STRIKTLY FOR KONNISSUERS 11-27-00

“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 vote counter - Kurt Torster

Other canvassing board members:

·        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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Kurt's Krap:

Last week I referred to Michael Learns To Rock as Dutch. I meant Danish. But, honestly, to us Americans…there’s no difference! ;)

Do we have a President yet? Yawn…

Hope those of you in the States had a nice holiday. To the rest of you around the world, can’t help ya…

News Bytes:

Long lost AOR artist Billy Falcon hopes to have a new album out early next year. You may remember his song “Power Windows” as well as some songs he co-wrote with Jon Bon Jovi. He’s been holed up in Nashville the last few years writing country songs as well as helping his daughter on an album.

The Eagles have been forced to pull many of their official downloads from their box set due to unforeseen licensing problems. The songs in question were all of those recorded on New Year’s Eve of last year at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Atlantic will be releasing a Winger compilation in the near future. Rumored to be included are soundtrack titles as well as songs from their MTV Unplugged appearance. The band is said to be “80% to 90% positive” that they will tour next year.

Asia will tour the UK in February with Paul Rodgers before heading to Germany in March to tour with Kansas.

Tesla’s original lineup will reunite for three California/Nevada concerts in December:
Thursday, December 7th, San Diego, CA, 4th & B Theatre
Friday, December 8th, Las Vegas, NV, House Of Blues
Saturday, December 9th, Fresno, CA, Warnors Center

The fivesome is also talking about recording and releasing a live album as well as touring more in 2001. More info at the band’s web site.

The reissue of Giuffria’s Silk + Steel” includes the bonus track “Say It Isn’t True” from the Gotcha soundtrack (which I hate to say is one of those endlessly watchable B-movies from the 80s).

New Jersey rocker John Taglieri has lined up some acoustic shows:
Thursday 12/7/00  Barnes & Noble,Clifton,NJ 8:00pm
Friday   12/8/00  Barnes & Noble, East Brunswick, NJ
Saturday 1/13/01  Barnes & Noble, Wilkes Barre, PA
Friday 1/18/01  Barnes & Noble, North Brunswick, NJ

Got an email from Robin George updating me about his latest project:
My latest album, 'Rock of Ageists' is finished and I'm negotiating with a couple of companies at the moment. I'll keep you informed about release date, label etc. My website is nearly ready, and I'm going to put edited versions of the new tracks up over the next week or so. I'll let you know the address when it's ready. One of the tracks "Crying Diamonds" was co-written with Philip Lynott, and is featured on a tribute to Phil called "The Spirit of the Black Rose" which is due for release in February by Record Heaven Music. It should be a good album with loads of bands contributing to the project.”

Over at KrazyPlanet you can get “The Demos Remastered Antholgy” from Black N Blue.

Marillion finally has a name for their new album, “Anoraknophobia”. Over at the band’s website you can catch writing and working demos of some of the new songs.

Z Records are currently searching for a singer in the Dio / Coverdale style. The singer is required by an as yet undisclosed signing. The band members have all been involved within successful acts over the past decade so this could be a perfect opportunity for the right man [Track record is not essential]. If you think that you have what it takes, please send 2 cdrs and photo to.... Z Records, Po Box 58, Skelmersdale, Lancashire, Wn8 6fn, England

The next single from Michael McDermott’s essential “Last Chance Lounge” album will be the up-tempo sing-along “Unemployed”.

Journey is currently running a poll at their website to let the fans shape the setlist for next year’s tour.

U2 has had their latest album “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” pulled from the shelves of stores in Burma because it contains a song, “Walk On”, that pays tribute to pro-democracy leader Aung San Ki.

Junkyard has a new six-song EP out called “Tried And True”, featuring three rockers and three acoustic numbers.

Mark Boals comments on his departure from Yngwie Malmsteen’s band: "After many years of friendship and musical magic, the team of Yngwie Malmsteen and Mark Boals has decided to move in different directions due to various reasons beyond our control. Being a singer with Yngwie has brought me many highs and lows, and I am very grateful for the many happy times we had working together. Yngwie was then, and is still now a legendary musician who will always have my respect and admiration. In considering my own future, I have set my sights on the highest goals, and have been seeking out to find a new musical family that will be like-minded and capable of reaching those goals with me. I believe that I have found these qualities in the persons of Vitalij Kuprij on keyboards, George Bellas on guitar, Virgil Donati on drums, and Barry Dunaway on bass. So, I have decided to move forward with these great musicians and form a band called Ring Of Fire! I'm happy to announce that Ring Of Fire has signed for Japan and Southeast Asian territory with Marquee Inc."

A note from Motley Crue drummer Randy Castillo, who has just been diagnosed with cancer: “Earlier this past june before the Motley Maximum Rock tour was to begin I was playin` a gig w/my other band "Azul" at the CatClub & right in the middle of the show I started feelin` faint & nauseous. I made it through the show, barely & afterward I decided to take a cab home. On the way home I started getting a pain in my stomach that felt like I was being stabbed w/an ice pick. I told the driver to take me to Cedars because (luckily) it was right on the way home. By the time we pulled up to the emergency entrance I could barely walk. I passed out right at the door & the next thing I new I was in a wheel chair being pushed down a hallway. I asked what was goin on & the nurse told me to get ready cuz I was headed for surgery! She said "we have to put a tube up yer penis & in yer nose & up yer butt!" So I said please put me under before you do that plllleeeease. She said "ok". I woke up the next afternoon with tubes & catheters & a morphine blanket on my brain. My surgeon came in & said "we almost lost you kid, another 10 min. & that shit would have gotten in your blood stream & you’d have been a goner"! I had someone watching over me that night. What happened was I had a duodenal ulcer which ate a hole through the lining of my stomach & once it opened up all that acid in the tummy just pours into your lower intestines & wreaks havoc! My doc said my ulcer was caused by a bacteria that is contagious called "h-pylori". I thought it was my love of drink & good times that at least contributed but no it was a bug that apparently many people have & don’t even realize that they do! I was one of them! Well that put an end to my summer tour W/the Crue cuz it was only 2 wks before the tour was to begin. Bummer...so I sit out the summer recuperating & feeling sorry for myself. Thought that was bad? Well get a load of this....around the beginning of last august I was shaving when I noticed a small painless lump under my right jaw line. I wrote it off figuring it was the beginning of a cyst or something. Wrong...a month later it was the size of a ping pong ball! I finally stopped my denial & went & had it checked out. It was "the big C" alright. "Squamous Cell Carcinoma" to be exact & it was mean & aggressive. There is nothing like the wave of emotion that hits you when you get told "You have cancer". Nothing can prepare you for the doom you feel inside upon hearing those words. I went outside walked around in a daze & asking why me then took a deep breath, came back inside & said "well what do we do now?" I am probably ramblin` too much for you all but there is good reason which I’ll explain later. On Oct.13th yup Friday & a full moon to boot I had surgery to remove the tumor which by this time was the size of a lime! So much for joining the Crue in Japan & Australia. Bigger Bummer cuz I love Australia ...& Japan. So that brings me to now. I am currently getting radiation every day 5 days a week & Chemo-Therapy once every three wks for six months...cancer is a bitch. I ain't bald yet but they say some people don’t lose hair...who knows, anyway I don’t care, it grows back. So lately I’ve been gettin my creative ya-ya`s through my art. I have a bit of time on my hands lately so I’ve been painting my ass off. You can check it out at www.fcukingcontagious.net click on "art". The reason I rambled is because I just want anybody out there to know that if you ever have the slightest inkling of a symptom, whether it be a lump or a sore anywhere on your body or anything that looks or feels suspicious go get it checked out fast because with cancer time is of the essence. You could save yourself & all who care about you a shitload of grief by catching it early. Anyway I’m gonna be fine...I gotta do a mean dance w/the devil but I'm gonna beat this thing & return more badass than ever! I promise.”

Rare MP3 Of The Week:

From the SFK Favorites file comes “When The Rain Comes Down” from Andy Taylor, a huge arena rocker from the Miami Vice soundtrack.

Noteworthy New Releases:

[zippo]

Moldy Oldys:

[Five discs kicking old school on the SFK Deck O’ Death this week:]
Howard Jones – The Best Of, Nik Kershaw – The Best Of, The Eagles – The Long Run, George Thorogood – The Baddest, Billy Squier – 16 Strokes

Kurt’s Picks:

Billy Satellite – 1, ATM Reissue, 2000 (1984)
[Similarities: .38 Special, Night Ranger, Doobie Brothers]
I confess ignorance to ever hearing this band (yes, band…not person) back in the 80s, but boy oh boy what I’ve been missing! This San Francisco mob sounds ever the perfect AOR act with some twinges of Southern rock that injects some balls into the mix. Ten tracks, with two newly recorded bonus tracks, Don Gehman’s production sounds years ahead of it’s time. From the punchy opening of “Satisfy Me” (a minor rock radio hit) to the mid-tempo “I Wanna Go Back” (later covered by Eddie Money) to the hi-tech feel of “The Lonely One” this is a very complete album. Originally released on Capitol back in 1984, whoever was responsible for the promotion of this set should be shot. It should have been huge.

Burning Rain – Burning Rain, Z Records, 2000
[Similarities: Whitesnake, Badlands, Blue Murder]
Loud and sometimes blistering hard rock that recalls late 80s Whitesnake and their ilk. The guitar work of Doug Aldrich is superb and is easily the star here, though singer Keith St. John is no slouch. Songwise, this is your typical blues infested metal…no more, no less. Though tracks like “Superstar Train” or “Fool No More” did very little for me other than be a diversion, more melodic standouts like “Making My Heart Beat” and “Can’t Turn Your Back On Love” put me in the mind of the better end of Whitesnake and lead me to believe better things are in store for this mob. And for what it’s worth, “Can’t Cure The Fire” simply kicks ass. Not my typical daily listen, but good for a spin now and then to just give me a kick in the ass.

Keith Urban – Keith Urban, Capitol, 1999
[Similarities: Shania Twain, Nelson, Collin Raye]
Yet another artist blurring the lines between country and AOR, Australian Keith Urban is something of a rarity in the new country world…he’s an artist that writes his own songs (as compared to most who use the Nashville hit factory). With a production falling somewhere between Dann Huff and Mutt Lange, this above all else is an incredible and huge sounding album (with a sound very reminiscent of Shania). There are some tracks on here sure to please anyone who enjoys the new country/AOR hybrid sound that is still dominating Nashville. Songs like “But For The Grace Of God”, smash hit ballad “Your Everything” and “Out on My Own” are built on gigantic choruses and melodies and are just so flat out enjoyable that only the most pure of melodic rock fans could deny this musically in the grand scheme of things. Even the occasional injection of twang doesn’t disrupt the overall AOR-ish feeling. Keith even shows off his guitar prowess on the instrumental “Rollercoaster”. Keith just may be the next act of his kind to break through to the mainstream, which wouldn’t surprise me as this material is about as strong as it gets.

U2 – All That You Can’t Leave Behind, Interscope, 2000
[Similarities: ???]
Dropping the pretentiousness and electronica of it’s last two outings, this latest finds the band somewhat returning to the sounds of the 80s, but in the end, the result is not all that I was hoping. “The Joshua Tree” and “Achtung Baby” are two of my favorite albums and deserved rock classics but on the whole, this set needs a little time to get yourself around the melodies. Frankly, first few times out I was bored. First single and album opener “Beautiful Day” kicks things off in an upbeat way. And songs like the pulsating “Walk On” and “Wild Honey” are pretty immediate too. But the rest, in typical U2 fashion of late, needs a few spins to sink in. And even then, much of this album feels forced and bland and you may want to dedicate the time to try and like this. It’s odd, these are mostly good songs but just so unmemorable that you can’t help but feel let down. Bono’s lyrics feel clichéd, like they were written in his sleep and vocally, he sounds strained. And you have to go a long way to find the Edge’s ringing guitar in the mix. A HUGE disappointment and hardly the return to sound that so many have been saying it would be.

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

Gary Numan: Pure, Spitfire Records
[similarities: Depeche Mode, OMD, Planet P Project]
 Yes, THAT Gary Numan, the human android who recorded the classic 80's (recorded and released in 79') electronic song "Cars." He is back, showing the young-uns what made him so great. Pure is his best album since the one that made him so famous, The Pleasure Principle. Pure is getting some major buzz both here and his native England.

Numan's profile was raised by last year's appearance in the Fear Factory's video for Numan's song "Cars."  It was a big hit for the band. The android was back, and Pure shows he is back with a vengeance. Numan is frequently covered by a wide range of artists from Marilyn Manson to Blur's Damon Albarn.

It is dubious whether or not any of this has much of interest for the SFK reader. Melodies are not in abundance on this disc, they do make an occasional appearance. Notably in the atmospheric "Walking with Shadows",  the mellow symphonic sounds of "One Perfect Lie" and the emotionally charted "Prayer for the Unborn". This mellow and morose track is a great track with a haunting melody. "My Personal Jesus" sees Gary almost yelling in a devotional way, combining with some interesting keyboard work. This is probably the catchiest track on the album. Some nice metal guitar can be heard on "Little Invitro."

This is album is very intriguing, if not very welcoming to the casual listener. Many of the tracks finally get to you on the 3rd or 4th listen. Of course that is typical Gary Numan, electronica guru and prophet. One for the broad-minded music listener. - Marty

AOR Basement (Ian McIntosh):

Saw an interesting story this week, which is both redolent of the times we live in overall and where the music industry is at. Apparently EMI spent something in the order of £43 million on "advisers' fees" during its aborted attempt to merge with Time Warner with almost 50% of that figure going to lawyers. All for a deal that never really had a chance of happening! The question was posed to Eric Nicoli (EMI's chairman) if it wasn't just a total waste of the label's shareholders' cash and he had the brass neck to say the following: "No, not at all. If we had succeeded, it would have represented fantastic value for shareholders." Wow there's a comment! That's like saying "They wouldn't have been war crimes if we hadn't lost the war!"

With that in mind it's no wonder that EMI lost £9.7 million for the first half of 2000, compared with a profit of £67.2 million for the same period a year earlier. Great returns, great value indeed! EMI's main aim now apparently is to get across a message that "this is a business that's performing well". EMI's also got a bit jingoistic saying that Radiohead's "Kid A" album's recent debut on the US charts at number one is proving something about "British music". Shame then that it's all going to mean nothing when BMG takes over EMI – if anyone's going to make that sort of deal happen it's BMG. EMI's mortally wounded now anything as it's lawyers have got all its money....

But don't think the point I'm trying to make is that "bigger is better". No it's the reserve. The bottom line right now is that we have too few major labels for the health of the music industry. With just three or four major labels they can basically dictate what music is available to the market, and they don't have to listen or answer to anyone. To hell with how much of the world wants to hear "proper rock music", they'll just decide what's hot and what's not for a relatively small, easy target audience.... Quick turnover and no real substance. Soon we'll have a mainstream music industry that's about as credible as computer games trends or Hollywood blockbusters. It'll be a bombastic mess just to fool money men and excite teenagers, and no one else!

Feedback:

From: elizon@aol.com

Subject: Bon Jovi concert
Hey Kurt-- I just saw Bon Jovi in concert on Monday and I'm with you.  Great show (well,
how can a Bon Jovi show NOT be great?) but I came away a little disappointed. First, the price was outrageous.  The evening cost me and my husband something like $150 total.  Was the evening's entertainment really worth $75 per person?  Uh, I had better not think too hard about that one.

It was great to see John pull in a sold-out house (15,000 people) in Chicago on a snowy, frigid Monday night.  But I was really disappointed with the set list.  Instead of inserting some ballads into their set, they took two uptempo songs and made them ballads.  Both "Runaway" and "Someday I'll Be Sat. Night" were given the slow-down treatment.  I was hoping for at least a big finish (ala Def Lep's "Bringing on the Heartbreak" live) but no go for either song.  And they left stuff like "Bed of Roses" out.  Gee whiz, Jon!  If you want slow songs in the set, you've got ballads...USE THEM!  We also got nothing from 7800 or These Days.  We didn't even get "Blood on Blood"...waaaaaah!  (I'm with you again...that's a big fave of mine!)  Great to hear "Born To Be My Baby," tho.

Elizabeth - http://www.netwaite.com

From: "Pritchard, Mike" Mike-ops@WILL.uiuc.edu

Subject: ticket prices
Hey Kurt, I understand and agree with what you say regarding concert ticket prices any
more.  How in the world do people afford tickets any more?  I wanted to take my wife to a show recently, but when I saw the prices ($65 each), plus parking, etc., we couldn't afford it.  Period.  Too bad, because she would have enjoyed it.

Apparently, some acts can't figure out why over-all concert attendance is trending down any more.  Sure...there are exceptions, but if you look at the numbers as a whole, not as many people are going to see shows any more. Finally, the acts have begun to price themselves right out of business.

The argument is "it costs so much more to produce a show now."  Yeah...do we really need all the big dance numbers, fancy laser shows, mega stages, etc.?  OK, some of the lesser talented acts out there do.  Otherwise, people would feel ripped off!  But give me a good band who can actually *play* and all I need is a basic stage, a few lights, the *music* and I'm very happy.

If only the record labels would forget about these non-talented groups, get back to real bands who only need a basic tour...maybe then, we could get those prices down a bit.  Do I sound bitter?  I am.  I'd love to be able to go to a concert every now and then.  But with today's ticket prices, there is just no way.  I know I'm not the only one, either.

From: "T Ash" tlash1@peoplepc.com

Subject: Reo and Styx 
I saw REO Speedwagon and Styx in concert in Louisville, Ky a couple of nights ago. I have seen both of them numerous times, but this was by far the best show that I have seen from either of them. Kevin Cronin was very pumped up. The band never sounded tighter. They didn't play long enough. As good as REO was, Styx was even better. They hadn't played in Louisville for 19 years(since the Paradise Theater tour - my first concert). They were glad to be there and the crowd was glad to have them there. That was obvious from the very first song - Styx was there to rock! The band was very energetic. About half-way through the set, the band brought out original bassist Chuck Panozzo, who is semi-retired from the way. I had seen him play with the band numerous times, but I had never seem him so lively. He seemed very relaxed. Anybody who has any reservations about Gowan replacing Dennis should see them live. He is so energetic and brings a real freshness to the band. "Come Sail Away" pretty much blew me and the rest of the crowd away. Their new live cd doesn't do either band justice. I got my money's worth.