|Editor and King Of The Dipshits - Kurt Torster|
|-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)|
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Special year end borefest...enjoy! No reviews, but there's plenty of news (since if never stops). Next week there may not be an SFK if the world comes to an end over Y2K...
JIZZY PEARL has gone and done something rather cool. He's installed 3 netcams in his house that are on 24 hours a day. So if you were ever curious to see a day in the life of a musician, head over to: http://www.jizzypearl.com/
Many sources around the net seem to be picking up what we mentioned a few months back, that the rumor that DAVID COVERDALE has laid down some tracks with EDDIE VAN HALEN seems to be true. Whether this amounts to an actual band project (which also includes BILLY SHEEHAN and MICHAEL CORTLEONE) remains to be seen.
Not content with working with one beauty in his wife SHANIA TWAIN, MUTT LANGE will be producing and writing the next Britney Spears album. Remember, Mutt did write and produce one track on the last Backstreet Boys album (which BTW was the bestselling album in the US in 1999).
Look for ROBBIE WILLIAMS' hit "Angels" in Spanish on newly reissued versions in Latin American markets.
“Feel The Noize” is a new greatest hits set from SLADE.
Check out the Tourbus, 5 weekly hours of 80s hard rock courtesy of New Jersey radio station WDHA: www.thetourbus.com
Remember RICHARD MARX's song "Hazard"? Well, now there is an entire website dedicated to just that tune. http://www.nctc.net/~hazard/marx/river.html
The Majestic Entertainment Group will be handling the future US releases from Frontiers/Now & Then. Head over to www.majestic-rondelrecords.com for more info.
Drummer Chuck Bonfante is out, Bobby Rondinelli is in in SIGNS OF LIFE. The band is said to be a mix of Zebra, Journey, Touch and Kansas. Scheduled for release in the spring, song titles include Aryon, Wine, Signs Of Life, All My Life, Forever Again, Weight, Stranded, Cross The Line, Love Is Alive, I'll Be There, Desperate Heart, Heartache, In The Middle Of The Night and I'm Alive.
EVERCLEAR will release two albums next year, "Songs From An Amercian Movie Volumes 1 & 2". The first of which will showcase the bands more melodic pop side, while the second will be full on raucous rock.
Escape has signed two new bands in REBELLION and SHADOWLANDS. Both are said to be in the Journey/Survivor vein.
FIREFLY have finished their new album, “After The Fire”.
CHANGE OF HEART have also finished their new album, “Continuum”.
TRANSATLANTIC is a new project on Frontiers that features TEN’s Vinny Burns, MILLENIUM’s Ralph Santolla, TED POLEY, JOHNNY LIMA, DANTE FOX’s Sue Willets and TEER’s Dan St. Michael.
US tour dates for DREAM THEATER: Monday January 31 Phoenix, AZ Celebrity Theater Tuesday February 01 Las Vegas, NV The Joint Wednesday February 02 Santa Anna, CA Galaxy Theater Friday February 04 Los Angeles, CA Palace Theater Saturday February 05 Los Angeles, CA Palace Theater Sunday February 06 San Francisco, CA Maritime Hall Wednesday February 09 Denver, CO The Fillmore Friday February 11 Minneapolis, MN State Theater Saturday February 12 Milwaukee, WI The Rave Sunday February 13 Chicago, IL The Riviera
THE SFK TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 1999:
[This year I thought was a pretty humdrum year for AOR and melodic rock, unless of course you expand the boundaries of the definition. Now, these ten are not necessarily what I thought were the 10 'best' albums, but rather the ones I listened to more than any others.]
 MARVELOUS 3 - The Hey Album - simply the best power pop album since The Loveless and has rarely left my disc player all year
 SAVAGE GARDEN - Affirmation - graceful pop on par with the Bee Gees and Roxette
 KYLE VINCENT - Wow & Flutter - the man with the best voice in rock throws out another collection of lite-pop classics
 TAXIRIDE - Taxiride - this Aussie mob have been compared CSN but they rock a hell of a lot harder and remind me of the glorious Mr. Reality
 ROXETTE - Have A Nice Day - Per Gessele is a genius and this set proves it
 MICHAEL MORALES - That's The Way - huge arena rock that is the best melodic rock release of the year
 TAL BACHMAN - Tal Bachman - fun and hard edged pop that is what Enuff Znuff used to be about before the psychedelia
 DEF LEPPARD - Euphoria - a return to form? Nah...to me just a step backwards in their evolution but still mighty good stuff
 MARILLION - Marillion.com - the most accessible disc from the band since the essential "Misplaced Childhood"
 THE MERRYMAKERS – Bubblegun – an absolute pop masterpiece that recalls Jellyfish at their best (look for a review next week)
[These are 5 albums that are pure genre related that were just too good not to mention.]
DANNY DANZI - Somewhere Lost In Time, SHOTGUN SYMPHONY - Sea Of Desire, METROPOLIS – The Power Of The Night, PC69 - Electrified, STEELHOUSE LANE - Slaves In The New World
And a special honorable mention:
[I need to make a special mention of this because if it had come out in 1999 it easy would have made the top 10 list.]
SWIRL 360 – Hey Now Now
THE SFK TOP 10 SONGS OF 1999:
[Okay, these are necessarily the best songs but more like the songs I've enjoyed most from the mainstream (ie. radio, VH-1 or MTV).]
 BACKSTREET BOYS - I Want It That Way
 BRITNEY SPEARS - Crazy
 BLESSID UNION OF SOULS - Hey Leonardo
 THE PRETENDERS - Human
 RICKY MARTIN - Livin' La Vida Loca
 SANTANA - Smooth
 TAL BACHMAN - She's So High
 DEF LEPPARD - Promises
 FAITH HILL - Breathe
 ROBBIE WILLAMS - Angels
Kurt's Couch Potato Top 10 of 1999:
[These are the ten shows from the tube that kept me entertained.]
 The Sopranos (HBO)
 Buffy The Vampire Slayer (WB)
 Angel (WB)
 Now & Again (CBS)
 Roswell (WB)
 Everybody Loves Raymond (CBS)
 The X-Files (FOX)
 E.R. (NBC)
 Friends (NBC)
 The Adventures Of Brisco County Jr. (TNT - OK, so it's an old show but thanks to TNT I finally have been able to catch up on it)
THE SFK TOP 10 OF THE 90s:
 THE LOVELESS - A Tale Of Gin And Salvation
 THE STORM - Eye Of The Storm
 HUGO - Hugo
 DEF LEPPARD - Slang
 BON JOVI - These Days
 MARVELOUS 3 - The Hey Album
 HAREM SCAREM - Harem Scarem
 BAD HABIT - Adult Orientation
 RICK SPRINGFIELD - Karma
 JELLYFISH – Spilt Milk
Oh yeah, end of the year, everyone loves to have top 10 lists and such like. No thanks, I won't really go in for that, never really dug that way of thinking....
What's more interesting (or perhaps more depressing) is to consider where melodic rock has got to over the last year. For sure some people will stand up and say that there's green shoots of recovery with labels like Portrait and all that making their presence felt. But, deep down I think we all know that the Portraits and CMCs of this world are only interested in exploiting bands' existing fan base, not doing anything more to re-establish the musical form or develop it any further.
For me, 1999 has seen the melodic rock and AOR scene get even more insular and even more fragmented. And I don't just mean that from bands' and labels' points of view, I mean that from all aspects: fans and media sources too. Everyone seems to caught up in maintaining their own little empire or furthering their own self image to see the bigger picture....
Maybe that's because everyone knows they can't do anything about the big picture.... I think as well we're beginning to see some desperation from some musicians, with them putting together umpteen similar bands and side projects in the hope that one of them does something more than the average. All that does is bring down the quality of the over all project and does the loyal fans out of more cash for something less worthwhile. That's just what many of the labels have been doing for the last few years as well....
I don't see the new millennium making a difference, and I don't think things will ever improve until melodic rock gets a more mainstream place in the US. That's what'll make the difference. That's what will breathe life back into the whole scene.
On a different note, some of you have reported some recent problems trying to access the AOR Basement web site using the http://www.aorbasement.com/ address. If you can't get in that way use the URL http://www.ifb.co.uk/~aorb/ as a temporary fix - the problem is under investigation....
Marty Dodge's Picks Of The Year:
1. Dream Theatre; Metropolis Pt. 2
2. Bad Habit: Adult Orientation
3. Guild of Ages: Vox Dominatas
4. Paul Rodgers: Electric
5. Yes: The Ladder
6. Helloween: Better than Raw
7. Neal Morse: s/t
8. Jethro Tull: J-tull.com
9. Metallica: S&M
10. Guns & Roses: Live Era
Damp Squib of the Year: Queensryche Q2K