Myles Kennedy performs at Baltimore Soundstage in 2018. (Photo by Chris Smyth)
Where 2020 was mostly a lost year for music, 2021 became a banner year for the industry. While much of the industry is still working to recover from the massive toll that was forced upon them by the pandemic, we fans have been gifted a plethora of music this year. Vaccines got in arms, bands went back on tour, and new albums were released in droves. So many new records came out in 2021 that at times it was hard to keep track of it all. There were multiple times that I was surprised by a new release, or I realized that I had completely missed a new album by and artist I loved. It’s very possible that there are still a few records that I haven’t listened to that I am certain to love.
Rick Allen of Def Leppard poses with his art at Westfield Montgomery Mall on Oct. 24, 2021. (Photo by Chris Smyth)
Legendary drummer for Def Leppard, Rick Allen, made two special appearances in the DMV on Oct. 23 and 24. Showcasing his artwork at the Wentworth Galleries in Tysons, Virginia and Bethesda, Maryland, Rick took time to sign autographs and meet with his fans in attendance. The woman who was first in line at the Wentworth Gallery in the Montgomery Mall, was so excited to meet Rick that she showed up two hours before the exhibition was set to open.
Rick Allen of Def Leppard behind his famous drum kit. (Photos courtesy Mad Ink PR)
This weekend, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and legendary drummer of Def Leppard Rick Allen will make two special appearances in the Washington, DC area to display his art work in two separate exhibitions. First, on Saturday, Oct. 23 in the Wentworth Gallery at Tysons Galleria, in McLean, Virginia, and again on Sunday, Oct. 24 in the Wentworth Gallery in the Montgomery Mall in Bethesda, Maryland, fans and art collectors alike will be able to browse Rick Allen’s artwork, including “Wings Of Hope 2021,” one of his newest pieces.
Best known for being the drummer on major hits such as “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” “Photograph,” “Hysteria,” and “Rock Of Ages,” the British drummer will have art of an entirely different genre on display. His new and extraordinary collection houses originals, limited editions, the painted drum series, mixed media originals, plus the Legends Series, featuring new portraits of Eddie Van Halen, Kurt Cobain and Johnny Cash.
Rick Allen took time out of his schedule to speak with Parklife DC’s Chris Smyth in advance of his shows. In an enjoyable discussion, Rick explained the variety in his artwork, a piece that he is currently working on, the influence and inspiration his youngest daughter had on his work, and how a trip to Walter Reed Army Medical Center influenced his charitable endeavors.
Guns N’ Roses perform at Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore on Sept. 26, 2021. (Photo by Katarina Benzova)
It must be a difficult process deciding which songs make it into a setlist when you have created numerous hits, including some of the most famous songs in rock and roll. But for Guns N’ Roses, it appears that the decision was easy — just play everything. Over the course of an epic 3+ hour set at Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore recently, Guns N’ Roses managed to fit in every major single, numerous deep cuts, a few covers, and even a historical moment.
With the booming bassline start to “It’s So Easy,” Guns N’ Roses burst onto the Baltimore stage on Sept. 26. They followed that with “Mr. Brownstone,” and opened the show with back to back songs off their mega successful debut album, Appetite For Destruction.
The Barclay Brass Quintent performs on Memorial Day in Silver Spring. (Photo by Chris Smyth)
After two days of gray, rainy weather, the skies turned blue over Silver Spring, Maryland, salvaging the long weekend, and providing a perfect environment for an outdoor concert setting. Tucked back into a neighborhood amongst the trees and cicadas, The Barclay Brass Quintet performed a two hour show on Memorial Day afternoon full of classical stylings and popular hits.
Myles Kennedy performs at the Baltimore Soundstage on May 16, 2018. (Photo by Chris Smyth)
As the United States continues its process of opening back up and getting back to normal, the world of music is working to do much of the same. Records are being released and tours are starting back up. What had grinded to a halt is moving once again.
But in the downtime without live music, many musicians used that time to write and record new music. That includes Alter Bridge — and Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators — frontman Myles Kennedy, who will release his second solo record, The Ides of March, on May 14. In a conversation with Parklife DC’s Chris Smyth, Myles discusses the process of creating his new record, what a return to the stage will look like for him, plus what lies ahead for both of his bands.
After garnering national acclaim off of their 2019 EP, hard rock band Dirty Honey are finally set to release their first full-length album on April 23. Originally scheduled to record the album in Australia in the spring of 2020, Dirty Honey were forced to put their plans on hold after the travel restrictions were implemented due to Covid-19.
In a conversation with Parklife DC’s Chris Smyth, Dirty Honey guitarist John Notto and bassist Justin Smolian explained how the forced downtime actually helped them become a better band, and in turn allowed them to create a better record. The pair spoke about the entire preproduction and recording process, which famous musician was recording in the studio beside them, and their plans for potential upcoming tours.
Jed Elliott (left) with The Struts (Photo by Beth Saravo)
On Oct. 16, The Struts released the band’s third album, Strange Days. Managing to record a new album in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic proved difficult. But after a round of tests to ensure everyone’s health and safety, the band moved in together and recorded the entire album from a home-studio over the course of just 10 days. Recording in a way they hadn’t before, during a time unlike any other, The Struts managed to capture the emotions of this moment in history, while balancing it with the fun escapism that many seek through their music.
With the addition of multiple major artists featured throughout the album, and even a cover of a Kiss deep-cut, The Struts pulled off an album that is true to their style, while simultaneously advancing their sound to levels not heard before.
Soon after the album’s release, The Struts bassist Jed Elliott spoke with Parklife DC’s Chris Smyth about all things Strange Days and how the band has been keeping busy during the pandemic.
Godsmack performs at Jiffy Lube Live on Aug. 19, 2018. (Photo by Chris Smyth)
Sully Erna of Godsmack is bringing together many of his rock and roll friends for a marathon fundraiser to benefit The Scars Foundation, which he founded. The benefit on Thursday, Aug. 6 will stream on Sully’s Youtube Channel, and on the The Scars Foundation’s Facebook Page.
In addition to special sets from Godsmack, and Sully solo, there will be performances by Brent Smith and Zach Myers of Shinedown, Papa Roach, Clint Lowery of Sevendust, Aaron Lewis of Staind, Nuno Bettencourt, and Mike Mushok and Adam Gontier of Saint Asonia.
Lzzy Hale fronts Halestorm at the UMBC Event Center in Baltimore, Maryland, on July 31, 2018. (Photo by Chris Smyth)
A traditional 4th of July holiday weekend is filled with food, fireworks, and music. And even though much of the country is still shut down due to the pandemic, music will still play a large part in the celebrations.
This year, many of rock’s top artists are coming together on Friday, July 3, to help kick off the holiday weekend with Rock for Relief, a virtual benefit to help raise money and awareness for Feeding America. Presented by United Stations Media Network and Storic Media Podcast Network, the online show is hosted by Lou Brutus and Riki Rachtman, with interviews conducted by Alice Cooper and guitar great Joe Satriani. The show premiers at 8pm ET, and replays at 11pm ET, on Rock for Relief’s website.