STRIKTLY FOR KONNISSUERS 16-09-00

“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 someone - Kurt Torster

Other people:

·        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:

I don't have much to say this week other than I've been too damned busy to think of anything to write here! 

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News Bytes:

The Los Angeles county DA has dropped all charges against Rick Springfield, stemming from last month’s spousal abuse charge.

Wow…Radiohead’s space art rock “Kid A” debuted at #1 on the Billboard album charts with over 200,000 sold in it’s first week. They are the first British band to top the US charts in nearly three years.

November 7 sees the release of “Live At The Royal Albert Hall” on DVD from The Corrs.

The killer of John Lennon, Mark David Chapman, admitted to the parole board last week that he had an entire hit list of people he planned to kill after Lennon. Yeah, that helped. Meanwhile, Capitol has thrown up a pretty decent website in honor of the Lennon reissues.

Megadeth has signed with Sanctuary Records. To go along with their Capitol issued “Capitol Punishment” compilation, the band will also release a DVD of videos, etc.

The latest album from Mitch Malloy is now available for purchase at this website, set up by Andrew from MelodicRock.Com.

Tix for Bon Jovi’s New Jersey homecoming concert on November 16 sold out in 14 minutes! Most shows are selling out within a day of going on sale and “Crush” is approaching the 2 million sales mark mainly on the strength of the still climbing single “It’s My Life”. The next single for the US will be the ballad “Thank You For Loving Me”.

Ex-Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagen is now (though temporarily) a member of The Presidents (once known as Presidents Of The USA). The new album, “Freaked Out And Small, will be out later this fall. The first single is titled “I’m Mad”.

To fuel the Van Halen fire, those into conspiracies will find it interesting that Sammy Hagar has cancelled the first leg of his tour. Sammy chalks it up to the fact that his stage setup wasn’t ready.

Sometime AOR queen Cher plans to use the internet to release material that is out of the norm of what people expect from her. First up is an album that is rumored to be very dark and personal and not at all commercial, hence the title “Not Commercial”.

U2 is actually encouraging fans to use Napster to download their new album, “All That You Can Leave Behind”. Says The Edge, “it's new, it's out there, let's see where it goes, figure out how to get paid later.”

Camp Chaos has some new Metallica inspired screen savers at their website.

Genesis will release their second box set titled “Archive: 1976-1982”, which gathers up many never before released rarities, live tracks and some remixes from the post-Peter Gabriel era, when Phil Collins took over the vocals. Among the highlights is demo of “Mama”. The complete tracklistings: Disc one: "On The Shoreline," "Hearts On Fire," "You Might Recall," "Paperlate," "Evidence Of Autumn," "Do The Neurotic," "I'd Rather Be You," "Naminanu," "Inside & Out," "Feeding The Fire," "I Can't Dance" (12" remix), "Submarine". Disc two: "Illegal Alien" (live), "Dreaming While You Sleep" (live), "It's Gonna Get Better" (live), "Deep In The Motherlode" (live), "Ripples" (live), "The Brazilian" (live), "Your Own Special Way" (live), "Burning Rope" (live), "Entangled" (live), "Dukes Travels" (live). Disc three: "Invisible Touch" (12" remix), "Land Of Confusion" (12" remix), "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" (12" remix), "No Reply At All" (live), "Man On The Corner" (live), "The Lady Lies" (live), "Open Door," "The Day The Light Went Out," "Vancouver," "Pigeons," "Its Yourself," "Mama" (work-in-progress).

Guess it was only a matter of time, but Dennis De Young is suing his ex-bandmates in Styx over the fact that the band toured without him.

Ex-Thunder guitarist Luke Morley will release his solo debut in Japan by year’s end. The rest of the world will see it in early 2001. Titled “El Gringo Retro”, the more laid back affair contains titles like “Quiet Life”, This Letter”, “Can’t Stop The Rain” and “One Drop In The Ocean”. In related news, the band’s official website, Thunder Channel, is now back online.

The body of the wife of Vinnie Vincent, Annemarie Cusano who disappeared in 1998, was found last week in a wooded area in Connecticut. It came one day after the arrest of the murder suspect. Apparently, she was working part time at an escort service and may have been working the call from the suspect.

Awesome power pop rockers All Star United will release an EP of rarities in the near future.

In honor of the late Paul Young, there will be a tribute concert to him in Manchester titled “Forever Young” on December 15 that includes Mike & The Mechanics, Roger Taylor, Fish and the other Paul Young. More info at the website.

The band that would be the Grateful Dead, Phish has broken up, on the verge of mainstream success. Right now the band is calling it a temporary split but have no immediate plans other than taking a break from each other.

Collectybles” is the title of yet another Lynyrd Skynyrd compilation, this time piecing together demos and rare live tracks.

The new Rod Stewart album “Human” has had it’s release date pushed back until February 14. It’s his first for Atlantic.

Look for a fan based Toto tribute album next year. Participating are Phil Vincent, John Taglieri and Michael Riesenbeck among others. Tracks will include Toto classics like All Us Boys, White Sister, I Will Remember, Home Of The Brave, Take My Hand, Endless, I'll Supply The Love, A Secret Love, Hey Little Girl and Child's Anthem. More info at Michael’s website.

In related news, guitarist Michael Riesenbeck will also release a solo album with artists mentioned above as well as Paul Lancia and Michael Bormann.

AORLAND has been updated with new reviews including Ten, T-Bell, Elyte, higher Ground, Tonic and Tim David Kelly. New MP3s include Rainmaker, Dark Sky and Doug Powell.

Look for a new live album from Alice In Chains that was recorded at various times over the course of the band’s career. The tracks: "Man in the Box" (Seattle), "Real Thing" (Seattle), "Bleed the Freak" (Seattle), "Queen of the Rodeo" (Dallas), "Angry Chair" (Glasgow), "Man in the Box" (Glasgow), "Love Hate Love" (Glasgow) , "Rooster" (Glasgow), "Would?" (Glasgow), "Junkhead" (Glasgow), "Them Bones" (Kansas City), "God Am" (Kansas City), "Again" (Kansas City), "A Little Bitter" (Kansas City), "Dam That River" (Kansas City)

Here’s the setlist from the opening night of The Alarm 2.0 tour (though Mike Peters is the only original member left) October 12 in West Hollywood.: "Marchin' On", "Where Were You Hiding When the Storm Broke?", "Knife Edge", "Deeside", "Majority", "One Step Closer to Home", "Unsafe Building", "Absolute Reality", "We Are the Light", "Walk Forever by My Side", "The Deceiver", "The Stand", "Sold Me Down the River", "Strength", "Rain in the Summertime", "Rescue Me", "Spirit of '76", "68 Guns", "Blaze of Glory"

A2 has signed Elton John guitarist John Jorgenson to release his album “Emotional Savant”. Here’s some UK tour dates for November:

13    Fibbers, York
14    King Georges Hall, Blackburn
15    Cavern, Liverpool
16    Civic Centre, Heywood
17    NEC, Birmingham with the Hellacasters
18    NEC, Birmingham with the Hellacasters
19    Robin RnB Club, Dudley
20    Borderline, London
21    Penningtons, Bradford
22    Springhead, Hull
23    Arena Centre, Nottingham
24    Butlins 70's festival, Bognor Regis
25    Floral pavilion, Wirral
26    Band On The Wall, Manchester
27    Martletts Hall, West Sussex

Rock Candy (511 Greenwich St, NYC) will host Fire & Ice: A Tribute To Pat Benatar on October 18. More info at the website.

The Z release of 21 Guns’ Nothing’s Real” will now feature six bonus tracks: Slam the Hammer, The Picture, Blood Gone Bad, Cold Heart, Dear Mother, House Of Cards.

AOR Heaven has two new releases on tap from Alyson Avenue and Gatling Gun.

From Dan Harding of Heavy Harmonies: What would KISS sound like if they came from Germany? Well, this week's MP3 gives us a pretty good idea. Kelley Wild hails from
Deutschland, and is good straight-ahead hard rock/melodic metal. The resemblence to KISS, especially on the choruses, is pretty close. No frilly keyboards, no poofy layering, just in-yer-face rock 'n roll. Of note is that the producer and guest guitarist and backing vocalist is none other than the creative force behind power metal mainstay Running Wild, Rock'n'Rolf. Here for your enjoyment, from their 1992 release Looks Like Dynamite, is the title track. http://HeavyHarmonies.Com/cgi-bin/songofweek.cgi

Rare MP3 Of The Week:

From The Secret Of My Success soundtrack comes this gem from Taxxi called “Heaven And The Heartaches”. Does anyone have ANYTHING from this band on CD? If so, contact me.

Noteworthy New Releases:

SLASH'S SNAKEPIT - Ain't Life Grand?
SYMPHONY X – V
THE WALLFLOWERS - Breach

Moldy Oldys:

[What’s kicking old school on the SFK Deck O’ Death this week:]
Device – 22B3, Indecent Obsession – Indio, INXS – Greatest Hits, Hall & Oates – Big Bam Boom, Chesney Hawkes – Get The Picture

Kurt’s Picks:

Alfonzetti – Alfonzetti, MTM, 2000
[Similarities: FM, modern day Bad Habit, the AOR side of Whitesnake]
Wow! What can I say about an album that kicks off with a smoking cover of “Blowing Up Detroit” and then proceeds to get better? Led by the incredible vocals of Matti Alfonzetti, this Swedish mob have upped the melodic rock ante in a big way. Songs like “Better Than Goodbye”, “Angel” and the stunning “Am I Fooling Myself?” leap from the speakers with an urgency that’s sorely lacking in the genre. Even when you think the song may be going nowhere, the chorus always changes that with their excellent harmonies and hooks. And then, if I don’t mention songs like “Let Me In” or “Don’t Let Our Love Go Down”, I don’t feel I am doing this album justice. Impeccably played and produced, this is both a surprise and certainly a highlight this year and also a great example of how to sound current without selling out. Certainly a contender for album of the year.

Stan Bush – Stan Bush (1983 reissue), Sony Rewind, 2000
[Similarities: Rick Springfield, Sammy Hagar, early Bon Jovi]
The second of three CD reissues I received from Sony Rewind for review (the third being Kick Axe’s “Vices” which is up next week), it’s yet another one that’s great to finally have proper on CD. It strikes me as pretty amazing how well this album stood up over the years. Much like early 80s Rick Springfield, the overall sound here is one of pure AOR mixed with power pop and the results are blissful on the ears. It shows if anything the knack Stan has for flipping out catchy, infectious tunes that are as memorable on first listen as they are on the 100th. Some songs on here, like “Can’t Live Without Love”, “Say The Word” and the gigantic ballad “Time Isn’t Changing You” are among some of my all time favorites and of the ten songs here, there’s not one that I would replace. Stan has an AOR perfect voice and everything else falls right in line. Amazing.

Heartland – As It Comes, Escape, 2000
[Similarities: Mr. Big, Survivor, Foreigner]
This is the kind of album that irritates me as a reviewer. It’s not bad enough to rip into, yet it’s really not that good enough to heap praise upon. Like Ten is for Now & Then, the guys in Heartland seems to have become Escape’s house band, for better and worse. This one lies on the side of better thankfully. It certainly does have it’s moments, and though it’s clichéd to say, when it’s good…it’s really good. Chris Ousey still sounds a lot like Eric Martin, which ain’t a bad thing. And musically too this band resembles Mr. Big. It’s just a shame that songs like “Eyes Wide Open”, the soaring “Willing To Fly” and “Live To Fight Another Day” outshine the rest by a wide margin. Not that any of the others are bad, just so damned average and feel like filler but still a lot more listenable than most of what’s out there today. A good release that points the way to their inevitable classic.

The Mayflies USA – The Pity List, Yep Roc, 2000
[Similarities: Big Star, Gin Blossoms, Matthew Sweet]
When people wonder what I see sometimes in the new power pop movement, I think from now on I will simply hand them this CD and it’s all they will need to know. Mixing a classic Big Star/Plimsouls like vibe with a Hootie/Wallflowers sound, this band could be on the verge of cult superstardom. Whether it’s smooth silk pop (like “Florida On The Radio” and “I Wanna Be Your Gun”) or trashy glam (like ”The Last Time” and “Sodium Pentothal”) you seek, you will find it in abundance here. Sure, there are some throwaways, but even those are better than what most bands consider their A-list material. Sounding like it was recorded live, then layered immaculately in the studio, it’s best heard as LOUD as you can get it.

Rainmaker – Rainmaker, Z Records, 2000
[Similarities: Whitesnake, Badlands, Giant]
While I can appreciate the talent on this disc, I had a really hard time getting into the music. It’s a touch too moody or sludgy for my tastes. While the musicians involved (especially guitarist Tommy Denander) all sound great individually, for some reason the sum doesn’t seem to add up to the parts. Only one song grabbed me and made me take notice. “Passion Again” is a corker of an arena rocker and really wakes one up. I only wish the rest of the album followed suit, which is a shame because these guys are mega-talented and I expected more.

The Sign – Signs Of Life, Frontiers/Now & Then, 2000
[Similarities: just read the review]
Maybe the truest AOR supergroup to ever record, The Sign consisting of Terry Brock (Strangeways), Randy Jackson (Zebra), Mark Mangold (Touch, Drive She Said), Billy Greer (Kansas) and Bobby Rondinelli (Rainbow and just about every other hard rock act!) had a lot to live up to. The album sounds a lot like a culmination of all the acts mentioned though I think the pompy sound of Kansas shines through most (I do hear some late 70s Journey as well as bits of Asia). While not quite the “essential klassik” I was hoping for, it comes pretty damned close. Though a matter of taste, I prefer the songs that Terry Brock handles the lead vocals as his Steve Perry-like style fits the music more than Randy Jackson’s Robert Plant-like wail. Songs like the driving rocker “Crossed The Line”, power ballad “Forever Again” and the bouncy “The Wait” (all sung by Brock) are note perfect AOR. The interplay between Randy’s guitar leads and Mangold’s keyboard runs are outstanding and only make me realize how missed this particular sound is. The songwriting is also outstanding. Solid all around, if bordering on the spectacular.

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

 

AOR Basement (Ian McIntosh):

Bit of a round-up of bits and pieces of news this week....

Al Pitrelli and Tommy Farese of the Trans Siberian Orchestra have put out a "kind of solo album" called "Place Called Rage". More details are available at http://www.placecalledrage.com/. Check it out....

The first annual Thunder convention - "Thunderstruck 2001" is be held in the UK in July next year - plenty of advance warning there! The event will take place at Pontins Holiday Camp in Blackpool on June 1st and June 2nd next year. The line-up of bands which will appear at this tribute event is still being finalized, though it appears that Ten (yawn!) and Bob Catley (isn't he a pensioner?) will headline a night each. Other bands set to appear include The Promise, Razor Babies, Throat Oyster and Stilettos. More will be added closer to the time. Tickets are prices at £80 inclusive of concert tickets and full board accommodation. For further details visit http://www.captainthunder.badland.com.

Fusion keyboard maestro David Diggs has just finished a new album and is now shopping it to labels. The 12 song project features various members of the Yellowjackets, Doug Cameron, Brandon Fields and well-travelled drummer Vinnie Coliauta. One track from the new recordings is likely to be posted at http://www.mp3.com/daviddiggs and if no deal is secured, the whole CD will be made available direct from http://www.daviddgiggs.com.

Sass Jordan's new album comes in Canada on November 14th and is called "Hot Gossip". No word on the style or the other musicians involved, her last album "Present" was a little disappointing, so it's hard to call that one in advance....

Feedback:

From: "Rob Winder" rob_winder@hotmail.com

Kurt, In response to the Alfonzetti question in last week's SFK...

Indeed it is Willie Dowling, now of SugarPlumFairies (http://www.sugarplumfairies.co.uk/ ). Willie said the song was written back in 1991 while Matti was still in Jagged Edge. After Jagged Edge broke up, Matti joined Willie's then band Cat People for a while before returning to Sweden.

I think he was surprised to see the song resurface after so long on Matti's new album.

From: "Deborah Townson" Florida-Delilah@worldnet.att.net

Subject: Behind the Music

Hey Kurt, 

Is it just me or is everyone else getting tired of the childish band squabbles VH1 seems to be keynoting these days on "Behind the Music"?

It's always about the same ole thing .... differences in the direction of the music or one member gets more press than the other, etc., etc.  Is there a single soul in America who doesn't expect that sort of thing to happen in a band over a period of years?  The Chicago and Styx editions of "Behind the Music" made me lose a lot of respect for the petulant band members (i.e., Peter Cetera and Tommy Shaw, et. al.) who either refused to participate and/or who couldn't even speak respectfully of the dissenting member/members!  They sound like a bunch of school kids - which is a noteworthy feat, considering these "men" are all 40+!  These childish accusations/recriminations are so demeaning to the band members who state them.  I think of Steve Perry leaving Journey and the Mick Jones/Lou Gramm separation of ways a few years back but you don't read or watch an expose' of them belittling the others because their musical paths diverged or illness caused a detour in their careers.  They act like the adults that they are and if they have their differences (which I'm sure they do), they handle them privately!

And then this new litigation trend is making me crazy!  Some suits are warranted, I think .... such as Lou Gramm against his label and I'll even go so far as to say Dennis DeYoung should stick it to the other Styx upstarts.  The last Styx album was every bit as weird as anything Dennis DeYoung devised in his "Kilroy was Here" era and I personally found the only redeeming songs on the "Brave New World" album to be the ones sung by Dennis DeYoung.  And as an interesting aside, Tommy Shaw and James Young didn't mind swallowing their artistic outrage at concept albums when they redid the Paradise Theater and Grand Illusion tours ... those tours undoubtedly added a penny or two to their coffers!

But the ultimate lawsuit was the Survivor thing!  For Jimi Jamison and Frankie Sullivan to wage such a bitter, bitter feud and then, to miraculously resolve their differences and reunite!  I was sickened, since clearly, it was only about money!  I saw Night Ranger, Survivor, and REO Speedwagon in Memphis in July and it was so evident that any differences Survivor had were not resolved.  There was no camaraderie between the band members; their interaction was forced; and their performance was abysmal -- talk about going through the motions!  It was a sad, sad thing to see.

In that performance in July, Night Ranger set a fine example for all these bickering bands.  Surely through the years they've had their differences, since Jack Blades and Kelly Keagy have both pursued careers with other bands.  But their performance was fresh and electric.  Nothing was contrived and it was clear they enjoyed their music and each other.  They were the highlight of that particular evening.

Okay, I'm off my soapbox now .... thanks for letting me blow off steam!  As always, I look forward to my Monday reading material from SFK!