STRIKTLY FOR KONNISSUERS 11-29-99

Official Nonsense:

Editor and King Of The Dipshits - Kurt Torster

The Dipshits:

-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)
-Jason McGhee

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

A shorted issue than normal this week thanks to the holiday. Sorry for the lack of reviews...next week we’ll make up for it.

Got a CD burner (that works) for my birthday last week...is it possible to be in love with a piece of electronics? Anyways, before anyone asks...NO I WILL NOT BE TRADING CD-R'S. But those that scour my trade list regularly, be on the lookout for a lot of new goodies as I weed out those discs I kept for only one or two songs.

News Bytes:

The mixing of HUGO's long awaited "Time On Earth" is nearly complete. Scheduled for a late January release, tracks includes "Can't Stop Lovin' You", "Tell It To My Heart", "Magic Power" (a cover of the Triumph classic), "I Will Be Waiting", "F.I.N.E." and "This Love Song".

Also on the long awaited list: TWO FIRES, with Kevin Chalfant, Josh Ramos, Kenny Aarnoff, Jim Peterik, Brent Mitchell, Alby Odum and Willie Weeks have completed their debut album.

SIGNS OF LIFE have completed the writing sessions for their debut. The band features Mark Mangold, Billy Greer, Randy Jackson and Terry Brock.

STUART SMITH's next album will be released as a band project under the name of HEAVEN AND EARTH. Kelly Hansen will handle the vocals.

To try and boost the somewhat disappointing sales of GARTH BROOKS' "In The Life Of Chris Gaines", Capitol Records will offer rebates to retailers driving the price below $10 in stores like Target and Best-Buy. Garth just released his second Christmas disc this past week and will host a special on CBS Wednesday.

From the diary of NIKKI SIXX (via Brave Words) comes these gems aimed at former bandmate TOMMY LEE: "It's getting harder and harder to keep saying I support Tommy when he continues to slag and lie. I would think he would have enough drama in his life by now. The guys in Limp Bizkit said 'Man, Tommy's shit sucks,' but we didn't run around telling people that. Or when the Smashmouth guys said 'Can you believe how bad that band is? What is he a rapper now??' We said, 'look he's our friend. We've been trying to send him good luck. Bob Rock said 'Remember when Tommy wanted you guys to sound like PRONG, or the time he wanted you to be like the CHILLI PEPPERS?' Well this is no different. He's just trying to be someone he's not again. When rock n' roll is "in" he will want to be with the band." Sixx went on to address Lee directly: "Sorry your first single isn't really working at radio and rumour has it that MCA has pulled the tour support. But don't lash out at what you made known to the world." In the meantime, Tommy plans to remarry Pammy…yawn.

DANGER DANGER hopes to release their new disc in February through MTM (in Europe) and JVC (in Asia).

RANSOM has started the recording of their second album.

Look for JOHN WAITE on VH-1’s ‘The List’ tonight.

LOUD N CLEAR is finishing up their first album for MTM. There may be two songs included when the band was known as Magic.

The tracklisting to LED ZEPPELIN's "Best Of Volume 1": Good Times Bad Times, Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You, Dazed and Confused, Communication Breakdown, Whole Lotta Love, What Is and What Should Never Be, Immigrant Song, Since I've Been Loving You, Black Dog, Rock 'N' Roll, Battle of Evermore, When the Levee Breaks, Stairway to Heaven

Pop act SIXPENCE NONE THE RICHER has been named 'Breakthrough Artist Of The Year' by Radio And Records Magazine. I must say that their cover of The La's "There She Goes" has rather grown on me.

New RealAudio samples from the TEN reissues and the new EMERALD RAIN and SHOTGUN SYMPHONY albums are now available at the Now & Then samples page at www.nowandthen.co.uk.

NEAR LIFE EXPERIENCE, featuring Steve Blaze and Craig Nunenmacher, will be releasing two demos of early music along with a collection of acoustic material on CD. The acoustic material, "The Dark Side Of The Brain", is available now. For more info on ordering and to hear samples of the music check out: http://nearlife.tripod.com.

HOUSE OF SHAKIRA has a new song available at http://www.webmusic.nu in “Unforgiven”.

In honor of AIDS Day on December 1, there will be a new QUEEN video for "Under Pressure", which will merge footage of DAVID BOWIE and Freddie Mercury.

New dates for DEF LEPPARD are up at their website at www.defleppard.com

Over at www.glennhughes.com you can get GLENN HUGHES' "From The Archives Volume I - Incense & Peaches".

SOUL ASYLUM has split with Columbia. Look for the obligatory hits package soon.

SHANIA TWAIN with husband MUTT LANGE has started to put songs together for her next album, due Christmas of 2000.

STREET TALK will release their new album, "Transition", in early 2000. Tracks will include: "Transition", tracks set to appear are : "Someday I´ll Get Over You", "Need Someone", "Don´t Give Up On This Love", "Let Me Be The One", "Always Stand By You", "I´ll Be There", "If Anybody Breaks Your Heart" and "When You Lose The One You Love".

Escape will reissue the debut album from THE MESSAGE with six bonus tracks. This was the NJ band that featured Richie Sambora and Dean Fasano.

FIREFLY have finished their second album titled "After The Fire".

Check out www.rocktracks.de for pictures from the GODS '99 festival.

Noteworthy New Releases:

ANTHRAX - Best of (w/a cover of The Temptations' "Ball of Confusion" done by John Bush and Joey Belladonna)
BLONDIE - Live
GUNS N' ROSES - Live Era '87-'93 (two CDs)
MÖTLEY CRÜE (w/Tommy Lee) - Live
THIRD EYE BLIND - Blue

Kurt's Picks:

FOO FIGHTERS - THERE IS NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE, BMG, 1999 [Similarities: Marvelous 3, Cheap Trick, Lit] [ http://www.foofighters.com ]

Let me get this out of the way right off the bat...this disc has NOTHING in common with Nirvana short of main man Dave Grohl being their drummer once. OK...musically the Foo Fighters play a tight aggressive blend of power pop that has a classic feel without sounding dated. Though the opening pseudo-grunge blast of "Stacked Actors" left me rather cold and almost regretting my purchase, the follow up "Breakout" quickly set things back on the melodic track, where it for the most part stayed. Dave Grohl has a surprisingly melodic voice, though at times he just screams for whatever reason and can totally change the mood and tone of a song. First single "Learn To Fly" is undeniably catchy and like some of their previous singles just crawls inside your brain and refuses to exit. And songs like "Generator" (with it's arena ready chorus and riff), the romantic almost ballad "Aurora" (that's quickly becoming my favorite here) and the jangly "Next Year" already have hit written all over them. Skip that first track and this album opens itself up to be quite the powerful pop classic.

GIN BLOSSOMS - OUTSIDE LOOKING IN, A&M, 1999 [Similarities: Glen Burtnick, REO Speedwagon, Danny Wilde]

Gin Blossoms were simply one of my favorite bands from the 90s. Seemingly out of place in the aggressive and grunge filled era, their pleasing brand of roots filled power pop has long outlasted such 'ground breaking' artists like Nirvana or Alice In Chains.

This compilation takes songs from their three studio albums as well as adding in "Til I Hear It From You" (their hit from the 'Empire Records' soundtrack) and a live version of "Whitewash". Though this collection is not necessarily essential if you own their albums, it is nice to have it all in one spot along with the aforementioned "Til I Hear It From You". But if you only have maybe one or none of the discs, then this is an absolute must for any fan of cleanly produced melodic rock. Songs like "Follow You Down", "Hey Jealousy", "Found Out About You" and "As Long As It Matters" were hits with good reason...they were flat out great songs. And the inclusion of such non-singles like "Not Only Numb" and "Day Job" make this even more sweet. Their songs are all very hard to resist and feel like familiar friends from the first listen out.

Proof that not everything in the mainstream 90s sucked...

(Re)Views From The Hill:

PAUL RODGERS: "ELECTRIC", SPV Records [similarities: Bad Company, Free, The Firm, KWS Band]

Since 1995’s breathtaking album "Now" Paul Rodgers has reunited with his former band-mates in Bad Company. They released an album of re-recorded classics with a few new tunes and toured to sell-out crowds. How does Mr Rodgers top this kind of a year you ask? With what just could be the best album he has ever produced either solo or in a band. An album which is almost beyond description it is so good.

Working on the formula of "if ain’t broke don’t fix it," Rodgers assembled the same band that recorded to the UK Top 30 album "Now," to work on this latest release. They ensconced themselves in Brian Adams’ studio in Bernard Castle near Middlesborough, a haunt of Rodgers when he was young and growing up in the area.

It is extremely difficult to pick you the best tracks on this album as they are all good. There is not one filler, no one song that does not make the cut. Each song is catchy and endearing in its own powerful way. "Conquistador" stands out merely because of its Spanish flamenco flavor which reflect Paul’s Spanish ancestral background. "Jasmine Flower" is another lovely song that was written about Paul’s daughter but took 19 years to finally appear on a record. He seems to have a bit of a thing for the color blue, because besides blues being the underlying basis to the entire album, the color appears twice is song names, "Deep Blue" and "Blue."

All the tracks on the album flow into each other , making this a relaxing blues-rock outing that will stay in your play-list for months to come. "Walking" binge one such track that features Paul playing his voice in compliment to some cracking blues rock guitar. It  should be a corker live. "Find a Way" features Paul at both his vocal and songwriting best, that result is soaring tune that will have you listening hard and tapping your feet at the same time.

The song comes complete with a gospel tinged chorus that features female backing singers. A female voice also complements the soaring "Love Rains," as well as some cracking guitar from Geoff Whitehorn.

In short this album is an essential purchase for any hard rock/AOR fan. While you are it, if you do not own "Now," track that one down as well. If you are lucky you can find the re-release which contains extra live tracks recorded on the tour that followed the album. Paul Rodgers yet again proves that there is no better purveyor of blues rock than he, not now and probably not ever. 30 years on Paul is still Alright Now! - MD

ENUFF Z'NUFF: PARAPHERNALIA, Spitfire Records [similarities: Cheap Trick, Beatles]

Perennial "big in Japan" Chicago based popsters "Enuff Znuff" return with yet another album. This time they managed to rope in some of their hometown friends and fellow musicians, some of whom would not be thought of as being EZ type of music. After spending the last decade playing tribute to the band in one form or another, Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick repays the respect and appears on the album, as does Smashing Pumpkins supremo Billy Corigan and Styx guitarist James Young.

Based around the duo of Donnie Vie and Chip Znuff, the band is criminally overlooked by all but the most dedicated. Every track on this 14 song affair deserves to be on Top 40 radio. EZ combine Beatles/Cheap Trick type pop sensibilities and harmony with a strong rock backbone. It is patently obvious that if the right pop sensation were to cover any of these tunes it would go to number 1. Granted the opening track "Freak" or "Ain’t if Funny" (Ain’t it funny how you feel like dying…) probably would not work for Shania Twain, rock darlings Creed could pull either song off and make a hit. "Freak" is a testament to those who feel out of sorts with the world, a cry to be noticed. The Vie/Znuff writing combination are unbeatable. It is no wonder that the band is still huge in Japan. It is just a pity that American audiences are too blind to see the brilliance that is the band.

Of course EZ produce some great love songs like the cheeky "Baby you’re the Greatest" where the boys pull out all their Cheap Trick (s) and "Believe in Love." They then ape the Beatles on "Someday" complete with Lennon-esque piano. The band does tend to wear their influences on their collective sleeve but frankly who cares when it is this good. "Everything…" is a great sing along tune which ought to be great live. The final track "Loser" with its wistful vocals and haunting piano wrap up the album nicely and leave the listener with a pleasant feeling.

It is possible to argue that Paraphernalia is the best thing EZ has put out for a long time maybe even since the "Real Thing" era. It is obvious to the listener that EZ don’t give a shit if the music is out of fashion, they just play what they like and stuff the everything else. EZ’s music is catchy as hell and always leaves you feeling good after a listen. Will this CD launch them to superstardom where they deserve to be… - MD

AOR Basement (Ian McIntosh):

The Dixie Dregs will have their CD "California Screaming" available January 18th next year. It's a new live album and will come out through the Zebra label (which also handled the newest album from fellow fusion outfit Tribal Tech earlier this year). Recordings took place earlier this year at the Roxy in Los Angeles and were a full-blown reunion with members of the band's different incarnations present. Featured are Steve Morse on guitar (obviously), both Dave LaRue and Andy West on bass, drummer Rod Morgenstein, T. Lavitz on keyboard, plus both the band's violinists: Allen Sloan and Jerry Goodman. As well as Dregs' favorites they also performed "Jessica" by the Allman Brothers, an arrangement of "Dixie", and also Frank Zappa's "Peaches en Regalia" where, fittingly enough they're joined by Dweezil Zappa on second guitar. So as not to overlap with their earlier live output, they've chosen to select only Dregs' songs that did not feature on their other live recordings. What's more if you pre-order a copy from Zebra Records before the end of this month, if you're so inclined, you have your name added to the new CD's special thanks list in the booklet. Jump to http://www.zebrarecords.com or http://www.stevemorse.com for more details.

Couple of recent releases have irritated me this week. 38 Special's "Live at Sturgis" is one. It has to be one of the worst produced live albums I've ever heard, it just seems to lack everything I would expect to hear from that band live! Wonder if the DVD that's on the way (with different tracks from the CD issue) is going to be any improvement - somehow I doubt it. The other that's left me irritated this week is Jimmy Barnes new "Love and Hate" (or whatever the heck it's called!) which just came out in Australia. Barnes has always had a great voice, but on a few tracks on the new release he tracks to act all modern and, to be honest in a bad way, grungy! Yuk! Check out the first two and last tracks and you'll see what I mean - you'll have never come across something so hollow-sounding and downright ridiculous! And he's got a painfully trendy haircut as well - hasn't he forgotten his age, or is he really that desperate!

Feedback:

From: LEVERTY@aol.com

GREAT ONE!! Thanks Kurt. I can't BUY a review like that!! What do I owe ya'? hehe Thanks again man. All the best........ Bill

[Bill is a member of Firehouse, who's "Category 5" album was reviewed last week in SFK.]

From: Peter Sims petersims@nowandthen.co.uk

On behalf of Mark, Bruce, all the bands and artists and everyone who contributed to putting on The Gods 99 I'd like to thank everyone who came along and supported the event and made it such a success. Thank you.

From: DARTHMAHER2000@aol.com

[Re: my choice for The Storm's "Don't Give Up" as a sports anthem]

GREAT CHOICE!!!!!!!!!! If only the masses would listen to us... We KNOW what we're talking about!!!!

From: McGeeF19@aol.com

Noticed the following comment in your most recent issue, which made me literally laugh aloud:

>Cleopatra Records MUST be stopped. C'mon, a tribute to the HUMAN LEAGUE?

I couldn't agree more. They seem to be putting out a shitload of off the wall stuff of late. Is there really money to be made in this? Does it serve melodic rock? I mean really, this just begins to dilute the marketplace with a lot of shit which vies for out attention but in no way merits it. Just my two cents worth.

From: "Craig" ckerry@proweb.co.uk

The review of the TEN set from the GODS 99 is now on the Official TEN WebSite.

NEVER SAY GOODBYE!! Craig TEN Webmaster  http://www.proweb.co.uk/~ckerry/ten/index.htm

From: Keyji Johnsen keyjijohnsen@yahoo.com

GODS OF AOR at MAXIME'S, WIGAN, ENGLAND DAY 1 NOV.20, 1999

Gods of AOR is an annual showcase of AOR bands. These days, it attracts a crowd from the European continent. Watching 10 bands in one day can be a little bit intense, though. I've never seen (or heard) most of these bands before, so what you read is an unbiased view of what I saw & heard. I'll be covering Saturday's show today, Sunday's show will be next week.

AGE OF REASON

When I arrived, they were half way through their set. My initial impression of them was good. If they can improve the vocals, they'll be a good band.

NEWMAN

This is my kind of band, really. Loads of keyboard, mountains of melody, without compromising the heavy bass sound. This was one of my finds of the day.

NORWAY

I didn't like them as much as I wanted to. Are they 70% there? This is a band that desperate needs something to push them above mediocrity.

SHOTGUN SYMPHONY

I know that this band has many fans, but their music isn't very immediate. When they came on, the professionalism went up a notch, so did the energy.

DANTE FOX

This was my other find of the day. Did I find them good simply because the female vocal served as a counterpoint to the rest of the band (which were all guys)? I don't think this was the only reason. They are really sharp, and plays really good melodic rock. They know what their strengths are, and they use it to their maximum advantage. Oh yes, they were the backing band for Stan Bush (on Sunday), so apparently it's not only me who thinks they're ace.

CHANGE OF HEART

They're okay, but it's the same old problem. Do they have anything to separates them from the flock? As a No.6 band, you're in a no-win situation too. The audience have already gone through 5 bands, and they still want to save the energy for the headliners. Sorry, that was the way I was feeling.

MILLENIUM

They're are more of a metal band than AOR band. But wow! They've got energy, and they have good stuff in their repertoire too. I really liked it when they went dramatic. Believe me, it takes a lot for me to like a metal band. This is one band that I'll be watching in the future.

TED POLEY

The great thing about Ted Poley, is that he is such a great front man, you can be sure that he wins over the audience by the end of the show. He did tonight. Although I'm not too convinced about his newer stuff, he has enough gems in his little box of treasures that when he dug into his Danger Danger stuff, the place was pumping. I'm sure this was the highlight for many people in the show.

TWO FIRES

They did well, despite the terrible mix that they were getting at the start of the show. Half of the songs were from The Storm (You Keep Me Waiting, I Have A Lot To Learn About Love). I'm feeling a bit guilty, because I didn't fall head-over-heels in love with them.

I missed BOB CATLEY cuz I had to catch the last train to Manchester. But that's 9 bands, all in one day. Newman, Dante Fox, Millenium, and Ted Poley (esp. when he did I Still Think About You and Don't Walk Away) did it for me. Till next week.

From: Dan Newcombe Newcombe@mordor.clayton.edu

[Re: Gary Glitter]

Give me a break - 99.8% of the conversations when you mention Gary Glitter: Who? - The guy that did Rock and Roll and Rock and Roll Part 2 What? - The dun-dun-duh-duhn duhn-duhn-dun song they play at hockey games Oh... (or the .1% who ask about his connection with the KLF :)

From: "Orsted, Mark" Orsted@uillinois.edu

on the KNAC thing??? wtf is he complaining about again? what a fuckin numbnut!