STRIKTLY FOR KONNISSUERS 11-1-99

Official Nonsense:

Editor and QuarterBack - Kurt Torster

The Offensive Offense:

-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)
-Carrie Borzillo (All Star Daily News)
-Marty Dodge ( http://www.lupusandco.com)
-Keyji Johnsen

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

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Kurt's Krap:

CD NOW is running a $10 off everything in the store sale...check it out: http://www.cdnow.com/from=sr-38281

Two new features will be up on the SFK site sometime this week. First, the return of the MP3 Mystery Vong voting Booth. Secondly, I will be adding to the Melodic Shopping page coupons that you can use to get all sorts of discounts all over the net.

Thanks to all who wrote in with info on Freak Of Nature. Here's their discography: Freak of Nature, 1993/Gathering of Freaks, 1994/Outcasts, 1996

News Bytes:

Here's the tracklisting for KYLE VINCENT's upcoming "Sweet 16 (Rare & Unreleased 1986-1998)" release: One Soul, I Can Still Love You, Back Off, One Ticket Home, Same Old Heartache, I Only Know How To Love You, Any Other Girl, Man In The Moon, Just A Matter Of Time, If You Were My Love, When I Close My Eyes, When I Need A Miracle, Rockin' Radio, Rita, Running Away, Where Memories Go

Look for RICK SPRINGFIELD and BRET MICHALES to appear on this week's episode of 'Martial Law', airing on CBS.

The upcoming DVD for the movie 'Detroit Rock City' will include commentary from Gene Simmons, footage from a KISS concert, screen tests and deleted scenes. The DVD is THE greatest toy to ever be invented.

DOKKEN will be taping their November 4 show in California for their next live CD and video.

RICK MONROE will be performing shows for the US troops stationed in Kosovo during the Thanksgiving holiday. He has a new CD Shame out now.

Ryan Roxie has joined SLASH'S SNAKEPIT for an album that Slash says will return to rock. Gone from the lineup though is singer Eric Dover. The GUNS N' ROSES live CD is said to be absolute killer. There will be a video release for "It's So Easy".

The tracklisting for ANTHRAX's "Return Of The Killer A's", due out in November, is as follows: Bring The Noise, Only, Potters Field (Hypo Luxa Hermes Pan Remix), Ball of Confusion, Crush, Room for One More, Inside Out, Hy Pro Glo (Hy Pro Luxa Mix), Fueled, Among the Living, Got The Time, Indians, Antisocial, I'm The Man, Madhouse and I Am The Law.

There's a rumor floating around the Net that VAN HALEN's next release will be a four-CD box set of demos.

Check out 'Hammer's House Of Hair' radio show at http://www.purerock106.com/hair.html.

LIT's first CD, "Tripping The Light Fantastic", will get reissued tomorrow.

Former Heavy Stereo guitarist Gem has joined OASIS. The band is putting the finishing touches on their fourth album, "Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants".

The new NELSON CD, "Like Father, Like Sons", will be ready for a Christmas release.

SAMMY HAGAR will be cutting off his hair on the November 12 Tonight Show With Jay Leno, who will in turn donate it to charity for wigs for cancer patients.

Leno also has MOTLEY CRUE pegged for a November 24 appearance.

Neil Schon has been helping out RICKY PHILLIPS on a couple of tunes for the as yet unnamed project on MTM.

The next VON GROOVE disc will be titled "Driving Off The Edge".

The end of the year will see METALLICA hit the road with Kid Rock in support. A New Year's Eve show in Detroit will see the band joined by Rock as well as Ted Nugent and Tommy Lee's Methods Of Mayhem.

Ex-NEW RADICALS leader Greg Alexander unveiled his new project last week in Hollywood. DANIELLE BRISEBOIS played songs from the Alexander co-written album "Portable Life", which is due in January, which is said to be heavy on the pop.

The SCORPIONS will perform on November 9 along with cellist Mstislav Rostropovich (as well as 165 other cellists) for a tenth anniversary concert of the falling of the Berlin Wall. As expected, the Scorps will perform "Wind Of Change".

PUSH will be touring the UK during March 2000 in support of their new album "On the Run" which will be released around the time of the tour.

TAL BACHMAN will be opening for the BARENAKED LADIES. Catch them at:

Dec. 28 - Washington, DC MCI Center

29 - Worcester, MA Centrum

30 - Uniondale, NY Nassau Coliseum

31 - Buffalo, NY Marine Midland

Jan. 1 - Auburn, MI Palace of Auburn Hills

Dates for SEBASTIAN BACH:

DECEMBER: 3rd, Friday Frederick, MD Xhale 4th, Saturday Springfield, VA Jaxx 7th, Tuesday Hartford, CT Webster Theater 8th, Wednesday Danbury, CT Tuxedo Junction 9th, Thursday Nashua, NH Sharky's 10th, Friday Brooklyn, NY L' Amours 11th, Saturday Wantagh, NY Mulcahy's 14th, Tuesday Limestone, NY Rock 'N' Rick's Concert Club 15th, Wednesday Buffalo, NY The Sideshow Music Hall 16th, Thursday Scranton, PA Tink's Entertainment Complex 17th, Friday Poughkeepsie, NY The Chance 18th, Saturday Old Bridge, NJ The Birch Hill

Noteworthy New Releases:

[* recommended by SFK]

ALICE IN CHAINS - Music Bank

BUSH - The Science of Things

ERIC CARR (late KISS drummer) - Rockology

CHICAGO - 26: Live in Concert (w/10 live tracks and three new studio songs)

THE CLASH - Live: From Here to Eternity

CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNG - Looking Forward

DREAM THEATRE - Scenes From a Memory

FIREHOUSE - Category 5

GENESIS - Turn it on Again: The Hits (Feat. Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins)

HIGH LLAMAS - Snowbug

STARSHIP - No Protection

STONE TEMPLE PILOTS - No. 4

KIP WINGER - Down Incognito

Various Artists - Shock Rock (four-CD audiobook of music biz horror stories narrated by Joan Jett, Greg Kihn, Bruce Johnston, Fee Waybill and others)

Kurt's Picks:

CONQUEST - WORLDS APART, Escape, 1999 [Similarities: Scorpions, Dokken, old Rush] [ http://www.escape-music.com ]

Though the Geoff Tate-like vocals of Peter James Goodman are pretty good, they just don't seem all that well suited for the chunky and riff heavy hard rock (a dirtier voice may have been better here). Musically, the clean solos of Hekki Warma carry this trio far considering that the music is just notches above average. It's not really that the songs are bad but they just all ring so hollow. When one song is done and another begins, you're pretty hard pressed to remember the slightest thing about any of them. It's a shame really, because there's no denying this trio has a boatload of talent. About the only one song that stood out from the crowd was the total Iron Maiden clone, "Heat Of The Flame", with some real incredible double bass drumming. Other than that, just not a lot here to recommend.

PHEONIX DOWN - UNDER A WILD SKY, Frontiers, 1999 [Similarities: Skid Row, Winger, Dokken]

Whoa...I was almost ready to give this thing up after the Korn-like opening cut "Reckless" came blaring out of my stereo. But things returned to normal on the more melodic, yet still quite loud "I Want It Again". Kane Roberts has produced a respectable, though unspectacular, follow up to his classic "Saints And Sinners" disc. There are some moments of brilliance however, like on the storming "Love Gone Wrong" (co-written by Jim Peterik), the power ballad "Rain" and the dark yet melodic "Neverland", all of which reek of that classic 80s arena rock sound. But I had a hard time getting my ears around tracks like "Blind" or the moody and dragging "Alive And Well", which were just more aggressive that what I was expecting. I'm also not sure why the rerecording of "Rebel Heart" either. With a little more melodic focus, this could have been a big one, but with it's 'all-over-the-map' stylings, the inconsistency of the music just brought it all crashing down.

KEN TAMPLIN - BRAVE DAYS OF OLD, Z Records, 1999 [Similarites: Velocity, Autograph, Bon Jovi] [ http://www.kentamplin.com ]

With opening track "Never Stop" blazing a huge melodic trail, full of chunky guitars, fluffy keys and the excellent vocals of Ken himself. Even a dumb song like "Radio Bikini" is so filled with harmonies and a melody line to die for, that little nitpicks are easily overlooked. Throw in such classy numbers as "You Never Give Up", "Cry Just A Little" and the monstrous "Straight Between The Eyes" and you're left with a nice retrospective of tunes from Ken's career that leaves you hungry for his new upcoming release with Shout. What's more, most of these songs aged better than I would have thought and some sound almost as fresh as the day they were released. Ken's guitar playing and vocals are superb and lift some of the more average songs a few notches (in anyone else's hands, "AD/BC" would have been a disaster). Rock solid.

KYLE VINCENT - TELL IT GOODBYE, Songtree single, 1999 [Similarities: Jellyfish, Eric Carmen, Bee Gees] [ http://www.kylevincent.com ]

This gorgeous piano based power ballad, an ode to San Francisco's Candlestick Park, shows why Kyle has become my favorite artist. Besides the fact that this guy has probably the best voice in all of music, his songwriting is superb and the music brings back memories of the best 70s AM pop, when all songs were based on strong melodies and beg for repeat listens. Consider this intelligent ear candy.

ROBBIE WILLIAMS - ANGELS, EMI Japan, 1998 [Similarities: Enuff Z'nuff, Oasis, The Rembrandts]

Essentially a B-sides and remixes collection from some of Robbie's various singles, there is some rather interesting (and good) choices here. Besides two versions of the title cut (in regular and acoustic versions) and two versions of the pretty heavy "Let Me Entertain You" (in regular and an over the top and overly long rock remix) you also get "Faling In Bed Again" (a great Marillion-like ballad), "Cheap Love Song" (which could easily pass for Enuff Z'nuff), a live metal version (!) of Take That's "Back For Good", the great 'Full Monty' medley (with Tom Jones), a rocked up cover of the Pet Shop Boys' "I Wouldn't Normally Do This Kind Of Thing" and an odd dance-like remix of "South Of The Border" (and really the only throw-away here). What Robbie lacks in vocal prowess he more than makes up for in attitude and this collection shows he really is a rocker at heart. Essential? No. Fun? Hell yeah!

(Re)Views From The Hill:

ROYAL HUNT: "FEAR", SPV [similarities: Dream Theater, Queensryche. Helloween, Malmstein]

I think I have finally figured out what I didn't like about RH, it was DC Cooper, the singer. With the replacement of that factor, RH is a great band that can now give Dream Theatre a run for their money. John West (ex-Badlands, Lynch Mob and Artension) brings a much needed boost in range and power that can finally match the guitar/keyboard theatrics which are so prevalent in RH. West's vocals allow RH to finally emerge from the DT clone ghetto and truly makes RH sound distinct and fresh. DC Cooper left to pursue a solo career after the less than perfect "Paradox" album. Standouts on the album are the ever so catchy "Voices" as well as the great stadium rocker "Lies." Catchy tunes are something really lacking from the previous 5 Royal Hunt album. This masterpiece is full of them. This 7-track album finally marks RH taking their place among the elite of techno prog rock. This album is far better than Q2K or anything else Tate and Co have put out since Empire. In this game, RH are now number two behind DT, and it seems they have finally made the leap from wannabes to pretenders to the throne. This is an awesome collection of tracks, not one that drags or gets long winded. It is possible that Andre Andersen's (composer, keyboards and band leader) solo outing "Changing Skin" had something to do with the new found life in his regular band. "Changing " was definitely the most accessible of all output I have heard from the Russian/Danish composer. While still featuring incredibly technical workouts, the songs are now more cohesive and less extended jams. The fact that "Fear" is only 49 minutes long may be a factor as well. Royal Hunt albums have traditionally required patience and the proper mood, "Fear" has no such problems. Andersen has taken over production duties on this album and he could not have done a better job. If you have been avoiding this band because of its reputation for impenetrable albums, this is the album to introduce you to the brilliance of Andersen and Co. "Fear" is an impressive album that deserves to be in the collection of any hard rock/techno metal fan. After the disappointment that was the latest 'Ryche release, this is indeed a welcome surprise. - MD

DREAM THEATER "METROPOLIS PT. 2: SCENES FROM A MEMORY", East/West [similarities: Queensryche. Helloween, The Tea Party, Pink Floyd]

Dream Theatre has trumped the mighty 'Ryche once again with their take on the often much-maligned concept album genre. In a stroke of genius LaBrie and Co, have taken all that is good about notable precursors in genre and made it their own. With nods and elements that remind the listener of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" and "The Wall," Iron Maiden's "Seventh Son" and even the aforementioned Queensryche's "Operation: Mindcrime." LaBrie's voice is at his best producing a mesmerizing melody that permeates the whole album. Ranging from full out rockers to calm and mellow crooning, this may just be the best DT album to date. DT have taken the best of their past and molded into their most consistent album to date. As to be expected with DT, the musicianship is breathtaking without being pure Malmstein-esque wank. Elements of jazz, fusion, metal, and even rag-time combine for a amazing collection of tracks which meld into a creative tour de-force. The addition of a female vocalist (Teresa Thompson) and a Gospel choir give "The Spirit Carries On" and "Through Her Eyes," an extra depth that is simply awesome. On "Through" Labrie almost replicates a torch singer, mixing and matching with some amazing guitar from Petrucci. The addition of new keyboard player, replacing Derek Sherinian, seems to have sparked a creative surge in the band. Jordan Rudess not only compliments the music well with his keyboard playing but he has arrangement and conducting credit for the choir. The beginning of Act II, opens with a eastern tinged track with more than a few nods to Canadian multi-instrumentalists The Tea Party, complete with the smooth transitions from mellow to hard edged rock. "The Spirit Carries On" features DT sounding most like Pink Floyd, with soaring guitars and background vocals and Lebrie singing at his passionate best. A haunting piano, that leads into a acoustic guitar, keyboard and spoken word piece fills the middle of the 12 minute track. This includes the dying sounds of the song mixed with thunder and lightning. The concept of the album plays itself like an opera, while not taking away from the songs individually. Like some of the other classic concept albums of the past 30 years, the individual songs stand well on their and collectively gel into a masterpiece. Like "Dark Side of the Moon," "Scenes" is a truly a involving experience that is best enjoyed with candles, a darken room and a glass of your  favorite wine. Dream Theater are now the kings of techno-progressive rock/metal. This album is close if not my candidate for album of the year and would feature on my top 10 of the decade. "Scenes from a Memory" is one of the top 5 concept albums of all time, an instant classic. "Scenes" is an essential purchase and it should be huge! More info on the band and all their side projects can be found at: www.dreamtheater.net - MD

AOR Basement (Ian McIntosh):

Thanks for the reaction to last week's column. Seems that my thoughts echo how many of you out there feel right now.... It's a strange feeling of the whole melodic rock scene kind of being in suspended animation neither developing nor improving. And, you've still got too many people too content to have melodic rock be their own little secret. It won't survive much longer in a viable form if it continues to be the plaything of a conceited in-crowd!

Been looking down the up-and-coming releases in Japan this week and there's some interesting stuff on the way over the next six weeks. Don Henley finally has a new solo album coming out under the title "Otherwise", by the look of it Japan will get that release slightly earlier than the rest of the world on November 11th. Greg Howe's excellent recent album "Ascend" finally gets a Japanese release on November 26th - Greg originally had that one available by mail order on his own label and it's well worth hearing. Mr. Big drummer Pat Torpey is turning out is second solo album in double quick time with "Y2K" coming out November 25th in Japan, with an exclusive bonus track. Slightly earlier in November, the 20th to be exact, with see Paul Rodgers sticking out a new one by the name of "Deep Blue" and a new Paul Gilbert/Racer X album (!!!) is also due on December 8th.

For those of you so inclined, Rik Emmett now has a series of MP3 files available for download from his official web site at http://www.rikemmett.com/. The tracks are "Beyond Borders" and "Between the Dreams of You and I". Rik is also working on a Christmas album with Sam Reid under the title of "The Spirit of Christmas" - advance MP3 tracks from that project will also be available for download for the web site very soon....

Feedback:

From: Bjorn Johnsen klassikk@online.no

About Ian McIntosh's Statement :

I'm with you all the way Ian. Why, because myself Im starting to loose interest in the aor music scene, because of many things. The labels ain't doing the job which they should have doing and that is to put out 100 % quality releases and not like they do these days. It seems to me that they don't give a flying fuck anymore about what they put out.

Many bands to mention, but to name a few: Jesses Powertrip, Silent Witness, Departure, Push etc etc. Why use old demos on new releases? STUPID.

I can go on and on about bad bands out there. Quality in the releases does NOT seem to be what the whole situation is about anymore. This is looking sad in my eyes, because this is what happened at the end of the 80's and at the beginning of the 90's when almost everybody could have record deal no matter of what kind of production, songwriting etc etc.

Not only is it the labels fault about the situation out there but also rock magazines like Hard Roxx which use shall I say paid writers from the record companies to STATE the fact that every release out there is worth purchasing. And that is a HUGE lie to the buying audience out there. That is also the fact about some internet sites out there also. WAKE UP.

And not to forget the online stores out there and the ones you can call to. Why the fuck do all of you have to tell the fans BIG lies every fucking day?

I'm getting so sick of the whole situation that I could SCREAM.

And now a new MHR magazine which Escape and Z will run? What will we have here. No other than 10 out of 10 reviews.

I don't know if you guys out there who call yourselves for so called aor fans that it is YOU that is destroying this whole music scene these days.

Ok you can be angry on the big labels perhaps a little bit but if you don't change radically in your statement of what's good and not it will be YOU, the so called die hard fans who knows everything about aor and don't have and ear of what's good and not the record stores out there who tells the listeners that it's nothing bad coming out these days of aor and hard rock.

The music magazines, THE AOR LABELS.

I have supported this music since THE BEGINNING. And for me that is 1969. It started with Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, Thin Lizzy, Van Halen, Rush, Boston, Kiss, Journey, Styx, Hardline, etc etc etc. But these days in my ear maybe 1 out of 20 releases will be worth listening to in 20 years from know on. There is a few great guys out there who knows what Im talking out and support me about this statement. But the rest of you can can go and dig yourself a grave because you ain't no good shit to the music scene.

These days I have begun to listening to other styles of music like bands like Live, Buffalo Tom etc etc. But for me since my birth, music has been about quality not shit. Of course I must admit that I have some shit in my collection. And if you like Beethoven, Springsteen, Petty, Etheridge, Latino pop, Live, Mullins, Journey, Judas Priest, Ethernal, Eagles, Ted Nugent, Loveless then I can say that you have music taste. HAHA, guess I will be killed by this statement, but who cares it's the 90's. All in the love of music.

From: McGeeF19@aol.com

Just a brief response for the newsletter regarding the feedback received on my review of the 'Remembering White Lion' album. I certainly wouldn't disagree with the assessment that the 'Capricorn' release was weak in comparison to the early works of Mike Tramp with both White Lion and Freak of Nature, which is why I was very pleased with the outcome of the project revisiting White Lion. I certainly hope he continues in this style with his 2nd solo release, due out next year.