Another year draws to a close – a year filled with significantly far too gigs and far too few new music releases. The Covid pandemic has created a heightened awareness of mortality and the fragility of life – and 2020 has seen the passing of many more musicians that had a significant impact in the lives of us here at The Australian Rock Show and millions of others. That list includes Bones Hillman from Midnight Oil and The Swingers, Ken Hensley of Uriah Heep, Helen Reddy, Ronnie Peel, Lee Kerslake, Frankie Banali, Walter Lure, Pete Way, Martin Birch, Paul Chapman, Max Merritt and Steve Priest to name a few. Their legacy is lasting and music enduring. With so few gigs this year – it’s easy to select the Scorpions/Whitesnake gig in February as the gig of the year, although finally getting to see and meet the great Ron Keel in person was also pretty cool. To hear songs like Tears Of Fire was like being in 1985 again – that’s a good thing in my books. In spite of the logistical challenges this year presented, my brother still managed to produce a dozen high quality episodes of the Australian Rock Show. This included excellent interviews with Phil Campbell of Motorhead, Steve Riley of WASP/ LA Guns, Ty Coates of Ty Coates’ Bombers (who also released a killer new album called ‘Man Down’ this year), author Jeff Apter to talk all things George Young, Orianthi, Linda McDonald of Phantom Blue / The Iron Maidens, Donita from L7, Ron Keel as well as Angry Anderson and Chris Masuak of Radio Birdman. A lot of hard work goes into preparation for interviews and each episode and I’m sure you’ll agree with me that the end result is a very well-produced product. My brother also wrote and released a book called ‘Movin On’ and if you are so inclined to enter the time tunnel, head back to 1977 when suburbia was filled with rock ‘n’ roll, concerts, pinball, skateboards and high school kids with big dreams and endless possibilities – this is a book you do need to check out. It’s available in e-book now and print version soon. It’s no small feat writing and releasing a book so please give it a read. In terms of album of the year? The Australian album of the year for me was Stars – One More Circle Round The Sun. The album was released in February, and then the world went into lockdown. It’s one hell of a record and Mick Pealing, Nick Charles and Mal Eastick have again showed all and sundry why they are still a relevant Oz rock band creating new music. The album of the year ? Without a doubt – Kevin K and Ricky Rat’ Party Store’, released on Circumstantial Records. What an album – from powerpop to melodic punk, there’s a ballad, there’s glam, there’s blues, catchy choruses’, killer riffs and solos – The Party Store has something for even the most discerning listener. If you dig The Ramones or the Dead Boys, Greg Kihn or Westerberg, Iggy or Bowie – there is something in the Party Store just for you. Kevin K is still – the best there is. In fact if you are a fan of Kevin K – be sure to join the Kevin K Fan Club on Facebook.
Thankyou to all readers of The Australian Rock Review and all listeners of the Australian Rock Show. Your continued support is very much appreciated. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year – stay safe, see you in 2021.