STRIKTLY FOR KONNISSUERS 12-20-99

Official Nonsense:

Editor and Santa Claus - Kurt Torster

The Reindeer:

Ian McIntosh (AOR Basement - http://www.aorbasement.com)
Tim Henderson (Brave Words - http://www.hardradio.com)
Peter Sims (Now & Then/Frontiers - http://www.nowandthen.co.uk)
Ove Gustafsson (MTM - http://www.pi.se/mtm)
Mark Alger (Z Records - http://graffiti.virgin.net/zero_option_pro.z_records/)
Carrie Borzillo (All Star Daily News)
Marty Dodge ( http://www.lupusandco.com)
Jason McGhee

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Kurt's Krap:

Next week's issue will probably be entirely dedicated to the year 1999. You know, best of lists and all that junk. But there will certainly be news if I can hound some up.

News Bytes:

From Frontiers concerning MARCIE FREE: "Just to let everyone know that after Frontiers Records contacted Marcie Free about the references to the so called 'unauthorized reissue', and the plan to offer free full downloads of the songs, Marcie has ordered her webmaster to remove everything regarding the matter and apologized to Frontiers."

BAD HABIT will release a compilation in Japan next year that will include rare tracks as well as their best material.

DON HENLEY will tour next spring in support of a new album to be followed in the summer by a new EAGLES album and tour.

FOO FIGHTERS' Dave Grohl has fired another priceless salvo in his war of words with Courtney Love. Says Dave, "with a little plastic surgery she could be Yoko Ono. Sher certainly has the voice for it."

Look for ROBIN GEORGE's classic "Heartline" to get reissued by Castle next year. Awesome news indeed!

Word has it that Stephen Pearcy and Warren DiMartini have be fist-fighting backstage, maybe bringing an end to the RATT reunion.

The long awaited live FIREHOUSE CD, "Bring Them Out", features the following tracks: Overnight Sensation, All She Wrote, Lover's Lane, Hold Your Fire, Dream, When I Look Into Your Eyes, Acid Rain, Bringing Me Down, Don't Walk Away, Love Of A Lifetime, Reach For The Sky, I Live My Life For You, Here For You and Don't Treat Me Bad

MARILLION is talking DVD video releases for next year.

Correction: Magnus from MTM told me that they have NOT passed on the last JIMMY LAWRENCE album, contrary to last week's report, and are working to get a new disc released from Jimmy soon.

February 2 is now the release date set by Capitol for POISON's long lost "Crack A Smile". Their last studio album, it may be their best and bonus tracks include their 'MTV Unplugged' performance.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Cleopatra Records must be stopped! C'mon, is "A Tribute To POISON" really needed? Have any of these been any good?

Looks like CC Deville will have to change the name of his new band THE STEPMOTHERS. Seems someone actually owns the name, though they havenít recorded in quite a while. The new name may be Samantha7, and their debut album, record with Jack Blades, was recorded in 12 days.

DAKOTA's newest, "Little Victories", will be out in January. According to 'apprentice dipshit' Rick Manwiller "the first 100 copies of LV supposedly come with 1 billion free hours on AOL, or a rebate check for $1.37, whichever is larger in value. And a free rug-burn for all who sit."

KNAC.COM will offer a free download of ďComaĒ, a bonus track in Japan off the new GUNS NíROSES live set.

Look for MVP's "Animation" in February on Z Records. It features HELLOWEEN guitarist Roland Grapow.

FAITH HILL will sing the National Anthem at this season's NFL Super Bowl.

STYX will tour next summer with REO SPEEDWAGON. Over at the House Of Blues site ( www.houseofblues.com) there is a Styx concert available for download.

There's a rumor floating around that one of the 'known' AOR labels will be dropping the AOR from their rosters and head off into heavier territories.

Over at .38 SPECIAL's official site, www.38special.com, you can grab two free Liquid Audio downloads from "Live At Sturgis" in "Hold On Loosely" and "Just One Girl".

Kurt's Picks:

AMBROSIA - ANTHOLOGY, WB, 1997 [Similarities: Toto, Player, Chicago]

Westcoast AOR fanatics no doubt already no the name Ambrosia. Actually most people probably know their 70s hit "How Much I Feel", which is pretty indicative of their whole sound. In other words, smooth jazzy rock that is tastefully played and produced (and at times a little too subdued). Don't get me wrong, this is some very classy music but I had a hard time making it through all sixteen tracks in one sitting. Eventually a bland feeling takes over and you're practically begging for something to just 'rock out' a bit. Overall, a lot of this is very forgettable, even after repeat listens which is a shame because you just know they are good songs. But taken together rather than individually it just sounds like one long mellow tune.

Highlights? Well, of course there are some that stand out from the pack. The bouncy "Mama Don't Understand", the exquisite "You're The Only Woman" and ballad "I Just Can't Let Go" all hit the right spots. And not for nothing, David Pack is an elite vocalist who pipes rival the likes of Steve Perry or Michael McDonald. But, even though this is good stuff, it's just maybe too much of a good thing.

ROBIN BROCK - BLAME IT ON ROCK & ROLL, A2, 1999 [Similarities: Sass Jordan, Pat Benatar, Jaime Kyle]

Sometimes I think we all forget than women can rock just as good as any guy, and I'm not talking about pap like Sheryl Crow or Jewel. I mean down and dirty rock and roll. Allow me to introduce Robin Brock, who reminds me actually of a female Henry Lee Summer or Bryan Adams. Robin and her band play a very melodic yet raw rock that is always best at loud volumes. While nothing here is all that original, Robin shows flashes that she may be a force to be reckoned with.

The big passionate ballad "You Lost Your Heart" comes across as 80s Cher (with a little balls throw in). Ditto with the Whitesnake-ish ballad "If I Can Forget", which really shows off the soaring vox of Ms. (Mrs.?) Brock. And the midtempo acoustic tinged "I Lied" is just awesome and has a real John Waite feel to it. But mostly this disc is packed with generic arena rockers like "Rockin' On The Airwaves" and the stomping "Lipstick And Lace", songs that feel like you've heard a thousand times before (but are thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless). A decent if unspectacular disc for sure, but the groundwork has certainly been laid for the future.

ROXETTE - HAVE A NICE DAY, EMI, 1999 [Similarities: Savage Garden, INXS, The Beatles]

Imagine taking Roxette's older melodic pop/rock sound and twisting it around some delicious electronic beats, and that only scratches the surface of this monster. This is, without doubt, the most addictive disc I've heard in some time. Not only does it beg, but rather it demands repeat play. These are power pop songs you can dance to, and while that may put some people off, they'll only be missing out on one of THE finest releases of the year. Each and every song on here could be a hit on it's own and that speaks volumes of both the accessibility and quality of tracks like the smashing electronic pulse of "Crush On You" and "Stars", the huge loops of "You Can't Put Your Arms Around What's Already Gone", the dreamy pop of "7Twenty7" or the balladry of "I Was So Lucky". And there's never any point where hard rocking pop (or even AOR to an extent) isn't in the mix. Another shining example of the genius of Per Gessele (now if we could only get that promised US release!).

(Re)Views From The Hill:

GUNS Ní ROSES: LIVE ERA Ď87-93, Geffen [similarities: LA Guns, Smashed Gladys, Dangerous Toys, Spread Eagle]

Love or hate them, GnR made an impact on the late 80s and early 90s, not to be seen in the music scene until the dawning of the grunge explosion and Nirvana. Raw, obnoxious, loud and in your face, GnR was rebellion at its most fun. It was punk that girls liked, so you could get dangerous and get laid. It was LA and it was Hollywood.

Formed out of the former Hollywood Rose, GnR burst on the scene with the best rock debut of the 80s or even since then, the awesome blistering timeless "Appetite for Destruction." Appetite truly had no duff tracks, raw load and nasty, it was the gritty side of LA on stage and in your face. Sex, drugs and rock & roll were the order of the day. W Axl Rose, led the band of marauders and seemingly never mellowed even after a whole day of interviews he still had the spunk to piss off legions and legions of his detractors.

Live Era is a greatest hits collection that features Guns in at their best and in your face. The album, mixed by former guitarist Slash, manages to demonstrate Guns live while not going overboard with crowd noises or Axlís many rants. Although it is amazing to listen to Axl trying to convince a crowd to stop crushing the poor souls in the front row. This is not the album to have on while Grandma is in the house at Christmas, swearing abounds, combined with tender songs about heroin abuse (Mr Brownstone), death (Paradise City, Knockiní on Heavenís Door), violence (Welcome to the Jungle), and insanity (Youíre Crazy, Itís so Easy). The couple of tracks that I wish were featured on this more than generous 2 cd/22 song set are the controversial "One in a Million" and the anti-journalist rant "Get in the Ring." Even live, it is patently obvious that the best stuff GnR ever wrote was on their first album, all else pales in comparison.

That is not to say everything is in your face and brutal, the radio friendly "Patience" and "Sweet Child of Mine" lend a tender side to each disc. Also featured is an 11 minute version of the majestic Queen-esque track "November Rain," from the Use your Illusion albums.

Simply put, this is an amazing live album that captures the band at their live best. The case, simply adorned with concert flyers from the bandís early days, leaves out the bs, and lets the contents to the talking. For s&gís, the truly anal can see if they can spot line-up changes in some of the shots on the flyers, most notably the departure of Tracii Guns (the Guns part of GnR) and the addition of Izzy Stradlin.

Those seeking new Guns material can pick up the soundtrack to the movie End of Days, and look forward to a new album from Axl and new line-up in the new year. Rumours of a totally re-recorded Appetite seem to unfounded. Axl always knew how to keep his name in the news. I got to say, I love this live set, finding myself playing it whenever I have been frustrated with the delays in the publication of my forthcoming book. GnR is sweat-fuelled angst that has not been replicated since. If got one of those Korn, RATM, Limp loving younger relatives who thinks he knows rebellion, give him this CD and let him know what sex, drugs and rock & roll really means! And boy wont it piss his parents off too! I know it will never happen, but I would love to see a GnR "reunion" tour in 00ís.

AOR Basement (Ian McIntosh):

Donnie Iris has a new album due out imminently. It's called "Together Alone" and will feature guest appearances from Scott Blasey (of The Clarks), Joe Grushecky, B.E. Taylor, Rick Witkowski, Michael Stanley, and a load of others. Produced by long-time cohort Mark Avsec, as well as new songs, it will continue acoustic versions of "The Promise" and "Ah! Leah!". Get more details at http://www.donnieiris.com/.

GB Music has the CDs from 8084 and Axminster coming our any day. The 8084 project goes by the name of "So Far" and includes five new versions of songs from their debut album plus other tracks from the "Love and War" and "Satisfaction Guaranteed" releases. Axminster is from the same stable of Hirsh Gardner (ex New England) productions and is cool rock as well - even if it has been sitting on the shelf for the best part of 10 years..... More details at http://www.gbmusic.com.

The new year looks like being a busy one for fans of Little Feat. The band have an all new album (their 16th) slated for a June 2000 release to mark their 30th anniversary. Reports say there will be a lot of interesting guests and a mixture of live and studio tracks. A box set of their first 15 albums will also be out by September with loads of bonus and unreleased tracks. Not content with just that another album "Live from the El Rey" will be available in February but only thought the wed and "non-traditional retail outlets at a price of $7.99". You'll also be able to download the whole album in Liquidaudio format. For further details visit http://www.littlefeat.net.

Venice has just put out a new, Christmas album called funnily enough "Christmas with Venice". It's traditional Christmas music (like you need me to tell you that!) played acoustically with the semi-famous Lennon brothers four-part harmonies over the top.... However, this 12 song release is only available from the band direct and will not be on regular sale anywhere. To order it send $20 to: Christmas with Venice, 12228 Venice Blvd., #435 Los Angeles, CA 90066, USA. You can also hear samples from the disk at http://www.pacificnet.net/~egoman/venice/audioxmas.html. The band are also expected to play some new concerts in Europe (The Netherlands specifically) in March , dates and venues should be firmed up shortly....

Keyboard player Eric Ragno has left Takara, but he's still got a raft of alternative projects in progress. He's been working with progressive band Equinox on material for their second album (the follow-up to "The Colour of Time"). Recording there is due to start in February and you can get more details at http://equinox.simplenet.com/New.htm. He's also working again with fusion guitarist Damir Simic-Shime and the two are writing for an acoustic album (said to be the style of modern/new age flamenco guitarist Ottmar Liebert). More details on all of Eric's projects can be found at http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Venue/1046/.

MP3.COM:

[Found a cool artist on MP3.COM? Let the SFK world know about it!]

From: "Danny Danzi" <DannyDanzi@prodigy.net>

I met a friend in England the last time I was there, and he told me it was his birthday. So as a goof, I decided to send him a little file of me singing happy birthday to him....but what escalated after my initial idea is something definitely special. He liked it so much he put it on the net, and it is now this month's top download!! You never heard "Happy Birthday" ever done like this, I can assure you. So check it out when or if you get a chance, I promise you won't be disappointed! Just figured I would share it with you all. I hope you all have a safe and wonderful holiday season, God Bless!!!!! Danny Danzi

http://sharehouse.xoom.com/index.php3?SH_CAT=2

[Ed. Note: DOWNLOAD THIS NOW! It's incredible.]

From: "Billy G. Spradlin" <bgspradlin@earthlink.net>

Check out these bands on mp3.com:

Rubinoos (yep them, get both songs)

Sugarplumfairies (get "Anyway", the other song is OK dance-pop)

Lemonlime ("Without Her" is a very catchy song)

Cheap Trick ("Hot Love" from their latest live CD)

SWAG (Nashville)

Popland

Arthur Music World (Actually a guy named Stan Arthur, I liked his song called "Timothy B")

From: "Freddy Aries" <cheiron@bigfoot.com>

Well, for those who still don't know Steelhouse Lane - the band has some really good songs up there, definitely worth checking out. Then there's some solo stuff from Mike Tramp (ex-White Lion), there's some stuff from a band called 8084 (pretty good), a couple of nice tracks from a German band called Winterland, some really good instrumental tracks from guitar player Neil Zaza (with a lot of assistance from Michael Morales(!!) - but no vocals), and some scattered tracks from a variety of other artists. For example, check out "Cry Of Love" by Eve Selis, or "Where's The Good In Goodbye" by MaD DoLL. And for those who enjoy Neil Schon's new age-style solo albums, they might want to check out the solo tracks from Starship's guitar player Erik Torjesen also on www.mp3.com.

And speaking of mp3 tracks... did you see the December rarities action at the Def Leppard website? ( http://www.webnl.com/senff/slow/leppard_sounds.html ) ? Those tracks are definitely worth downloading.

From: "Markus Nordenberg" <extra.134@telia.com>

http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/65/pearls__flames.html

From: "Jeff Prentice" <guitarjeff@earthlink.net>

Check out a band called "Kings Karma". They are German, I believe, and sound kind of like later Journey. Good Stuff. One of the best bands I have heard on MP3.com. Nice fellows as well. We have corresponded a little.

There is a band called "Via", that is kind of Rush-Like and is good also. Check out some of the bands listed as Prog. Some good stuff there. There are links from my page there to Kings Karma and Via.

http://www.mp3.com/JEFFP

From: "Baker, Lee" <Lee.Baker@reichhold.com>

I've recently purchased Sedona (reviewed previously, but I didn't catch it that time - bought it mainly for 'Filling Up The Holes') and Red Delicious (check out 'The Garden'). Downloads I like: Orange 9MM ('When You Lie'), Scott Meldrum ('Einstein's Big Mistake'), Black Cab ('Christlike'). I also like the Cochabambas, a Brazilian surf rock band.

From: Carl Fritch <carlfritch@we-rock.com>

I'm with a AOR band called Peace & Quiet. Mp3s can be found at http://www.we-rock.com.