STRIKTLY FOR KONNISSUERS 05-29-00

”There are three essential Commandments:

·        Respect The Elders.

·        Embrace The New.

·        Encourage The Impractical and Improbable, Without Bias.-David Fricke”

Official Nonsense:

·        Editor and head head - Kurt Torster

Other body parts:

·        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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SFK c/o Kurt Torster
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Bloomfield, NJ 07003 USA

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Kurt's Krap:

A little housecleaning this issue…some changes both major and minor. The Koupon Korner is gone as there has been a drying up of the coupon well. But a new feature, Reader Profiles.

Sorry about last week’s formatting mess. It’s not something I was doing but rather what I wasn’t doing and hopefully all is back on track now.

Been getting rid of some old discs through a website called Swap It. Now they’re offering $10 in trade money just for signing up. It’s a good place to pick up all those cast offs that people trash.

News Bytes:

Eddie Van Halen is being treated in a Houston clinic for cancer of the tongue. Prognosis is good.

Another Universe has for sale the Ozzy Osbourne Bark At The Moon” action figure. I must say it’s pretty cool looking but be warned, it’s $60!

Beggar’s Banquet will be releasing yet another compilation from The Cult titled “Pure Cult”, which is actually a digitally remastered reissue of the album of the same name released in the 90s.

You can download an MP3 “Hell On High Heels” from the upcoming Motley Crue album “New Tattoo” from their website.

Metallica said they will not fight the reinstatement of any Napster user. What the band is going to do though is provide the MP3 swapping service with the “MD5 Digital Signatures” of each of their songs to allow Napster to block the actual files. To me this makes more sense and is probably the route they should have taken in the first place. Anyways, June 13 sees the release (finally) of the band’s S & M” DVD. Besides have the normal audio, viewers can also switch to listen to only Metallica or only the orchestra and it will have the very cool multiple angle feature as well.

The official Freaks & Geeks website announced that MTV has actually went and did something cool by picking up all 18 episodes of this 80s related TV show. If you never watched it and grew up in the 80s, you must see it (if for nothing else then the music backing is all 80s rock). In non-music but TV related cool, FX has picked up the syndicated rights of That 70s Show while ABC begins showing the animated version of Clerks on Wednesday.

Does anyone care that Noel Gallagher has left Oasis?

Does anyone really care either that the Smashing Pumpkins are calling it a day (they actually blame the rise of teen pop like Brintey Spears and Nsync!)? Hey, while some are celebrating, I on the other hand is know full well we still have to deal with the inevitable solo album from Billy Corigan!

Got a note from Melanie over at the Foreigner Files website: We got a bit of news in Foreignerville last Friday, but I had to wait for a go ahead from mgt to post this... anyways... There's been a personnel change in Foreigner as of last week. Drummer Brian Tichy has departed to join Ozzy Osbourne's summer tour as well as to focus on his own CA based band, BALL. The departure was amicable on both sides and I hope it goes well for him. He's a great drummer and a great guy. Returning to the Foreigner fold in the drumseat is Mark Schulman. Mark originally drummed for Foreigner when Mick and Lou reunited in 1992 and was on tours from 92 - 94, as well as recording the Mr. Moonlight album that was released domestically in 1995. He left at the beginning of 95 for Simple Minds but has now returned. He will be drumming for Foreigner for the Summer 2000 tour. Reports from the band were that rehearsals went very well and he has played his first two shows publicly back with them on May 20 - 21 at FL shows.

Foreigner will also get the box set treatment from Rhino in August with “Jukebox Heroes”. The set will also contain tracks from both Lou Gramm’s or Mick Jones’ solo efforts.

Also got a note from Michelle of Def Leppard’s Leppard United website: Hello Kurt, I hope that all is going well with you! I just thought I'd share some info with you that you might be interested in. Rick Allen will be performing live!!!!

Wednesday, May 31 (tix from Ticketmaster)
The Whisky, 8901 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood,CA
(310) 652- 4202

Friday, June 2
Scruffy O' Shea's, 822 Washington Blvd., Marina del Rey, CA
(310) 821- 0833 / (310) 821-7432 (Entertainment Line)

The project is The Mark Mason Project also featuring Mark Englert of Dramarama. Show time and prices TBA. Please note "This is a side project for Rick. This show is not in connection in any way with Def Leppard.

The set list from the opening night in Texas of Don Henley’s summer tour: Dirty Laundry, Sunset Grill, Workin' It, Taking You Home, Boys Of Summer, Everything Is Different Now, Last Worthless Evening, Talking to the Moon, Goodbye To A River, They're Not Here, They're Not Coming, End of the Innocence, New York Minute, For My Wedding, Nobody Else In The World But You, Life In The Fast Lane, Heart of the Matter, All She Wants To Do Is Dance. Encores: Hotel California, Wasted Time, The Long Run, Desperado

In some baby news, Poison’s Bret Michaels and girlfriend Krista Lynn Gibson had a baby girl, Raine Elizabeth Michaels, on May 20 while Metallica's James Hetfield and wife had a baby boy, Napster…erm…Castor Virgil Hetfield on May 18 (baby good!).

Staring June 8 U2 fans can check out a free webcast from the band’s “Popmart” tour at their website.

Par Winberg’s excellent Midwestern Skies is back online.

America get a box set release soon with “Highway: 30 Years Of America”.

Both Push and 24k have opted to stay with Z Records for four and two album commitments respectively.

Former Cars and current Big People bassist Ben Orr has been admitted to an Atlanta area hospital with a growth on his pancreas. This news was posted by Derek St. Holmes on his website. Rhino meanwhile plans to issue a Cars DVD later this year as well as attempt to reunite the original five members for a series of concerts.

Rocktracks has clips online for the new releases from Raine and Storyteller.

The Scorpions (remember them?) have recorded an albums worth of material with the Berlin Philharmonic. The songs consist of rerecordings of Scorps’ classics, and this apparently does not sit well with some of the more high brow Germans who were offended that the BPO would “waste their time such filth”. Says Claudio Abbado (lead conductor), “one ought to do all things with good taste, but I find that the Scorpions do things with dreadful taste." The two play together in June for the German Expo 2000.

Noteworthy New Releases:

?

Moldy Oldys:

[What’s kicking old school on the SFK Deck O’ Death this week:]
Duran Duran – Greatest, Michael McDermott – Michael McDermott, Rent – Original Broadway Cast Recording, Styx – Greatest Hits, The Eagles – Very Best Of

Kurt’s Picks:

Bon Jovi – Crush, Island, 2000
[Similarities: any 70s classic rock, Matchbox Twenty, Soul Asylum]
There’s already been a lot of talk about this album, most of which I find completely untrue. I’ve heard people say it’s “modern sounding” (if anything, I find it to have a more classic 70s rock sound), “too many ballads” (not really no) or “it’s a return to their ‘Slippery When Wet’ glory days” (again, not even close). What the boys from Jersey have crafted is a very good or even great rock and roll album that can bring to mind artists like Matchbox Twenty, Goo Goo Dolls, Joan Osborne or even Sheryl Crow at given times. But above all else, it still sounds like Bon Jovi and easily could have been the album that might have come between “Keep The Faith” and “These Days”. Whether you’re looking for upbeat arena stompers (which you’ll find in “It’s My Life”, “Just Older” and the raucous “One Wild Night”), old school power ballads (the grandiose “Thank You For Loving Me” and the atypical “Save The World”) or middle of the road pop rock (the Rembrandts-like “Two Story Town” and the hugely upbeat “I Got The Girl”), there is much here to keep most people happy. They even have another epic of “Dry County” proportions in “The Next 100 Years”. In fact, the only song I found sub-par was the dragging, overemotional and slower paced “She’s A Mystery”. Guitar fans will be joyed to hear that Richie Sambora has been pushed into the front of the mix and rips some moody and emotional solos. On the flip, those David Bryan fans may be dismayed to hear that the keyboards now seem to be more of a supporting role rather than something that drives a song. I found very little not to like here, and although some of the songs are not immediate, repeated spins make this a winner for sure. While it may not be the album that puts the band on top of the world again, it should win them back some of the fans that felt alienated by “These Days”, and if nothing else will be playing throughout the summer and beyond for me.

Column A – Column A, demo, 2000
[Similarities: Danny Wilde/The Rembrandts, Glen Burtnick, Bryan Adams]
A few years back I had reviewed the first set of demos from songwriter Jim Agnello and his singer d’jour and was very impressed. But after that…nothing. So I was pleasantly surprised to find Jim had found a new singer and recorded some new material. These five songs (3 of which originally came from that first set of demos) are West Coast in feel yet have a bit more of an edge that expected. Even in this rough demo form the songs still shine. Singer Roy Pace has a Jersey sort of vibe to his voice and though he’s very good, I think anyone can be so with Agnello’s excellent material. The big ballad “Once And For All” and rocker “Carried Away” are tops here. Someone get these guys a deal.

Damned Nation – Grand Design, Z Records, 2000
[Similarities: Dokken, Fair Warning, White Lion]
This is one of those releases that does zero for me. It’s big riff filled Euro rock that sounds like it wants to be so many things, yet winds up being none of them. Sure it has some decent moments, like the bouncy “Heart On The Run” or the big arena rocker “Desperate Call”, but the rest is all “by the numbers” melodic rock that neither inspires nor leaves you with the feeling that you’ve accomplished anything for the 50 minutes you spent listening. C’mon, does anyone get excited over titles like “Eyes Of A Stranger”, “Going Crazy” or “Love Reaction” anymore? Nicely played, nicely produced, now if they only had the songs to go with it…

Kanary – Porno Church Of The Ugly Man, RCR, 2000
[Similarities: 4 Non Blondes, Heart, Alanis Morissette]
If anything is for sure, this band suffers from a major image problem. I took one look at this threesome (2 girls and a guy) and pegged them as some sort of alterno-modern rock act ala L7. If anything, their sound is more a combo of classic Pat Benatar with a poppy groove. While I’m totally not into female oriented artists, this trio provides twelve well written sprightly and spirited melodies that are well easy on the ears. At times, there is even a resemblance to the Wilson sisters (er, Heart), especially in the vocals. These are songs that are not easily categorized or lumped into any particular genre. SFKers will get the most enjoyment out of “After”, “Wish” and “2 Steps” which are the most straight-ahead rockers offered up. Those with open minds should enjoy the rest equally as well.

Matchbox Twenty – Mad Season By Matchbox Twenty, Lava, 2000
[Similarities: John Mellencamp, 90s Bon Jovi, Goo Goo Dolls]
It’s no secret that possibly the toughest thing in music to do is successfully follow up a massive hit album. The only thing tougher is when said album is your debut (they don’t call it the sophomore jinx for nothing). And in M20’s case, it really doesn’t help when your singer goes off and writes/records what will go down as an all-time rock classic collaboration that helped re-launch the career of a superstar (“Smooth” with Santana for those keeping score). The opening barrage of “Angry” (a great Bon Jovi-like rocker), the horn infused “Black & White People” and thumping “Clutch” is as strong as anything in recent memory and lead nicely into the mid-tempo “Last Beautiful Girl” (which may be the best song the band has recorded to date) and the nicely paced strut of “If You’re Gone”. From there on out though the album takes a on a hit or miss feel as for every track like the first single “Bent” or the beautiful “Bed Of Lies” (which sounds like it could have came from the pen of Jon Bon Jovi) there is run of the mill songs like “The Burn” or “Leave”, which are unmemorable at best. Not quite the killer that will put the debut to rest but has more than enough to singles material to add to Rob Thomas’ songwriting resume and in the end sell millions (and rightfully so).

Owsley – Owsley, Giant, 1999
[Similarities: Paul McCartney/Wings, Jason Falkner, Tal Bachman]
Supreme power pop from Alabama rocker Will Owsley, his debut is a crackling example that major labels do sometimes get things right (even if they don’t know what to do with it afterwards). This is eleven gems of McCartney inspired modern pop that takes all that was good about the 70s (with very lush and full sounds) and gives it an edge that keeps this from turning into a nostalgia trip. From beginning to end and everything in between it’s an addictive combo of melodies, harmonies and riffs that help elevate this to pop classic. Whether it’s straight on rock (like on the hit worthy “I’m Alright” and the Costello-like “Zavelow House”) or lush pop (like on “Good Old Days” and the tasty piano driven “Sonny Boy”) Owsley hits everything with equal success. With great vocals and a production job to match, this doesn’t feel like a debut album but rather something from a seasoned veteran. Far from ordinary or cliché, this is intelligent pop that is as catchy and friendly as anything on pop radio yet so much stronger musically it’s almost criminal that this album is gonna go to waste.

(Re)Views From The Hill:

WASP: The Best of the Best Volume 1984-2000, Apocalypse Records
[similarities: Motorhead, GnR, Running Wild]
Love them or hate them, this PMRC baiting bunch of goons have survived pretty well, and actually have some pretty good stuff in their back catalogue. Critically underrated, these rock shockers are considerably better than a whole mess of imitators who have enjoyed more success.

Without WASP there would have no been no Marilyn Manson and his imitators.  And WASP have always had more of a sense of fun than some of their later day imitators. These guys took shock rock into the 80s,then made it over the top and kinda campy.

BofTB is a nice selection of the best of their past, like many albums of this kind, this CD includes 2 new tracks.  The better of the two, is the awesome cover of Elton John’s bitchy ode, "Saturday Night is alright for Fighting." One hopes that Blackie will cover Elton’s "the Bitch is Back" on the strength of this track. WASP manage to take the track and make it their own, much like their cover of the Who’s  "The Real Me."  "Unreal" on the other hand is a bit forgettable.

It is unfortunate that this compilation does not include some of WASP stronger tracks like the awesome "Forever Free," and the title track from "Headless Children", a truly underrated album from this talented band. According to the press blurb, Blackie would like to put these tracks on a Volume 2, one just has to wonder where he will find enough songs to make up the balance, Volume 1 covers most of it. This album features all the WASP classics like the tender Animal "F**K Like a Beast" and the ode to nights on the piss, "Blind in Texas." While not forgetting the anthemic "I wanna be somebody" and the obnoxious rebellion of "Mean Man."  For the subtle minded there are tender the love ballads "L.O.V.E. Machine", "Dirty Balls" and "Sex Drive."

This CD is a great introduction to the band, and may win it some new fans. It is a great way to remind yourself of a band that stood for the male "cave man" behavior of your youth. This sure ain’t subtle, but it is great tasteless guilty fun to be cranked when you have just a bit too much too drink this summer. BoftB is a pretty good testament to Blackie Lawless’ ground-breaking shock rock brood. - Marty

AOR Basement (Ian McIntosh):

Here's a subject I feel worthy of debate this week: web sites that review lots of independent melodic rock releases. Am I the only one that's noticed that there's a ton of sites (mostly based in continental Europe for some reason) out there that review hopefuls from an almost endless line of melodic rock indies and always give them glowing reviews? Also in Europe there's a whole bunch of new-ish paper magazines doing exactly the same thing with the same dire results.

Do most of these reviewers have no idea what makes quality music? When you actually hear some of the indies involved, a huge percentage (particularly the US indies it pains me to say) are very, very substandard and totally deficient in many ways. Some are barely even melodic rock (even when that term is used at its widest) and others are completely painful in the way they ape other bands or releases....

To me there can be one of two things wrong with these reviewers: either they have absolutely no true musical understanding (a distinct possibility), or they shortsightedly believe that by viewing all these releases through rose-tinted lenses that they're somehow supporting new talent and the melodic rock scene in general. If the later is the case, then they're dead wrong! Indie releases need to be given a fairly tough appraisal, as that's the only way the bands involved are going to improve. Also, a prospective listener is going to be extremely disappointed if they spend time tracking down and indie only to find it's worthless, they're then going to never bother giving that band the time of day again, no matter how good their future releases might be.....

But let us not overlook the first possibility that the reviewers in question really don't know their musical shinola from that other stuff! Judging by the quality of the writing on the sites involved and the reference points they use, that could definitely be the reason too. Some of the writing is as hackneyed and as derivate as the dross albums they're giving positive reviews, so maybe they're all caught in a downward spiral of mediocrity!

This isn't meant to be a web site basing exercise: just like musicians have to strive hard to get just the sound or feeling they want in their music, reviewers have to try and take their writing on to different and more creative levels as well. A review whipped up on a scrape of paper in less than 10 minutes while listening to the CD involved is not enough! Misinformation and misguiding opinions will just keep melodic rock in its current downward spiral and substandard reviewers are just making the situation worse and are helping rot the whole scene from the inside out!

Reader profiles:

Name: Björn Johnsen

Place where you live: Fjellhamar just outside Oslo in Norway.

Age: 37

Favorite Artist: John Waite

Favorite Song: John Waite : Price Of My Tears

Favorite Ballad: John Waite : Someone Like You

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

Rainbow : Rising
John Waite : Temple Bar
Thin Lizzy : Chinatown
Van Halen : Van Halen
Kiss : Dressed To Kill
Cheap Trick : In Color
The Beatles : 1967-1970 (The Blue Album)
Journey : Escape
The Eagles : Hotel California
Taxiride : Imaginate

What is the one artist or album you wish everyone could hear but only you know about? This is impossible Kurt. At least for me.

Feedback:

From: MusicFest2000@aol.com

Subject: UltraSound - last update
Well, it's "put up or shut up" time ... I'm off to Vegas to see how my little party turns out.  Gonna send one short update before I do - we added The Szuters (in place of Velocity), {Oliver / Dawson} Saxon had to leave the bill but their time slot will now be a "Free For All", we'll see what becomes of THAT. It basically means that Michael Morales is now headlining the entire weekend, which is FINE BY ME!!  :)

Unfortunately, Rough Cutt (aka Shortino / Crespo) have had to drop off of the show due to an accident that resulted in the death of Jimmy Crespo's son.

I've gotten all the encouragement eMails and the support and even though I haven't responded, trust me, I appreciate them. 

Apparently, the hotel is getting worried about the number of people that will be showing up. Keep in mind this is a venue that holds conventions that normally bring in 5 - 7,000 people on a regular basis! LOL I could only dream of that ...

Anyway here's the schedule now:

FRIDAY 26 MAY (at Pink-E's)
9:30pm - 10:15 - Mad Margritt
10:30 - 11:10 – Kinetik
11:30 - 12:15 - Agent Steel
12:30 - 2:00 - Vain

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 - The Szuters
7:30 - 8:15 - Mad Margritt
8:45 - 9:45 - Steel Prophet
10:15 - 11:15 - Jag Panzer
12:00  - 1:30am - Leatherwolf

"SUNDAY BRUNCH" (poolside)
10:30am - 11:00 - John Taglieri
11:15 - 11:45 - Robin Brock
12:00pm - 12:30 - Ken Tamplin
12:45 - 1:15 - Mad Margritt
1:30 - 2:00 - Swirl

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 - Picture Perfect
8:45 - 9:45 - Vicious Rumors
10:15 - 11:15 - Michael Morales
12:00 - 1:30am -Anything can happen!!!

It looks like we MIGHT have it all broadcast over nowhereradio.com - if I can figure out how to set the whole thing up from my end, which, uhhhh, well, we'll see. Just keep checking their site (www.nowhereradio.com - DUH) to see if we're up there or not.

That's it for this year - maybe I'll give a roundup after it's all done and over with ..

Thanks to everyone for their support!! Dave and UltraSound 2000

UltraSound 2000 Las Vegas, NV  May 27/28 2000
http://www.egotripent.com/ultrasound/

From: "Dean Chambers" dean@qstarweb.com

Subject: Abortion
The topic will get a rest when abortions no longer happen. It is that simple. While some may not appreciate politics creeping into music, clearly those in the music business who choose to uphold the sanctity of human life must respond to others in the same business who inject "pro-choice" politics into the debate.

[The last thing I ever want is politics creeping into SFK (because honestly, I cannot think of a topic more boring except maybe Euro power metal) but I also want it to be known that I still print every letter I get. For the record, I am pro-anything that would just get people to shut up about this topic and let the rest of us just lead our lives.]

From: Tim Wadzinski tsw512@yahoo.com

[Re: Marty's Dokken review]
Dokken's first live album was BEAST FROM THE EAST, not UNLEASHED IN THE EAST.  :)  He's got Judas Priest on the brain.

[Re: reader feedback on Napster]
I don't want to get into all this again, but that one guy's line really hit home: "Still, I'll hold firm in my belief that it was the musical piracy of my youth that made me the shopaholic CD purchaser that I am today. It turned me into a music fan." That's me...  :)

[There’s a BIG difference between people of our age and the younger ones who do nothing but download MP3s and don’t buy anything. There was an article in our local paper about how most kids around 12 “expect music to be freely downloaded and are mad that that right may be taken away from them.” One of them actually said, “why should I go out and buy something I can get for free?” That summed it all up…]