STRIKTLY FOR KONNISSUERS 11-06-00

“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 President of the USA - Kurt Torster

Also rans:

·        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
68 Lindbergh Blvd
Bloomfield, NJ 07003 USA

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Kurt's Krap:

As you’ll read below, I had a massive hard drive crash where I lost everything. Had to restore my system from scratch but I must say that everything is working super smooth now.

Um…slow news week…not much more to say.

News Bytes:

The final tracklisting for the US version of Journey’s Arrival”: Higher Place, All The Way, Signs Of Life, All The Things, Loved By You, Livin' To Do, I Got A Reason, With Your Love, Lifetime Of Dreams, Live And Breathe, Kiss Me Softly, I'm Not That Way, We Will Meet Again

Came across a very cool site called Retro Rewind that specializes in the some of SFK’s favorite artists from year’s past. Highly recommended.

The Black Crowes and Oasis are mulling a co-headlining tour of America next summer.

80s teen queen Tiffany is back. “Who cares?”, you may say. Well, she’s taking the Alanis road and releases her storming pop/rock record next week. “Who cares?”, I still hear some of you muttering. Well, AOR God Tim Feehan is one of the producers and co-writers and you can read a pretty good interview about the project at her website. Besides, the girl has aged NICELY. Billboard is RAVING about the album. I got myself a copy for review for next week and I must say I’m rather impressed as well. It’s AOR with a modern Alanis edge.

The tracklisting for the upcoming Tony Carey Retrospective” due November 21: I Won't Be Home Tonight, Why Me?, A Fine, Fine Day, The First Day Of Summer, Blue Highway, Room With A View, Heard It On The Radio (rock demo), I Feel Good, Here's A Song (demo), Trampoline, Cold War Kids (demo), Dust (demo), 20 Days (demo), Boystown, I Don't Want To Be In Love (prev. unreleased), Man Camera (prev unreleased)

Savage Garden will reissue their “Affirmation” album with a bonus live disc on November 20 in their homeland of Australia.

The tracklisting for the upcoming bonus live album from The Coors: Somebody For Someone (Acoustic at Virgin Radio), No More Cry (Acoustic at Virgin Radio), Radio (Acoustic at Virgin Radio), At Your Side (Acoustic at Virgin Radio), What Can I Do (Acoustic at Virgin Radio), Love In The Milky Way, Looking In The Eyes Of Love, Haste To The Wedding (Live at Lansdowne Road), So Young (Live at Lansdowne Road), Closer (Live at Lansdowne Road)

Pop trio Ben Folds Five has called it quits after three albums. No word on the future of any members or album plans.

Faith Hill has a new song, “Where Are You Christmas”, that was recorded for the upcoming soundtrack to The Grinch.

Carl Dixon has finished the recordings of his debut MTM album. Tracks to be included are: Into The Future, Hot Streak Gone Bad, Cold River, Strange Way To Live, Busted,
Back The Where we Started, Shadow, Lonely You, Where Do I Begin, It's About A Girl,
There He Is, Can't Lose
and Gone.

Diving For Pearls will start the recordings of the comeback album during November. All songwriting has been finished between Danny Malone and producer David Prater.

Guild Of Ages just started the tracking of the songs for the bands third album.

House Of Shakira has released “III” in Japan with the bonus track "Wish To Survive".

The tracklisting for “Utopia”, the new album from Seven Wishes:  Not So Innocent, Don't Fade Away, Out Of Sight, Unchain The Night (the Dokken classic), Face That Evil, Justify, Take My Heart, Too Late For Tears, Restless Heart, Holyman, Out Of Indifference

Journey has announced some tour dates:
December 30th, 2000: Mandalay Bay Event Center, Las Vegas, Nevada. Also appearing will be REO Speedwagon in an event filmed by Direct TV for a 2001 air date.
January 30th - 31st, 2001: International Forum, Tokyo, Japan
February 1st, 2001: Festival Hall, Osaka, Japan
February 3rd, 2001: Zepp , Fukuoka, Japan
February 4th, 2001: Shiminkaikan, Shizuoka, Japan
February 5th, 2001: Kinronkaikan, Nagoya, Japan
February 7th, 2001: Miyagikenminkaikan, Sendi, Japan

The Heavy Harmonies MP3 Of The Week: Nice clothes and makeup, eh? Looks like glam. It's hard rock. A considerably different look than their later albums. From their 1988 album Take the World By Storm, here is the MP3 track Burnin' Too Hot.

Rare MP3 Of The Week:

Thanks to a massive hard drive crash, I lost ALL my MP3s. So this week, there is none. Next week, it’ll be back.

Noteworthy New Releases:

MYRACLE BRAH - The Myracle Brah
U2 - All That You Can't Leave Behind

Moldy Oldys:

[What’s kicking old school on the SFK Deck O’ Death this week:]
Evan And Jaron – We’ve Never Heard Of You Either, Brett Walker & The Railbirds – Brett Walker & The Railbirds, Mr. Mister – Welcome To The Real World, Survivor – Eye Of The Tiger, Alanis Morissette – Jagged Little Pill

Kurt’s Picks:

Collective Soul – Blender, Atlantic, 2000
[Similarities: Def Leppard, Enuff Z’nuff, U2]
Album #5 and this band just keeps cranking out some kick-ass rock and roll, almost machine like. Though I think the band was starting to get a little stale on their last album, as good as it could be, they seem to be reborn with “Blender”. It’s one of those grab you by the throat albums that demands to be noticed. With enough of an 80s arena rock vibe to attract the old school, and a production set firmly in the now, the band may have equaled their classic second self-titled album. The songs are crunchy and catchy while being both immediate yet growing (in other words, the album has some depth or legs to it). Lyrically, once again Ed Roland is on target and reminds me more and more of John Lennon. It’s almost impossible not to be drawn in by tracks like “Vent”, “Why” or “Turn Around”. And getting Elton John to duet on “Perfect Day” was a coup and the piano man helps the band turn in a classic psuedo-ballad. It seems that every week brings yet another ‘album of the year’ contender. Throw another into that pile…and I never want to hear anyone whine about the state of modern music ever again, because it’s alive, well and thriving.

Edwin McCain – Messenger, Lava, 1999
[Similarities: Matchbox Twenty, Hootie & The Blowfish, Michael McDermott]
Edwin, to me, has always been the kind of artist you love when you hear him on the radio but just never get worked up enough to purchase one of his CDs. Well, until now that is. After hearing the big hit, the Diane Warren penned “I Could Not Ask For More”, I figured ‘what the hell?’ and picked this disc up. After a dozen or so listens, I’m convinced that this guy is destined for superstardom. He’s got the voice, he’s certainly got the songs, and so far he’s racking up a pretty decent catalog of hits. There is not a song here that doesn’t fit in perfectly, though some may complain there’s one too many ballads, when they are all as good as “Promise Of You” or “Go Be Young”, I could care less. There are a few great rockers here too. “Wish In This World”, “Do Your Thing” and especially “Anything About Me” are all the kind of songs that are dominating rock radio these days and Edwin just seems to go everyone one better. And songs like “Ghosts Of Jackson Square” are seemingly without equal. All told, this is a stunning album that only got better with each spin.

Michael McDermott – Last Chance Lounge, Koch, 2000
[Similarities: Jon Bon Jovi, Don Henley, Bruce Springsteen]
After the relative disappointment in his last album, I was looking for this to floor me. I’m glad to report that that is exactly what Michael has done. Superb storytelling from possibly the best in the business, his tales of loneliness, love and debauchery are set to a rocking score that is not unlike Springsteen at his peak, though maybe with a touch more balls. Featuring some of the highlights from his last effort, “Bourbon Blue”, as well as a fair share of new songs, this is singer/songwriter heaven that puts practically everyone to shame. Honestly, it’s hard to single out any song as a highlight as each one has a special feel all until it’s own. But, if pressed, “Unemployed” and “20 Miles South Of Nowhere” grabbed me most this week. Great thing about this album though, is the next week other songs become favorites. It’s all down to the vibe and this album has a song for any mood. This is a collection to be listened to, studied, cherished, nurtured and most of all, loved. Any lowpoints? Well, I could have done without the downbeat and rather dragging “Junkie Girl”, but since it’s the last song on the album, it’s easily forgiven. A stunning piece of art.

Millenium – Hourglass, Frontiers, 2000
[Similarities: Harem Scarem, Badlands, Whitesnake]
Usually, as of late, I’ve been pretty down on the whole riff based melodic rock scene. I find most of the releases of this genre to be very flat and uninspired. But all it takes is one album like “Hourglass” to restore some of my faith. A HUGE sounding album with some ripping guitar soloing courtesy of Ralph Santorella, what gets my attention most is the band is not afraid to experiment here and there, giving them a somewhat Queen-like vibe. From the opening notes of “Power To Love”, it just jumps out at you, grabs you by the throat and never lets up until the closing strains of “Chasing Time”. In between you’ll find barnblasting arena rockers (“Wheels Are Turning” and the catchy as all get out “Superstar”), grand mid-tempo epics (the title track) and ballads (the monsterous “No More Miracles” and the Extreme-like “I Will Follow”). Singer Jorn Lande sounds like a young David Coverdale and his bluesy stylings sound great. Turn it loud and let it rip…

Soul Asylum – Black Gold: The Best Of, Columbia, 2000
[Similarities: Goo Goo Dolls, Bon Jovi, John Mellencamp]
It’s funny how you can not listen to a set of songs in a long while, hear them in again, and suddenly realize how good they really were. That’s the feeling I got from listening to this best of collection from Soul Asylum. While their albums tended to be uneven affairs, there were always standouts and it’s great now to have them all in one place, along of course with the prerequisite “bonus” tracks. The band pumped out great punk tinged arena rock that had a heartland feel thanks to Dave Pirner’s mixed influences in his songwriting. Songs like “Just Like Anyone”, “Sometime To Return”, “Misery” and “Somebody To Shove” were all big radio hits and never failed to move me (or the masses). And when the band slowed things down, the results were just as good. The band hit the big time with the acoustic driven “Runaway Train” and “Black Gold”, and while they may have alienated a lot of their old fans, they made plenty of new ones. Throw in some great bonus cuts like a few live songs, the thumping “Can’t Even Tell” (from the Clerks soundtrack) and a cover of “Summer Of Drugs”, and you’re left with a pretty essential rock collection. In fact, the only songs I thought were missing were their excellent cover of “Sexual Healing” and the single “Promises Broken”. Other than that…outstanding.

Rick Springfield – Alive (limited edition), Super Ron, 2000
[Similarities: c’mon…if you don’t know you’re in the wrong place]
Forget about every other live album you’ve ever heard. This one simply smokes them all. Containing every hit (and a few surprise non-hits) the man ever laid down, in a live setting the songs come across almost raw and brutal. This is pure rock and roll that has a punk/pop vibe that is in vogue again. And anyone who has ever had the good luck to see Rick live knows what kind of show he puts on. Glad to say it translates very well to CD as this disc is just crackling with energy. Hits like “Rock Of Life”, “Love Is Alright Tonite” and “Jessie’s Girl” sound stripped down yet still feel larger than life. And throwing in such personal favorites like “Alyson”, “I Get Excited” and “Kristina” make this heaven to me. But among an album of highlights, the moment that seems to stand out most is the medley of some of his lesser-known album cuts that blends beautifully. Just…wow…nothing more I can say.

As for the “limited edition” part of this package, you need to plunk down $70 to get it. Is it worth it though? As hardcore a fan as I am, I’m not sure if it is. You get the full session of demos for the “Working Class Dog” album. Let me tell you, they are raw. They are literally Rick with his guitar, using some pillows and a broken broomstick for drums. It’s a history lesson for sure, but not something I’ll be listening to again anytime soon. There are also three unreleased songs, “Smile For The Camera”, The Human Sea” and “LIO” as well as some video footage. My advice, wait until January for the live 1CD version.

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

Von Groove: 3 Faces Past, Z Records
(similarities: FM, Harem Scarem,  Savannah)
Bunch of past tunes, acoustic and mellow = boring. Not with this lot, it doesn’t.  This is a great collection of some of the best songs from this trio. This 10 track, 40 minute affair is a mellow outing that shows off the songwriting talent and ability of Von Groove. It would have been nice to have a few more tunes but nonetheless this is a very nice little CD.

What this most reminds me of is the acoustic/ live album that FM did a few years back called Acoustical Intercourse. Mike Shotten’s voice sounds a lot like Steve Overland, especially on the first few tracks. That is not at all a bad thing.  This Canadian trio could do a lot worse than to fill the huge gap that was left when FM left the scene. FYI: Shotten was asked to be Boston’s new singer and sang backing vocals on several tracks of the band’s “Walk On” album.

Some of the highlights include two great love ballads with “Better than Ever” and “Vision of Love”. “Lady Blue” is another great track. ‘Tell it to Me” is an extremely catchy mellow melodic track, that really sticks in the head. As can be expected with this sort of band they wheel out their bitter-sweet side with “Fooling Yourself.” The album closes with “Cold to You” with its Arabic flavored intro that could easily have found itself on a Tea Party album or Plant/Page’s No Quarter.

This is great introduction to a great band. This might just bring Von Groove some more interest and sales. For more info http://graffiti.virgin.net/zero_option_pro.z_records/

AOR Basement (Ian McIntosh):

Doesn't the music industry work in curious (for that read stupid!) ways? All the record labels are busy suing Napster, and what does BMG do? They go and strike a deal to form a "strategic alliance" with the very same Napster! The intention would be for Napster to then form a "membership based service" so it can deliver on-line music "legitimately".  All the other labels initially said things "this is a positive step", but cut through all the bullshit and it's obviously a way for the labels to control as much as possible and find more ways to make money through online delivery methods. Like everything else on the internet, big business eventually moves in and looks for ways to exploit and make money, no matter how altruistic the original motives of whatever the service was in the first place. BMG clearly sees itself as going to be the dominant on-line major label – combine Napster and CD Now (which BMG also owns) and on paper you have something formidable. In practice it's probably not that great, but the concept is more than enough to get a bunch of short-sighted stockbrokers wetting themselves.

Not all the labels are excited about the deal though. Universal says it will continue its own case against Napster with the aim of closing it down and went as far to say that it thought BMG's announcement was a "PR announcement without any substance". Battle lines are being drawn in deciding the face of on-line music delivery, but everyone should realize it has nothing to do with any form of common good, rather it's just a way for record labels to act all friendly while taking more and more of your cash, for less and less in return.

In other happenings this week, seasoned Canadian musician Rick Rose is due to release a new album in late November called "Songs from the Studio B Sessions". Rick used to front the band Perfect Affair who issued one album on Attic in the mid-1980s and before that he lead the band Lennox which featured singer Johnny Dee before he joined Honeymoon Suite. Further details on the new release are available at http://www.rickrosemusic.com .

Jimmy Barnes will have a new album out this week and it's a follow up to his 1991 cover collection "Soul Deep". The new one's called "Soul Deeper - Songs from the South". The release covers 12 songs recorded in the US with Don Gehman producing, but the initial version also comes with an additional five bonus tracks. The first Soul Deep was an interesting alternative to the R&B with which Michael Bolton was finding mega success at the time, so it'll be interesting to see what effect a second dose has.

Bombastic British AOR band Balance of Power (who feature American vocalist Lance King) have written nine songs for their new album. A further two are expected to be composed before recording commences. The release is scheduled for March or April of next year. The band's former vocalist Tony Ritchie has also rejoined the band, though now he's playing bass.

Reader profiles:

Name: Juan Camacho

Place Where You Live: Ecuador

Age: 34

Favorite Artist: Whitesnake

Favorite Song: Still Of The Night - Whitesnake

Favorite Ballad: Is This Love - Whitesnake

10 Albums I would take if stranded on a desert island would be:

Whitesnake – 1987

Whitesnake – Slide It In

Rainbow – Rising

Thin Lizzy – Thunder And Lightning

UFO – Strangers In The Night

Iron Maiden – Powerslave

Journey – Escape

Toto – IV

Metallica – Master Of Puppets

Iron Maiden – Piece of Mind

 Web Site: none

[If you’d like to be featured in SFK’s Reader Profile, drop me a line at sfkrock@excite.com.]

Feedback:

From: Ben Haynes Ben.Haynes@UnitedConstruction.com.au

Subject: Serious Ju Ju - are you sure?
Howdy Kurt, no complaints as usual but I have a question I'm hoping you can answer.  You mentioned in your review of Sammy Hagar's new disc that the track Serious Ju Ju was practically a clone of VH's "Seventh Sign" - how? I've gotta disagree dude, now I'm no expert nor do I pretend to be, I buy the music and listen to it and that's my part in the industry done.  But having played VH's album Balance more then its fair share of times and it being my favourite Van Hagar effort, Seventh Sign is in no way shape or form like Serious Ju Ju.  I'm trying to find similarities but I can't, and I'm trying dude, I'm really trying.  The only similarity I CAN find is that Sammy Hagar sings on both tracks, and that's it.  Now call me musically naive, that's ok because I probably am, but Seventh Sign is a pretty consistent song all the way through it, no deviation in structure from start to finish.  It finishes in the same fashion it starts out.  Serious Ju Ju on the other hand starts out quiet and build itself, the music structure is stilted, the drums don't kick in until the second verse, I don't know what the timing on the drums is but its not the same as Seventh Sign - to me its two completely different songs from two completely different bands.  Did you listen to Serious Ju Ju and go "oh, that's just Seventh Sign with a different backing band", because I just can't see how.  I'm not having a go, not at all, we all see music differently and I'm hanging out to see if from your point of view on this one.  Appeasing my confusion would be appreciated.

[I find both songs to have the exact same chugging riffing and Sammy’s singing style on the chorus sounds just the same with different lyrics. Maybe “clone” was a little extreme, but these songs to me are VERY similar…too similar for my tastes.]

From: DonPalmer1@aol.com

Subject: gods of AOR- a personal vu
Hi guys, Hope those of you at the gods concert on Saturday had a great time! I wore my white Toto sweatshirt in case some of you I know by email might come up & introduce yourselves - no success though!

If you weren't there, Two Fires/The Vu/The Storm/ Survivor/ Nightranger/ World stage/ Kevin Chalfont stole the show by a LONG way! In case you don't get it - that was the same band!!!

Awesome is the only word to describe hearing 3 Night Ranger songs by Kelly Keagy, 2 Survivor ones by Jim Peterick, 3 Storm songs & the rest off Two Fires, The )New) Vu & solo Chalfant albums. They must have played an hour and a half (twice as long as anyone else).

Of the rest, Ted Poley did his best, but his voice was shot this year. Still he did manage to pull off an excellent version of Toto's "White sister". Fantastic.

The Sign were most disappointing. It was only when Terry Brock did the Strangeways song that we saw a glimmer of what they can do. The "Touch" & "Zebra" songs were good too - but OH we wanted some more AOR tunes.

Kip Winger too was fantastic. What a voice & brilliant songs. But it was just him & his wee acoustic guitar again. One of these days we'll see WINGER!

The rest were fillers or a total waste of space. A bunch of screamers, foul-mouthed louts & head-banging wasters who pretend to be melodic rockers.

Two complaints, for what otherwise could have been a wonderful day:

1. Why did we have to have 11 bands??? The last band didn't come on till nearly 1pm!

2. Why do we have to tolerate TEN (one of the most overrated bands in the world) as a headline band for 3 years running??? Ditch them & give The Vu/Two Fires top spot. God knows we could have had Night Ranger, Survivor, Two Fires & The Storm at this gig! Give them 40 minutes each & you'd have blown everyone away instead of making us listen to 8 screamers & slammers of making us listen to 8 screamers & slammers!