STRIKTLY FOR KONNISSUERS 06-19-00

”There are three essential Commandments:

·        Respect The Elders.

·        Embrace The New.

·        Encourage The Impractical and Improbable, Without Bias.

-David Fricke”

Official Nonsense:

·        Editor and Conn Smythe Trophy Winner - Kurt Torster

Other members of the Stanley Cup Winning SFK:

·        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.

Snail mail address for press kits & CDs, porno tapes, t-shirts, 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:

Hey hey…there will be no SFK for the next two weeks while I take some time off. The wife is expecting any day now and that, along others of life’s little stresses, has given me the need to step back from things for a couple of weeks and not think about music or work or anything! Be back first Monday in July…

Sorry about the rushed feeling of last week’s issue. I had taken a day off from work and tried to rush the issue out Tuesday morning. Shit happens…

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.]

Wow! Last week I had put up a little bit about anxiety/panic attacks and was amazed that I do not suffer alone around here (I haven’t had this many responses on a topic since Napster). Thanks for all the responses… I have rather narrowed down my anxiety to something called Cyberchondria (or rather Internet induced hypochondria). If you know of what I speak (or know someone like this), there is help out there…check it out.

News Bytes:

Check out this great article on Salon about the music press’ seeming infatuation with no talent Eminum, who the author doesn’t understand (and rightly so) how this clown raps about what he raps about and has the mainstream media all abuzz.

Last week in St. Louis, REO Speedwagon and Styx recorded their sets for an upcoming live CD, DVD and video release. The concert will also air on TV this fall.

Hole drummer Samantha Maloney will join Motley Crue temporarily replacing Randy Castillo, who is recuperating from emergency stomach surgery.

From SFKer Alex Richter on Damn Yankees: Talked to Damon Johnson yesterday, back home in Alabama... he told me that Ted Nugent has asked him and Tommy Show to come out on the road for the last few dates of the Kiss tour to join him on stage for a few songs each night to get the DY thing in gear! Damon had a great song he demo called Mona Lisa which will appear on the Damn Yankees CD, although the band changed a chorus and a note hear and there it was a great song before, can't wait to hear it now! maybe the first single! And Kid Rock is due to appear on the disc, but Metallica appearance was false!

Guitarist Jeff Kollman is teaming up with UFO vocalist Phil Mogg for a future album release. Meanwhile, you can catch Jeff’s band Cosmosquad tonight in Hollywood at the Baked Potato.

The tracklisting for the upcoming Steve Morse album “Major Impacts”: Derailleur Gears, Well I Have, TruthOla, Migration, Led On, The White Light, How Does It Feel?, Bring It To Me, Something Gently Weeps, Free In The Park and Prognosis.

The Bee Gees will release a new studio album this fall.

Foreigner will be featured in September on an episode of VH-1’s Behind The Music. Guitarist Mick Jones meanwhile has been busy producing the reunion album for The Cult.

A2 has signed John Taglieri to release his album throughout Europe.

Dutch act Terra Nova has split up.

CampChaos, purveyors of those classic Napster animations featuring Metallica and Motley Crue, now have t-shirts available. Spank the monkey!

September 15, you can catch SFK faves Venice opening up for Rick Springfield in San Diego at Humphrey’s By The Bay.

The new Poison album “Power To The People” is being distributed by Jimmy Buffet’s Mailboat records. Interesting. Says Buffet after he heard “I Hate Every Bone In Your Body”, “why the hell not?”.

On June 25 Queensryche will headline a festival in Seattle to support the opening of the Experience Music Project Museum. Other acts on the bill include Heart and the Presidents Of The USA.

Roger Hodgson has a new album out called “Open The Door”. The ex Supertramp mainman has been fairly spasmodic in terms of album releases in his solo career, and took ten years out of the scene between his 1987 album “Hai Hai” and 1997's “Rites Of Passage”. ‘Open The Door” has only just been released, and you can hear Media Player samples on his site www.rodgerhodgson.com. Also of interest on the site are some interesting interviews regarding Roger's falling out with Rick Davies, the other notable Supertramp member, and his subsequent departure and the ensuing feud which followed.

UFO's new album will be titled “Covenant”, and will now be a two CD set. Disc one will be a new studio recording of the eleven tracks recently finished in the USA. All eleven songs are now on the schedule for general release, which means Europe/UK, USA and Japan will get the same.  Disc two will be a live recording of the band from their 1995 USA tour.  The current lineup is: Michael Schenker, Phil Mogg, Pete Way, and Aynsley Dunbar.

Coming to you soon on the Songhaus subsidiary label Aeria (the progressive rock arm of Songhaus) are the long lost Illinois seventies legends Starcastle. A new studio album with all six members of the original band lineup will return with a new (as yet untitled) album very shortly. To see the guys in the studio there are photos available on the Aeria site: http://www.songhausmusic.com/aer_cd.html

While we're at it, we might as well continue with the Songhaus theme. Also scheduled for release are AOR legends Airborne, Silver Condor (the first album hopefully) and pompsters Aviary. Should be a label to keep an eye on.

Another promising band to get a hearing is New York based trio Ruby Faith And The Waiting World. This is a female fronted outfit who have just signed with AOR Heaven and can also be found at MP3.COM. If any of you like your melodic rock somewhere between Heart, Pat Benatar and Witness (Debbie Davis) then check these chicks out.

Tour dates for Nelson:
June 19th in Irvine, CA
June 30th in Ft. Worth, TX
July 11th in Peoria, IL
July 21st in Uncasville, CT
July 22nd in Susanville, CA 
August 1st in Turlock, CA 
August 5th in NJ (CANCELED)
August 6th in West Allis, WI
August 9th in Point Pleasant, WV 
August 10th in Napa, CA
August 12th in Ventura, CA
August 24th in Louisville, KY
September 2nd in Nashville, TN
September 9th in Olathe, KS
September 16th in Waterloo, AL

Tour dates for Radiohead:
September
1,2 Newport, South Wales Tredegar House
7,8 Copenhagen, near Valby Hallen
11 Werchter Park, Brussels, Belgium
15,16 Goffertpark, Nijmegen, Holland
19,20 Paris, Esplanade, Avenue Francois Mitterand
23,24,25 London, Tower Hamlets Victoria Park
28,29 Glasgow, Scotland Glasgow Green

October
1,2,3 Warrington, Cheshire Victoria Park

Noteworthy New Releases:

THE ALMIGHTY - The Almighty
BON JOVI – Crush
BILLY JOEL - Millennium Concert

Moldy Oldys:

[What’s kicking old school on the SFK Deck O’ Death this week:]
Tears For Fears – Tears Roll Down (Greatest Hits), The Romantics – Romantic Hits, Michael McDermott – Gethesmane, Dakota Moon – Dakota Moon, Bon Jovi - Crush

Kurt’s Picks:

The Clarks – Let It Go, Razor & Tie, 2000
[Similarities: Gin Blossoms, Marvelous 3, The Loveless]
With choruses and melodies as sharp as razors, The Clarks have popped out an album that is not exceptional but none too shabby either. While lacking the sonic punch of the bands mentioned above, the songs are no less catchy though and after a few spins starts to shine a bit in it’s own light. With songs like “Snowman”, “Better Off Without You” and “Think Of England” the band is certainly on to something. But overall, there’s just too much of a rootsy or classic vibe and not enough of an ear candy flavor. But the songs are lyrically well written and musically, a different sound in production might have upped it’s “oomph” quotient for me. Solid…professional…yet, dry.

Lucky Bishops – Lucky Bishops, Rubic, 1999
[Similarities: The Beatles, Oasis, Enuff Z’nuff]
Yikes! And you thought Oasis or EZN wanted to be the Beatles! It’s as if these guy listened to the White Album, then sat down to write some songs and spit this CD out. A little too on the psychedelic tip for my tastes, that’s not even counting the lack of originality going on here. It’s all well played and executed, but who cares? The songs are a mess and simply boring.

Peace & Quiet – Rock Band, American Wave, 1998
[Similarities: Toto, REO Speedwagon, Michael Stanley Band]
The intentions are here, they really are. But the execution is a whole other issue. The music is pretty good and reminds me of a lot of Midwestern AOR bands from the 80s. But the vocal stylings and the production just shoot this whole thing to hell. With a rather dated songwriting sheen, songs like “Get Out”, “Main Street Boogie” or “Paradise” do nothing for me other than to wonder if this was actually recorded in 1998. This is custom made for public access television…

Queen+ - Greatest Hits Volume 3, Hollywood, 1999
More like Greatest Leftovers, calling a lot of these songs hits is a bit of a stretch. But, that doesn’t make them any less of great songs. Amazingly enough, the three real stand-out tracks don’t even feature Freddie Mercury. “The Show Must Go On” (with Elton John), the Tribute show stopping “Somebody To Love” (with George Michael) and the Brian May sung “Driven By You” lead the pack of 17 tunes, some essential…some not so (I really could have done without the Wyclef Jean rap on the remix of “Another One Bites The Dust”). The “rah mix” of “Under Pressure” is very good and gives it a dancey edge without selling out the original melody. Freddie’s untouchable version of “The Great Pretender” is also very high on my list of favorites here. If I have any complaint, it’s that the album seems to focus on the ballads recorded right before the untimely passing of Freddie (from the “Made In Heaven” sessions), as great as they all are. If you are a casual Queen fan, then this is certainly worth it but if you are a die hard fan, I would imagine you already have all these tracks (having them all in one place is nice though). A final closing chapter, this is a testament to the greatness of this band and Freddie Mercury.

John Taglieri – Leap Of Faith, A2, 2000
[Similarities: Glen Burtnick, Styx, Bon Jovi]
This is one of those albums that you love on first listen and it simply gets better after that. Total NJ flavored melodic rock, it’s heavily acoustic driven yet retains a sound not unlike 80s Bon Jovi. With a big hook around every corner, John has concocted an album of twelve heavy hitters that he amazingly plays almost all himself. Songs like “Leap Of Faith”, “Shangri-La” and the dumb but fun “High Road” are all monster arena rockers that put some of the bigger names to shame. He throws out some pop ditties too with equal success, like the infectious “I Found You”. And on the ballads, he reminds me a bit of Jani Lane or Bret Michaels in the writing department with “Reason To Believe” and “First Night” really standing out. About the only spot he loses me on is the duet with his wife on “One More Tomorrow”, which just hits me as a bit soap-opera-ish and overdramatic. John’s vocals are very good and have a Burtnick meets Tommy Shaw quality to them. Not much to fault here…this could be huge…

Ten Story Love – Ten Story Love, TSL, 1998
[Similarities: The Smithereens, Tom Petty, REM]
Kicking off with the catchy “The Perfect Girl”, unfortunately the rest of the disc doesn’t hold up as well as this perfect radio single. Nothing here is all that bad, but most of it is samey and average. With exceptions to this rule, like the punky “It Happens Every Time” or “All Cried Out” mixing the right amounts of southern boogie and power pop, the band has an interesting and somewhat original formula that needs a little tweaking or polishing to take it to the next level.

Danny Wilde & The Rembrandts – Spin This, Eastwest, 1998
[Similarities: The Beatles, Nelson, Bon Jovi]
It’s pretty safe to say that Danny Wilde is a pop genius. On this, the fourth Rembrandts disc, he steps back a bit from the overcharged power pop of the last disc and revisits the earlier and softer sound of the debut. This is ten, rather pleasant pop gems that are all catchy, yet the whole album has the unfortunate feeling of background music. That is until after a few listens certain tunes start to distance themselves from the pack. Songs like “Shakespeare’s Tragedy”, “Summertime” and “Eloise” are the kinds of rolling ditties we’ve come to expect from Danny and they don’t disappoint. But many of the songs here simply have the same pacing and structure that it all tends to blur after a while. Word has it that Danny has reunited with partner Phil Solem for the next Rembrandt’s disc. Maybe that’s the spark that will be needed to make these guys classic again. All in all though, a competent if unspectacular outing.

(Re)Views From The Hill:

Iron Maiden: Brave New World, EMI
[similarities: Helloween, Gamma Ray, Dream Theatre, Bruce Dickinson]
It is finally here, the long awaited return to glory of the mighty Maiden, now with a 3 guitar attack and the vocals of Bruce Dickinson. Has this been worth the wait? In a word: yes. If you liked old Maiden and think Seventh Son is a classic album, the this is the return to form you have been waiting for. This is the best and most consistent album they have released since Seventh Son. Maiden have moved on, but still retain that reliable feel. Iron Maiden’s two albums with Blaze on vocals, showed some signs of a move towards the prog end of the spectrum.

One of the reasons they were so bad was the fact that Blaze was totally unsuited for the material on offer, one only has to see the new Maiden live with Bruce to see how badly suited Blaze was to this music. Bruce made songs like "The Clansmen" come alive. Steve Harris writes for with Dickinson’s voice in his head, and no one else can due it justice. Now that pair are together, they have really gone to town. For those who have followed Bruce’s career and that of Maiden, think of this as a combination of the best of the last two Maiden releases combined with the last two of Bruce’s release’s. It is a formidable force that comes damn near to being perfect. It will be truly interesting to see what the next release holds for us.

Now onto the music. A lot of the tracks leave an impression from the first listen. A couple of tracks take a few listens to sick in completely. The first track and first single, is the mighty "Wicker Man", classic Maiden from the first note, a great riff booming into you, a sing-along chorus, especially in the end of the song and a great bridge. (The video isn’t half bad either). "Ghost of the Navigator" follows to convince you this is gonna be a treat for the ears. A classic guitar intro and slow build up culminates in a song in the style we have come to love from these boys. This song has an epic bombastic quality to it with a myriad of key changes, a mid-song instrumental piece. A new Maiden classic. "Brave New World" has a acoustic, vocal and cow bell opening leading into one heck of a title track. Steve’s ode to his father follows. "Blood Brothers" is a very mellow track with an interesting bridge, and sees the band slowing down a bit, without being plodding despite its 7 minute plus length.

"Dream of Mirrors" is a soulful track, with the requisite tempo changes and muso middle. "Fallen Angel" is just a classic Maiden rocker of the first order, as is " the Mercenary". "The Nomad" combines some hard edged drumming from Nicko with a very prog-like feel, which works nicely. "Out of…" and "The Fine line…" are both growers that will not come over as well as the rest of the album at first listen, but will get to you in the end. This album features some of the best song writing on any Maiden album since "Seventh Son…", and marks a welcome expansion of writing credits to include others beside Steve Harris and Bruce, its especially welcome to see Dave Murray with multiple writing nods.

All in all, this is a mature outing for the band that has lasted so long and been so influential. This is a welcome return to form for one of greatest hard rock bands of all time. It seems that Harris and Co. have finally embraced their progressive/Jethro Tull leanings and combined that with their flare for epic metal. There is enough here to satisfy those who would like to see Maiden grow as a band, and for those who prefer their Maiden in aspic. "Brave New World" is one of the best heavy rock albums to be released in a very long time. Don’t miss your chance to see these guys on the upcoming massive world tour. Welcome back lads. Up the Irons! - Marty

AOR Basement (Ian McIntosh):

Thought that this week. I'd give you a little round-up of various bits of news....

Guitarist Jeff Kollman (most noticed of late playing in the Mogg/UFO pick-up band) seems to be very, very busy. He's now formed another new project with Phil Mogg and the duo have already written two dozen songs which will become Mogg's solo album. It;'ll be recorded at Kollman's home studio in LA.  Shane Gaalaas (MSG, Uli Jon Roth, Artension), bassist Jimmy Curtain as well as a number of special guests.  A new Mogg/Way disc has also been discussed and is likely to see the light of day sometime next year. Other than collaborating with Mogg, Kollman has also been writing and recording a new album with excellent fusion outfit Cosmosquad, the group's sophomore effort is scheduled for release later this summer.  On a related note, Kollman, Gaalaas, and Sparks are also nearing completion of the TRUTH record, a progressive hard rock project with L.A. vocal find, Robbie Wycoff. Currently unsigned, the band are hoping to have the album out before the end of the year.

New Hampshire's 8084 are lying low and spending most of the summer and autumn in the studio, writing and recording material for a new album, tentatively titled "Shoot from the Hip". Brand new 8084 songs for this project currently being recorded include the  titles "Catch My Breath, Seven More Days, It's Only Love, Without You, and Do you ever feel the Rain? ". A winter 2000/001 release date is scheduled. Watch the Audio Clips page for Real Audio demos of these new tunes as the album progresses. http://www.8084.com/.

Florida hardrock band Rainlord have a couple of new MP3 format songs available from their website. They are: Don't Walk Away - http://www.fortunecity.com/tinpan/fluke/1032/dontwalkaway.mp3 and By My Side - http://www.fortunecity.com/tinpan/fluke/1032/bymyside.mp3.

Metal Mayhem is a new UK label that's been formed recently. Within the next week the label will be releasing Keel's well remember "The right to rock" on CD with a bonus track. Check out their site at www.metalmayhem.com.

Reader profiles:

Name: Kurt Torster

Place where you live: New Jersey, USA

Age: 33

Favorite Artist: Rick Springfield

Favorite Song: Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns N’ Roses

Favorite Ballad: China Sky - Xenon

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

A Tale Of Gin And Salvation - The Loveless
Rock Of Life - Rick Springfield
Raised On Radio - Journey
Operation: Mindcrime - Queensryche
Appetite For Destruction - Guns N' Roses
The Hey Album - Marvelous 3
Vital Signs - Survivor
Greatest - Jellyfish (I normally wouldn't rank a best of but this one is pretty much perfect and has killer bonus material)
These Days - Bon Jovi
Hysteria - Def Leppard

Website: http://sfkrock.web.com

Feedback:

From: Kost, Ken ken.kost@lmco.com

Hey Kurt ole buddy,
Just wanted to let you know that I saw that Ozzy tribute CD at the record store last weekend.....The Wherehouse to be exact. Couldn't find the latest Slaughter though.....that must be a sign ;-)

Anyway, I just wanted to pass that on to ya....as I read in your review of the Ozzy Tribute that it is coming out in August. Don't ask me what's going on.....

Anyway.....I'm previewing the new Bon Jovi on Real Audio right now and it sounds good to me! Yeah, maybe a little modern sounding on a few tunes, but for the most part it still sounds like Bon Jovi. Jon's voice has changed somewhat....reminds me of Paul Laine at times as well. Jon did on this disc what Petty did on his last disc, brought his sound more into the 00's while still retaining his traits of old.....why don't more bands do this? I watched "Behind the Music" the other night when they were doing the Bon Jovi thing.....man, sounds like he had a tough time with his voice for a while there, maybe this explains the change in his voice.

Well Kurt.....nice rappin' with ya. Thanks for the great job on SFK!!!.....Sister Hazel here I come! :-)

From: "Georgios Sidiropoulos" georgios.sidiropoulos@virgin.net

Subject: M80
The name of the band is M80 and I have this album "Maniacs Revenge" -I would not mind exchanging it or selling it- that came out on Roadrunner Records ('85). One of those Roadrunner albums that were really poorly promoted. Nik's guitar playing is good, his vocals though might probably not appeal to everyone's taste. Chris Aylmer from the N.W.O.B.H.M band Samson plays the bass and a guy called Ian Roberts is also mentioned. (Might not be the drummer though; I have the impression that they have used a drum machine). I have only seen this vinyl once. It must be kind of rare (?)