“This Year Has Been Monumental!”

Metallica, Greta Van Fleet, Halestorm et al. relive their personal highlights of 2018.

“This Year Has Been Monumental!”

In a year characterized by turmoil, music has kept us all sane. In fact, this year has seen the release of some truly great albums, coupled with a sense that the heavy music scene is more vibrant than ever.

From the emergence of acts such as Turnstile, FEVER 333 and Greta Van Fleet through to Guns N’ Roses headline set in front of 100,000 people at Download, and on to the briefest of Nirvana reunions, it’s been a year packed with unforgettable ‘moments’ for us all – musicians included.

In fact, we asked five of your favourite musicians to pick their own personal highlight from a rather frenetic year…

Pete Wentz (Fall Out Boy): “It’s always funny to look back on the year and think about the things that you wish you’d done more of, or you wish you’d done differently, but other than that it’s been a pretty good year.

“M A N I A came out and we did shows, and then [Wentz’s daughter] Marvel arrived [on May 13] right before we went to Asia. She is very sweet, and having travelled with her and stuff was really the bow on top of the year. It’s definitely a juggling act to have kids and be doing the band, but I look out in the world and there’s single moms that do that in a more mystifying way, so I feel very grateful. At the same time, three kids is pretty crazy!

“Playing Wrigley Field [in FOB’s hometown of Chicago] was a really big moment. That seemed insurmountable, you know? We grew up sitting in the nosebleeds for baseball games there, so that one felt really special. Between that and Reading & Leeds, it felt like a nice end to the chapter of whatever M A N I A is. It gave it a graceful end, and everybody we’ve gone through it all with kind of participated in that show in some way, so it was a really cool moment. It’s hard to have a list of moments that you’re going to remember forever, but that’s always going to be one.”

Lars Ulrich (Metallica): “I would say probably those few days in Stockholm in June [when Metallica were presented with the prestigious Polar Music Prize]. The Polar prize is an institution in Sweden. Everything is done with the utmost sincerity, love and care. It was a really cool, special time and my wife and I had the pleasure of sitting with his majesty, the Swedish king. Then they had Roger Glover and Ian Paice from Deep Purple there [to read the official citation]. That was the incredible icing on the cake.

“I’d also say every time we finish a show and get offstage with our arms and legs still attached to our bodies. 2018 has been an incredible year and Metallica are stronger than ever. It’s incredible, 37 years in, to have people care and show up, and that’s a highlight in itself.”

Lzzy Hale (Halestorm): “We released a record [Vicious] and went on an amazing headlining tour around Europe, and that was incredible. Every day you’re in a different culture and you’re seeing how these people are responding to your songs and your record. It’s just an amazing thing to be a part of because music is the closest thing to magic that we will ever know.

“We got to headline Brixton Academy. It’s so funny, because it’s such a small moment in the set, but we did an acoustic version of the last song on the new record, The Silence. It’s a love ballad, and people started crowd-surfing to it! That was a pretty magical moment.”

Josh Kiszka (Greta Van Fleet): “For me, probably being able to explore some of the most beautiful places on Earth in our travels has been the highlight of the year. Banff, Canada was pretty intense. We were surrounded by these gigantic snow-capped mountains and the water was so serenely blue. It’s all tucked in within the trees and you have to make your way through. The Grand Canyon was also incredible. It’s kind of indescribable because it was unfathomable what you were looking at. The sheer mass of what you are seeing and all these really beautiful colours. They were contrasting environments, but both incredible.

“Are we finishing 2018 in a different place from where we started? Most definitely. We’re playing to literally twice as many people in the span of a year, maybe even more. Not only have we seen audiences grow significantly over the last year, but we’ve evolved spiritually and creatively as a band. This year has been monumental for us.”

Mike Shinoda: “I was in China, and we played a large venue where I did probably a 90 or 100-minute set. The organisers had told me that as soon as I finish, I should get off the stage, into the car and out of there because the exit for all of the fans was pretty much right in front of that driveway. I did that, but on the road I got a text from our production manager to say, ‘It’s been 15 minutes and the fans are still in here singing your songs.’ I said, ‘Oh no, do they think there’s going to be another encore?’ He reassured me that they knew there wouldn’t be, and that they just wanted to be together there singing the songs. About 45 minutes after the show, they were still in the venue and obviously had no intention of leaving. The staff had to politely request that they leave. They explained that they loved that they were still there and having such a great time, but the folks working needed to lock the doors and go home! I thought that was amazing.

“The fans are constantly doing things to make me laugh or entertain the band at the show. One night, they all showed up with printed masks of my face, taken from weird moments on my social media. One of the faces had huge, insane eyes, and shark teeth. We grabbed one of those masks and kept hiding it in different places on the bus to scare each other. You’d be in the front of the bus and hear someone in the back scream, followed by, ‘DAMMIT, MIKE!’”

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