paul or FBC I’ll be shocked.
Brett: So you agree with me.
Mike: Do we really need to make that a big thing that I agree with you? lol.
Brett: And Riley you want Weird Al right?
Riley: Yeah it’s Weird Al for sure. And these guys.
Brett: So overall how was 2013 in rock?
Riley: Lotsa big name releases, lots of drama.
Mike: Pretty rockin’. Fantastic nostalgia material being pumped out, Scandals all over the place, great new acts on the rise. Should make for a fantastic 2014.
Brett: I thought it was shit for the most part. We’re still in the dark ages of not many prominent young guitar driven bands with talent. I did see some great shows though. But there wasn’t much great material released this year.
Mike: I didn’t know just guitar based music was the only form out there.
Riley: Shoulda gone to Rockstar UPROAR earlier then.
Mike: And saw every band, not just Jane’s/AIC.
Brett: I’m talking album wise.
Mike: Well good music is subjective.
Brett: There was some good stuff but overall the only great top to bottom album was Like Clockwork.
Mike: What is good to some isn’t to others.
Brett: Right, I wish you’d said this during our epic Arcade Fire debate! But overall I think rock is dead right now when it comes to being a vibrant thing with a real message for society.
Mike: Well I mean its not like the world doesn’t have a lot to rebel against right now.
Riley: Rock never died, it just hid from pop.
Mike: Just like there will always be pop I am certain there will always be rock.
Brett: Rock is dead, I just hope that it can come back.
Mike: Thats a bit of a bold statement. I don’t think rock is dead at all.
Brett: It’s totally dead.
Mike: It might not be as strong as pop is but its not a dead genre.
Brett: It’s such shit that they still have to play Pearl Jam and Nirvana on modern rock radio because there’s not enough new good stuff to play. 20 year old songs on modern rock radio, amazing songs but 20 years old. They have to play them because there’s not enough out there today.
Mike: That’s why I don’t listen to my rock station because they play nothing but classic rock mixed with a few new releases. I know where to go for new music.
Riley: That’s just more dependent on record labels. Labels aren’t signing rock artists as much as radio-friendly pop rock artists.
Brett: No they play the crappy new shit to death over and over, but my point is there’s a real healthy dose of old stuff that there wasn’t 15-20 years ago on modern rock radio because the talent was still there. I disagree I just don’t think the great rock songs are being written right now.
Mike: As Riley pointed out. The music industry is whats dying more so then rock. More demand is in that teenybopper pop stuff then rock.
Brett: Teenybopper pop has always existed. It has nothing to do with the state of rock. Hanson were around what, 20 years ago? New Kids On The Block.
Mike: There is more of a way to get your music out there. To the masses then depend on record labels. Thats why indie acts are so popular. And new Hanson sounds nothing like old Hanson
Riley: It’s all about the ebb and flow of trends.
Brett: Well the trend is shit right now.
Riley: Grunge was a reaction to hair metal. Modern pop trend is a reaction to alt rock, and then we’ll have a rebuttal to modern pop.
Brett: Electronic music totally overtaking rock is the bigger concern than pop. Guys think it’s easier to get their dick sucked being a DJ than playing guitar now.
Mike: Over here Electronic music isn’t as big, it must be a west coast thing.
Riley: It’s easy to sample someone else’s music and then make a song out of that. Can I go play GTAV now?
Brett: Only if you go on a hooker killing spree.