STRIKTLY FOR KONNISSUERS 11-13-00

“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 the ballot counter - Kurt Torster

Other people helping to tally the vote:

·        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:

I have started put some of my more rare promo CDs and such up on eBay. You can check them out here.

I’ll be at the Bon Jovi show Thursday night at the Continental Arena in NJ. Anyone here going? Let me know.

OK…so yes, the rest of the world is laughing at us in the States over this election mess. Am I the only one who thinks that if you are too stupid to figure out the ballot then your vote should be discounted?

News Bytes:

Some new singles hitting radio this week: Everclear AM Radio” (awesome video by the way), BB Mak Still On Your Side”, Bon Jovi Thank You For Loving Me” (which has the acoustic “Runaway” as it’s B-side), Sister Hazel Champaign High” and SR-71 Right Now”.

Trouble brewing in the Damn Yankees camp as, according to Ted Nugent, the new album will be delayed indefinitely as he is not happy with the end result. Says Ted, "If it's out by September 2001, I'll be surprised. We recorded great, warbling, grunting, soulful rock and roll music then they went in and mixed it. I've never come so close to killing anybody in my life. It couldn't have been mixed more stupid. It was like a bad joke."

Word has it that Journey has recorded some additional songs, two of which will be added to the US release of “Arrival”. I’ve been hearing first single “All The Way” here and there on the radio and overhead muzak systems.

Is it me or does it really suck that U2 sold 430,000 copies of their new album, “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” and yet still only come in at #3 on the Billboard sales chart.

24K have now completed the recording of “Bulletproof”. The tracklisting: Bulletproof, Black And Blue, Pennsylvania, Last Time I Fall In Love, Put The Blame On Me, 2000 Years, Get It While You Can, Anything For You, Consider Yourself Lucky, Bad Day For Saying Goodbye, Stone Heart. The album will be out January 15.

Aces High will complete their new album later this month, titled “Forgive And Forget”.

The track listing for the upcoming Savage Garden reissue with live bonus disc: The Best Thing, Lover After Me, I Don't Know You Anymore, Two Beds And A Coffee Machine, You Can Still Be Free, Hold Me, Gunning Down Romance, Crash and Burn, Chained To You, I Knew I Loved You and Affirmation.

Aimee Mann isn't too thrilled with the release of “The Ultimate Collection” from Hip-O Records. Mann has issued an open letter saying that she had nothing to do with the project. "It's a product I consider to be seriously substandard and misleading... In our opinion, the label putting out the record, Hip-O Records, had no right to use the material they were intending to use in the first place". The album includes a mix of Til Tuesday material, solo stuff, and some live versions.

Fans of The Alarm got a treat in San Gabriel, California on November 3. After going on 30 minutes late, the band couldn't get the set done in time to make the curfew. Instead of calling it a night, leader Mike Peters took the show to the parking lot, where he finished off the set acoustically with "Blaze of Glory" before security and police shut him down.

Dream Theater has lent the following tracks to the soundtrack for the Dragonball Z anime: "Regression", "Overture 1928", "Strange Deja Vu", "Fatal Tragedy",  "Beyond This Life", "Through Her Eyes", "Home" and "The Dance Of Eternity".

The Eagles are testing the waters for digital downloads. The group is making twelve previously unreleased live tracks available online for free. The songs, recorded at the band's millennium show on New Year's Eve 1999 in Los Angeles, will be available to fans in perpetuity and will not time out like most promotional downloads. The tracks include "Hotel California", "Victim of Love", "Take It To The Limit", "All She Wants To Do Is Dance" and "Best of My Love". The downloads will be available at TWEC, CDNow and Checkout, among others. They'll be released simultaneously with the group's boxed set, "Selected Works 1972-1999" due in stores November 14.

After a rather odd sales week, The Eagles Greatest Hits” once again surpassed Michael Jackson’s Thriller” as the best selling album in history, now with over 27 million sold.

Z Records is bringing their Z Rock show to Germany on September 8 of 2001 in Mannheim. Scheduled to appear are Enuff Z’nuff, Vaughn, Shy, Dreamhunter, Damned Nation, Contagious and another as yet unnamed act.

Anthrax plans to sue Motley Crue for getting kicked off the Maximum Rock tour.

You can check out clips from the upcoming “Renaissance” from Lionel Richie at his website.

Rare MP3 Of The Week:

Not so much rare this week, rather a plug for a friend of SFK. “I Will Be There” from Dave Baldwin, singer of Tradia and Departure. A great track from a criminally overlooked album…check out the song, then head to his website and order the disc.

Noteworthy New Releases:

707 - Trip To Heaven
BLINK 182 - Live At The Mark, Tom And Travis Show
FIREHOUSE - O2
Various Artists - Badlands: Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska

Moldy Oldys:

[Five discs kicking old school on the SFK Deck O’ Death this week:]
Hall And Oates – Marigold Sky, Toy Matinee – Toy Matinee, Neverland – Neverland, Mr. Mister – Go On, Stevie Nicks – Time Space

Kurt’s Picks:

Kevin Gilbert – The Shaming Of The True, Pop Plus One, 2000
[Similarities: the Rent soundtrack, Marillion, Peter Gabriel/Genesis]
It’s not everyday that you get to hear a rock opera from a dead rocker about the evil nature of the music biz. Ironic? In a way, but more sad than anything as Kevin Gilbert was a hugely talented individual that injected some much needed originality into the melodic rock genre. Mind you, this is not an album that will hit you immediately but upon repeated listens you start to realize what a masterpiece this is. The album runs the gamut from straight on rockers (like “Imagemaker” and “Best Laid Plans”) to grand prog epics (“Water Under The Bridge”) to songs that just defy categorization (the acapella “Dance Of The A&R Men” and the show tune “Certifiable #1 Smash”). Musicians will appreciate the lyrical poetry and subject matter while the rest of us can just take in everything else as tortured genius. If you’re expecting easy pop hits, look elsewhere…but if you’re up for a bit of a challenge, then by all means…buy this ASAP, you will not regret it.

Lenny Kravitz Greatest Hits, Virgin, 2000
[Similarities: Collective Soul, Dan Reed Network, Black Crowes]
Can you tell the holiday season is approaching? Besides the fact that the timing couldn’t be better for Lenny to release this collection (capitalizing on arguably his biggest success with his remake “American Woman”), it should sell very well by the time Christmas rolls around. Lenny has always been the kind of artist, to me, that makes some GREAT singles, but the albums themselves tend to fall flat. So to have all his best songs in one place is great and this collection really flows nicely. His brand of retro rock is welcome in this day of prefab pop (as much as I have a soft spot for it, sometimes nothing can take the place of hitting the highway with some balls out rock and roll). The rockers rock (like “Are You Gonna Go My Way” and “Always On The Run”) and the ballads are grand and beautiful (like “Stand By My Woman” and “Believe”). And I can even picture some of these songs becoming standards years down the line (just imagine a song like “It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over” in John Waite’s hands). Fifteen songs (with the one new one “Again” being another great ballad) and not a bad one to be found make this one of THE best and most essential rock collections in recent memory as even the casual fans will find much to their liking.

Phil Vincent – Thunder In The East, Song Haus, 2000
[Similarities: Harlan Cage, Rick Springfield, Dare]
This is a sneaky album. It’s the type that while listening to it you think to yourself, “this is pretty good but nothing special”. By the time the end rolls around you wonder to yourself if what you just heard was really that good, prompting you to immediately give this thing another spin…and another…and another. This is old school styled AOR that can sound a little dated at times but overall this is a magnificent effort. Big choruses, huge melodies and each song driven by a unique keyboard riff, this one man band totally wears his influences proudly on his sleeve yet doesn’t really sound too much like any one artist. The only thing that gets thrown into the “minus” column is a rather flat production. Short of that, songs like the pompy “Guilty”, the grand “Trying To Lose You” and the sweeping “Forever And A Day” are blueprint perfect AOR.

Tiffany – The Color Of Silence, Eureka, 2000
[Similarities: The Corrs, Alanis Morissette, Jaime Kyle]
This may be, hands down, the biggest surprise to ever grace my ears. Figuring that a former teen pop star would just try to be current and go the whole R&B route, Tiffany hooked up with Tim Feehan and threw together one of THE best female rock albums in years. Sounding a lot vocally like Andrea Corr, the musical styling is best described as a “not as angry Alanis”. There are so many great, hit worthy songs on here that you are stuck in a state of disbelief that this is the same woman responsible for some really horrible music in the 80s. The opening four-song salvo of “Open My Eyes”, “I’m Not Sleeping”, “Piss You Off” and “I Will Not Breakdown” barely gives you a chance to catch your breath. Other than ballad breaks, the album is full of upbeat or mid-tempo rockers, most with an acoustic backdrop. And thankfully, those ballads are not the over the top hysterics of many of her contemporaries but rather more singer/songwriter-ish. Rounding out the highlights, tracks like the rocking “Silence” and “Good Enough” could very well help the former teen pop-star reinvent herself as a serious rocker. Shock of the year for sure, this album is also one of the best.

21 Guns – Nothing’s Real, Z, 2000
[Similarities: Firehouse, Mr. Big, Journey]
The band’s “Salute” is one of my all time favorite albums but I must admit, in this day and age of rehashed formulaic crap, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But after one listen, it was easy to figure out. Scott Gorham and band has broken no new ground but everything they do sounds nice and tight, and when they really let loose it’s pretty incredible. While most is standard hard rock fare (done everything one better mind you), songs like the jaw-dropping “King’s Vengeance” (co-written by the late Phil Lynott), the beautiful ballad “Come On In” and “U & I” stand out as very special. Scott’s guitar playing is outstanding throughout and the production lets his leads shine through nicely. Ex-Sons Of Angels vocalist Solli also sounds top notch. Ten tracks plus six bonus tracks (which are both good and bad) make this an essential pick up for fans of “Salute”. And for the uninitiated, buy both for you simply cannot go wrong with this mob.

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

Firehouse: O2, Spitfire Records
[similarities: Bon Jovi, Von Groove, Enuff Znuff]
This new Firehouse album was promised to be a return to their glory days of old. It is, sort of. For some reason beyond me the band decided to do a poxy rap-rock song which turns out to be a festering heap of dung. It’s called "The Dark" and is mercifully short. What the hell were they thinking? Why bands put their "experimental" track smack in the middle of the album instead of the tail end, I will never know. However by in large this is the only blip on an otherwise good CD. Gone are the modern pretensions seen on the less than satisfying 5.

"Jumpin" starts the CD out on a chirpy note and you can just imagine this one as their opening live song.

As you would expect with Firehouse there are some damn good ballads on here. The best is the acoustic "Loving you is Paradise", the next to last track on the album. This song works wonderfully and would have been perfect on the band's "Good Acoustics", which I still find myself popping in the disc player when I am in a relaxed mood. The song was written not soon after the release of the band's debut and got lost for some reason. "Call of the Night" also sees the band digging into its archive. "Call" the last track on the album was written in 1989, and it stands the test of time well.

 "I'm in Love this Time" is another great song that will go down well live. It is the first song to be sung by guitarist Bill Leverty and it works well, with Leverty proving his vocals are almost as good as his chops. "Don't Fade on Me" is another ballad, and a mighty catchy one at that. This Enuff Znuff-alike track has sing-along and lighter in the air, written all over it.

As you would expect, there are a couple great rockers not least being "Take it Off", and obvious hint to the ladies that are so inclined at their next gig. "Unbelievable" is a catchy rocker that has one of those classic hooks that makes a good hard rock song.

Overall, O2 is a pretty good album, but still falls short of their best. You could do a lot worse than O2. - Marty

Styx/REO Speedwagon: Arch Allies, CMC International
[similarities: each other]
Styx and REO on one live CD? With Styx, featuring Lawrence Gowan's debut on in the Dennis DeYoung Keyboard/vocal spot at that! With all that going for it, how could this lose? Before buying this read the back, carefully! For your money you get two songs (Blue Collar Man, Roll With the Changes) a total of 3 times! Once by the original band and twice with bands together! Does the expression rip-off come to mind? It does to me.

The jam idea is pretty cool, but you think they could have at least varied the songs! Why the same two songs have to be on both discs is beyond me as well. I think these discs were not meant to be heard back to back, but still it smacks of a bit of desperation and slight of hand.

There is nothing new here from REO, not even featuring any music for the band's last album "Building the Bridge."

Styx, with their new singer was a great attraction for me. Having heard several of Gowan's solo offerings, I was wondering how he would fit in the Styx family. We needn't have worried, as Gowan equates himself well and sounds great doing the DeYoung parts. One wonders if Dennis is suing his former band-mates now, instead of before, because he has heard how good Gowan really is in his role.

Avoid this stinker at all costs. Wait for a new Styx album with Gowan. Shame on CMC for this pathetic offering! – Marty

AOR Basement (Ian McIntosh):

Executives at EMI and Warner Music seem to be finally conceding that their merger deal isn't going to come to anything and that they're not going to get rich overnight off their stock options. Looks like the deal is going to be abandoned. The European Commission blocked the deal, and once concessions had been made, the company suits didn't think it had enough value left in it - clear proof they were doing something because it would make a quick buck, not because anyone ever thought it was a good idea. Warner will now look at (I'm sure you can all predict what's coming next) "digital delivery of songs, looking at how to exploit the opportunities created by the merger of parent Time Warner with America Online". Note that they used the word "exploit".

But more than that, after screwing about for months, both Warner Music and EMI could now become takeover targets for the ultra-aggressive BMG which seems to want to the biggest media group by the end of the year. BMG is already looking at EMI and some think it might just go after Warner Music instead. Then you've also got a possibility that Sony might sell off its music business, and you have the potential for the music industry to be dominated by a new monster. Strange thing is though, biggest is not always best, and the head honcho at BMG must have a physical deficiency (ahem!) that makes him want to build big substitutes! Or maybe he just got picked on in the playground at school.... Either way, BMG wants to be big, big, big, but it just seems to be on a feeding frenzy and just grabbing anything that moves (like Napster and probably doomed CD Now) just doesn't make proper sense!

Another thing that's happened quite recently, that I've still quite to understand the implications of, is that Microsoft has bought Pacific Microsonics (PMI). That's the guys that the developed the very admirable HDCD (High Definition Compatible Digital) system that's used by some studios both in the recording and mastering of CDs. It's all very well the music industry searching for new formats like they were the holy grail, but if you've a HDCD capable CD player and good system, it is surprising just how good "ordinary" CD can sound....

So what the heck is Microsoft going to do with that technology? All it's saying right now is that it will "incorporate PMI's pioneering technology into future offerings for the PC and make it available for a wide range of consumer devices". That doesn't tell you a lot, but it
is interesting that a PC focused company is actually embracing something that IMPROVES sound quality and doesn't degrade it like all the on-line delivery formats everyone wants to promote at the moment - that at least is refreshing. As part of the Microsoft camp, maybe we'll see HDCD spread a bit more widely, and if they could develop a home system for recording in HDCD format I'd buy it!

Feedback:

Kudos for mentioning Tiffany's new release. For all you VH1 addicts, Behind The Green Door (oops, Freudian slip), ah, cough, I mean Behind the Music is featuring her this month and I must agree w/Kurt that she has matured NICELY!! As for her music, yeah, VERY Alanis Morissette style, I was impressed. So, make haste next week, and support her...pick up the new cd.

Subject: Bon Jovi at the Fleet Center
Bon Jovi at the Fleet Center - 11/8/00

I checked out Bon Jovi with 20,000 other people at the local bar in Boston last night. Here's my thoughts on the show..

We got tix from a scalper about a week before the show. When we got there, I decided that I wanted better seats so we traded up for club seats. The guy wanted 100 bucks and our seats and I laughed at him and walked away. He then ran after me and took 40 bucks and our tickets. Much better! Our seats were a couple sections from the stage. Let me say this: If you ever get a chance to sit in the club seats, DO IT! Man is it awesome! You get a private elevator to the  "Premium Seating" level and there is a restaurant, tables, a couple bars, rugged walkways, and upstairs there was a bar with private tvs. The alcohol stands also served all kinds of beer. The  "beer man" said they serve this beer all over the fleet center but I've never seen Corona or Guinness anywhere else.

The opening band was "Less than Jake". They were pretty cool. They did a cover of "I Think I Love you" by the Partridge Family and rocked it up. They were definitely worth checking out.

Our seats were so damn awesome! I could really get used to sitting in the Club seats. We had a waiter who would have gotten us anything from beer to Nachos to a shaved pork sandwich with avacado. All at a reasonable price, plus tip ;) Our seats were right near the Boston Bruins Box. We also saw a few members of the New England Patriots walking around the halls.

By the time Bon Jovi came on at 8:30, there were no empty seats left in the Fleet Center! I had never seen them before so I was pretty pumped. I couldn't believe that a band from that genre was still selling out 18-2000 seats! Jon and the boys came out and Jon spoke to the crowd: “I ain't here for the sport of politics, I'm here for the religion of rock 'n' roll.'' He spent the show preaching his lyrics and converting anyone of the non-believers in the audience.

If there is one man in contention with Paul Stanley for the biggest Poser award, it is Jon Bon Jovi. He plays to the females in the crowd (and it was mostly that.) Jon was wearing leather pants and he hammed it up with his pouts and a pair of maracas. Richie Sambora didn't seem to be much into showing off. He just went out, played his licks and hung out on stage. It just appeared that the band, as a whole was just that: A Band. It wasn't 5 separate people on stage doing their thing. There was no ego between them that I could see.

The band from Jersey was tight and appeared to be having a great time. I expected a ballad heavy set and I was surprised when most of the songs were either mid or up-tempo.  They opened with One Wild Night from their new album: Crush. The setlist (from what I remember) was: One wild night, You give love a bad name, Captain Crash and the Beauty Queen From Mars, Blood on Blood, Born to be my baby, Livin on a Prayer, Bed of Roses, It's My Life, Blaze of Glory, Ride Cowboy Ride, Lay Your Hands on Me, Someday I'll be Saturday Night, I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, Bad Medicine

Encores: Next 100 years, I'll be there for you, Keep the Faith, Wanted Dead or Alive

They played for 2 hours and 20 minutes and as you can see, it was an awesome Greatest Hits type setlist with an emphasis on Crush and New Jersey. Their songs and their stage presence fit in with the theme that the band has carried since they were MTV staples: a guitar pop band with working class roots that's not afraid to exploit their good looks and tight pants.

The quote of the night came when Jon said, "We've been away for almost 5 years and all you were left with was boy bands. Well this here's a man band!"

Bon Jovi appears to be ready to accept their new status: Kings of the 20 and 30 something pop metal scene. It's about their chemistry, their history, their looks and their music. As Jon pointed out last night "This is Bon Jovi, The Next Generation."

[I’ll be checking them out Thursday night here in NJ and will throw a review in next issue.]