2008 was a huge year for rock ... and 2009 looks like it could be even bigger. So all this week, we're taking stock of the things guaranteed to rock this year. From the triumphant returns of some of the biggest bands on the planet to a handful of up-and-coming acts that we're expecting big things from in '09, we've got it all covered. This is Rock Week, on MTVNews.com.
Once upon a time, even the hugest bands on the planet were bands no one had ever heard of. They had yet to rock arenas or unite the globe or even ride on a tour bus with a working toilet, for that matter. They were just a bunch of kids with a single press photo (usually taken against a brick wall) and a whole lot of possibility. It didn't matter that the odds were stacked impossibly high against them. It was almost better that way.
These days, things are different. Thanks to the vast frontier of the Internet, practically every band has been heard by somebody, which makes the concept of them "rocketing to success" seem rather antiquated. And, perhaps dulled by nearly three decades of "Next Big Thing" articles, we tend to roll our eyes further back into our heads with each "can't miss" contender foisted on us by the music industry.
That said, please allow us to do the very same thing. Because, really, the Next Big Things have to come from somewhere, right? So while we're going to refrain from the hyperbole ("This band will change your life!") we are going to go out on a limb and say that you'll be hearing a whole lot from these guys in 2009. From Lil Wayne-approved rock stars to much-buzzed blog acts to, um, barely pubescent head-bangers, these are our top picks for 2009's Rock Rookies.
[artist id="3120605"]Crooked X[/artist]
Who: A hard-charging foursome from Coweta, Oklahoma, whose age belies their sheer shred-ocity. (For more on teen rockers Crooked X, head to the Newsroom.) None of the members are old enough to drive, but they've already opened for KISS and Ted Nugent, been featured on CBS' "The Early Show" and played the halftime show during the last game at Texas Stadium. Now managed by "Doc" McGhee — the man responsible for shaping the careers of [artist id="992"]KISS[/artist], [artist id="1044"]Bon Jovi[/artist] and [artist id="997"]Mötley Crüe[/artist] — they'll release their self-titled debut at the end of the month. It rocks.
Kids Say the Awesomest Things: Given that they're all just 14, Crooked X are out to prove that they're not just a novelty act. And the proof, they say, is in the performance. "We look up to anyone who puts their blood, sweat and tears into their music, and that's what we try to do every night," guitarist Jesse Cooper explained. "You give us two guitar amps, a bass rig and a drum set, and you'll be entertained for at least an hour. At least. We come out, first song to the last song, going ba--s to the wall."
They Should Be Getting Hazard Pay: When you go to war each and every night, there's bound to be some casualties. But Crooked X seem to rack up those casualties quicker than most. "We've had a lot of bad experiences falling off the stage, falling in the stage, through the stage, a lot of that stuff," frontman Forrest French laughed. "One night, we were on a stage with a bunch of subwoofers coming out the front. In between those subwoofers and the stage, there was a hole that went all the way down to the floor. So I was doing a solo, and I stepped back, and one foot went right into that hole. The corner of it went right in between my legs. And I fell back onto the stage all torqued and stuff. But I got up and asked the crowd if I looked stupid, and they said, 'Yeah!' And I was like, 'All right, let's keep going then!' "
Who: Swoony Glaswegian (that means they're from Glasgow, Scotland) quartet that has already conquered the U.K. and now has sights set on the rest of the world. Championed by Scottish music impresario Alan McGee — he's the guy behind [artist id="1168"]Oasis[/artist], [artist id="758"]Primal Scream[/artist] and [artist id="121"]My Bloody Valentine[/artist] — Glasvegas rose from relative obscurity (and bohemian poverty) to chart-topping fame, thanks to knee-buckling tracks like "Geraldine" and "Daddy's Gone." Their self-titled debut was released Stateside earlier this month, and they're currently playing a select slate of U.S. shows. Frontman/ moody heartthrob James Allan played football (or, you know, soccer) in the Scottish Premiere League before deciding to focus on songwriting.
Spot the Influences: Glasvegas' debut is a gorgeously maudlin affair, full of echo-chamber guitars, Wall of Sound production and '60s girl-group harmonies. All of which has made it easy pickings for fickle critics, who love to point out the similarities to acts like the Jesus and Mary Chain and the Velvet Underground. "I think more people like to label things and say, 'Oh, that's what you are,' but I don't think we fit into any of those categories," drummer Caroline McKay said. "Our music is the way it is because it's basic. It's born out of the fact that none of us had any money, so we used to hang around at my house and listen to old records ... like '50s barbershop quartets and Phil Spector albums."
Learning on Her Feet: For McKay — who was ranked #10 on NME's 2008 "Cool List" (three spots ahead of Lil Wayne) — Glasvegas' whirlwind ride to fame has been particularly disorienting, because four years ago, she'd never even attempted to play an instrument. "It's a bit surreal, because I've never, A) been a drummer, B) been in a band," she laughed. "James and I were friends, and one night we were out, and he said, 'Why don't you be the drummer?' and I laughed, but he was serious. So I gave it a go, and I'm still here. I play standing up, because that's how I learned. Plus, I'm really small, so no one would see me if I sat down."
Check back for more Friday, as Rock Week continues on MTVNews.com.