Leeds and Reading are offering lacklustre bands this year - so who would you pick?

There’s been a lot of controversy over the recently announced Leeds and Reading festival lineups. Hell, my rant on how thoroughly dire the entire lineup is has been my most popular and most commented post on my blog so far.

So if I’ve been throwing insults at artists this way and that, explaining why those bands don’t make a great festival lineup, who do I think is deserving of my praise as festival headliners and big-name acts?

The whole thing got me thinking of who I would have at Download, my festival of choice, to make it totally perfect. But I found myself having to omit bands because they’d broken up or members of the band are no longer with us.

But what if there were no boundaries? No feuds holding bands back. No constraints of death or age. If we could have any bands and artists we wanted, dead or alive, to play the festival of our dreams.

So I’ve come up with this, rather rudimentary, poster for Six StringsFest 2010. Click the thumbnail to the right to check out my choices, though I’m sure you can make out the main headliners from their logos.

Six main headliners, and another six to back them up - thems the rules!

Let me run you through my headliner decisions, which were much harder to finalise than you’d think.

Before you tuck in and read, leave a comment – what’s YOUR ideal festival lineup?

Pick four for each day – two headliners and two other artists to follow them on stage. Choose wisely!

First Day (Friday)

First up, to kick off the whole thing, we’ve got Pantera. The brutal, relentless force mixed with the band’s ‘groove metal’ style would really kickstart the festival at 500mph right off the bat. Seeing as there are two constraints on the band, Six StringsFest would be the only chance we’d get to see the boys again!

The band broke up in 2001 after long-term problems with vocalist Phil Anslemo, and all chances of a reunion went totally out of the window on December 8th 2004, when ex-guitarist ‘Dimebag’ Darrell Abbott was shot on stage with his new band, Damageplan, by a deranged ‘fan’ who sought to kill him and his brother (drummer Vinnie Paul), who managed to survive unscathed.

Having the boys back together to play again as Pantera in their prime would be a musical dream come true, so they’re number one!

Lamb of God continue the relentless metal force of the first day with chugging thrash riffs, brutal pits and the inevitable ‘Wall of Death’ as the set would finish with their signature mosh-pit tune Black Label.

Second Day (Saturday)

Now I know that Van Halen are still around, and still gig. But they’re getting on a bit now, and the band were at their prime in the early 80s when David Lee Roth still rocked the microphone. He was the better frontman (since replaced by Sammy Hagar) and helped the band create their greatest tracks so no substitutes!

After a good old-fashioned rock and roll arena gig, Steve Vai would take the stage to let the magic flow from his fingers for an hour while everyone would get high purely from the aural ecstasy that he creates whenever he picks up a guitar. We could all chill in the afternoon sun with a ton of beers and some sexual music.

Final Day (Sunday)

Another band still rocking the stages, but having suffered from numerous lineup changes, is Ozzy Osbourne. While Ozzy is still, obviously, a part of the band my choice in this instance would involve deceased guitarist Randy Rhoads. The man died in a tragic plane crash in 1982 and never got to fulfill his full potential both with Ozzy and as a musician, being only 25 at the time of his death.

So I’d invite him back to the stage to play at Six StringsFest, so I could experience something that I wouldn’t ever have the chance to.

And then to wrap up the weekend’s headliners, Kiss would take the stage with a slew of proper rock songs, stage moves, pyrotechnics and performances of many tracks which are all a part of rock and roll history.

So guys, this is my perfect lineup. As I said before, let me know yours. Comment with your lineup and a few details of why. If I get enough good ones, I’ll do a follow up post with a few of the best. Get scribbling!

Slash's solo album is out on April 7th - if you pre-order, there's some cool extras on offer too!

Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver guitarist Slash talked about his upcoming solo album with UK magazine Metal Hammer earlier this week, and signed off hinting at a possible, and rather unusual, collaboration project with Fergie – best known for her work with the Black Eyed Peas, of all groups.

There are, of course, other far more notable guest appearances on the self-titled album. Ozzy Osbourne, Dave Grohl, M. Shadows (of Avenged Sevenfold), Iggy Pop, Cypress Hill and Chris Cornell have all made a contribution to the record, which is due out on 7th April.

But the bizarre addition of Fergie has left me, at least, incredibly stumped. The Black Eyed Peas produce nothing but generic mass-pleasing music, with awful backing and a very lacklustre vocal output (both in terms of lyrics and quality).

As you can tell I’m not a fan – it’s really not a favourite moment of mine when one of their songs comes on in a club. Which is such a shame, as I used to love BEP back when they first emerged!

So why has Slash chosen Fergie to appear on his record?  Well, it would seem that they both go back a long way and have worked together many times before in the LA music scene – a place where, it would seem, everyone knows everyone.

Slash told Metal Hammer that he wanted different vocal sounds for each of his songs, and Fergie fitted with this.

I was writing material that called out for different singers. A good example the song that Fergie ended up on – it was a very hard rock song. It was written to a stripper kind of beat. It was tailored for a girl to sing it, but a girl that had balls.

He’s not lying either. Coming from someone who’s sung the kind of mass-dance churn music that the Black Eyed Peas seem to have been guilty of in the past few years, Fergie sounds like she’s got more in common with Pink than the BEP’s frontman willi.i.am.

Check out this bonus track from the Slash solo album. That’s right, it’s Paradise City. But please, bear with us – it’s not butchered at all like you’d expect it. In fact, it’s Cypress Hill who seem to be most out-of-place.

Unless Kid Rock (who also appears on the album) pulls an ace out of nowhere (unlikely, given his lack of ability to produce good rock records), then Fergie will be the biggest surprise on this album.

Slash goes on to hint at a possibility of doing an album with Fergie.

I’d love to do [a record] with Fergie, and I know she’s looking to do a rock record…

So more may be on the cards. At first I was very dubious, knowing full well that the Black Eyed Peas are incapable of producing a record that doesn’t make me want to hurl the radio at a wall. But with the sneak previews we’ve had of Fergie’s ability, I’m gonna trust Slash on this one.

Bring on the duet album, I say!

Now all that’s left is to wait and see if Slash’s solo work is any good. Given that his work with Velvet Revolver was fantastic, and that the latest ‘Axl Rose and Friends’ (sorry…’Guns N’ Roses’) record was very much less than fantastic I think the talent lies with our curly-haired friend.

Roll on April 7th – I await it with bated breath. Expect a full album review as soon as this record hits the shelves. Until then, turn your eyes towards the newly-released track listing so you know what to expect!

  1. Ghost (Ian Astbury)
  2. Crucify The Dead (Ozzy)
  3. Beautiful Dangerous (Fergie)
  4. Promise (Chris Cornell)
  5. By The Sword (Andrew Stockdale)
  6. Gotten (Adam Levine)
  7. Doctor Alibi (Lemmy Kilmeister)
  8. Watch This (Dave Grohl/Duff McKagan)
  9. I Hold On (Kid Rock)
  10. Nothing To Say (M Shadows)
  11. Starlight (Myles Kennedy)
  12. Saint Is A Sinner Too (Rocco De Luca)
  13. We’re All Gonna Die (Iggy Pop)

Sources: Metal Hammer, Guitar World.