STRIKTLY FOR KONNISSUERS 02-21-00

"Without music life would be a mistake." - Friedrich Nietzsche

Official Nonsense:

Editor and Dr. Evil - Kurt Torster

Mini-Me's:

-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)

All e-mail should be directed to ktorster@yahoo.com.
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Kurt's Krap:

Oh my! How bad is Madonna's cover of "American Pie"? Besides the fact that it's awful, Billboard magazine has heaped it with praise by saying "She infuses the song with a palpable empathy that warmly renews the lyrics and renders them relevant to a whole new generation. Applause to Madonna for not pandering to today's temporary trends". Are they listening to the same piece of shit I did? On the other hand, I almost hate to admit it, but that new Nsync song, "Bye Bye Bye", is pretty catchy and reminds me a lot of the Backstreet Boys superior "Larger Than Life" tune. Big ol' 80s pop mixed with a 90s teenypop production. Decent stuff.

If you use the SFK I-Drive, can you please limit your uploads to one song a week? I've had some complaints that people aren't able to upload due to it filling up so quickly each week. Thanks...

News Bytes:

OK...the weekly VAN HALEN rumorama: This is, from what I understand, the closest to the truth concerning VH. I strongly stress that this is still all rumor and speculation. The next album will not be an actual VAN HALEN album per se, but will be called "Van Halen And Friends'" which is simply a collection of tracks recorded with people that Eddie has always wanted to work with. This is not any sort of audition album either. It will range from artists as diverse as David Sanborn, Madonna and Michael Jackson to hard rock belters like David Coverdale, Eric Martin and Sebastian Bach. There is also a "Greatest Hits Volume 2" coming soon which will feature some new tracks with DAVID LEE ROTH as well as one or two of the unreleased tracks from Gary Cherone. As for DAVID LEE ROTH, I'm hearing he's gearing up his band for a tour this spring, contrary to reports that he fired them all. And a new singer for the band? Well, there may never be another singer as VAN HALEN the band may have ceased to exist.

I'm hearing the new BON JOVI album will now be called "One Wild Night" and not "Sex Sells". Jon keeps reiterating at every chance that the new songs will be "a throwback to our big anthemic hits". But don't expect the band to regurgitate 'Slippery When Wet', "we're 14 years on from that album in particular".

So, was this whole CC Deville and POISON split all a publicity ploy? Dunno...but CC is back in the band as he stated on New Jersey radio station WDHA.

TESLA is back! The reunited band hope to get an album out on Portrait by year's end or early next year. July 16 will see the band play a show in Sacramento, CA.

Check out www.majesticmagazine.cjb.net for an interview with DANNY DANZI.

Darren has left HAREM SCAREM/RUBBER. The band will be playing a show on March 7 in Toronto to celebrate the release of the album in Canada. I hear the first single "Sunshine" is already receiving a fair share of airplay in the Great White North.

MATCHBOX 20's new album will be called "Mad Season" and is due out on May 23.

DREAM THEATER release their new single, "Through Her Eyes", on March 8.

www.HardRadio.com has available for listening the new DIO album, "Magica".

March 21 will see the release of "The Best Of LED ZEPPELIN Volume 2: The Latter Days" featuring The Song Remains The Same, No Quarter, Houses of the Holy, Trampled Underfoot, Kashmir, Ten Years Gone, Achilles' Last Stand, Nobody's Fault But Mine, All My Love, In The Evening

Spitfire will be reissuing the entire MARILLION catalog. Each disc will be a 2-cd set featuring a bonus disc of b-sides and unreleased material.

"This Time Around", the first single from the upcoming HANSON album is available free at their website at www.hansononline.com.

Look later this year for a best of compilation from ENUFF Z'NUFF.

Head over to http://www.vh1.com/kiss/  for the full scoop, including how to get pre-sale tix for the upcoming farewell KISS tour.

A reunited KANSAS will release a new album on Magna Carta later this year. Both Kerry Livgren and Steve Walsh will be in the fold.

Notlame ( www.notlame.com ) is advertising a Japanese reissue of THE LOVELESS' classic "A Tale Of Gin And Salvation". Anyone who missed out the first time, now's your chance...

Ditto for the KYLE VINCENT classic "A Night Like This" (a must for all Westcoast AOR fans), also being reissued in Japan and available from Notlame.

Bassist Matt Bissonette has joined RICK SPRINGFIELD's band. Look for a live album from Rick later this spring.

THE JAYHAWKS release their Bob Ezrin produced "Smile" in May.

Look out for LAIDLAW's "First Big Picnic", the first signing to NIKKI SIXX's label Americoma. The first single, "Send My Baby Home" features backing vocals from STEVE PERRY.

Says Dennis De Young on STYX touring without him, "I was stunned. I was crushed emotionally by this. I could never in my wildest imaginations dream that the band ever would play without me." And because of this, I'm hearing that the DAMN YANKEES reunion has been put on indefinite hold.

RATT has supposedly been dropped by Portrait after the whole Stephen Pearcy fiasco. Rumors place either LOVE/HATE's Jizzy Pearl or BANG TANGO's Joe Lestat to take over the vox. I wouldn't count on Jizzy though as apparently there is a Love/Hate tour of the UK scheduled soon.

The new KING'S X CD will be titled "Please Come Home Mr. Bulbous".

The movie 'Metal God', about the life of JUDAS PRIEST singer Ripper Owens (played by Mark Wahlberg) is set to star Blas Elias, Jeff Pilson, Zakk Wylde and Jason Bonham as members of bands Ripper had played with.

Cleopatra will release an anthology from RINGO STARR and all his various Traveling All-Stars lineups, which have included Jack Blades among others. As previously reported in SFK, BILLY SQUIER joins this year's lineup.

Three dates to catch FOREIGNER in Florida: March 29 Sunrise, FL, Sunrise Musical Theater March 30 Ft. Myers, FL, Barbara Mann Perf. Arts Center April 1 Orlando, FL, Universal Studios

Look for new episodes of VH-1's 'Storytellers' with DON HENLEY, STEELY DAN and PETE TOWNSHEND.

Noteworthy New Releases:

DAKOTA - Little Victories

DAKOTA - 3 Livetimes Ago

EXTREME - An Accidental Collication of Atoms: The Best of

THE POSIES - Alive Before The Iceberg

GINO VANNELLI - The Ultimate Collection

WHITE HEART - Hotline: Live at Six Flags

Kurt's Picks:

ATELLO - THE BIG PAYOFF, 1999 [Similarities: Firehouse, Van Hagar, Velocity] [ http://www.atello.com ]

Maybe not the most original thing I ever heard but this is classy melodic rock that is crisply played and cleanly produced. Feeling like this is straight out of the 80s, razor riffs and sharp melodies are the order of the day and the band come through with ease. Singer Larry Atello's vox are a dead ringer for Firehouse's CJ Snare and musically the band tread the same musical waters (sometimes though coming a little too close to outright cloning). From the rocking opening of "Love Me Down" to the ending of the somewhat average title track, this is 'pump your fist' & 'hold your lighters high' arena rock that is hard to deny. Just listening to a song like the whipping "Your Love" or the AOR of "Hold On" feels like it brings back memories of old (that never quite existed if that makes any sense). Plus, the Warrant-like "Blind Justice" never fails to get you moving and the more I listened, the more I think that this track became my favorite here. But like I said, not the most original thing I ever heard and sometimes, if you close your eyes, you'd swear you were listening to Firehouse. And the production, though quite clean, is missing that 'big bottom ended sound' that could just push this over the edge. You know, I really had a hard time finding anything else bad to say as the songs, while nothing new, are well done and stick in your brain like the best 'Monsters Of Rock'. If this band adds anything original to the mix and beefs up that production, they're gonna be dangerous!

VINNY BURNS - THE JOURNEY, Frontiers, 1999 [Similarities: Ten, Whitesnake, Giant]

Without overstating the obvious, yes this sounds a whole hell of a lot like a Ten album. BUT, whereas Vinny's main group seems to go for the throat with bombast and being over the top in their instrumentation, this solo disc from the band's guitarist is more commercially accessible. Songs like the arena stormers "Superstar" and "Already Gone", the mega-ballads "This World" and "Live The Dream" and the huge AOR of "I Believe" remind me of my favorite Ten moments and are very easy on the ears. But this album has one or two bum notes. The repetitive "Fire Burning" and the cliché fest "Where You Gonna Run" are so average that they seem like afterthoughts. And the instrumentals really don't do much for me. Of course the highlight here is Vinny's tremendous axe slinging skills and each song, good or bad, always has a very tasty lead infused within. Sam Blue's vox remind me a lot of Gary Hughes or David Coverdale, and not for nothing, this man should be a star in his own right. Overall this is a must for Ten fans, but those still on the fence about the Brit rockers may actually enjoy this more as it's more direct and doesn't seem to meander as much.

JUNE & THE EXIT WOUNDS - A LITTLE MORE HAVEN HAMILTON PLEASE, Parasol, 1999 [Similarities: Todd Rundgren, Beach Boys, Kyle Vincent]

Don't let the name of this band or album title throw you. This is pure candy pop through and through. Breezy and immaculate, this collection of tunes is about as smooth as you're likely to find this side of early Elton John. Everything here is dominated by a grand piano sound that can, at times, come across sort of 'lounge lizard' like (especially on the beautiful ballad "I Shouldn't Be Surprised"). But mostly this is just perfectly crafted pop that, with songs like the huge melody of the Rundgren-like "How Much I Really Loved You", the amazing lushness of "Straight To My Head" and the radio ready jangle of "Hey Hey Hey", should (in a perfect world) be smash hits. Todd Fletcher has one of those voices that is memorable and helps these songs sit in your head long after they're done playing. This album is honest, innocent and bittersweet, much like a lot of 70s AM Gold (and at times can almost pass for The Partridge Family and similar nuggets), and makes it almost seem like the last 25 years never happened. Not just nostalgic but timeless.

SUGAR RAY - 14:59, 1999 [Similarities: Goo Goo Dolls, Smash Mouth, The Beatles]

OK...what do you call an album that is 60% bordering on brilliant pop/rock and 40% pure shit? Do you consider it a good or a bad album? This is the enigma that surrounds the humorously titled "14:59". Out of the ten 'real' tracks (discounting the throwaway goofball "New Direction" that opens and closes the album), six are very good. By now you've I'm sure everyone has heard the hits "Every Morning", "Someday" and "Falls Apart". There are three more tracks here that are equally as tasty, the Kinks-like "Ode To The Lonely Hearted", "Even Though" and their pretty good cover of Steve Miller's "Abracadabra", which will probably all be hits too. But from there it's all downhill. Running a schizophrenic gamut from rap/rock ("Live & Direct") to 80s inspired punk pop (the horrible Devo-like "Personal Space Invader") to alt-thrash ("Aim For Me"), it shows a band that is trying to be too many things at the same time. When they stick to their melodic guns, the results are practically breathtaking and, while not the greatest vocalist, I quite enjoy Mark McGrath's singing. It just has a certain likable and honest quality to it. So, if we still ranked albums around here I guess a 60% would be in order, but those good songs are quite good indeed.

BRETT WALKER - LIFT OFF, MTM, 1999 [Similarities: Danny Wilde, Nelson, Jude Cole]

This is superb country tinged AOR that is, at times, beyond words how good it can be and it already has me thinking that this may be the best album to come from the quality stable of artists at MTM. Not a song here goes astray. With a production that brings out both Brett's smooth vocals and the gorgeous strum of an acoustic guitar on each track, it's a very addictive set of songs that almost reminds one of Night Ranger at their most laid back. In fact, it took me a couple of spins just to make sure this all was as good as I thought at first listen. You know what? It just got better... This is perfect summertime top-down listening that, with songs like the perfect AOR of "Rain In My Heart", the hit worthy "Everybody Loves To Win", the touching "Walking In My Sleep" and the strutting "It Looks A Lot Like Rain", can make anyone's day all the better. Lyrically and musically excellent, I kept trying to find fault in something...anything so I wouldn't sound like a raving loon, but I just gave up. Might be too mellow for some, but for me this is right up my alley and simply and utterly essential.

(Re)Views From The Hill:

UNION: THE BLUE ROOM, Spitfire Records [similarities: Oasis, Enuff Znuff, Beatles, Cheap Trick, The Scream]

I have listened to this album about 10 times now and one band keeps coming into my head. For some reason "The Blue Room" is the great album Oasis never made. Think Oasis without the whining and that is what this album sounds like. I don't mean that this is bad album, far from it, this is the album I wish Oasis would make! While Union's first album was pretty good, they have really gelled and sound like a tight band. The sound is big and tuneful, Union are back with one heck of a CD.

Every track on here is damn catchy but there are several that really get into your head and stick. The ironically titled, "Dead" is a catchy sing along with cool guitars, one that you know will be a treat live. "Everything's Alright" is a Beatles/Oasis track that includes references to Beatles songs in it. It is a slow dark plodder that engulfs the listener and takes him along for the ride ending with a fading chorus.

"Hypnotized" sounds like a partner to Oasis' "Don't Look Back in Anger", this is the best example of Oasis with talent. Tracks on this one are edgy but with soul and melody. "I wanna Be" is another catchy plodder that strikes with a great haunting guitar solo. The last track is an ode to information overload and the "no-fault" society we live in, quite simply called "No More." Designed as sort of a partner to the track "Shine", they bookend each other rather well and should really be next to each other on the album. Bruce Kulick takes over the vocals on a tender dedication to his departed friend the late Eric Carr of Kiss: "Dear Friend."

The Blue Room demonstrates the songwriting and instrumental talent of Corabi and Kulick. Both have firmly emerged from the large shadows of their previous bands. This album blows away the latest releases from Motley Crue and Kiss, makes a mockery of both of them in fact. This lets the two hired guns put a few demons to rest in the process. Every song on this album will prove to be a corker live. It you like straight ahead Beatles-tinged hard rock, then this is one for you. Wonder if someone can convince Union to record "Don't look in Anger" as a b-side? - MD

AOR Basement (Ian McIntosh):

[Ian has the flu and wasn't able to get a column in order. Best wishes to Ian...]

Feedback:

From: Michael Clayton Arbeeny NJ107PRO@aol

Greetings to everyone all over the world!  First, I would like to welcome back my friend, partner, and band mate Danny Vaughn! Judging by the reaction we have been getting to the new album so far, many people share my sentiments! What Danny and I would like to do is keep everyone posted on what's happening with VAUGHN. From album release dates, to tour dates, we want all of you to be part of it. A friend in Germany has set up a great site, so make sure and check out www.vaughn.de or Z Records web site for all new info.

Our first tour in over 5 years kicks off on April 30 at Maximes in Wigan, England where we will headline the Z-2000 Festival. Now, about that new record..................... SOLDIERS AND SAILORS ON RIVERSIDE was completed in early Feb of 2000, and will be released on April 17th on Europe's hottest label, Z Records. New and old fans of Danny's voice and songwriting style will be blown away. After 12 years of working together, I can honestly say it's his best effort yet. But you'll just have to wait, and find out for yourselves, won't you?

Now, about the title................. Out of all the records we have recorded, this one is by far the most personal. From the album photos (Mark Weiss) to the graphic design (James Lomenzo) we have surrounded ourselves with old friends. New friends PJ Zitarosa (guitar) and Kyle Cummings (keyboards) make the family complete. (Not to mention our brother and new daddy Jaimie Scott on bass). Between the personnel involved, the way the record came out, and the TYKETTOesque reunion vibe, the theme seems to be "coming home." Soldiers and Sailors on Riverside is a lyric from an album track called WORD FOR WORD. I suggested it as the albums title because it reminded me of the first time I met up w/ Danny a few years after the TYKETTO hiatus. We met in New York City. That was the first day we got together to start work on what became this album. There was a very big coming home vibe, since both of us had been out if the NY scene for so long, and hadn't seen each other in years. The title has a very EXILE ON MAIN STREET feel, and compliments the mood of the record perfectly. But then again, you'll just have to wait and see.....

Feel free to e-mail me at NJ107PRO@aol with any questions or comments, or just to say hello. You'll be meeting the new guys in a short while. And Mr. Vaughn himself will be checking in soon as well.

See ya, Michael Clayton Arbeeny (what should it be; Michael Clayton, Michael Arbeeny, Michael Clayton Arbeeny, or just plain ol' John Cougar Mellancamp? Hmmmmmmmm..............)

From: Barbara Svachak bsvachak@worldnet.att.net

I have an updated Glen Burtnik link for you. The thewebslinger link you have doesn't exist anymore, but a fan runs an "unofficial" site at http://glenburtnik.com/ that's about as close to official as you can get and still be called unofficial. <g> Glen actually responds to questions sent in by fans and they get posted to the site, etc.

From: Katadin@aol.com

Thanks for the poop on the VH newz. I wouldn't be surprised if Sass Jordan was on couple trax. She has worked w/them in the past, and remains good friends w/Alex. This avenue might be a good road for them it worked for Santana. I'd be excited to see them actually do this, instead of yet, another damn reinvention. I think the fans have had enough crap and the VH boys are testing our patience a bit too much.

From: Simone -Sniper- Pesenti spesenti@yahoo.it

I'm from Italy, and i want some info about the Christian band "Stryper"... Do you know a link to their site? Anything else?

[I don't know about the rest of the band but Michael Sweet has been pretty busy as you can see if you visit his website at www.michaelsweet.com.]

From: "David Williams" dw123@hotmail.com

Don't know if you've heard of Rachel Stamp but they are like the New York Dolls meet Duran Duran meet Hanoi Rocks, etc, etc, etc.... I wish you all could have been there! In a packed LA2, "the best looking audience in London" witnessed all their favourites plus more from the upcoming CD, 'Hymns for Strange Children'. Although there wasn't as much between song banter as usual, nobody seemed to mind, and everybody in the crowd got caught up in the occasion. Roll on Kingston on March 11th...Then we went to Gossips and drank some more..... Check out www.rachelstamp.co.uk