|Editor and Dr. Evil - 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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I had the pleasure of seeing JAY MOHR on Friday night at Rascals Comedy Club. If you get the chance, YOU MUST SEE THIS GUY live. I laughed my balls off for an hour and change non-stop.
Does anyone out there have the song “Too Many Dreams” by Nelson? If so, can you make me an MP3 and upload it to the SFK I-Drive?
Speaking of the I-Drive, in memory of Peanuts’ creator Charles Schultz, I uploaded Gary Hoey’s wicked rendition of the “Linus & Lucy” theme.
RIP: FOGHAT member "Lonesome" Dave Peverett died last week of complications from cancer. Although the disease had been in remission, he recently came down with pneumonia and was hospitalized last Saturday.
ERIC CARMEN's "Winter Dreams" album (which I hear is a monster AOR album) will be released in the US at the end of the month on Pyramid Records under the title "I Was Born To Love You" (which is also the title of the first single). Eric will also be touring with Ringo Starr's All Stars this summer (which also includes BILLY SQUIER and JACK BLADES).
In related news, THE RASPBERRIES will see the release of a new compilation in March which will include two unreleased demos in "I Saw the Light" and "Come Around and See Me" as well as two never before released songs, "Oh, Tonight" and "Please Let Me Come Back Home".
THE VIEW, the 80s band featuring Kevin Chalfant, Ross Valory, Tim Gorman, Prarie Prince and Stef Burns along with Josh Ramos and Marty Friedman have made available the tracklisting for their upcoming summer release: Who Ya Gonna Believe?, Keys To The City, One Track Mind, Save It For Me, Hard To Get, If I Had You Back Here, Walk Through The Fire, Dreaming Your Life Away, Lonely Heart and So Long.
The forthcoming VAUGHAN album will be titled “Soldier And Sailor On The Riverside”.
THE FLYS are getting ready to release their second album, “Outta My Way” on April 11. The first single will be called “Losing It”.
There’s talk that POISON still might work things out with guitarist CC Deville, as CC had a chat with Rikki Rockett at the NAMM convention. But according to Rockett, “he needs to work things out with Bret”.
Signs Of Life, the supergroup featuring Terry Brock, Randy Jackson, Mark Mangold, Billy Greer and Bobby Rondinelli have changed their name to SIGNS. They hope to get their debut album out in June.
Tracks on the new VON GROOVE album “Driving Off The Edge” include Slide / Cold To You / South Of Zero / My Groove / Jack The Riffer / Stone Soldier / Driving off The Edge / I Found Heaven / Control / Blue Murder Blue Day.
David Prater is already saying the new DIVING FOR PEARLS album will be as classic as their debut. We can only hope…
Over at www.mjuice.com you can download a free version of the FOO FIGHTERS hit "Learn To Fly" in acoustic mode. Their new single for "Stacked Actors" includes acoustic versions of "Ain't It The Light" and "Floaty".
Frontiers has snagged NIGHT RANGER guitarist JEFF WATSON to release his "Around The Sun" album in May. Tracklisting: Glass Revenge, Follow, Leslie Ann, Man's Best Friend, Moment Of Truth, Shadows of Winter, Serenity, Ghost Town and the following tracks all featuring STEVE WALSH: Life Goes On, Around The Sun, Anna Waits, Tight Rope, Ship Comes In
The forthcoming OZZY OSBOURNE tribute album will actually have a few surprises and doesn't seem half-bad. Singer Lisa Loeb and her boyfriend Dweezil Zappa will offer their take on "Goodbye to Romance". The tribute will also include Jack Blades, Bobby Blotzer, Reb Beach and Jeff Pilson providing their unique take of "I Don't Know" as well as Motorhead's Lemmy offering up "Desire". Vince Neil will cover "Paranoid".
Thoughtscape will release DAKOTA's "Three Livetimes Ago" to coincide with the release of the band's latest, "Little Victories". The album was recorded during their 1980 tour with Queen and includes four bonus tracks.
"Friends and Relatives" is a new double-CD collection of music by MOTT THE HOOPLE and its individual members. In addition to four live tracks from the band itself, the set includes a selection of live tracks by Mott (the group that continued after Ian Hunter's departure in 1976) and a pair of demos from British Lions (which followed Mott). The set also includes songs from solo projects by guitarists Mick Ralphs and Ray Majors, bassist Overend Watts and keyboardists Morgan Fisher and Verden Allen. Material from the groups the Silence, the Rats and the Doc Thomas Group, all of which featured former Mott members, are also on the album. There's also a track from an upcoming solo album by former British Lions member John Fiddler. Mott drummer Dale "Buffin" Griffin wrote the liner notes.
Two new singles to keep an ear out for, both in rocked up remixes...RICKY MARTIN's superb ballad "Private Emotion" and SHANIA TWAIN's arena pumper "Rock This Country".
Noteworthy New Releases:
BAY CITY ROLLERS - The Definitive Collection
ADRIAN BELEW - Coming Attractions
BLUE ÖYSTER CULT - Don't Fear The Reaper: The Best of
THE OUTLAWS - The Heritage Collection
THERAPY? - Suicide Pact You First
CROWN OF THORNS - DESTINY UNKNOWN, Frontiers, 2000 [Similarities: Thin Lizzy, Kiss, Bon Jovi]
Jean Beauvoir has taken his band back to basics and the results are, at times, pretty spectacular. The first thing noticeable is the HUGE choruses that sound bigger than life and are extremely catchy. This is a modern sounding disc, but not so much in style as in accessibility. It's like the band has taken everything going on in music today and threw it in a blender with their own discs and this is what came out. From the half-acoustic rocker "Birds On A Wire" to 'all attitude' "Missionary Remedy" (which is what Kiss SHOULD sound like these days) to the gorgeous arena rock of "Lonely Is The Rose", it's an album that really covers all the bases (and does it quite well). And on songs like "End Of The Century" (with it's synthetic vocals ala Cher in "Believe") or the addictive loop filled ballad "Here She Comes", you can get a good feel of the influences that must have surrounded the band. The band seemed to wait until the end of the disc to hit you with the big guns though. The thumping AOR of "Heaven Tonight" is beyond description and is the best song the band has done since their essential debut. The building "Long Way Home" seems like a successor to "You Wear It Well" and has a real Phil Lynott feel to it. Everything comes to a close with the grand and marching ballad "Runaway". On the downside, there are a couple of bummers, as the sorta-rap of "Buried Alive" comes across rather whiny and "Crying Game" is one of those songs that inst bad except for the horrible spoken chorus. Plus, the dance inspired "Time" may not be for everyone (but I rather dug it and the lead break is fluid and highly memorable). The songwriting is, as always, excellent and tends to avoid any sorts of clichés or traps. It's funny, but I find this closer in sound to Jean's solo work than the COT discs. This is a good disc no doubt that feels like it will only get better with age (and shows the band maturing rather nicely) and is easily their best complete work since the debut (though topping that would prove difficult if ever). Classic? Just may be...
GREAT WHITE - CAN'T GET THERE FROM HERE, Capitol, 1999 [Similarities: Thunder, Def Leppard, Night Ranger]
I was never the biggest Great White fan but always thought they had more than their share of good songs among much of the filler that plagued their albums. Jack Russell is a decent enough vocalist (though sometimes tries too hard to be Robert Plant) and on this disc sounds in fine form. Jack Blades' production gives the whole thing a very big sound, yet it also gives the project the feel and tone of the last Night Ranger album (which to me is not a good thing). The biggest problem is the same as ever, a couple of catchy tunes surrounded by a lot of throwaways. For every "Rollin' Stoned", the utterly classic "Ain't No Shame" or the 'gets better with each listen' "Freedom Song" there's a tune like "Saint Lorraine" (which sounds like everything else they've ever done), the thrashy "Gone To The Dogs" or the dragging "Loveless Age" waiting just around the corner to spoil all the fun. And when the band slows things down, like on "In The Tradition", I just tune out as the songs become flat, uninspired and amazingly too quiet. The band's greatest strength has always been stomping boogie rock, that can sound one-dimensional, yet these days there aren't too many out there that do it better if at all. I dunno about this one. Half of me likes it, the other half thinks it belongs in the trash. And yet, the more I listen, the more undecided I become. Make of that what you will.
MEGADETH - RISK, Capitol, 1999 [Similarities: Metallica, Scorpions, UFO]
On first listen, I can hear what all the noise was about when many metal fans feel distanced from the band. Though to these ears, much of what made the band one of the heavyweights of heavy rock is still intact.
Everything now seems more focused and Dave Mustaine seems now more intent on writing melodies before riffs, and I cannot understand how that's a bad thing. And too, Mustaine seems to actually sing now more than grunt. Opener "Insomnia" is typical Megadeth but mixed in with a slight industrial beat that sounds better than you'd think and tells you that this is not the Megadeth of old. And tracks like the goofy yet loveable arena rocker "Crush 'Em", the 'oh so close to AOR' of "Breadline" and the sorta-ballad "I'll Be There" are very melodic and almost nothing like anything recorded before their last album "Cryptic Writings". I can do without such still boring deviltry as "Prince Of Darkness" and the dragging "Time: The Beginning/The End", which seem about as fashionable as parachute pants, feathered hair and a comb in your back pocket. To a melodic rock fan that could care less about how 'heavy' a band is or was (like yours truly), "Risk" is a good choice as it certainly sports some very good songs. But those among us who think Metallica has seriously sold out, then avoid at all costs.
NELSON - LIFE, Stone Canyon, 1999 [Similarities: Night Ranger, Rick Springfield, The Eagles] [ http://www.thenelsonbrothers.com ]
WOW! How the hell did this one get overlooked? Everything that made the first two Nelson discs on Geffen so special can be found here in abundance. While not as outright arena rocking as "After The Rain", and maybe a touch closer in sound to "Because They Can", this is a pretty special set of songs that first and foremost highlight the twins amazing sugar coated harmonies. From the first listen I was hooked by songs like the killer opener "A Girl Like That", the hook infested rocker "She Shelia", the massive chorus attack of "Everybody Cries Sometimes" and the thumping strut of "Is That How It Is". My personal highlight is "Let's Talk About Me", which has an urgency similar to early 80s Rick Springfield and is amazingly addictive. Not a bad spot to be found, this album is practically perfect (I even dig the Queen meets Beatles-ish title track). The brothers' production is adequate enough to bring out the brilliant harmonies and each acoustic flourish that surrounds many of the choruses (though this is not an acoustic album!). Simply put, this album just might have been my album of the year (if at least top 3) had I heard it then. Buy buy buy!
VERTICAL HORIZON - EVERYTHING YOU WANT, BMG, 1999 [Similarities: Collective Soul, Live, Matchbox 20] [ http://www.verticalhorizon.com ]
This may be the most heavily front loaded disc I can remember in a long time. Starting off strong with the 1-2-3 punch of "We Are", "You're A God" and the poppy hit "Everything You Are" (which is the song that sold me on this disc) may be the biggest problem here. After that, everything feels anti-climatic. The more this album went on, the less interested I was as songs like "Best I Ever Had" or "Give You Back" have the feeling of run-of-the-mill modern rock. There are a couple of other stand-outs though too, as the soaring "Miracle" and the funky "All Of You" hit all the right spots and should have no trouble dominating rock radio in the future. The chiming guitars of Matt Scanell and Keith Kane DO sound good on each track and Matt's vocals are superior to a lot of his counterparts but the songwriting seems to lack direction. I get the feeling that this is gonna sell by the ton simply of the strength of a couple of well chosen singles. I'm on the fence on this one. With each listen the disc did open up a bit more, yet I'm not sure if I'm willing to invest any more time in it to get it's fullest effect.
(Re)Views From The Hill:
YANKEE GREY: UNTAMED, Song Nashville [similarities: Giant, Bad Habit, Blackhawk, Charlie Daniels Band]
It is becoming apparent to me that Nashville is the place for AOR bands to go to get signed. What with Dan Huff and Mutt Lange there, it is no wonder we are seeing bands like Lonestar, She Daisys, Shania Twain and Yankee Grey getting attention. Maybe Ron Keel (aka Ronnie Keel) was not so nuts when he left LA for Nashville. Combine seeing several of this bands videos late night on CMT with a book-signing for my latest book in a record store right next to the country section and it was inevitable that I would pick up this disc.
I was not to be disappointed either, while the recently reviewed Montgomery Gentry veered off to twang land at the end of their disc, Yankee Grey never venture any more country than Bon Jovi. Granted they have a fiddle player in their band, but he dresses (tight t-shirt and leather trousers) and looks like Kane Roberts. These guys rock like there is no tomorrow and should be blazing up the AOR charts as we speak. To add to their rock cred none other than Aerosmith’s Joe Perry lends a hand on "Tell me…", the final track on this stellar album.
This stellar disc starts off with the two hit singles, "All Things…" a catchy pop tune, that made it all the way to number 1 on CMT. These even manage to look like Bon Jovi in their video. The only clue that the track is at all country is the mention of Texas in the chorus. "9 Minutes" their second hit is an uptempo love song that sticks in your head and never goes away. The album never slows down after it gets going, each song has hit potential written all over it.
They range from great ballads in the form of "That would…" to the stomping bluesy rocker of a title track. The tune is a duel between bogey-woogy piano, soaring guitar and cranking fiddle. This 6 piece have managed to turn the fiddle into another guitar, to create a sound that is both familiar and at the same time refreshing. At their most country Yankee Grey, come across in the same way as CDB did on their Bad Moon Rising album when they were at their peak of mainstream success. "This Time…" is a great weepy acoustic ballad, where the guitar and fiddle perfectly blend with the vocals.
Had I been less dense and bought this album back in late 99 when it was released, this surely would have made my top 10. I am sure it will be months before I make such another great discovery. This album is as essential as Bad Habit’s Adult Orientation, and will no doubt occupy as much time in my CD player as Bad Habits. For more info on this great band point your browser to www.sonynashville.com One can only hope that Sony Music will have the foresight to release this album worldwide to general music fans, breaking them out of the new country ghetto. Yankee Grey made be the best thing to come from Cincinnati (their home town) in living memory. - MD
AOR Basement (Ian McIntosh):
The sorest of sore throats means I don't feel like writing a column too much this week, but here's some snippets for you to be going on with in the meantime....
Song Haus has more material coming from the long-lost pomp band "Thrills" to follow on from the previously unreleased third album that's recently been put out. Song Haus now has the rights to release the bands two previous albums and has also tracked down another unreleased session from before the band had any recording deal....
Song Haus has also picked up hard rocker Michael Britton and is looking to do some serious work with him over the next year.....
Point Music in Germany finally seems to be getting their finger out regarding releasing the new Sojourn comeback album (even though the masters and artwork were delivered to them months ago!) and it should now be released in May. I have an advance of that album, and it's very interesting and might well shake up your perception of where melodic rock is at right now.
Scanning the up-and-coming Japanese releases: the tedious Fair Warning have a number of re-releases coming on March 23rd all with bonus cuts. First there is "Four" with one bonus track; "Go!" with four bonus tracks; and the double CD "Live and More" which also gets four bonus cuts. Supreme jazz and blues guitarist Larry Carlton seems to have a new album also coming out on March 23rd called "Fingerprints", while the same day will also see a new album from progressive crossover outfit the Rocket Scientists called "Oblivion Days" and the Japanese issue of Metropolis' "The Power of the Night" with a single bonus track. Rush also has a "Chronicles" DVD coming out in Japan in mid-March, though seeing as it has a running time of 63 minutes, it doesn't seem to be quite embracing the DVD format appropriately....
[Found a cool artist on MP3.COM? Let the SFK world know about it!]
|From: Scott Smith firstname.lastname@example.org|
Thought I should share some great bands I have found on MP3.COM
Atello - Reminiscent of very early Firehouse.
Martin DaRic - Enuff Z Nuff meets White Lion, very good.
Something Ira & Next Big Thing - Both bands are Pop Rock N' Roll with an edge.
The Gays - Infectious pop songs with a hint of Per Gessle in the singers voice.
Pajamazon - A bit like Marvelous 3.
|From: Oscar Montezuma email@example.com|
LATIN AOR IDRIVE: Login: omp Password: latinaor
Could you tell me the best way to order the new Hugo album? Thanks!
[You can get it from CD Now at: http://www.cdnow.com/pagename=/RP/CDN/FIND/album.html/itemid=786018/from=sr-38281 or try www.aorheaven.com or www.nehrecords.com.]
Skid Row without Bach? C'mon, that's like Warrant without Jani. No offense to this Solinger guy, but I'm not the least bit interested in Skid Row without Bach.
|From: "Tommy Denander" firstname.lastname@example.org|
Hey Kurt! Hope you're doing great... I just want to tell you that I'm producing their album....starting now in February. It was a long time ago that I was this blown away...these guys are too young to be this talented!!!
I also have my new official home page up at - http://listen.to/tommy.denander
|From: "Richard Martyn" email@example.com|
Hello, could you repost the journey track from TbF on the idrive again. I tried downloading it the other day and it crapped out on me at 99% saying I didn't have access to the file. I've gone back into try again today, but its gone. Great site, always something interesting on it.
[FYI: I do not control what's on the I-drive other than cleaning it up once a week. I don't upload files, you SFKers do so can anyone help Rich out with the Journey song?]
Hi Kurt! Been a while since I emailed you with a plug for my website, but I finally have some Foreigner info to update with. First off, the Inside Information: The Foreigner Files has been moved to a new server and domain - you can visit it at http://www.foreignerfiles.com. I am awaiting some add'l confirmation, but Foreigner will be playing a date at Universal Studios Mardi Gras Escape on April 1 in Orlando, FL. The group is in the studio recording, and there is to be an album released this year, just don't know a specific date yet. They are looking at touring again this summer, but no details yet. Singer Lou Gramm is continually improving all the time (recovering from his bout with a benign brain tumor in 1997) and he and his wife recently celebrated the birth of twins in October 1999. Gramm and Mick Jones recently performed live on the TV Millennium Celebration in Wash DC on New Years Eve.
On a Foreigner related note -- fans of the defunct band Shadow King (which was the lineup of Gramm, Vivian Campbell, Bruce Turgon and Kevin Valentine) will enjoy a sub-web site that I have set up for SK at http://www.foreignerfiles.com/members/shadowking
That's all I have for now--more news from the Foreigner camp as I hear about it!