STRIKTLY FOR KONNISSUERS 12-25-00

“And the smallest streams, run to the rivers
 And every river, runs to the sea
 And every little bit of love I give to another
 You know what I believe, it comes back to me”

- Rick Springfield, Karma

Official Nonsense:

·      Editor and usr - Kurt Torster

Them:

·        Carrie Borzillo (All Star Daily News)

·        Marty Dodge (http://www.lupusandco.com)

·        Jason Grubbs

·        Tim Henderson (Brave Words)

·        Martin Hennessy III (80's Nuts)

·        Ian McIntosh (AOR Basement)

·        Mark Orsted (Heavens Smiling)

·        Dave Reynolds

·        Alex Richter (Hard N' Fast)

·        George Thatcher (Heart Of Rock)

·        Mike Waugh

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Kurt's Krap:

Since this is the last SFK of 2000, I just wanna throw out a liner notes list of thanks to all those who supported us this year (in no particular order): Mario at Frontiers, Mark & Peter at Now & Then, Magnus at MTM, Khalil and Barrie at Escape, Mark at Z, Bruce at Not Lame, Chip at Spitfire, the crew at Magna Carta, the crew at Pop Squad, the crew at A2, Barry at the Lost 45s, Dave at Retro Rewind, Andrew at Melodic Rock, Dan at Heavy Harmonies, John and the gang at the AOR Mafia, Tim at Detritus, Tim and Martin at Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles, Dave Baldwin, John Taglieri, David Isaacs, Robin George, Ted Poley, Dave Reynolds, George Thatcher at the Heart Of Rock, Stephen at Authority On Rock, the guys at Metal Sludge, the guys at the Tour Bus and most of all…you guys…the readers of SFK. Hope everyone has a healthy and happy 2001!

News Bytes:

January 16 is the release date for two Bruce Springsteen DVDs. The first is the DVD release of the “Blood Brothers” documentary, chronicling the recording of new songs for the “Greatest Hits” CD. The second, “Video Anthology”, is a double DVD with 33 videos/performances, 15 of them exclusive to this release including his appearances on Jay Leno and The Charlie Rose Show as well as some recent live footage. The tracklisting: Disc 1: Rosalita 1978, The River 1980: From "No Nukes" concert, Thunder Road 1980: >From "No Nukes" concert, Atlantic City 1982, Dancing In The Dark 1984, Born In The U.S.A. 1984, I'm On Fire 1985, Glory Days 1985, My Hometown 1985, War 1986, Fire 1986: Rare acoustic performance from Neil Young's "Bridge Concert", Born To Run 1987, Brilliant Disguise 1987, Tunnel Of Love 1987, One Step Up 1988, Tougher Than The Rest 1987, Spare Parts 1988, Born To Run (acoustic) 1988. DVD Disc 2:  Human Touch 1992, Better Days 1992, 57 Channels (and Nothin' on) 1992, Leap Of Faith 1992, Streets Of Philadelphia 1993, Murder Incorporated 1995, Secret Garden 1995, Hungry Heart 1995, Dead Man Walkin' 1996, The Ghost Of Tom Joad 1996, The Ghost Of Tom Joad 1995: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno – performance, Highway Patrolman 2000, If I Should Fall Behind 2000, Born In The U.S.A. 1998: The Charlie Rose Show - solo acoustic performance, Secret Garden (with strings) Alternate Version of the song.

More Bruce Springsteen info: he premiered a new song, “My City In Ruins”, last weekend in a set of holiday shows in NJ. Rumor has it that this song will be part of an upcoming live CD/video set, mostly recorded earlier this year at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Danny Wilde & Phil Solem are putting the finishing touches on their new album, “Lost Together”, due out in the spring. Rather that being called a Rembrandts project, it will be under the banner of Solem Wilde. More info at their website. While you’re there, look for the hidden page featuring sneak preview MP3s.

Hot on the heels of the recently released boxset “Flashback”, ELO is putting the finishing touches on a new studio album that features appearances from Ringo Starr and George Harrison.

Correction from last week: the DVD for Dream Theater’s Metropolis 2000” is only the performance of the title track with an extra hour of live footage, not the whole show as reported last week.

The fabulous Retro Rewind will have interviews and unplugged performances on their site next year from Rick Springfield, Tears For Fears, Roxette and Blondie.

The Howard Jones website features a new MP3 song titled “Collective Heartbeat”.

Neve is featuring a Christmas song on their website, “All I Want 4 Christmas”.

Ted Poley’s Melodica will release their “Acoustica” album in the US with 5 bonus tracks. Ted tells me also that the new full album, “Love Metal”, is nearing completion.

The second album from pop great Linus Of Hollywood is finished and titled “Let Yourself Be Happy”. According to his website, his third album may be an album full of 70s disco influenced tunes!

A nice summer tour shaping up for North America next year is the trio of Asia, John Waite and The Fixx.

West Coast AOR legends Player, comprised of the duo Ronn Moss and Peter Beckett along with session supremos Tony Sciuto (Little River Band), Ron Green (Kenny Loggins), Dave Amato (REO Speedwagon) and Ron Wisko (Foreigner), are putting the finishing touches on a new album due out next year.

Another West Coast AOR legend, the Little River Band, has recently released an album titled “Where We Started From”, which contains nine new songs and two bonus tracks in the form of re-recordings of their hits “Cool Change” and “Night Owls.

Metal writer Martin Popoff would like a list of your Top 25 Heavy Metal Songs Of All Time. Please RANK them and include the name of the band (if it seems too hard, feel free to go with 10!). Please email martinp@inforamp.net with your responses. Results will be tabulated and published soon.

Rhino has released “The Very Best Of: 1974-1987” from hard rock legends Montrose featuring Sammy Hagar. Tracks include: Bad Motor Scooter, Space Station #5, Rock Candy, I Got The Fire, Spaceage Sacrifice, We’re Going Home, Paper Money, All I Need, Twenty Flight Rock, Clown Woman, Dancin’ Feet, Let’s Go, Jump On It, Music Man, M For Machine, Stand, Ready Willing And Able.

Speaking of the Red Rocker, Sammy Hagar is said to be looking into opening up a Cabo Wabo resort in Las Vegas that will include a 5000 seat amphitheater.

In other Rhino news, the label will be putting together a tour for next year, The Rhino Retrofest, which will feature musical acts from the 60s through the 80s as well as vintage pop culture. Last year’s one day festival featured Kyle Vincent, Berlin, Missing Persons, Bo Donaldson & The Heywoods, Tony Burrows, Tony DeFranco and Ron Dante, among others.

The House Of Lords saga just gets more and more strange. Here’s an email I got from Chuck Wright: Listen, I wanted you to know that the original members of House Of Lords (Ken, James, Gregg, Lanny and myself) are not in any way associated with RSE (Rock Solid Entertainment & Kelly Hammett) and we do not have management. I'm telling you this because I was told by a friend that runs a prominent e-zine that he was contacted by someone saying they were HOL management and would be releasing a statement on our behalf. We do have a web mistress named Dany who is working with us now and has sent out an announcement for us which is fine. http://www.lara-goth.com/HouseOfLords/ I will keep you updated as things develop.

And yet more on those pesky Robbie Williams and Queen rumors: According to Brian May, "Well, I'll be honest with you, we've been talking to Robbie and we've been playing around with Robbie, and we like him. And we've pushed various ideas around, but nothing has been decided yet, so if you see anything in the press, it's somebody jumping the gun. I think he's a great entertainer, and one of the few, I suppose, one of the few entertainers with a capital 'E' that I've seen emerge out of England in recent years. They're very few, very hard to find."

The next single from U2 will be for “Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of”. B-sides will include live versions of “Beautiful Day” and “New York” as well as a new song, “Big Girls Are Best” and a remix of “Beautiful Day”.

Escape has signed two new acts. Paradise is a new Canadian act featuring members of Loverboy and Kick Axe. Aries are said to resemble Kansas with an edge.

Lionel Richie will release his new album, “Renaissance”, in the spring in the US. The album has been out since October in Europe. Sporting a different, more upbeat tracklist, the first single is the catchy “Angel”, due out in February.

The tracklisting for the new Rubber album “Ultra Feel”, due in February: Spinning Around, Forgive, Over The Edge, Happiness, Hopeless, In The End, Draggin' Me Down, Everything You Do, No Doubt and Running Away. Three of the songs are sung by Pete Lesperance.

Rumor has it that both Zack Wylde and Tommy Lee are now part of Ozzy Osbourne’s band.

Metallica fan club members will get be getting “Fan Can #4”, which comes with a video of a November 1997 concert from Philadelphia, an “And Justice For All” T-shirt, a dog tag and a CD filled with exclusive live music. Shipment is expected in February.

The writers of Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles have chosen Halford’s Resurrection” as the best metal album of 2001.

A cool rumor being floated around is a new project titled the Three Tremors, which would feature Geoff Tate, Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford.

The next Bob Catley album will be based on the classic Lord Of The Rings novels from JRR Tolkein. Titles include: The Wraith Of The Rings, (i) The Fields That I Recall, (ii) Emissary (iii), The Fields That I Recall (Reprise), City Walls, Against The Wind, (i) Where You Lead I'll Follow (ii), Stormcrow & Pilgrim (iii), Where You Lead I'll Follow (Reprise), Return Of The Mountain King, The End Of Summer (Galadriel's Theme), This Gallant Band Of Manic Strangers and The Fellowship. Middle Earth” is due out in March.

The next Stan Bush disc will be titled “Language Of The Heart” and is said to be in the classic Barrage style.

The tracklisting of “Time Passes”, the solo debut from Kelly Keagy: Bottled Up, Time Passes, I'm Still Here, Soul, The Moon, Before Anybody Knows I'm Gone, Too Close To The Sun, The Journey, Acid Rain, Something's Gotta Give, Too Much To Ask, Anything Goes, When There Is A Woman, Next To Never and Wrong Again. Song co-writers include Bruce Gaitsch, John Sinclare, Jim Peterik, Jack Blades, Kevin Chalfant, Brad Gillis and Gary Moon. The album is due out in early spring.

Mike Slamer’s Seventh Key album is in the mixing stage. Songs include: No Man's Land, Forsaken, Broken Home, Everytime It Rains, Missy, The Kid Can Play, The Brave Are Free, Prisoner Of Love, Love Is Dying, Find Your Way Home, The Storm Rages On, Scream Surrender and Always Remember You Well. Musicians include Billy Greer, Mike Slamer, Steve Morse, Steve Walsh, David Manion, Igor Len, Terry Brock, Kerry Livgren and Chet Wind.

The Hurricane reunion album is sporting the title of “Liquifury”. Some song titles include: Happy To Be Your Fool, Bleed For Me, You Are, Heart Made Of Stone and It's Your Life.

Emerald Rain is finishing up their third studio album and hope to release it in April. The tentative tracklisting: Easy Come Easy Go, You, Just Like Anyone, Open Up Your Eyes, Badlands, Until You're Blind, Is This Love? and Wasted Time.

VH-1’s lineup for Fan Club:
KISS - Dec. 22 10:00pm ET/PT
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Dec. 29 10:00pm ET/PT
Ricky Martin - Jan. 5 10:00pm ET/PT
AC/DC - Jan. 12 10:00pm ET/PT
No Doubt - Jan. 26 10:00pm ET/PT
Motley Crue - Feb. 2 10:00pm ET/PT
Bon Jovi - Feb. 9 10:00pm ET/PT
Kid Rock - Feb. 16 10:00pm ET/PT

The Heavy Harmonies MP3 Of The Week: As a general rule female lead vocalists don't cut it with me. There's something about AOR, hard rock, and melodic metal that's more suitable for a male lead vocalist (before our friendly femynysts get their panties in a bunch, it's an aesthetic judgment, not an indictment of the musical ability of women). There are a few exceptions of course; I've always been a big fan of Heart, Doro Pesch, and to a lesser extent, Lee Aaron and Lita Ford. So on the rare occasions a female AOR/hard rock artist comes along that aurally turns my head, it's worth spreading the word... Lana Lane is just such an artist. Last week I stumbled across her 1999 release Queen of the Ocean. Wow! Excellent stuff! An added bonus is that the 3 bonus tracks on the album aren't throwaways in the usual sense; all 3 are quite worthwhile. I just found out tonight also that Lana is the uncredited female vocalist on Icebreaker - Eleco, from 1997 (I'd always wondered who did the lead vocals on that CD!!!). Well, enough rambling on my part. If you like '80s Heart blended with richly orchestrated AOR (with a slight prog bent), you'll enjoy this week's MP3, Souls of the Mermaids.

Finally, the Second Annual Venice Concert Cruise will be from November 30 - December 3, 2001 on Carnival's Ecstasy from Los Angeles to Mexico. Travel arrangements will be handled by Belair / Empress Travel & Cruises. You’ll get, along with the typical cruise amenities, a private party, concert and autography session with the band. For further information contact the Fan Club Cruises Desk at: (800) 638-0827 / Fax: (301) 464-2878 or by Email at venice@belairtrav.com. You can also register online at http://www.belairtrav.com/venreg.htm.

Rare MP3 Of The Week:

Held over from last week (out of sheer laziness) is the dance remix of “It’s My Life” from Bon Jovi. Does anyone know where this originates from?

Moldy Oldys:

[Five discs kicking old school on the SFK Deck O’ Death this week:]
ELO – Strange Magic, Seals & Crofts – Greatest Hits, America – History, Abba – Gold, Ambrosia - Anthology

Kurt’s Picks:

Like I said last week, no reviews. But what ya got here is my top 20 CDs for 2000. Are these the best? Not necessarily so…more like the albums I listened to more than any others.

1 Rick Springfield – Alive – Maybe THE best live album ever. Perfect sound and a scorching song selection.

2 Howard Jones – Pefawm – This 2CD Internet exclusive set puts new spins on old HoJo faves and actually makes many of them sound better than before.

3 Bon Jovi – Crush – I know lots of people didn’t care for this and I’m not sure why. Contains some of the best songs the band has recorded.

4 Sister Hazel – Somewhere More Familiar – Crushing southern tinged rawk and roll made this essential cruising music.

5 Marvelous 3 – ReadySexGo – Power pop simply doesn’t get much better than this. Why aren’t these guys the biggest thing since sliced bread (whatever the hell that means)?

6 The Corrs – In Blue – Never mind the fact that these ladies are hotties…the music is some of the smoothest listening this side of Shania.

7 Michael McDermott – Last Chance Lounge – The return of the singer/songwriter…or the second coming of Bruce Springsteen.

8 David Isaacs – Timebomb – Jaw dropping power pop with superior lyrics.

9 Journey – Arrival – Finally, a comeback worth getting excited about. Was there a better song this year than “Signs Of Life”?

10 Tsar – Tsar – Part Cheap Trick…part Kiss…all fun.

11 Evan And Jaron – Evan And Jaron – The closest to AOR as the mainstream got this year.

12 Alfonzetti – Ready – Punchy and catchy arena rock that was the best album from the big 4.

13 Collective Soul – Blender – Can these guys do any wrong? Man, they just spit out perfectly crafted rock without effort.

14 Kharma – Wonderland – The opening 3 tracks may be THE best album opening ever.

15 Matchbox 20 – Mad Season – Sophmore jinx? Not here. In retrospect, better than their debut.

16 Teen Machine – After School Special – The return of bubblegum glam.

17 Tiffany – The Color Of Silence – From mall pop queen to mature melodic rocker…who would have thunk it?

18 BB Mak – BB Mak – A boy band that actually plays their own instruments, writes their own tunes and no synchronized dancing to be found.

19 T-Bell – Replay – Pure AOR at it’s Westcoast best.

20 Everclear – Learning How To Smile – A fantastic collection of lighter edged songs from the alternative rockers. “AM Radio” was probably my favorite mainstream single of the year.

The rest of the best: SR-71 – Now You See Inside, Mars Electric – Mars Electric, Hanson – This Time Around, Doug Powell  - More, Jeff Larson – Room For Summer

(Re)Views From The Hill:
[Note: these are reviews done by outside contributors and not myself – Kurt]

[All quiet this week…]

AOR Basement (Ian McIntosh):

It's kinda hard to write a column on Christmas Eve in Europe when everyone's on holiday and nothing's going on! So, it'll be brief this week....

Noticed that there's already a couple of new Japanese releases doing the rounds. Molly Hatchet has just issued "Kingdom of XII" in Japan, and it has an exclusive bonus track. Also now scheduled for release on January 11th is the first album from Richard Page's pre-Mr Mister outfit "Pages". The band's other two releases ("Future Street" and the, confusingly, other self-titled album) have already had CD re-issues at various points.

Hit the Ground Runnin' are still hard at work on their new album. In the meantime, fans of the band should surf into http://listeningroom.lycos.com/fan/bands/hit/Song_20010.html   where they can see a live track from a "Dance Party USA" television appearance the band did back at the end of 1988.

Takara are hoping to have their new album finished in February. It'll be called "Perception of Reality". All the music tracks are done and the vocals are just now being finished off. A late spring or early summer release is then likely. Initial reports suggest a much better quality of studio sound from the band than seen on their previous releases. Some live shows in Los Angeles and Japan are also planned, as well as possibly in Europe.

Feedback:

[All quiet this week…]