three essential Commandments:
Respect The Elders.
Embrace The New.
Encourage The Impractical and
Improbable, Without Bias.
Editor and 80s Geek - Kurt
Other geeks from various
Carrie Borzillo (All
Star Daily News)
Marty Dodge (http://www.lupusandco.com)
Tim Henderson (Brave
Martin Hennessy III (80's
Ian McIntosh (AOR
Mark Orsted (Heavens
Alex Richter (Hard N' Fast)
George Thatcher (Heart
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Is it me or
are the major record companies TOTALLY clueless when it comes to online music?
OK, they’re against Napster. Makes sense…they make no money. So they are
starting to offer their own downloads for a fee. Still makes sense. But what
makes NO sense is the prices they are charging. EMI, for example, is charging
$3.99 a single and $17.99 for a full album (in Liquid Audio or WMA no less), and
this is for NO case or liner jacket and limited reproduction rights. When you
can purchase a CD on sale at the store for $11.99, why in the world would I
spend $6 more for a simple download? With the companies saving on production and
marketing costs, the cost of a full album should be at least under $10. So,
until they start to get a grip, Napster and the like will continue to thrive for
broke down and downloaded the advance Journey
tracks off of
Napster. Besides the horrible sound quality, you know what? I liked it…a lot.
Reports seem to be right that about 50% are ballads but so what…they are HUGE
ballads that are undeniably Journey. The rockers are really good as well. I
personally cannot wait for the final product.
through fluff pieces on Faith Hill and Ricky Martin, it was great to see
VH-1’s Behind The Music on Styx.
What a great episode. I had never realized the seeming hatred that Tommy Shaw
and James Young have for Dennis DeYoung.
Now - $5 off any $19.99 order
The tracks from the REO Speedwagon portion
of the live “Arch Allies” CD (the other disc will be Styx)
include: Don't Let Him Go, Music Man, Take It On The Run, Can't Fight This
Feeling, Time For Me To Fly, Back On The Road, Keep On Lovin' You, Roll With The
Changes, Ridin' The Storm Out and 157 Riverside Avenue as well as two
jams with Styx in Roll With The Changes and Blue Collar Man. The
concert will air in September through MusicChoice
(carried by Comcast as well as many other cable systems).
As for Styx, look for their VH-1
Behind The Music special on Styx all month in August as well as info on
their half of the live disc.
The upcoming “Alive” disc from Rick
Springfield will be released in a special edition only available on his website.
This version will be autographed and contain three bonus tracks in the
previously unreleased “LIO” (also available on his upcoming CD for
“Collection: VH-1’s Behind The Music”, live versions of “Itsalwayssomething”
and “My Father’s Chair” as well as 25 minutes of video footage.
Ex-Maggie’s Dream singer and
current Ricky Martin bandmate Robi Rosa is pissed at George W.
Bush for the use of his song “The Cup Of Life/La Copa De La Vida”
during the Republican Convention. Says Rosa “it's perverse that the
Republicans are trying to forge a connection to the Latin community with the use
of my song and by parading famous Latinos on stage".
The Cult will
be opening up the Jimmy Page/Black Crowes tour.
James Taylor is
working on a new album he hopes to have out by year’s end.
The upcoming “Ten” release from
Enuff Z’nuff will now contain the bonus track, “Everything Works
If You Let It”.
Not melodic rock by any stretch, but funny as hell…some genius posted Milli Vanilli’s “Girl You Know It’s True” to Napster and labeled it as a song from the upcoming Backstreet Boys album. And, people actually believed it! So much so that the group had to put a post on their website concerning this.
Issue #2 of German magazine ROCK
IT is out featuring articles on: Frontline, AC/DC, Danger Danger, Pink
Cream 69, Fair Warning, Firehouse, Christian Rock Special, Classics, Rarities,
Westcoast Special, Live Reviews and 100+ CD Reviews.
Well, whatta know? Bon Jovi’s “It’s
My Life” made MTV’s Total Request Live countdown.
The Stone Temple Pilots have
scrapped plans for a “Greatest Hits”.
Also scrapped, Garbage’s plans
for a B-side album. The band will instead concentrate on an all new album.
Mick Jones is
handling the reins on the latest album from Meat
Loaf. Since there
is no involvement from Jim Steinman, this will not be the long awaited “Bat3”
project but tentatively titled “Funhouse”.
Mick is also
busy working on a surround sound DVD version of Foreigner’s
debut 1977 album,
which will also feature some unreleased bonus tracks.
Def Leppard has
relaunched their official website. To
celebrate, they’re having a ticket giveaway.
member and guitarist of KC & The
Sunshine Band Jerome
Smith died last week when he was crushed by a bulldozer in a construction
RIP #2: The
ex-wife and daughter of guitarist Elvin
killed in a bloody crime spree in California.
The Call has
a new live album out, available for order through their website.
The Corrs “In
Blue” has already racked up sales of over 1 million in Europe. Look for
the album to be released next month in the US.
sees the release of “Blender”, the latest album from Collective
Soul. They hit
the road with Creed this fall.
October 10 is
also the release date of “Breach” from The
include "Letters From
The Wasteland", "Hand Me Down", "Sleepwalker",
"I've Been Delivered", "Witness", "Some Flowers Bloom
Dead", "Mourning Train", "Up From Under", "Murder
release their latest on September 12 titled “Maroon”. The album will
get a premiere at various websites through ‘around the clock’ streaming the
week before the release.
has added new Classic Rock streaming audio capabilities.
Ex-Mike & The Mechanics/Sqeeze/Ace
vocalist Paul Carrack has inked a deal with Compass Music in Nashville to
release his new album, “Satisfy My Soul”, in September.
CMH will release “Strings Of Fire: An
Acoustic Tribute To Guns N’ Roses” on September 12. Artists
include Milos Dolezal, Brent Truitt and Josh Podolsky. Don’t ask me
“who?”, I just report ‘em.
The first single from the upcoming U2 album
is titled “Beautiful Day”.
The A&E cable channel will turn it’s
Biography show on the Bee Gees, with production expected to begin
this month. The trio’s latest album, “This Is Where I Came In” is
due early next year.
Of Friction CD is
now completed. Produced by bandmember Ricky Phillips, the band is rounded out by
singer Robin McAuley, drummer Tommy Aldrige and guitarist Marcus Nand. The
complete song list: One Man One Heart, King Of Fools, I Got Loaded, Who Is
This Talking, Innocent Touch, Havana, Read My Mind, Forever, Light In The End Of
The Tunnel, If Your Tomorrow Never Comes and Fatal Word.
album from Axe
will be titled “The Crown” and will be out later this fall.
The new Stun
Leer disc, “Last
Man Standing”, is now complete. The final song list: Higher, Whip, Hold
Up The Sky, Hey Money, Faith, Tell Me, Save Me, The Death Of Me, Living Proof,
Worldwide and Black Betty.
tracks from the next ACT album
include: Imaginary Friends, A Supposed Tour, Svetlana, No Perspective, Second
Thoughts, Little Beauty, At The Altar, Mr. Unfaithful and Take It Easy.
singer Mats Leven’s new band Dogface
mixing their debut album for MTM.
ex-Bam Bam Boys singer Matti Alfonzetti has a new band appropriately titled Alfonzetti.
Their debut album
“Ready” will include titles like "Blowing Up Detroit",
"No Way Out", "Better Than Goodbye", "Out In The
Cold" and "Don't Let Our Love Go Down".
plans to set up an online shop.
Cyndi Lauper has
plans of reuniting with The Hooters for
her next outing.
MP3 Of The Week:
A faboo acoustic version of “After
The Rain” from Nelson awaits you this week (to be uploaded later
Live In Your Face:
8/16 Sandusky, Ohio, State Theatre.
8/18 Columbus, Ohio, Columbus Zoo Amphitheatre.
8/19 Sheboygan, Wis., Lakefest.
8/25 Stateline, Nev., Harvey's Hotel & Casino.
8/26 Kelseyville, Calif., Konocti Harbor Resort.
Noteworthy New Releases:
DOUG POWELL – More
DEE SNIDER - Never Let The Bastards Wear You Down
[What’s kicking old school on the SFK
Deck O’ Death this week:]
Toto – Fahrenheit, Chicago – Best Of 82-89, Michael Thompson Band – MTB, a-ha – Headlines And Deadlines, Alias - Alias
Doors Down – The Better
[Similarities: Matchbox 20, Nine Days, Creed]
Another week, another mainstream power pop band crossing my desk. If anything, 2000 may just go down as the year that melodic power pop had its way with the charts. Already having a hit with the catchy “Kryptonite”, this album is a touch darker and heavier than much of the other pop on radio. Biggest problem here is that there’s not much to differentiate themselves from what’s becoming an extremely crowded genre. In the end, this is a pretty faceless, albeit punchy, affair that short of a couple of tunes (like standouts “Not Enough” and “So I Need You”) is average at best.
– Stark Naked And Absolutely Live, SPV,
[Similarities: Peter Gabriel, Depeche Mode, Sting]
I confess ignorance to the music of Alphaville. I knew of the name but until now have never heard a song of theirs. Totally 80s machine driven Brit-pop that is easier on my ears now than would have been a decade ago (chalk it up to my ever expanding tastes). What’s interesting is that these guys aren’t afraid to throw some guitars into the mix of synths. Songwise, it’s all catchy and danceable and maybe a tad throwaway, but none the less enjoyable with songs like “Monkey In The Room” and the monster power ballad “Forever Young” (that for all intents and purposes is AOR) staying with me long after I spun the disc. The whole affair has the vibe of a lot of modern prog actually and comes across as very hypnotic. Maybe not for everyone, but for those whose taste can run to the eclectic this is very good.
7 – The World Is A Freak,
[Similarities: Tesla, Dokken, Thunder]
Bar 7, notable for being the latest band from ex-Telsa members Jeff Keith and Tommy Skeoch, sounds not surprisingly like Tesla. With his vocals sounding smoother than a couple of years ago, it’s honestly feels good to hear Jeff Keith again. This is simply some fine blues based rock that has huge melodic appeal. Songs like “4 Leaf Clover”, “Got A New Life” and “Lady Bug” have all the hallmarks that made Tesla such a beloved and respected band. There’s even a bit of a power pop feel on “She Don’t” and the big ballad “All Natural” is magnificent. Overall though, you can’t help but thinking how great it would be if this had been a full-on reunion. Good stuff though as those who yearn for a classic sound will find everything to their liking here...gets better with every listen.
Way Friday – Run Like This, 1999
[Similarities: Gin Blossoms, Matchbox Twenty, Toad The Wet Sprocket]
Though there must be a hundred other bands playing this sort of pop meshed rock, 5WF throw in an early 80s power pop vibe that keeps this pretty fresh sounding, both lyrically and musically. It would take the hardest edge to deny the commercial appeal of songs like “Falling Away”, “Does Anybody Care?” and “She’s Alone”. This is simply a great set of hyper-catchy songs that, for once, have some legs to them. I was enjoying them just as much, if not more, on my tenth listen than my first. With lilting keyboards in the background driving most of the songs as much as the crunchy guitars, they are a nice compliment to vocalist Randy Helmly (who reminds me a lot of Robin Wilson). Just excellent…now someone just needs to explain to me why these guys are label-less.
Jahnz – Project 3:13,
[Similarities: REO Speedwagon, Toto, Chicago]
EXTREMELY smooth West-coast AOR from the onetime Gary Ricarth vocalist, one play was all it took to convince me of Michael’s abundance of talents. From his soaring vocals to his “from the heart” songwriting, the positive attitude brought forth is refreshing. Whether it’s psuedo-arena rockers (“Simple Minds” and “Hearts On Fire”) or grand ballads (the HUGE “I Found In You” and “After All”) there’s a lot to praise here. There’s even hints of 80’s Yes in “Thinking About You”. Songs that feel familiar on first listen yet have a depth that keeps you coming back for more is becoming quite rare these days but Michael seems to have found the magic formula. If any complaint could be registered it’s that the material all has a very level pacing (where neither the rockers nor ballads stray far from that mid-tempo rhythm) that could be an annoyance to some but overall if I needed one word to describe this disc, “classy” would be it. With all the mediocrity in the genre these days, this stands miles beyond the rest.
– Long Way From Home,
Frontiers/Now & Then, 2000
[Similarities: Journey, Survivor, FM]
Oh what could have been! Here’s an album that easily has some of THE best songs in recent memory. So what’s the problem? Well, it also has one of THE worst production jobs I ever heard, and Ted Poley’s vocal performance is flawed (to be kind). How this album slipped by “quality control” over at Frontiers/Now & Then is beyond me. It’s a shame really, because like I said, songs like “It’s Not Enough”, “Never Let You Go” and the killer ballad “Best Friend” are without doubt some of the best written AOR tracks I’ve heard in a long time, full of a passion and energy that seems lacking these days and had an original vibe to boot. And there’s plenty more where those came from, as there’s not a bad song to be found. Gerhard Pilcher’s guitar playing is on par with some of the best of Neil Schon. But with half-assed vocals and an overall sound not unlike being piped through a fishbowl, this is a huge disappointment. Me thinks the album should be recalled, rerecorded and then reissued…
7 – Samantha 7,
[Similarities: Goo Goo Dolls, Green Day, Marvelous 3]
When I heard that Poison’s CC Deville has his own project, I didn’t expect much. Surprisingly though, this is pretty good. CC’s voice is not the greatest but the songs are punky and crunchy and at times, it’s very hard to get the melodies out of your head. The bouncy “Framed” kicks things off and pretty much sets the tone. The Ramones-like “I Wanna Be Famous” is one of those infectious melodies as is “Golden Days And Rain” and “Seane Girl”. Jack Blades’ production is adequate for the music and CC’s guitar playing actually fits better here than in Poison. Musically much better than I would have thought, the only drawback besides CC’s vox is the fact that the album clocks in at just barely 30 minutes! Not exactly value for money…
(Re)Views From The Hill:
Molly Hatchet: Live at the Agora
Atlanta Rhythm Section: Live at The Savoy
Southside Johnny: Live! at the Paradise Theater
The Phoenix Media Group
[similarities: Lynryd Skynyrd, 38 Special, Bruce Springsteen]
Live albums are very tough to get right, ones using long forgotten tapes are even more rarely good. This lot is a definite mixed bag even though all are so-called "Phoenix Gems" series. To be fair I was pleasantly surprised by one of them, never expecting to enjoy it as much as I have, but was less than impressed by one expected to like more.
The Molly Hatchet outing was recorded
right before they really hit it big. This 79’ recording lacks all their 80s
Southern Rock party anthems, that made them so popular. There is a much better
live outing by these lads in the form of Double Trouble Live that was released
in 1985. A MH live album just isn’t the same without "Beaten the
Odds", "Flirting with Disaster" and their take on "Freebird."
While Agora does give some of the feeling of a live MH gig (my first ever gig
btw), it is still a bit raw for someone new to the band or used to their later
stuff. The recording is pretty good, without too much on-stage chatting or crowd
noise. A decent outing but far from essential.
Now the Live at the Savoy is another case
entirely, this was a pleasant surprise. I
knew a whole bunch of ARS songs but never owned any of their albums. This gig
was recorded at the height of their popularity in 81 and has all their top 20
hits, including "Champagne Jam", "Imaginary Lover" and
"So Into You." This is a great kinda mellow disc that works great for
a relaxing evening at home, with some vino. The recording is just right, so feel
like you are there, and there is little or none of those annoying problems that
can plague live albums, like too much on-stage nattering and too much crowd. If
you even a fleeting interest in this seminal light southern blues rock band.
This stuff is very melodic and great stuff. I highly recommend this disc. It
will have you singing along first listen!
Onto the last and least satisfying of this
trio. Southside Johnny at the Paradise in Boston, which was recorded in 1978 is
a wretched live testament to the seminal NJ band. The mix is terrible and there
is a section towards the end of the CD, where the band jams a bit, that is
downright unpleasant to the ear. Southside Johnny and the Asbury Dukes were a
great influence to some of NJ finest including Bruce Springsteen, and Bon Jovi.
Rolling Stone called their album "Hearts of Stone" one of the
"top 20 albums of the last twenty years."
Many of the tracks on this disc were
co-written by Mr. "Born in the USA", mostly with Van Zandt. The
bands’ sound does not sound that far removed fro Bruce’s stuff and it comes
as no surprise that "Little Steven" Van Zandt used to co-lead the
band. The disc sounds distinctly
like a recording of a party that you weren’t at, and is definitely has a
"you had to be there" feeling to it.
According to the press bumf this is a much sought-after recording. If you
seek buy, but everyone else stay well away. - Marty
Basement (Ian McIntosh):
I’d like to
clear up one point from my comments last week about the whole melodic rock scene
requiring a “landmark” album release: I did not mean a release on one of the
specialist labels. I meant that we need at least a song in the right style (or
preferably a whole album) on a major label that highlights what melodic rock can
be, piques the general audience and gets a whole load of fresh blood interested
and investigating the genre more.
Think back to
something like Cher’s version of the song “I Found Someone”. There’s a
song originally demoed by Mark Mangold’s Touch and Cher’s version was
produced by Michael Bolton (before he carried a handbag and sold washing-up
liquid to bored housewives!), that was “real AOR” and could almost be all
things to all men! Something like that must have opened the ears to a whole
swathe of new listeners that hadn’t experienced melodic rock along those lines
something like that somewhere in the mainstream that becomes a standard-bearer,
even just for a short time. Some of you might say “well Bryan Adams and Bon
Jovi still make the charts, isn’t that enough?” Well no, not really. Those
are acts which already have a large captive audience that are going to buy their
releases no matter what. They do not seem to actively go out there and winning
over new audiences, and their profile really isn’t that high. Also, taking
both of those as examples, they seem to spend most of their time trying to look
trendy (what does Bryan Adams look like these days?) and are ready to adapt
their established sounds just to fit in, rather than standing up for what they
are and where they came from….
has to penetrate the shell of the bigger picture and make at least some of the
general public aware of what melodic rock is. Otherwise its just going to be a
cottage industry serving the same little market of insular listeners too easily
happy in some form of musical vacuum.
Oh, and why I
remember, to the chap that loves Danger Danger interviews and was attempting to
slag me off, please try and spell my name right!
Place where you live:
Icon "Hungry For Love"
Vain "Without You"
10 albums I would take if stranded on a
Kiss – Dynasty
Adam Bomb - Pure Sex
White Sister - 1st
Icon - Night of the Crime
Vain - No Respect
Faster Pussycat - 1st
Boston - 1st
Van Halen - 1st
Tuff - What Comes Around Goes Around
London - Playa Del Rock
like to be featured in SFK’s Reader Profile, drop me a line at email@example.com.]
Subject: "Thank You"
Hi Kurt, I just wanted to drop you a line to thank you for your kind review of my latest album "Secrets Of Astrology". The support is much appreciated! Until next time. . .
Subject: Check this out!
just read an interesting article in the last issue(august) of Q magazine, an English music magazine. On page 62, I learnt that the next big thing in England is the come back of what they call soft rock, in fact AOR. There are a few new groups, usually with boys in their 20's who weren't even born when Crosby Stills and Nash started their career. I don't know any of those groups, the names: Toploader, Phoenyx (those ones are French, maybe Jean Luc knows them?), Taxiride and Birth. They all cite Steely Dan, the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac among their influences. How funny is it, we are all very fashionable in the summer of 2000! In this issue of "Q", you'll also find in page 50 and interesting interview on the recording of Hotel California, with all the members of the group. I must say that this magazine is not always so interesting for us, but this issue is indeed.
Subject: Re: Lana Lane
Hi Kurt, Your review is spot on about this one. I bought it without having heard a note on the strength of the "Classic Rock" review that said "Imagine Heart's Ann Wilson fronting a symphonic rock band..." and I wasn't disappointed. A stunning voice, very reminiscent of Ann W., but a bit smoother, superb melodies that often go off somewhere unexpected, and some spine-tingling instrumental passages. OK, the lyrics are pompous and pretentious (and you do wonder whether she has a sense of humor), but there again a lot of AOR features really dumbass lyrics anyway. Looks like I'll have to delve into the back catalogue.
From Lana's website I came across an
interesting (although a touch worthy) site called "Musical
Discoveries" at http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/rwelliot/
which gives in-depth coverage to Lana and a lot of other female vocalists in the
"contemporary, progressive and crossover" genres.
Subject: Re: The Corrs - In Blue
I was a bit skeptical about this, as I loved "Forgiven not Forgotten" but thought "Talk on Corners" was a bit of a bland sell-out. But one listen had me hooked - what a great AOR album! Very contemporary in sound, but not even a hint of nasty modern dance trends. Despite all these mutterings about "outside writers", no outside credits apart from a handful of co-credits from R J Lange (which surely is all to the good).
"Give Me a Reason" is an
absolute classic AOR song, complete with - wait for it - guitars!
"Rain" is an utterly gorgeous song, vaguely reminiscent of Roxette's
"Wish I Could Fly". And I love the soul/reggae pastiche of "Give
it all Up" - very Roxetteish. There are also more "Irish" touches
than some people have given them credit for.
Though I must say that, while Andrea has a
very appealing voice, it isn't the world's strongest, and she struggles to
pronounce her R's. Ann Wilson, Lana Lane, Marie Fredrikssen or Amanda Marshall
could blow her away. But I'd crawl over hot coals for Sharon..... (Calm down,
it's time for your medication!)
Subject: Motley Crue in Mass -
Everybody gets in free!
Hey Y'all, I checked out Motley Crues New Tatoo tour last night at Great woods. While I was in the parking lot I ran into a buddy of mine who never has any cash and I was wondering how he paid for his ticket. He said that if you had a ticket stub from either day of Ozzfest or Iron Maiden, OR you just decided to stop into your local Tweeter store, you would get a free ticket. For some reason this seems really sad to me that the Crue insists on playing these larger venues when they only sell 1/3 of the seats. PLAY THE 3000 SEAT VENUES LIKE EVERYONE ELSE! There were FAR more people at the Poison show AND at the Def Leppard show this summer at the same venue and they didn't give away seats. Also, why the heck do they charge 40 bucks a damn ticket?? It was just plain sad. Also, I almost got suckered in and paid 40 bucks for a shirt. My friend and I actually bought 2 shirts at 40 bucks each (the long sleeve one) and there was nothing on the back!! We had paid for them and when we saw it I asked the guy if we could have our $$ back and luckily he gave it to us. I paid 10 bucks for a Crue shirt in the parking lot after the show..
Anyway, what wasn't sad was the show. I
had tix up front in about the 9th row. Megadeth came on first and
they never did anything for me and they didn't last night. It was kind of like
Peace Sells but I don't care..I spent most of the Megadeth set list sneaking my
friends with the free tickets up to the 9th row..
The Crue came on at about 9:15. Their
stage was set up as a seedy strip club area of Hollywood with a "New Tatoo"
parlor. It was full of street signs, smoke, lights, fire and 2 female dancers.
They opened with Kickstart my heart. Vince appears to have dropped a lot of
weight and Nikki and Mick were on their game. Samantha Maloney (the drummer from
Hole) was on the skins last night replacing Randy Castillo who is out with some
stomach illness. Samantha played well but I noticed several times where she
didn't come in right (or maybe it was the other 3 members..) The set list was
pretty awesome. They mixed it up with a few tunes I had never heard live before.
This is what I remember in no particular order:
Kickstart my heart, Same ol Situation,
Primal Scream, Dr Feelgood, Piece of your action, Punched in the teeth by love,
home sweet home, Girl dont go away mad, Too Fast for love, Helter Skelter, Looks
that Kill, Wildside, Hell on High Heels, Girls Girls Girls, Too young to fall in
love, Shout at the Devil
During shout at the devil they had fire
come out from the stage and there was pyro in a couple of songs but not a ton..
Anyway, I think that some of the true Crue
fans are a little pissed off and have stopped caring. They released Generation
Swine in 1997 and people wanted some good old-fashioned Crue and they got a very
90s grunge/industrial sounding album which soured them. Then Tommy Lee left /
got kicked out of the band (whichever story you believe.) Their new songs on the
greatest hits and New Tatoo are a step in the right direction but it was
apparent last night due to the lack of paying customers that the Crue may have
gone too far. IMHOP, they should go back to the studio, write another album and
either play 1-3000 seat venues or put together a bill that people want to see or
perhaps join the Ozzfest..They should suck in their egos and their guts and face
the fact that they just aren't a big draw anymore. They are still a great band
with some of the best metal tunes ever written and they still put on a great
My question is this: if a band plays a show in the middle of Boston and nobody goes to see it, is it still a great show?