STRIKTLY FOR KONNISSUERS 04-03-00

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

Official Nonsense:

        Editor and Organizer of Kaso- Kurt Torster

Caught up in the mess of it all:

        Ian McIntosh (AOR Basement)

        Tim Henderson (Brave Words)

        DJ Klaus Brandlhuber (RockTracks)

        Peter Sims (Now & Then / Frontiers)

        Ove Gustafsson (MTM)

        Richard Powell (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:

Some more tweaking to the format...nothing major.

News Bytes:

Jimi Jamison is reporting on his website that he has reunited with Frankie Sullivan and band in Survivor. The band will be touring this summer with REO Speedwagon and Styx.

Dennis De Young has now been officially replaced in Styx by Lawrence Gowan.

Last week I had reviewed an excellent compilation of "The Lost 45s Of The 70s and 80s". Barry Scott, host of the excellent Lost 45s Internet Radio show had informed me that there is a Volume 2 due in May! I'll have the tracklisting next week. I highly recommend giving this radio show a shot, as not only does he play a fair share of long lost AOR, but also some very cool pop and bubblegum from the 70s and 80s. HIGHLY recommended.

AOR legends Shy has signed with Z Records. Expect a late summer release.

Catch streaming audio of the new Bon Jovi single "It's My Life" at the German Bon Jovi wesbite.

By today's end, I hope to have the MP3 of Metallica's AWFUL song "I Disappear" from the upcoming Mission Impossible 2 soundtrack up on the SFK Idrive.

A good source has told me that David Lee Roth has indeed recorded a few tracks with the boys in Van Halen, but the tracks were scrapped because according to the source, "they were absolute shit". This apparently has effectively (and thankfully) shut the door on any chance of a reunion with DLR (contrary to still persistent internet rumors). Apparently tracks have also been laid down by...Gary Cherone, who apparently was brought in to finish up the tracks that were to be used for his second album with the band. The fate and future of these songs are unknown.

Queensryche has kicked Bender off their tour after only five dates. According to Bender, it's because they were getting a better response than the Ryche. There is no word from the Qryche camp.

April 12 you can catch "Stranger By The Minute" featuring Marillion's Steve Rothery and Pete Trewavas as well as Bonnie Tyler and Dare's Darren Wharton at the Walls, Oswestry. Info at +44 (0) 1691 670970.

Just released in Australia, Moving Pictures "The Ultimate Collection", which has19 tracks, including all of their "Days of Innocence" album, selected tracks from their second disc "Matinee", as well as other singles and soundtrack selections. (thanks Nikki)

Angry Tears, the band featuring Jack Ponti along with Joey and Nicky Sinopoli, have signed with Escape.

So, after seeing Ricky Martin's interview with Barbara Walters, whatta think...is he gay?

Rhino will be releasing a compilation from Howard Jones later this fall.

You can download three unreleased songs in MP3 format from Naked Eyes at Peter Byrnes' website.

RIP: Punk forefather Ian Dury (who lead his band The Blockheads) passed away last week after a five-year bout with colon cancer.

Former Bay City Roller drummer Derek Longmuir (now a nurse...yikes) has been convicted and sentenced to 30 hours of community service thanks to the possession of child pornography. No word on any possible future work with Gary Glitter or session guitarist Waddy Wachtel.

Brian Setzer is readying the release of his new album, "Jumpin' East Of Java".

Add the Stone Temple Pilots to the ever growing roster of performers hitting VH-1's Storytellers series.

Detritus is reporting that the next single from Firehouse's "Category 5" album will be "Have Mercy".

June 20 is the date of release for Motley Crue's "New Tattoo" album. The album was produced by Mike Clink and is the first to feature new drummer Randy Castillo.

Poison's new album will now be titled "Power To The People". They once again headline a summer tour featuring Cinderella, Dokken and Slaughter.

Billy Joel will release "2000 Years - The Millennium Concert", which was taped live at Madison Square Garden in New York on this past New Year's Eve, on May 9. Included will be all of his hits as well as some choice cover tunes and, of course, "Auld Lang Syne".

Some new singles hitting radio this week include Goo Goo Dolls' "Broadway", Savage Garden's "Crash And Burn" and Melissa Etheridge's "Enough Of Me".

Here's the tracklisting for the new Pearl Jam album "Binaural": Breakherfall , Insignificance, Evacuation, Letter to the Dead, Rival, Grievance, Light Years, Of the Girl, Thin Air, Nothing As It Seems (first single), Fatal, Sleight of Hand, Soon Forget, In the Moonlight, Parting Ways, Education.

Roger Waters sold out his July 13 date at Madison Square Garden in 40 minutes prompting the addition of a July 11 show.

Not for nothing, but boy band Nsync sold a whopping 2.4 million copies of their new album, "No Strings Attached" in one week.

Read an interview with Anthrax's Charlie Benante over the whole Joey Belladonna fiasco at About.

Britny Fox will be playing some shows in the NYC area to tape for a live album.

Voodoo Hill, featuring Italian guitar hero Dario Mollo, will release an album for Frontiers later this year. Glenn Hughes will be handling vocal duties.

Noteworthy New Releases:

BERLIN - Greatest Hits Remixed
STAN BUSH - Stan Bush
FAITH NATION - Ordinary People
THE FLAMIN' GROOVIES - Supersnazz
JOHN LENNON - Imagine

Radio Koolness:

[The top 5 on the radio this week (courtesy of WPLJ radio).]
1 Macy Gray - I Try
2 Third Eye Blind - Never Let You Go
3 Smash Mouth - Then The Morning Comes
4 Robbie Williams - Angels
5 Fastball - Out of My Head

Moldy Oldys:

[What's kicking old school on the SFK Deck O' Death this week:]
Ten - The Very Best Of (personal mix of their most melodic tunes!), Fotomaker - Collection, Venice - The Pine Mountain Logs bootleg, The Lost 45s Of The 70s And 80s, Elton John - The Very Best Of

Kurt's Picks:

Alliance - Missing Piece, Escape, 1999
[Similarities: Mr. Big, The Storm, Night Ranger]
A psuedo-supergroup featuring members of Boston, Night Ranger and Sammy Hagar's band along with vocalist Robert Berry, I was really expecting this to be just another in a seemingly long line of assembly line AOR. Listening to this disc puts my mind back a few years to when the AOR underground was bustling with great discs (maybe 1995 or so), right before the market became saturated with sub-par product, which unfortunately Escape was responsible for a lot of. But if any one label just keeps improving, then this release really proves it (and is possibly their finest to date). With twelve songs on offer, and most of them very good, it's my hopes that Alliance could be an actual band rather than a project it feels to be. And that's simply because these five seem to have a good chemistry. Songs like mid tempo arena rocker "I'd Give Anything", the superior pop sound of "Building Wisdom From The Wounds" and the ballads "It's A Long Way To Go" and "Don't Turn Away" are simply great and show off the intelligent writing skills of those involved. And the rocking "It's My Life" is the kind of song that reminds us why we all became melodic rock fans in the first place. Even the songs that might come across as filler the first time around, like "Missing Piece" or "Young Blood", get stronger with each listen. I could have done without the Zep-ish "I Gotta Know", a song which goes nowheres fast. Robert Berry sounds more than a bit like Eric Martin (which is not a bad thing), and the band being the session supremos they are do not disappoint. I think it's time I rediscover their debut.

Drew Barrett - The Strolling Minstrel, Skyward, 1999
[Similarities: David Bowie, The Cult, Psychedelic Furs]
A huge surprise, I've had this sitting around for about two months now and I finally just got around to spinning it. I should have done it sooner. As I've started to appreciate a lot of the Brit pop of the early and mid 80s as of late, this album hits the spot just right. Though it may take a few spins to get used to Drew's lower registered vocals, the songwriting is just fabulous. And I've said it before, and I'll say it yet again...this album simply got better with each listen, as the certain intricacies of the lyrics and the layers of the buzzing wall of sound started to shine through. Though a couple of tunes were simply lost on me ("Visitor's From Saturn's Moon" was a little too Pink Floyd for me, "Caught In The Act" too psychedelic and "Billy Bob" too silly), most of what's here is great traditional rock n' roll that just reeks of the vibe of NY's lower east side. From the rocking "City Of Sin" and "Soldier Song" to the radio ready pop hooks of  "Worked Myself To Death" and "Is There Somewhere Else We Go" to the huge heartfelt ballad "Lovers", Drew uses these songs to show off what a talent he is. Major label success can only be steps away...(if not, hey MTM, Frontiers and the like...are you listening?).

Big Star - The Best Of, Ace, 1999
[Similarities: Cheap Trick, The Raspberries, Badfinger]
Big Star have always been highly regarded as one of the true forbearers of power pop. And this collection, compiled from their first two albums, has many a song that will actually be familiar to the listener, as they have been popping up as cover versions or the originals being used outright. Everyone here probably knows their big top 40 hit "September Girls", and viewers of That 70's Show no doubt recognize "In The Street". But dig deeper and it doesn't take a genius to realize that these guys should have been huge. Whether keeping it upbeat with the rocking "When My Baby's Beside Me" and "Back Of A Car" or taking it down a couple of notches with "The Ballad Of El Goodo" and the acoustic "Watch The Sunrise", their songs had all the right ingredients to be big on both AM Top 40 and FM rockers. An endless stream of pop rockers cite them as a major influence, and with this set I can see why. Very strong songs all around that are, if nothing else, timeless as well.

Marc Bryant - Promo, JGM demo, 1999
[Similarities: latter day Night Ranger, Damn Yankees, Tyketto]
Only three songs, this demo from Atlanta rocker Marc Bryant is scary in the fact this is only a demo. This is frighteningly good hard rock that harks back to the day when we pretty much took this stuff for granted. Kicking off with the huge thumping arena rock of "Road", he continues on with the pseudo-ballad "Farewells" (which has a real Warrant feel to it) and ends with another arena rocker in "Won't Play The Fool". To be honest, I'm not sure of the musicians involved or any of the backing vocals (Marc himself is very good and has a southern flair in his vox), but it's all played superbly and the production is very good considering this is only a demo. The songwriting thankfully avoids riding down the same roads many other acts seem to travel. Similar to the feeling I had the first time I heard the demo from Velocity...this is certainly one to keep your ears out for.

Steely Dan - Two Against Nature, Warner, 2000
[Similarities: The Eagles, Pink Floyd, Toto]
It doesn't get any more smooth than this... Back after a very long hiatus, the duo of Fagen and Becker are back with an album that will be pure heaven to fans of Westcoast AOR. Though maybe a little too jazzy or mellow for harder edged rock fans, it's hard to deny the quality of the songwriting and musicianship. And while all the songs are very good, what give this the potential to be a great listen is all the extra little touches found within the production...a funky off beat rhythm here, a sax flourish there... Walter Becker lays down some very nice leads on "What A Shame About Me" and "Jack Of Speed". And Donald Fagen still knows how to craft superb pop melodies. But something tells me that this is strictly a fan's affair as twenty years on from their last studio album, the song remains the same. You'd be hard pressed to tell if these are new songs or outtakes from any of their albums. Original it's not, but smooth and classy it is. I just don't think it will have the strength to be anything more than a temporary fixation for most.

(Re)Views From The Hill:

Overkill: Wrecking your Neck Live & The Killing Kind, SPV/Koch
[similarities: Helloween, Gamma Ray, Iron Savior]
Overkill has always been considered respectable also-rans in the thrash metal stakes. Never up with the likes of Slayer, Metallica, Anthrax or Megadeth, they still stuck to their guns and delivered brute force metal at alarming speed. Most famous for their, "drive the censors crazy" anthem "F*** You! EP" Overkill kept trucking and never gave up.

Wrecking your Neck Live, does not offer much for SFK readers, save if they have a wild streak every so often. "Wrecking" is a worthy testament to what the band is like live and is quite a listen. However the little noticed "The Killing Kind" does offer SFKers with a prog/techno metal interest something to chew on. Some of the tracks on TKK are more "traditional" for the band but several cuts show some experimentation and an effort to break out.

It might have been better suited for a side project, as I would have like to have seen the band explore this avenue a bit more. It is possible that this progressive avenue on 4 of the tracks are one of the reason the album was not as popular as some of the others in their catalogue.

"Burn You Down/To Ashes" is a great slow doomy haunting track with its fair share of progy elements. The backing vocals add a wonderful element to the track. This song is very much in the Iron Savior/ Savatage vein. "Bold Face Pagan Stomp" is a rather humorous tune that combination sung/rapped/chanted vocal element to it that works well. As to be expected it features a great riff with several notable key changes. Tracks 8 and 9 are pretty interesting as well. "The Cleansing" is a very Helloween (recent)/Gamma Ray type track with a great twin guitar attack that gets you interested for the next stellar track. By far the best song on the album 'The Morning After/Private Bleeding" has an epic like quality on it that again seems to be German rather than US thrash. Like BYD/TA is fairly slow song that has vocalist Blitz proving that he can actually sing. This varied tempo track has nicely layered guitar and has a Savatage element to it. It even ends with a piano outro!

All in all TKK is a mixed bag, ranging from bog standard thrash to some more interesting tracks. For those of you interested in a bit of something different you could do worse than invest in this re-issue of a 1996 release. Good fun if you are in the right mood. - MD

AOR Basement (Ian McIntosh):

The internet music revolution would appear to be off for the moment as CD Now's shares are in freefall! Last week their shares dropped like 24% in a day and already the group's accountants are beginning to cast doubts on whether they can stay in business. To give you an idea of how much the stock market was lost the internet music bug, CD Now's shares are currently about $3.75 compared with a high last year of $23.25. CD Now had already openly acknowledged that it only had enough cash to stay in business until September, but even this might now be optimistic. Merchant bank Allen and Co has already been hired to try and find a buyer for a group, but hiring expensive suits when you pockets are empty doesn't sound like a great idea! The only good thing it brings to mind though is a bunch of stock analysts getting ready to hurl themselves out of high-rise windows!

Now I wouldn't like to appear to be someone that sees reds under the bed at every turn, but couldn't it just be that Columbia House's brief flirtation with CD Now could have part of a mission to either take it over, or destabilize it? Think about it...., the major labels are control freaks: what better way to control their supposed next cash cow that to help find ways to put the independent out of business. Then they can fulfill their "big brother" ambitions and collect all that ignorant venture capital cash in a swag bag!

Another bit of activity at the business end of the music industry that not many have noticed this past week, is that Sanctuary (the entertainment company owned by, believe it or not, Iron Maiden) has paid 46 million to take over the Castle Music label and publisher.

Sanctuary expects the deal to double its profitability which stood at 3.7 million last year before interest, tax and depreciation. The seller was the Rutland Trust which bought the then bankrupt Castle Music in 1998 for 18 million - a healthy little profit for a couple of years work! Castle brings a lot to the table with boring (but big) bands like Black Sabbath, Motorhead and Uriah Heep, but also some wider names like George Melly, Eric Clapton and The Kinks.

So how's this significant? Well, I believe we're beginning to see a trend where a new generation of weighty, powerful labels are going to be actually controlled by musicians - not accountants in wing-tip shoes or share price manipulators with a get rich quick scheme. That's what the music industry needs, people that understand how to do things for music's sake above everything else, maybe then we'll come out of a period which could easily equate to "The Dark Ages" in terms of what has happened to quality music of any kind!

Feedback:

From: MusicFest2000@aol.com

Subject: UltraSound 2000 Update #8
Okay, the drawing is done and we now have both day's lineups complete (excluding the unplugged sets ...)

SATURDAY 27 MAY
12:00 - 12:45pm - Erotic Suicide
1:15 - 2:00 - Towne Cryer XXI
2:30 - 3:15 - Swirl
3:45 - 4:30 - Lazy Jane
5:00 - 5:45 - Cage
6:15 - 7:00 - Velocity
7:30 - 8:15 - Balance Of Power
8:45 - 9:45 - Jag Panzer
10:15 - 11:15 - Paul Shortino / Jimmy Crespo
12:00 - 1:30am - Leatherwolf

SUNDAY 28 MAY
1:15 - 2:00pm - Smilek
2:30 - 3:15 - Moore
3:45 - 4:30 - Enertia
5:00 - 5:45 - The Promise
6:15 - 7:00 - New Eden
7:30 - 8:15 - Ken Tamplin
8:45 - 9:45 - Vicious Rumors
10:15 - 11:15 - Michael Morales
12:00 - 1:30am - {Oliver / Dawson} Saxon

By luck of the draw both days are starting out with high energy, almost poppy at times, bands that are pretty much guaranteed to kick things off in the "party mode" style that this whole weekend will reflect.

Guild Of Ages have unfortunately pulled out of the show and have been replaced by top drawing Las Vegas local act Lazy Jane, featuring well known frontman Paul Lancia (Pair A Dice, Lancia). Lazy Jane will also help give the show a bit more of a "local" feel.

Our meeting with KOMP Radio, Las Vegas' only REAL rock station went phenomenally well. We're going to be running ads with them starting the first of May and from next week we will be involved in a website promotion with the station (www.komp.com).  In fact, KOMP dj Laurie Steele began pushing UltraSound 2000 like crazy this past week - woohoo!!!! Turns out that of all the brick and mortar radio stations that are on the 'net (in other words, not "internet only" radio) they're the most trafficked within North America and only second worldwide to a station in Europe.

KOMP will be spinning the acts playing UltraSound 2000 on their weekend specialty shows and, provided the hotel gives the thumbs up, the station will be doing a remote from UltraSound during Saturday's show.

Again a reminder, the $105 rates at the Alexis Park are only good until the 27th of April.

For those registering the day of the show, we ask that you please pay in cash, money orders or cashiers cheque. Sorry, no credit cards, personal cheques, poker chips or drink vouchers will be accepted - although chocolate WILL be considered ...(but probably rejected)

From: MPietersen@EnecoTech.com

Subject: Can you help?
A friend of mine from a local radio station has been working with a local studio on a proposed project to release a CD (or more) of tracks made up by all the best of the unsigned local/regional touring bands of the 80s/early 90s.

I know that there were an incredible amount of very good bands locally in the Minneapolis area then, and can only assume other cities were the same way.

They hope to make it/them available from their own website, in addition to the usual other online retailers. Both of them are former local musicians, and this will be a non-profit adventure. The artists will need to agree to a consignment fee per unit sold. If any of you have discs that you think qualify, email me offlist.

I need a copy of the disc/tape. Since there will be more entries than room available, they'll worry about getting original recordings from the actual artist. I also need any/all possible info you have on the bend members which would aid in contacting them about their interest.

From: Stacy Jenkins stacy@stomachmonkeys.com

Subject: can you post this? save F&G!
Marvin Kitman, columnist for Newsday (L.I. Newspaper) has spearheaded a campaign to email the powers that be at NBC and voice our opinions on the cancellation of a quality program, namely Freaks & Geeks. here is the end portion of his Monday 3/27/00 column entitled "It's All 'Geek' to Us - Want to 'Freak" out NBC? Log on to save a real-life teen show. (I apologize for typos... did this quickly)

***

I've gotten a thousand letters and e-mails telling me how great Freaks and Geeks is. And I'll probably get a thousand asking me what those idiots at NBC are thinking. But it's time to play hardball. Tears are not going to help. It's time to tell the Mad Serial Killer himself what you're thinking of this criminal act.  Through the miracle of the Internet and this column, you can now express yourself directly through that remarkable experiment in participatory democracy called SOS (Save Our Shows). It allows you to tell Garth Ancier (head of NBC programming) you're mad as hell and won't take it anymore. Don't be shy. The machinery is in place.  To have unprecedented clout with the powers at NBC, here's all you have to do:

1. Log on to http://www.newsday.com/mainnews/kitman00.htm then click on to my personal home page (www.marvinkitman.com).

2. Go directly to Channel 3, Save Our Shows, which will explain how you can send a message directly to Garth Ancier's innermost office, or perhaps even his brain. He is Internet-friendly.

3. send your message by clicking on the direct media access address.

Keep in mind that network executives are nervous. They know everyone's going to call them a bunch of idiots. You'd be amazed how much it bothers these idiots to be called idiots in the paper or on the Internet. Their bosses at GE take it seriously.  A flood of messages could get a reprieve for Freaks and Geeks. You'll see.

From: "Markus Pfeffer" pfeffer.markus@online.de

Subject: CD
Hello! I recently posted an update on our new CD including the tentative title and a preview of the cover design on our mesage-board:

http://www.insidetheweb.com/mbs.cgi/mb94234

Opinions and comments would be greatly appreciated! www.listen.to/winterland

From: "rupert" rupert@assassination.co.uk

Having just read Ian Macintosh's piece about rock labels, I thought that I would send a quick note about A2 Records, the label set up by Assassination Music.

As you know, Assassination Music are one of the main promoters of Rock albums (as well as other genres) in the UK, having worked on the recent Arena, Shy, Marshall Law albums to name a few, and managing Oliver Dawson SAXON. A2 is a classic rock label and is equally committed to signing up & coming acts and established acts. We have recently released Robin Brock's debut album "Blame It On Rock & Roll" in the UK, and are working on the International release as I write. We are negotiating with a number of acts (the signings we will announce over the next few weeks).

We do not see ourselves as a UK, or European label, but an International label. We have distribution in the UK, USA and Europe, and are working on Asia at the moment, and we are committed to working for our acts. Rock music is still an important genre, and we intend to increase its status once more! Yes we are aiming high, but we feel that we have the firm standing to be able to do this.