|Editor and Some Dude - Kurt Torster|
Some Other Dudes:
|-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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The I-drive seems to be working out pretty cool. I plan on cleaning out files on a weekly basis, usually after each new issue is mailed. So, in other words, the best time to check out the drive is on the weekends.
Last issue I made a little booboo in my Top Ten of the 90s. I meant to put Harem Scarem's "Mood Swings" on there and not their self-titled debut.
Well the Grammy Award nominations were announced last week. Of SFK interest:
BUCKCHERRY - Hard rock performance (Lit Up)
CHER - Record, dance (Believe), pop album (Belive)
PHIL COLLINS - Song from a movie (You'll Be In My Heart)
DIAMOND RIO - Country band performance (Unbelievable)
GARBAGE - Band rock performance, rock song (Special)
GREEN DAY - Instrumental rock (Espionage)
FAITH HILL - Country vocal performance (Let Me Let Go)
DANN HUFF - Producer (Lonestar, Megadeth)
LONESTAR - Country band performance, country song (Amazed)
RICKY MARTIN - Record/song, male pop performance (Livin' Lad Vida Loca), pop album (Ricky Martin)
METALLICA - Hard rock performance (Whiskey In The Jar)
SANTANA - Record/song, pop collaboration (Smooth), album, rock album (Supernatural), band pop performance (Maria), instrumental pop (El Farol), band rock performance (Put Your Light On), instrumental rock (The Calling)
SMASHMOUTH - Band pop performance (All-Star)
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN - Male rock performance, rock song (The Promise)
SHANIA TWAIN - Song (You've Got A Way), country vocal performance (Man! I Feel Like A Woman), country song (Come On Over)
U2 - Retail video (Popmart-Live From Mexico City)
STEVE VAI - Instrumental rock (Windows To The Soul)
Jon BON JOVI is calling the new Bon Jovi album a more pure rock record ala “Slippery When Wet”. The first single is to be “Say It Ain’t So”.
DEF LEPPARD is apparently canceling the remainder of their US tour dates due to lack of label and radio support. They will release another single in Europe and Japan in “21st Century Sha-La-La Girl”.
DAMNED NATION has started to record their "Grand Design" album.
SAVANNAH is starting pre-production on their second studio album.
Nikolo Kotzev is putting together a rock opera based on the life of Nostradamus. The album will feature vocalists JOE LYNN TURNER, GLENN HUGHES, GORAN EDMAN, DOOGIE WHITE, SASS JORDAN and various musicians from the European hard rock scene.
You can download the live version of "Coma" from the Japanese version of GUNS N' ROSES live album at: http://www.knac.com/servlet/Download_Page?downloadID=5.
Also available for download, this time at www.musicmaker.com is the first of a series of MP3s featuring JIMMY PAGE with THE BLACK CROWES, all recorded live last year. The first track available is a cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Oh Well".
There's some rumors floating around that over 20 songs were recorded by VAN HALEN with Gary Cherone. No word though on what will happen to them but supposedly they rock.
In somewhat related news, though it does look that the whole COVERDALE/VAN HALEN rumors are bullshit, supposedly John Kalodner is trying to reunite Coverdale with John Sykes for another go ala WHITESNAKE '87. Their “Ready An’ Willing” album will get a reissue on Axekiller with four bonus tracks.
Not Tyketto, but VAUGHN will be the name of the band featuring Danny Vaughn, Jaimie Scott and Michael Clayton along with PJ Zitarosa. They hope to have the album finished by the end of January.
Looks like the new MATCHBOX 2 album will hit the stores in May. Their debut, "Someone Or Someone Else Like You" has pushed close to 10 million copies.
The next single off of ROXETTE's "Have A Nice Day" will be the incredibly catchy "Crush On You". There's word that the duo will have another album out this summer that will be much more along the lines of Per Gessel's solo album (which was total power pop bliss).
Mega-producer Tony Visconti (Electric Angels) will be producing the next DAVID BOWIE album, which is said to be a throwback to his 70s glam days ala "Ziggy Stardust".
Coinciding with the NBC special "The David Cassidy Story", Arista is set to release "David Cassidy and the Partridge Family: The Definitive Collection". Due to hit stores tomorrow, the set includes every one of the group's chart singles between 1970 and 1973, as well as Cassidy's four top-40 solo hits between 1971-72, and seven rare album tracks. Now if only someone would reissue his monster AOR album from the late 80s (on the Enigma label).
JOE SATRIANI’s forthcoming album is called “Engines Of Creation”.
Billy Sheehan’s NIACIN project features help from Steve Luthaker and Glenn Hughes. Look for it on Magna Carta in March.
THE CORRS - TALK ON CORNERS (SPECIAL EDITION), Atlantic, 1999 [Similarities: Jaime Kyle, Faith Hill, Shania Twain] [ http://www.corrs.org ]
I can across this band purely by accident while channel surfing late one night. A concert of theirs was being featured on a local PBS station and I was simply captivated by both their sound and, admittedly, their good looks (the band is comprised of three sisters and their brother). But their sound, for the most part, is AOR mixed with New Country by way of Ireland. Though the original version of this album has been available around the world for a couple of years, this remix version is pretty much the only one available here in the States. Not that this is a bad thing though because all the songs here are catchy and melodic and impeccably played. From the soaring vocals of Andrea Corr to the glossy productions of the various remixers, there's a lot going on here that all comes highly recommended. Whether you're looking for the 'almost AOR' of "Never Loved You Anyway" and "Hopelessly Addicted", the slow and romantic in "Runaway" and "Queen Of Hollywood" or something with a more pop feel like their remake of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams", what you will find here is some very original material very professionally and passionately done. Even the traditional Irish instrumental "Paddy McCarthy" sounds good (but really reminds me too much of the Lord Of The Dance!) with it's violins and whistles putting a wholly different spin on a very stale genre. If you're into something new without going too far out into left field then I urge you to try this album as it has gone into high rotation in my playlist.
FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE - UTOPIA PARKWAY, Atlantic, 1999 [Similarities: Enuff Z'nuff, Gin Blossoms, Cheap Trick]
A lot of pop-heads put this album at the top of their Top 10 Lists for 1999. All it took was one listen to see (or hear?) why. This is brilliant power pop that contains all the elements needed in great pop rock and roll...the songs are punchy, catchy and easy to digest, yet they all have some lyrical depth that keep them from being mere throwaways. In fact, much of the album reminds me of any soundtrack for all those great 80s teen comedies (yes, that's a compliment!). It's also the kind of album that gets a little stronger with each listen, and certain songs really take shape and grab a hold of you. Songs like the quirky opening title track, the raucous "Denise", the Beatlesque "Troubled Times" and the 'so catchy it's criminal' "Lost In Space" are the kinds of songs that should be dominating radio/video but seem to fly just below the media's radar. Though the album has a few drag-downs in "Hat And Feet" or "A Fine Day For A Parade", with fourteen songs on offer, it's easy enough to just hit 'forward' on the CD player without the feeling like you're missing anything. More classic pop from an ever-burgeoning underground.
HAREM SCAREM - BEST OF, Warner Japan, 1998 [Similarities: Extreme, Lillian Axe, Queen]
OK...yes this just reeks of cash-in, as any Harem Scarem fan will tell you (more on that in a second). But for those that are still unaccustomed to this great Canadian quartet, this is an excellent starting point to their more recent output. As one who still thinks that "Believe" is their finest album to stand out from a collection of classics, this collection borrows from that one heavily featuring no less than five cuts off there. Their earlier (or more AOR/arena rock) comes in the form of two from their debut (the classic power ballads "Slowly Slipping Away" and "Honestly") and three from their essential and very Extreme-like "Mood Swings" ("Change Comes Around", "No Justice" and "Saviors Never Cry"). The rest, like I said before, is taken from the three albums that followed, in which the band greatly toughened up their sound and became more of a power pop rather than AOR band. With tracks like the stomping "Die Off Hard" and "Staying Away", the catchy riff-fests "So Blind" and "New Religion" and the almost Queen-like "Blue" and "The Paint Thins" show a band not afraid to roll with the punches. As for fans of the band, there's only one new tune here in "What I Do", which though good enough (and hearkens back to their "Mood Swings" era), does not warrant a full purchase. But for the uninitiated, it's a good starting point. As for the cash-in bit, the biggest complaint of any HS fan is trying to keep up with all the various releases which tend to feature a new track here or a new track there, making collecting the band an expensive hobby.
RANDOM - RANDOM, Random Inc., 1999 [Similarites: Lit, Smashing Pumpkins, Foo Fighters] [ http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Palace/8301/ ]
I was first exposed to this band on the "1978" compilation on Not Lame (an excellent pop label and shop BTW... www.notlame.com), where they turned in a stomping version of Queen's "We Will Rock You" (which is included here as well). So my expectations were rather high for this disc, but for whatever reasons, there's just something missing. The songs are all catchy and punchy yet at the same time very nondescript. For every crackler like "Cannonball" or "Outside", it's balanced out by such lackluster filler like "Merry Go Round" (which is way too close to Smashing Pumpkins for my tastes) or the whiny "Same Difference". The album has a very crisp production that certainly helps bring certain qualities out but overall, the songwriting is the weakest link and there just aren't enough good tunes here to outweigh the so-so ones.
(Re)Views From The Hill:
38 SPECIAL: LIVE AT STURGIS, SPV/KOCH/CMC [similarities: Lynyrd Skynrd, Molly Hatchet, The Outlaws]
38 Special is yet another band that got big in the 80s, lost two members to other bands and broke up. Unlike many of them, they regrouped in 1996 with one member returning, got a new deal, and picked up where they left off. They will probably never regain the lofty heights of the top of the charts or their commercial endorsements, but they are well and truly back.
This is a live compilation that contains all their hits bar one (from the Revenge of the Nerds II soundtrack) but including a new one. Recorded at the Sturgis Motorcycle week in the summer of 1998, this is a testament to how good these guys are live. It is a great live record, with just enough crowd noise to seem real, but none of the screaming and onstage banter so common in these types of albums. The sound on this is great, never more so than on the dedication to Ronnie Van Zant (RIP) of Lynyrd Skynrd, before "Rebel to Rebel." This album is a must for all fans of Southern Fried Blues/boogie woogie rock. Johnny Lang and Kenny Wayne Shepard owe a great debt to these guys for opening doors for this sorta rock. While 38 Special always produced a slicker version of the type, but they never strayed too far from their roots. They had to do something right to sell as estimated 12 million albums over their career. 38 Special always had a reputation for a damn good live show and this album is not exception.
The new track "Just One Girl", very much in style of their back catalogue, a mellow track, that would be perfect for rock radio. Catchy with a great chorus, someone needs to get this one on CMT "Jammin’ Country".
The album contains everything you would want from "Back Where you Belong" to "Fantasy Girl" and the great track "Hold on Loosely". If you don’t have all these tracks and want em in one place you should look no further than this great release. I can well see this blaring out of many a car stereo this summer down south.
I always loved southern blues and this album help remind me why. This is a great fun album that reminds you of sun, too much beer and getting a little crazy. - MD
GEORGE THOROGOOD & THE DESTROYERS: LIVE IN 99’, SPV/KOCH/CMC [similarities: Johnny Lang, Kenny Wayne Sheppard, J Geils]
George used to be all over rock radio in the 80s and then he seemed to have dropped off the face of the earth. Well he is back with a vengeance, and playing like it is a matter of life or death. This is white boy blues at its best, while I find him tiresome if repeated this is a fun record. Mostly covering his hits of old, the album has some of his newer stuff, but it is the classics that shine through. He is so pleased with his new label that George thanks CMC for signing them in middle of the concert.
I got this album right after watching George on VH-1s "Hard Rock Live". This album has all the stuff that you would expect it to have, and that was on his 1986 "Live" album as well. However as most of us have gotten rid of all our vinyl, it might help to have this on crisp CD. Most of the music here goes well getting drunk with your buddies and is bar room music.
This is mostly due to the fact get drinking is featured in a lot of his best tracks like "One Bourbon, One Scotch and One Beer" and ‘I Drink Alone", two of the best odes to drinking ever written.
GT does a good line in odes to being bad, "Bad to the Bone" and Nik Lowe’s "Half Boy, Half Man" being the two best on here. Classic Rock described GT most recent album featuring the later track as "raucous delights here best enjoyed late at night with a bottle". I think that is an apt description of this one as well.
This is a great album for anyone with even a fleeting interest in George or his type of blues rock. It is uncompromising peddle to metal blues. This is the album to put on before a night out with the boys. If you don’t have all of George’s stuff on CD and want to buy one, this is the one to get, a great album by a great band. – MD
AOR Basement (Ian McIntosh):
Haven't noticed many other people taking notice of the Eileen Shania Twain "Beginnings" album which is a whole load of demos Twain recorded in the late 1980s with Paul Sabu producing. It's very demo-ish, but some of it is quite interesting. It also reminds me that the country rock has taken the place of what was a big chunk of the AOR listening audience and many artists have adapted to cater for the audience more and more. It's almost like that part of the audience needs to feel more American and wants to have the blank anonymity of the Country and Western get-up (with the hats, boots, belt buckles and all that!).
One thing that did catch my attention on the early Twain release is that it one of the tracks "Don't Give me that Once Over" is claimed to have been written by Sabu and Twain. Kinda interesting seeing as Stan Meissner wrote and recorded it the best part of 10 years earlier! It was also covered, to superb effect, by Burning Rome on their one and only album (think that was a 1982 or 83 release). Wonder what Stan makes of that! Even more incestuously, Meissner does have that band Metropolis with Kim Mitchell's bass player Peter Fredette, and Fredette just happens to have playing recently in Twain's touring band! Wonder of there's even more of a story there than meets the eye....
The Dixie Dregs new live album - "California Screamin'" - has had its release date pushed back slightly and it's now due out February 1st. Most of the major on-line stores seem to be allowing you to pre-order now if you want to get in there early.
Casting my eye down the up-and-coming Japanese releases, I notice that all those UFO re-issues I mentioned a few weeks back have now been delayed to January 26th, and the two Bob Catley releases have been put back to February 2nd. Also on February 2nd, John Elefante's "Defying Gravity" (which sounds nothing like classic Kansas, contrary to claims you might see elsewhere) gets a Japanese issue with one bonus track included. Hugo's new album is due out February 9th, and 24K's "Pure" comes out in just over a week with a bonus track added. Jazzy guitarist Severin Browne also has his first album re-issued in Japan on February 16th, along with a further release "The New Improved Severin Browne".