STRIKTLY FOR KONNISSUERS 07-03-00

”There are three essential Commandments:

·        Respect The Elders.

·        Embrace The New.

·        Encourage The Impractical and Improbable, Without Bias.

-David Fricke”

Official Nonsense:

·        Editor Editor and El Presidente - Kurt Torster

Other members of the SFK party:

·        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

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

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Bloomfield, NJ 07003 USA

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Kurt's Krap:

OK…so we’re back. I just needed a little breather from things. It got to the point I couldn’t listen to music anymore and enjoy it so to just sit back and not think about my opinions on what I was listening to was nice. In more basic terms, I was getting a little burnt out.

On that note though, there probably will not be an SFK next week. As me and the wifey are on baby alert (she’s already a few days late), I doubt I will find much time to throw an issue together…but never say never.

I’m gonna try and catch up this week on the tons of CDs I have sitting around. A lot of “short and sweet and to the point” going on. Expect this to be the norm for a while…

Well, we’re pretty much at the half-way point in the year and four albums have pretty much dominated my personal playlist: Mars Electric – Beautiful Something, Sister Hazel – Fortress, Bon Jovi – Crush and Kharma - Wonderland.

Kurt’s Kause Of The Week:

[Ah hell, why not get a little political (or even politically incorrect)? There are loads of issues I believe in or support, and this little bit is not meant to get too deep into anything controversial.]

Enough mental health bullshit. And also, not so much a cause but a favorite hangout. World Of Discovery is the website to my favorite TV channels (The Discovery and Learning Channels). Loads of cool stuff here…live and learn.

News Bytes:

Harem Scarem/Rubber are at it again. A new live album to be released in Japan will feature two new songs. The tracklisting: Stuck With You, It's Gotta Be, Headache, Coming Down, Turn Around, Climb The Gate, Without You, So Blind, Who-Buddy, Face It, Pool Party, Trip, Sunshine, If You (new) and In The End (new).

The new album from Marvelous 3 will be called “Readysexgo” and be out in August. The first single is set to be “Sugarbuzz”. The band says it “ups the ante on it’s predecessor in every way imaginable.” It also features cameos from members of Lit and Buckcherry.

Look for a greatest hits type disc from Matthew Sweet in October with the obligatory bonus tracks.

Former Ozzy Osbourne bassist Phil Soussan has joined Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake in their lawsuit against their former boss for back royalties. The trio, who performed on Ozzy’s “The Ultimate Sin” album claim they have not been properly credited for their work.

Queensryche and Rob Halford will be opening up the US leg of the upcoming Iron Maiden tour. The stop at New York’s Madison Square Garden sold out in two hours!

Marillion is taking pre-orders of their new album before it’s even recorded! Check it out…

The Motley Crue video for “Hell On High Heels” is now available for flash download at CampChaos. Here’s the setlist from their opening night on tour: Crue Slut, Kickstart My Heart, S.O.S., Primal Scream, Punched In The Teeth By Love, Dr. Feelgood, 10 Seconds To Love, Home Sweet Home, Don’t Go Away Mad..., Piece Of Your Action, Wild Side, Hell On High Heels, Looks That Kill, Girl, Girls, Girls, Shout At The Devil, White Punks On Dope, Live Wire and New Tattoo.

Over at the Ten website you can grab soundclips from their upcoming “Babylon” album.

Apparently Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band has recorded enough material on this tour for a new album. Rumor has it that the band will be going into the studio next month to put the finishing touches on the tracks, which includes the controversial “American Skin (41 Shots)”.

Tonight on Turner Classic Movies you can tune into a showing of The Wizard Of Oz. TCM will be running the SAP Audio track with Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side Of The Moon”. If you don’t know the story on this relation check out the website.

The next single from the Foo Fighters will be for “Next Year”.

The new album form Brian Setzer is titled “Vavoom!” and will be out on August 1.

Jani Lane has left Warrant as he has apparently “fallen off the wagon” again.

Produced by Kevin Shirley, Journey’s Arrival” will be released in September. The band hopes to tour US arenas this fall.

ACT hopes to have its second album out in early fall.

Also hoping to get albums out this fall are MTM acts Steelhouse Lane and Tower City.

Michael Bolton has parted company with Columbia after his last album, “Timeless Volume 2” failed to chart in the Billboard Top 200.

Also parting with their label is country rock act The Mavericks, who have left Mercury after one album (which strangely enough was a best of their MCA days). The band is trying to escape Nashville to accompany their newer, more pop oriented sound.

After a falling out with Capitol, Billy Idol and Steve Stevens have had to start over in the recording of a new album, after one was practically completed.

Koch will release “Ain’t Life Grand” on September 26, the latest album from Slash.

I’m hearing that the first single from the upcoming Damn Yankees album will be “Mona Lisa”.

Look for Duran Duran to appear on VH-1’s Storytellers later this summer.

Speaking of VH-1, word has it that they plan to shift away from music videos and become “more music program oriented”. Just great…

August 8 sees the release of the DVD of Billy Joel’s Live From Yankee Stadium”.

NJ cover band legends The Nerds have a new album out, “Live Action Figures”. More info at their website.

Due to typical bullshit red tape, the Z-USA show in NJ has been put on hold.

Some North American tour dates for Dream Theater:
Wednesday August 23  Houston, TX Aerial Theater
Thursday August 24  Dallas, TX Bronco Bowl
Saturday August 26  Mexico City, Mexico
Sunday August 27  Mexico City, Mexico
Wednesday August 30  New York City, NY Roseland

Noteworthy New Releases:

DAVE DAVIES - Live At The Bottom Line
SISTER HAZEL – Fortress (HIGHLY recommended)

Moldy Oldys:

[What’s kicking old school on the SFK Deck O’ Death this week:]
Life…

Kurt’s Picks:

Peter Frampton – Live In Detroit, CMC, 2000
[Similarities: Foreigner, Styx, Boston]
I’ve always had a soft spot for Peter Frampton. “Frampton Comes Alive” is the very definition of a live album and deserved every one of it’s millions of sales. So nearly 25 years on from that landmark comes this set recorded last July in Detroit. Don’t get me wrong, this is a very good listen but I’m not sure what the point is of this release. It won’t garner any new fans and I would think that most die-hards will pass this by as well, having owned either of his previous live sets or any of his various hits packages. Regardless, the performance is tight and shows that this guy can still swing his axe as well as he did in the 70s (the voicebox sound on “Show Me The Way” still sends chills down my spine). The songlist is your basic, no surprises “best of”. Fans only.

Hanson – This Time Around, Island, 2000
[Similarities: Taxiride, Bon Jovi, Nelson]
With their last outing I was left with the impression that this trio had a killer melodic rock album living inside them. This comes VERY close to being it. With 13 songs and not a bad one in the bunch, this is a mature yet catchy and rocking effort that puts a lot of their older contemporaries to shame. Elements of power pop, rock, AOR and even southern rock creep in at times leaving me thankful that they boys grew up on a steady diet of good music, rather than trying to be Limp Biscuit Junior. Songs like the title track, “Run Runaway”, “Can’t Stop” and “I Wish I Was There” deserve to be multi-format hits and with a little luck, this boy band can show they still has some life left in them. Surprisingly (or maybe not so), one of the best albums of the year.

The Plimsouls – Kool Trash, Fuel, 2000
[Similarities: Dramarama, old Rolling Stones, The Kinks]
For their first album in over ten years, LA’s gutter poppers The Plimsouls have thrown together a killer collection of ten street tough rockers that cater to no one but themselves. Full of brash guitar and a powerful backbeat, Peter Case leads his band through some real down and dirty, yet intelligent rock that almost seems refreshing in this overproduced era of pop. Custom made for a keg party (or a quick beer run), it’s like the garage rock of the 60s and the power pop of the 80s merged, with much success. This is an album that truly lives up to its title.

Rockbitch – Motor Driven Bimbo, SPV, 1999
[Similarities: Metallica, Black Sabbath, L7]
Uh…um…hmm… OK, how sad is it that the only nice thing I can think to say is that the booklet has pictures of half-naked women? It’s entirely possible that this is one of the worst things I have heard in a long time. Female led brutally heavy metal without an ounce of remorse or melody. With a lead singer sounding like Axl on helium it’s painful to listen to. Wow…this is bad. Guess the band name should have been a dead giveaway.

Chris Rodriguez – Beggar’s Paradise, Word, 1999
[Similarities: Michael Morales, Michael McDermott, Brett Walker]
Fresh sounding Christian AOR, this is a pretty remarkable and professional debut. Bronx native Chris Rodriguez has, along with Brent Bourgeois, forged a traditional and highly catchy melodic rock album that forgoes the common boy-girl love songs and is spoken from his truest heart. Like many of the best Christian artists, most of the lyrics can mean whatever you want them to (though Chris speaks of his personal born again relationship to God). Much of the music has a jangly Beatles feel without outright sounding like the Fab Four. Songs like “Saved”, “Beggar’s Paradise” and “Walk You To The Sun” could easily be hits in any climate proving that a good song is always simply a good song. Definitely looking forward to album #2!

Spiders & Snakes – London Daze, Deadline, 2000
[Similarities: Vain, D-Generation, Motley Crue]
Get out your lipstick, hairspray and platforms…glam is back! This was such a blast to listen to. In a sense it feels like the 70s all over again yet this doesn’t sound dated in the least. Simple, clever and effective, this is 10 toe tapping pieces of raw dynamite full of razor blade riffs and a party hardy atmosphere (plus three bonus tracks recorded in 1980 with Nikki Sixx). Old school glam queens will eat this up.

Michael Stanley – Eighteen Down, Razor & Tie, 2000
[Similarities: Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams, Bob Seger]
Heartland rock from one of the masters. These 13 songs, while nothing earth shattering, are well written and full of soul and passion. Songs like the smooth “I Rest My Case” and “I Can Get This By Myself” rank up there with his older classic material without sounding like he’s relying on past glories. The rest is average or better (at the least) and fans of this sound will find a lot to like here. Bonus points for some GREAT liner notes.

Storyteller – Corridor Of Windows, MTM, 2000
[Similarities: Kharma, Xenon, Journey]
Totally over the top keyboard driven rock that has more hooks than your average bait and tackle shop. Much like this year’s effort from Kharma (an album I have grown to love), this is old school AOR done with nary a hint of modern influence. Whereas some of the other releases of this year hit too close to other artists for my tastes, I hard a hard time trying to figure out who Storyteller resemble the most. There are touches of prog, pomp, arena rock and straight ahead radio friendly 80s AOR. Perfectly played, excellently produced with some great songwriting to boot. Lifting this up a few notches is the chillingly good vocals of Jerome Story. Songs like “Why Cry”, “Like It Or Not” and the title track are textbook examples of perfect AOR.

(Re)Views From The Hill:

Danger Danger - Return of the Great Gildersleeves, MTM
[similarities:  Motley Crue, Cheap Trick, Warrant, Bon Jovi]
Danger Danger were one of those AOR bands that succumbed to the lure of being current in the 90’s and quite rightly suffered for it. While never going whole hog, they did produce some albums that paled in comparison to their first few.  I, for one, loved their self-titled debut and all its neat songs with double names. The follow-up Monkey Business was a pretty good, fun disc. Ted Poley (Bone Machine) was handling the vox on those two albums, Paul Laine replaced him.

Then things went a bit to dogs.  I would love to be able to say that this album marks a total return to their previous heights. I can’t, there are still a few tracks on this disc, that are the same crap "modern edge" tracks that we are so sick of hearing. Instead of trying to sound like Soundgarden, the two sound like Oasis at their worst.

The opening track "Grind" is very Bon Jovi-esque, a punching track, but a tad forgettable. "When she's good she's good" is a great power ballad, would make a great single, and is as catchy as stink. It’s very old school DD, could have been on the debut or Monkey Business, with great guitar, great melody and great sing along bits.

"She's gone" is a great weepy ballad, a return to DD of old with a great melody, nice keyboard bits and very 80s sounding. This emotive track is extremely catchy. "Dead drunk and Wasted" is a very cool Cheap Trick-ish love song with great guitar and great vox. Like the song before it, very catchy and pretty damn fun.  "I do": is a great love song that sounds very old school Bon Jovi/Danger Danger with keys and cracking vocals/guitars. "My Secret" great mellow track, acoustic guitar/keys combo, not that catchy and a bit contrived but good tune nonetheless (be huge for the Goo Goo Dolls). "Cherry Cherry" has a great bass/guitar intro, very LA trashy track, very catchy, great summer track for the car.

All in all great improvement from the last album, with some scorching tracks that if performed by certain "mainstream" groups would be huge hits. The only downside is the more modern sounding stinkers, that leave a nasty taste in your ears. Still overall I recommend this disc to SFK readers, it isn’t perfect but it is pretty good. - Marty

AOR Basement (Ian McIntosh):

[Ian is on holiday this week…]

Reader profiles:

Name: Ken Kost

Place where you live: Scotts Valley, California

Age: 39 (old fart!)

Favorite Artist: Lynyrd Skynyrd

Favorite Song: Free Bird

Favorite Ballad: "Wind Of Change", Scorpions

10 Albums You'd Bring If Stranded On A Desert Island:

1) Street Survivors- Lynyrd Skynyrd
2) Thunderdome- Street Legal
3) Self Destruction- Moxy
4) Violation- Starz
5) Live & Dangerous- Thin Lizzy
6) Return of the Great Gildersleeves- Danger Danger
7) Don't Come Easy- Tyketto
8) Fire Down Under(Japanese re-issue)- Riot
9) Led Zeppelin- Led Zeppelin
10) Photographs & Memories- Jim Croce

Feedback:

[I think there was some, but I accidentally deleted it…uh, oops.]