STRIKTLY FOR KONNISSUERS 03-13-00
"Without music life would be a mistake." - Friedrich Nietzsche

Official Nonsense:

Editor and amateur HTML coder - Kurt Torster

The other guys who write stuff:

Ian McIntosh (AOR Basement)
Tim Henderson (Brave Words)
DJ Klaus Brandlhuber (RockTracks)
Peter Sims (Now & Then / Frontiers)
Ove Gustafsson (MTM)
Mark Alger (Z Records)
Carrie Borzillo (All Star Daily News)
Marty Dodge (http://www.lupusandco.com)
Alex Richter (Hard N' Fast)
Martin Hennessy III (80's Nuts)

All e-mail should be directed to ktorster@yahoo.com.

Snail mail address for press kits & CDs, porno tapes, DVDs, action figures, HotWheels cars, money, booze, naked pictures of your wife or girlfriends, etc.:
SFK c/o Kurt Torster
68 Lindbergh Blvd
Bloomfield, NJ 07003 USA

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Kurt's Krap:

This week I am switching over to using HTML mail as compared to just the plain text of the past. Though at first, I’m doing nothing fancy, eventually I would like to (you know, small pics, fancy fonts, etc.). Right now I’m only going to use it for hyperlinking and making things look a little prettier (also, you can follow the album links to a page with sound clips and the ability to purchase it). Apologies to those who may have trouble with it but jeez, it’s 2000 already…get with it!

Now some may have problems as I am still ironing out all the kinks myself. But, if worse comes to worse, you can always open this in your browser. Gimme a couple of weeks to get everything straight and to tweak it exactly the way I want...

And before anyone gets too nutty...NO I will not be going crazy by adding graphics and tons of other shit to bog down your mail.

Koupon Korner:

CD NOW ($10 off a $14.99 order)

News Bytes:

Jon BON JOVI is now saying the new album will be titled "Crush". Songs set to appear are "Say It Isn't So", "It's My Life", "One Wild Night", "Thank You for Loving Me", "Just Older", "The Next 100 Years" (originally written for Japanese act J-Friends), "Hard to Make a Living Loving You", "I Got the Girls", "Neurotica", "Save the World" and "She's a Mystery". The band will start their tour in Japan, then visit Europe and wind up hitting the arenas of North America in the fall.

BOSTON will release a new album on Artemis Records this summer. Tom Sholz decided to make another album after hearing the band's 1976 hit "More Than A Feeling" too many times at his gym. "You will still be able to tell it's Boston but it's Boston in the year 2000 - which is much better than still sounding like 1976".

Looks like mega-producer MUTT LANGE will be a busy boy this year. Not only is he and his wife SHANIA TWAIN working on a new album but he also has done work for Britney Spears (who according to Forbes magazine is worth $15 million!) and will be producing and helping to write a new album for THE COORS. That album will include the two new tracks from their "Unplugged" album in "Radio" and "At Your Side". Meanwhile Shania's second album, "The Woman In Me", will get reissued in Europe getting some Mutt Lange remixing similar to the pop oriented 'International version' of "Come On Over". And if that's not enough Mutt for you, he will probably be involved in that rumored DEF LEPPARD B-sides and outtakes collection.

VAUGHAN release the first single off their upcoming "Soldiers And Sailors On Riverside" album, "Is That All There Is?" on April 3. The album will be out on April 17.

MTM has signed HOUSE OF SHAKIRA.

JOE SATRIANI's "Engines Of Creation" hits the stores tomorrow. Certain retailers will include a bonus CD called "Additional Creations" with 4 tracks (Borg Sex  (Radio Mix), Turkey Man (Previously Unreleased) ,Flavor Crystal  7  (Radio Mix) and  Until We Say Goodbye  (Techno Mix))

KYLE VINCENT is starting to crack Top 40 playlists around the country with his single “Somewhere Between Hello And Goodbye”.

Prog rockers UNDER THE SUN will have Terry Brown (Rush, Tiles) producing their next album.

Frontiers has signed Long Island legends GOOD RATS to release their "Cover Of Night" album.

Seems that PAUL MCCARTNEY tribute album I reported about last issue may be an internet hoax. Some of the acts, like XTC and BRIAN WILSON both deny any involvement but then acts like FOO FIGHTERS have confirmed involvement. What the hell is going on?

Speaking of FOO FIGHTERS, main man Dave Grohl said a NIRVANA box set is due by year's end.

And speaking of NIRVANA, LEIF GARRET will cover the trio's "Smells Like Teen Spirit". Ech.

Look for AC/DC March 18 on NBC's Saturday Night Live.

HANSON's new single, "This Time Around" is available for digital download via Liquid Audio on launch.com. With the download, fans of the band will also receive a "secret" web address that gives them access to a live, celebrity-hosted Internet listening party and band interview on March 31.

An interesting comment concerning MP3s from Jim Lauderback, a columnist on ZDNet: "It will be impossible to put the MP3 genie back into the bottle. With programs such as Napster and Agent-MP3, which allow anonymous or widely dispersed copyright violations, pirated music is here to stay. I managed to download a copy of Steely Dan's new CD (it's great, by the way) before it was even released. The music industry needs to figure out how to coexist with the new music economy, and make money from it, rather than attempt to legislate it out of existence. This kind of legislation won't work. Instead, it will simply drive the whole thing even more underground that it already is. Note to the music industry: Embrace, extend, and profit. Don't legislate." Here here!

The next single from the GOO GOO DOLLS will be for the fantastic arena rocker "Broadway". Comic Bobcat Goldthwaite will produce and star in the video.

Looks like RUBBER isn't playing any HAREM SCAREM tunes on their recent live club dates. In fact, the band is dropping the Harem Scarem name altogether (including Japan). They have shot a video for the first single, "Sunshine". The Canadian release of the "Rubber" album has a remixed version of that single and drops the bonus track "Enemy".

Coming in April to Madison Square Garden in NY will be 'VH-1's Divas Live 2000'. No word on the lineup yet, but they will also be hosting a male counter concert.

CLOCK, the band that at one time featured DEF LEPPARD guitarist Vivian Campbell, now has their demo available at Jamming Planet. It's said to be a mix of Crowded House, the Beatles and U2.

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of it's release, PINK FLOYD will issue "Is There Anybody Out There? The Wall Live" on April 18. It will also be available in a deluxe edition that will come in a hardcover case with a 64 page booklet. The concert was recorded back in 1981 at the Earl's Court, London concerts by producer James Guthrie.

DANGER DANGER will finally be issuing the long lost "Cockroach" album in both the Ted Poley and Paul Laine varieties. The band will also be reissuing the rest of their catalog as well including the previously promo-only "Down And Dirty Live", available at their website.

A reader hipped me to a new site for ex-WHITE SISTER singer Gary Brandon's site for his new band FAST MACHINE.

James Hetfield has said that METALLICA are currently demoing material for a new album which he says will return somewhat to the band's heavy roots. Meanwhile, look for their song "I Disappear" on the soundtrack for Mission Impossible 2.

The first single from the upcoming IRON MAIDEN album is set to be "Wicker Man".

The upcoming TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA project, "Beethoven's Last Night", will feature the following tracks: 'Overture', 'Midnight', 'Fate', 'What Good This Deafness', 'Mephistopheles', 'What Is Eternal', 'The Moment', 'Vienna', 'Mozart', 'The Dreams Of Candlelight', 'Requiem (The Fifth)', 'I'll Keep Your Secrets', 'The Dark', 'Fur Elise', 'After The Fall', 'A Last Illusion', 'This Is Who You Are', 'Beethoven', 'Mephistopheles Return', 'Misery', 'Who Is This Child', and 'A Final Dream'. Look for an April release on Lava/Atlantic.

Songs set to be included on the upcoming MOTLEY CRUE album "New Tattoo" will be the title track along with 'First Band On The Moon', 'God Drives A UFO', 'Crash-O Matic', 'Treat Me Like The Dog That I Am', 'Hollywood Ending', 'Penthouse 57', 'Time Bomb', and 'Porno Star'.

QUEENSRYCHE are set to release a compilation later this year through EMI.

Ex-CRY OF LOVE singer Robert Mason recently tried out for the vocalist spot in RATT.

Tour dates for JOHN WAITE:
03/17/00 South Bend, Indiana
03/18/00 Omaha, Nebraska
04/14/00 Queens, New York
04/15/00 Foxwoods Casino, Connecticut
04/19/00 Keshena Wisconson Menominee Casino
04/20/00 Suttons Bay Michigan Leelanau Sands Casino
04/21/00 Hamel Minnesota Medina Entertainment Ctr.
04/22/00 Mahnomen Minnesota Shooting Star Casino
04/29/00 Las Vegas, Nevada

Moldy Oldys:

[Old school stuff kicking on the SFK Deck O' Death this week:]
The Plimsouls - The Plimsouls...Plus (a freaking power pop classic!), John Waite - Falling Backwards, Marshall Crenshaw - A Collection, Monster 80s, Shania Twain - Live

Kurt's Picks:

ERIC CARMEN - I WAS BORN TO LOVE YOU, Pyramid, 2000
[Similarities: John Waite, Rick Springfield, Kyle Vincent]

To me, Eric is an AOR legend. I still think that his band (the Raspberries) and subsequent solo career were more influential on what we now call AOR than a lot of people may think. On this new collection, of which Eric plays 99% of the instruments, it's an impressive if rather slow set of tunes. Though the ballads are all huge and powerful, if truth be known, there are just too damned many of them! Of the ten tracks here, six are of the slow variety. Now, they are all hit worthy and excellent, but just so many of them back to back does not exactly make for an uplifting listening experience (especially when the first three tracks are all ballads). Of these though, the title track, "Almost Paradise" (the song he wrote for Ann Wilson and Mike Reno) and "I Wanna Take Forever Tonight" are flat out superb and will probably dominate adult contemporary radio. As for the upbeat tunes, they are all excellent and really make you hunger for a entire album of rockers. "Cartoon World" features a TexMex backbeat and makes it impossible to sit still. "Top Down Summer" sounds exactly what its name would imply and has sort of a modern Beach Boys feel. "I Could Really Love You" is a building arena rocker with an almost danceable rhythm. And his cover of the classic "Walk Away Renee" is excellent and could really recharge his career if released as a single. If you are looking for something of a relaxing or romantic listen, then this is right up your alley. Those who want to rock might be better off picking up Eric's older essential compilations (both solo and with the Raspberries). As I hold Eric in the highest regard, I cannot say that I'm not a little disappointed in this.

FAIR WARNING - 4, Frontiers, 2000
[Similarities: Firehouse, Frontline, Harem Scarem]

This German mob, responsible for one of the catchiest AOR tunes in history ("I'll Be There"), are back with an album of thirteen tracks of melodic bliss. This is your basic big time arena rock that while somewhat generic, is nonetheless catchy and never comes across as boring or pretentious. The first thing evident is the extraordinary guitar work of Helge Engelke, who plays like a restrained Yngwie. Secondly, the soaring vocals of Tommy Heart are nothing short of breathtaking and lift even the most basic songs a couple of notches. But if there's anything lacking, than it would be 'basic' songs, as this is about as complete of a listen as you're likely to find. Opening rocker "Heart On The Run" gets things going and from there it's just one great song after another with not a letdown in earshot. Songs like the grand "Break Free", the monster ballad "Tell Me I'm Wrong" and the mouthwatering "Eyes Of Love" just ooze melody and class from every pore. And just when you think everything is safe, along comes a classic like "Night Falls" to whack you across the face. A mid-tempo ballad, this song has me hooked. With superb releases already from Danger Danger, Crown Of Thorns, Hugo and now the possible crown jewel, Fair Warning...2000 is shaping up to be the finest year melodic rock has seen in some time.

STREET LEGAL - THUNDERDOME, Frontiers, 2000
[Similarities: pre-"1987" Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy, Blue Murder]

Straight-ahead and unassuming rock that makes no excuses about what it is. And that's good because they honestly just don't make them like this anymore. Street Legal seemed to have been weaned on late 70s/early 80s British hard rock that gave us the likes of the three bands above as well as MSG, UFO, early Def Leppard and the like. With the spot on but not over the top guitar playing of Ken Ingwersen and the smooth John Sykes-like vocals of Bjorn Boge (the trio is rounded out by drummer Bjorn Lauvdal) all the songs here are good if not at times great. Running both hot (the ballad "Calling For You" and the total arena rocker "In The Mood") and warm (the riff heavy "Chasing The Rainbow" and bluesy "Red Light District") you won't really find any cold moments here. And the hyper-melodic "Wrong Side Of Town" has all the hallmarks of a classic and should be pushed as a single. Overall maybe a touch generic and unoriginal but nonetheless passionate and so well done that even someone like yours truly (who hears too much music that things can sound the same after a while) didn't even notice all that much.

SUGAR SHOCK - FIRST DATE, Demo
[Similarities: NY Dolls, D Generation, Ramones]

This four song EP is a nice taster of this Swedish lot who seemed to have crawled right out of the gutter and into your disc player. The music is tight and punchy and the songs are straight out of the glam handbook. My only beef is the vocals, which are nasally, whiny and sometimes annoying. But the songs are all very good and are like a mix of bubblegum pop and gutter glam, with the driving "First Date" coming out tops for me. Opener "PromQueen Daydream" is another thumper that's in your face without being obnoxious. This trio should get themselves a singer, become a foursome, and from there could potentially bring back the days of make-up and big hair all on their own.

TINA TURNER - TWENTY FOUR SEVEN, Virgin, 2000
[Similarities: Bryan Adams, Cher, John Waite]

Is this woman really almost 60? Not only does she still look good but I'll be damned but she can rock out too. Though the album has a few dance pop moments (though they are very good), the rest of the album is filled with straight ahead pop rockers and ballads that come across like a female Bryan Adams (the title track easily could have came straight off of "Reckless"). I've had this album for a couple of weeks now and to be honest, it's only gotten better with time (much like her career I suppose). Kicking off with the pleasant mid-tempo "Whatever You Want", it sets the pace for an album with a lot of ups (the huge and danceable "When The Heartache Is Over", the acoustic driven rocker "Talk To My Heart" and the balls out rock of "Go Ahead") and a couple downs ("Absolutely Nothing's Changed" is standard Euro-disco pap and the ballad "Don't Leave Me This Way" drags) but never any real off moments. The whole album is engaging and infectious and plays well in many situations. Much like Cher's comeback of 1999, 2000 will be Tina's year and this album backs that thought admirably.

(Re)Views From The Hill:

SHEDAISY: THE WHOLE SHEBANG, Hollywood Records
[similarities: All Saints, Mariah Carey, Wilson Philips, Dixie Chicks]

SheDaisy are yet another Dan Huff produced "country" hit maker following in the footsteps of Lonestar. This trio of sisters (one look at the cover picture will leave you in no doubt that they are related) from Utah, named Kelsi, Kristyn and Kassidy provide country tinged pop music that is miles better than any of the groups listed in the similarities section. While there a sprinkling of country touches to this album, it would be considered pretty mainstream anywhere in the world by the US.

Taking the soul of All Saints (esp. their track "Never Ever") & Mariah Carey and combining it with the pop sensibilities of Wilson Philips and Dixie Chicks, the girls have produced an edgy but sweet album that puts all the aforementioned bands to shame. It is clear that this group has more talent that all the above groups out together. I wonder why this album is stuck in the country music ghetto of my local record store. And yes there is enough talent, musicianship and edge here to even penetrate the heart of the most cynical of hard rockers.

There are really no duff tracks on this whole album. The guitar on this album is impressive, and there is no surprise to learn that the licks are provided by none other than Mr. Huff himself. The opening track and first single is female harmony driven power pop at its best, in the same vein as All Saints big hit "Never Ever," this song simply has you in awe. There is no doubt in your mind why this song by itself, when sung to Hollywood Records acapella, got them an immediate deal. It has everything, great lyrics, attitude and harmony. Yeah these ladies can sing. The second single and no less a corker, is an ode to forgotten wife, "This Woman Needs" which comes across as hard arsed white woman soul, sung with passion and attitude. I am sure either one of these two tracks would go down a storm on the UK pop charts.

For the woman's counter to Lou Vega's Mambo #5, you need look no further than the humorous and catchy "Lucky 4 You". "Still Holding Out for You" is heart tugging ballad with haunting vocals, harmonies and piano. This track rivals Cinderella's "Don't Know What" for heart wrenching ballad. In case you had forgotten that these girls could rock, "Cause..." comes out of the gate and kicks some butt. "Without Your Love" is another great ballad, that compliments "Still.." but is slightly ruined by a dash of slide guitar. SheDaisy's harmonies still win out and makes this a good track, that would sound better with a cleaner mix. The CD finishes with the love ballad "Dancing" that has a wonderful combination of fiddles, guitar and harmony.

This is simply a stellar album that deserves all the praise its getting in country music and on CMT. The only thing I don't get is why Hollywood Records is limiting the audience so, giving the right push these girls could be huge in the mainstream world in no time. Dan Huff's golden touch seems to remain in tact, wonder what his next trick will be? - MD

AC/DC: STIFF UPPER LIP, Elektra
[similarities: Guns & Roses, Rolling Stones, Quireboys, Dirty Deeds]

AC/DC return with their first album in more than 4 years and it has been well worth the wait. Truth told AC/DC fans are a loyal bunch and like Motorhead's buy whatever the bands put out. Unlike 'head, AC/DC have only abused this loyalty with a few of their albums in the late 80s and early 90s. There last few have shown signs of a return but SUL finally explains what was missing. On this outing the band enlisted the services of older brother George Young, the man responsible for some of their best albums to date (High Voltage, Let There Be Rock, If You Want Blood and Powerage). It seems AC/DC is at its best when it remains in the family. (OK Back in Black is exception to the rule, a big one!) For those keeping track this is the band's 16th album, marks 26 years in the business and will no doubt add to the 35 million albums they have sold in the US alone.

Deep down however this is AC/DC, there is doubt about that. There is no cack or filler on this one. Standouts are numerous. The title track is a great rocker in the style that we have become so accustomed to, not only is it the lead off track but it is the lead off single to the album. Our local rock stations were bombarded with requests for it, from the minute it premiered. "Hold Me Back" has guitar work that is not dissimilar to the classic track "Ride On", and much like the Bon Scott era track this one gets under your skin and does not let go. A great building track named "Safe in NYC" has some killer riffs and Phil Rudd kicks some serious arse on this one. No doubt New Yorkers will miss the irony in the title.

"Can't Stand Still" makes a good twin to classic AC/DC song "Who made Who" from the lame Stephen King movie "Maximum Overdrive". CSS has some amazing bell like guitar and slow builds to a crushing crescendo. This is one guaranteed like the title track to be a corker live. "Come and Get It" is the typical AC/DC innuendo laden anthem, that would be missed if it weren't on this album.

Stiff Upper Lip is an AC/DC album no more no less. Far from being a rehash of past glories, it takes their unique sound to a whole new level. Now lets just see if their numerous imitators can keep up! Welcome back Angus, old boy! - MD

AOR Basement (Ian McIntosh):

The Outfield are still recording their new (full length studio) album here in the UK but are now reported to be two thirds of the way through it. An exact release date has still to be confirmed but will be later this year. People that have heard some it already think it's one of the best set of songs that they've ever committed to tape! We shall see....

Lively fusion guitarist Toshi Iseda has now added Dixie Dregs' keyboard player T. Lavitz to the list of guest players for his new album "Rama". Mixing of the album is due to start this month at Steve Vai's Mothership studio. A release date is to be confirmed and work on a further solo album is also now getting underway. Other guests on the Rama CD include: Rod Morgenstein, Jonathan Mover, Mike Portnoy, Jens Johanssen, and Derek Sherinian. Get more details on all Toshi's projects at http://www.overthetop.com/.

Scottish melodic rocks The Promise say they are now working on songs for their third full album. The band are confident they get have a more speedy recording and release schedule for the third release, compared with their recent "Human Fire" album, and are looking to get it out later this year. The band are also going to play at the Dave Tedder organized at the Ultrasound 2000 showcase in Las Vegas. That event runs over two days, but it looks likely that The Promise will be playing on the second day, Sunday May 28th. The catch is that they're financing the US trip themselves, but to fund it some of the way, the band will be playing some gigs around their home town of Aberdeen over the next three months. Check out their website at http://www.the-promise.co.uk/ for full details of the dates.

Elsewhere, Kansas now have an official web site where you can get details on the up-and-coming 25th anniversary CD which will see the return of Kerry Livgren and is supposed to be very progressive. Kerry's own Numavox Records is now released a release under the title "Collector's Sedition" which is a load of songs Livgren had left sitting on the shelf over a number of years, but has now dusted down and finished off. That one should be out this month.

If you fancy seeing Journey in the studio in New York working on their forthcoming new album surf to their website. Initial indications are that this could be quite an exciting release and much more in line with their capabilities compared with "Trial by Fire" which I found a little cold and disappointing....

Feedback:

From: "daManny" manny@epix.net

Your Royal Kurtness, Thank you very much for the great review. And top billing too!

Here's a story that might answer one of your questions. We had been doing that cover of Friday On My Mind since the early 80's, whenever the band played live. It was a killer performed live, and we had always wanted to put it on an album. None of the big labels thought it was such a great idea, so it never made it. But we always promised ourselves if we ever did an indie release, that track would be on it. When we finished tracking LV, I headed off to Switzerland and Austria to do my little tour, while Jerry and the boys started mixing. One day in a restaurant, I heard what sounded to me like our EXACT Dakota arrangement of the tune. Upon my frantic requests over who it was, a waiter quickly pointed out to me that he didn't know the band but he'd heard that version for years on Euro radio, and proceeded to immediately cut me off of Espresso.

Needless to say I fired off a quick email to Jerry, suggesting maybe we keep it off the record. We decided to put it on anyway, I guess simply because we didn't have to listen to any 'suits' tell us what to do this time. That's a good feeling. And I never did find out who the artist was... but they stole our arrangement. : )

The Moral: Timing is everything.

[Rick is da keyboardist for Dakota. I'm just wondering if I should tell him that they didn't get top billing so much as the reviews are listed alphabetically.]

From: "Kost, Ken" ken.kost@lmco.com


Well, I'd like to get in on this Santana discussion a bit. I tend to agree with Oscar in that Santana deserves some recognition for a great career. For an artist who seemed to really struggle in the 90's, it was nice to see him reap the benefits of a great album in "Supernatural". Which leads me to another question. Does he deserve 8 Grammy's for the darn thing?....IMHO that's a little overkill. I think we should recognize "Supernatural" as the great album it is and not smother it with Grammy success.

Although I'm probably not considered a huge fan of Santana, I've followed his career throughout the years and have purchased various albums along the way. I think "Zebop" and "Shango" where two great back to back releases and probably some of the better music to be released in that era. And of course who can forget the classic album Abraxas?! So I think all the Grammy recognition is not only for Supernatural, but for other great music along the way.

Kurt, I can't see you only liking one song, "Smooth", when the song "Corazon Espenada" has the exact same vibe and feel. I call it the "Spanish" version of "Smooth" :-) Then there's my favorite, "Turn Your Lights On"! What a great tune that bounces back and forth between acoustic and electric guitars....and Everlast's vocals are haunting! I'm also fond of "Maria Maria" with it's Latin groove and tragic story of a Latin girl growing up in Spanish Harlem trying to make her life better.....it's really a touching set of lyrics. "The Calling" (the song he does with Clapton) is cool as well.....granted it's a little kick back, but the two guitars sound wonderful together.

So Kurt, I encourage you to take another listen. Clear your mind of all the Grammy hype and take it for what it is. Myself, I'd much rather listen to Carlos's sound than all the up and coming wannabes....i.e. Ricky Martin.

BTW Kurt, I did love your comment about Carlos not being afraid to play his instrument!....RIGHT ON MAN!!!

KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK WITH SFK MY MAN!!!

Take care and......KEEP ROCKIN'!!

[To be honest, I've never been a fan of Santana though he is a great guitarist. I guess I will revist the album and maybe prepare a review. But that Everlast song does nothing for me in the least. As for Ricky Martin being a wanna-be, I don't think you can even compare the two. Admittedly, Ricky has a long way to go to be in the same legendary category of Carlos, but I think he's off to a decent start. He's come a LONG way from Menudo!]