STRIKTLY FOR KONNISSUERS 10-23-00

“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 Don - Kurt Torster

My capos:

·        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:

Hey peeps…I really want to take this thing to the next level and up the subscriber tally. Do me a favor and just forward this thing along to anyone you feel may enjoy it, or any list that seems appropriate. Just don’t spam anyone…PLEASE!

I’m in a Sopranos sort of mood. Why? Today they were filming up and down the street in my neighborhood. I’m out for my 5:30 AM walk and who’s sitting there waiting for his next shot is none other than Tony Soprano. Too cool.

I’ve been having a bitch of a time with my free email accounts as of late. First I had Yahoo, which was problematic. Then I tried Excite, which was even worse! I went back to Yahoo so please note that I can be reached at ktorster@yahoo.com. I give up.

WPLJ here in New York is playing Jeffery Gaines’ cover of “In Your Eyes” and it’s just amazing. Anyone got any dish on this guy?

Thanks for the info I was looking for on Taxxi. Shame that nothing exists for them on CD yet. See Feedback for more info.

Also, thanks to those at the AOR Mafia and the Melodic Rock Noticeboard for all your suggestions on Hi-Tech AOR. I’ve been hunting down some of them and am just blown away by some of the quality stuff that slipped through the cracks, like 1927’s “Ish” and Hall & Oates’ “Big Bam Boom”, which are both phenomenal. Other great suggestions that I already owned were Rick Springfield’s “Tao” (which to me is the very album that blueprints the high tech AOR sound), Psuedo Echo’s “Race”, Robin George’s “Heartline”, Mr. Mister’s “Welcome To The Real World” and miscellaneous albums from Nik Kershaw, Cutting Crew, Glass Tiger, Howard Jones, Indecent Obsession, INXS, Noiseworks, Bridge 2 Far, Rush, The Power Station and many others.

News Bytes:

Don Henley is being sued by a woman who claims he nailed her in the head with a maraca during a concert. The woman claims that she was standing for a photograph when Henley pointed at her, made gestures and announced he would like no more flash photography during the show. Says the ever opportunistic lawyer, "these affronts, coupled with her physical injury, caused highly unpleasant mental reactions including fright, disappointment, embarrassment, indignity, anger and outrage." Um, yeah. Why not grab yourself some hot coffee from McDonald’s while you’re at it?

The upcoming compilation from The Beatles will be titled “1”, and contain all the band’s number one hits. The tracks: Love Me Do, From Me To You, She Loves You, I Want To Hold Your Hand, Can't Buy Me Love, A Hard Day's Night, I Feel Fine, Eight Days A Week, Ticket To Ride, Help!, Yesterday, Day Tripper, We Can Work It Out, Paperback Writer, Yellow Submarine, Eleanor Rigby, Penny Lane, All You Need Is Love, Hello Goodbye, Lady Madonna, Hey Jude, Get Back, The Ballad Of John And Yoko, Something, Come Together, Let It Be and The Long and Winding Road. In other Beatles news, Walter Shenson, producer of the films A Hard Day’s Night and Help! Passed away last week at the age of 81. And lastly, George Michael has purchased John Lennon’s Imagine” piano at an auction for 2.3 million dollars.

Flashback” is a new 3 CD box set from the Electric Light Orchestra that contains ten unreleased tracks spread among the hits and best album tracks.

For this year’s performance at the Gods 2000, Ten is looking for help from their fans to chose their setlist. To vote, simply visit the site or send an email with your ten favorite tracks to setlist@ten-online.com. Closing date is Ocrtober 27. Meanwhile, the band has lined up three dates in Spain (Nov. 9 Cacicedo, (Santander) venue Eventos, Nov. 10 Balaguer, (Lleida) venue Cros and Nov. 11 Nov Madrid, venue Arena). Support for these shows is Millennium and Elyte.

Dare is readying their new album, “Belief”, for early next year. Leader Darren Wharton is also working on material for a solo album described as “classic Dare sound”. I hate to ask the obvious, but why not just make it a Dare album then?

Ted Poley’s Melodica hope to have an acoustic CD ready for the Gods 2000 festival. Limited to 1000 copies, it will contain tracks from the Melodica album as well as a couple Bone Machine tunes.

Look for Bob Catley and Kip Winger to undertake a Christmas tour of the UK together. They play the following dates:

Friday 15th Dec - The Rock Cafe 2000, Stourbridge
Saturday 16th Dec - Rock City (Disco 2) Nottingham
Monday 18th Dec - Trillians, Newcastle
Tuesday 19th Dec - The Underworld, London
Wednesday 20th Dec- The Witchwood, Ashton Uunder Lyme
TBC Thursday 21st December - Stairways - Birkenhead TBC
Friday 22nd December - Rio's – Bradford
Saturday 23rd - The Limelight – Crewe

Mark Boals, who at one point was the singer for Yngwie Malmsteen, has licensed his new album “Ring Of Fire” to Frontiers. It’s Mark’s second album and features Tony MacAlpine on guitar. The release date is December 4.

Into The Light is a new band featuring singer Kelly Hansen and guitarist Tim Donahue. Look also for their album release on December 4.

The new album from Kelly Keagy features songs with Jim Peterik and Kevin Chalfant. A February 2001 release is expected.

March 2001 is the release for the debut album from Seventh Key, a new band featuring Billy Greer and production by Mike Slamer.

In case anyone cares, looks like Rage Against The Machine is calling it quits.

Those titanic twins, Nelson has inked with Perris to reissue their recent catalog, “Life” and “The Silence Is Broken” as well as their upcoming “Brother Harmony”.

I did not know this but the upcoming rarities set from The Cult will span six CDs as well as feature the unreleased “Peace” album that was recorded between “Love” and “Electric”. There will be a one disc highlights compilation as well. The band will hit the studio with producer Bob Rock soon for a 2001 album.

Bryan Adams opened for and jammed with Elton John at Elton’s Madison Square Garden concerts in New York last week. Bryan heads now to Russia followed by Canada for a headlining tour.

Bordering on the Westcoast tip of things, Babyface will release a greatest hits collection in November, which contains duets with Eric Claption and Stevie Wonder, among his other singles.

Supertramp's Carl Verheyen has released his fifth album, "Atlas Overload" through Provogue Records.

Horror writer Stephen King, along with John Mellencamp, are writing a musical for Broadway. Says Mellencamp, "it’s about two brothers; they're 19 years old or 20, maybe 18 or 21, who are very competitive and dislike each other immensely. The father takes them to the family vacation place, a cabin that the boys hadn't been to since they were kids. What has happened is that the father had two older brothers who hated each other and killed each other in that cabin. There's a confederacy of ghosts who also live in this house. The older [dead] brothers are there, and they speak to the audience, and they sing to the audience. That's all I want to say, except through this family vacation, many things are learned about the family, and many interesting songs are sung."

Yngwie Malmsteen, Dio and Doro Pesch will be touring the US together. Catch them at:

Thursday, November 16th     San Francisco, CA       The Filmore
Friday, November 17th           Las Vegas, NV           House Of Blues
Saturday, November 18th     Universal City, CA      Universal Amphitheatre
Sunday, November 19th           San Diego, CA           Cane's Bar & Grill
Wednesday, November 22nd    Salt Lake City, UT      Salt Air Pavilion
Friday, November 24th           Denver, CO              Ogden Theatre
Saturday, November 25th     Colorado Springs, CO    Colorado Music Hall
Tuesday, November 28th      Chicago, IL             House Of Blues
Wendnesday, November 29th   Chicago, IL             House Of Blues
Friday, December 1st            Detroit, MI             Harpo's
Saturday, December 2nd      Detroit, MI             Harpo's
Sunday, December 3rd            Grand Rapids, MI        Orbit Room
Tuesday, December 5th           Cleveland, OH           Odeon
Friday, December 8th            Worcester, MA           Palladium
Saturday, December 9th          New York, NY            Roseland
Friday, December 15th           St. Petersburg, FL      Jannus Landing

Dan Harding’s Heavy Harmonies’ song of the week: “Well, I'd heard nothing but bad about this week's band. Nightshade is what was formerly the band Q5. I've heard people slamming this album left and right, so I figured I'd better listen for myself. IMHO, there's nothing wrong with this album at all; it's just considerably heavier than When the Mirror Cracks, which was, in truth, considerably more polished. If anything, this album harkens back to Q5's first album Steel the Light. Draw your own conclusions.”

Here’s the first press release for the Ultrasound 2001 convention:
BURBANK, CA (23 October 2000) - The Hilton Burbank Airport & Convention Center (aka The Burbank Hilton hotel) will be the home to UltraSound 2001. Held the weekend of March 10 - 11 with the pre-party on March 9, the second annual UltraSound Conference and Showcase makes it's move to Burbank from it's inaugural location of Las Vegas. "Las Vegas was a great idea - on paper,"  says event organizer Dave Tedder. "People love to go to Las Vegas but the main attraction is the hotels and that took away from the showcasing bands a little bit. Not only that but the home of hard rock and heavy metal will always be Los Angeles so it only makes to sense to 'bring it on home again'."

UltraSound 2001 will feature two days of live bands and panels on topics ranging from Music & The Internet to Publicity / Press, A&R and several other mediums. "One focus of the event is to educate people on the industry and how things have changed over the years so we'll be featuring open forums hosted by insiders from different levels of the music industry," explains Tedder. Various marketing opportunities and sponsorships will once again be available to bands, record labels and the like.

Bands may submit packages to UltraSound 2001 by going to: http://www.egotripent.com/ultrasound/submit.html, filling out the form and mailing it, along with a complete package to: Ego Trip Entertainment, 717 S. Mill Ave #104, Tempe, AZ 85281 USA, ATTN: UltraSound 2001. Deadline for submissions is January 12, 2001

Rare MP3 Of The Week:

Check out a cover of Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” done acoustically by Jeffery Gaines. It’s very very good.

Noteworthy New Releases:

TONY IOMMI – Iommi
TYGERS OF PANTANG - Live At Wacken

Moldy Oldys:

[What’s kicking old school on the SFK Deck O’ Death this week:]
John Parr – Running The Endless Mile, 1927 – Ish, Michael Learns To Rock – Paint My Love, Lionel Richie – Back To Front, Chris DeBurgh – Spark To The Flame

Kurt’s Picks:

All Star United – Smash Hits, Essential, 2000
[Similarities: Enuff Z’nuff, Goo Goo Dolls, Bay City Rollers]
A collection of this power pop combo’s best tunes from their previous two releases along with three new songs, it showcases a tight and highly infectious sound that really sounds like no one else currently. These guys can write killer hooks that totally grab you from the start and never let go. Though I gotta be honest…I’m not exactly sure of the point of this as they’ve only released two albums! Granted these are some very very good songs, and of the new ones, “Hang On” is a killer but hardly worth the price of admission. My suggestion, just go and buy the other two (especially “International Anthems For The Human Race”) and use Napster to get yourself the other tracks.

Eric Bazillian – The Optimist, Mousetrap, 2000
[Similarities: Glen Burtnick, Danny Wilde, Jon Bon Jovi]
As of late, Eric has become one of the best songwriters in the business, spitting out hits for people like Ricky Martin, Jon Bon Jovi, Amanda Marshall, Joan Osborne and others. It’s good to see this ex-Hooters man finally get his own album out. While the tone of the album varies from the upbeat (“Driving In England” and the bashing “Mind Going Down”) to the more introspective (the Stonesy “Bye Bye Baby” or the ‘should be huge’ “Be My Woman”), the songwriting is of the highest quality throughout, with the lyrics really showcasing a modern-day genius. Look out for Eric’s versions of songs he wrote for others, a much speeded up and Hooter-ized “UGLY” (as written for Jon Bon Jovi) and a stripped down “One Of Us” (as written for Joan Osborne). As odd as this sounds, although very good it just doesn’t come across as something I will listen to all that much, mood depending.

David Glen Eisley – Stranger From The Past, Frontiers, 2000
[Similarities: House Of Lords, Black Sabbath, Rainbow]
I know this was supposed to be a “return to his melodic roots” but many listens through and not a damned thing stuck. I hate to say it but I’m really disappointed in this one because I was expecting so much. Over and over I spun this thinking I was missing something but finally I came to the conclusion that there’s just nothing here for me. David still sounds good, if a little rough but the music and songs just seem to go bang-bang-bang with nary a melody in earshot. Only the ballad “Stranger In Love” came across as what I was expecting, in an AOR sort of vein. Those with tastes that run a little harder edged (if a little sludgy) should get some mileage out of this though.  [Ed. Note: after reading a few reviews on the various melodic website, I see I am alone in my opinion here as I guess others are hearing something I don’t.]

Kick Axe – Vices, Sony reissue, 2000 (1984)
[Similarities: King Kobra, Helix, Krokus]
Back in 1984, when this was first released, it was the kind of album I lived for, when my tastes weren’t more exact. You remember the sound, big riffs, big hair and bad lyrics. Fifteen years on and this did not hold up well. In fact, it’s almost laughable now. The screaming of George Criston grates on the ears after mere seconds, and only gets worse. The music itself isn’t all that bad and quite riffy at times, but the combination of bad singing and bad lyrics make this one that should have been left un-issued on CD when there are so many other albums out there so much more deserving. I know this is supposed to be some sort of classic, but I just don’t get it.

Mitch Malloy – Shine, Prana, 2000
[Similarities: Bon Jovi, Sammy Hagar, Desmond Child]
An all around solid outing that got better with each spin. Does it touch his essential debut? Let me say this, it comes REALLY close. “Shine” is a great example of taking a classic sound, mixing in some latter day influences (like new country), and taking everything an extra step. Honestly, there’s not a song here that doesn’t make most new AOR pale in comparison, and with tracks like “Love Made A Liar Out Of Me”, “Another Road” and the whipping album closer “When I Try”, it’s easy to see why this guy was almost a member of Van Halen. Oozing melody from every pore, this CD has made itself a nice home in my various players. With great lyrics and excellent musicianship this is all too easy a recommendation. Welcome back Mitch.

Axel Rudi Pell – The Masquerade Ball, SPV, 2000
[Similarities: Yngwie Malmsteen, Ten, Dio]
Typical Euro Metal with all the subtlety of a nuclear bomb. Normally I would tune right out on this stuff but noticing Johnny Gioeli on vox helped me go into listening with more of an open mind. And his singing style sounds real fine here, giving the material a very soulful vibe. While I still wouldn’t consider myself a fan, I can say what this band does, they do very well. Powerful riff driven melodic rock in which Axel spits out some very fine leads should make power metal fans very happy. With a few 7+ minute epics, even some prog fans might take notice.

Savannah – Forevers Come And Gone, Z Records, 2000
[Similarities: Stryper, Dokken, Firehouse]
Yet another melodic release that although is nothing spectacular, ain’t all that shabby either. And it’s another one of those releases that when firing on all cylinders borders on the classic. Unfortunately, it’s also got its share of songs that are really just average. The band is at their best on songs like “All Or Nothing”, “Live To See Tomorrow” and the incredible “Backs To The Wall”. Other than that, the rest is your standard hard rock fare that’s no better nor worse than anything else out there. Singer Earl Lord is a dead ringer for Ted Poley, but seems a little weak at times in the higher range. Producer Michael Sweet, not surprisingly, gives the band a Stryper-ish edge and on songs like the big ballad title track makes the harmonies ring of his old band. Bottom line…the stand out tracks are enough to recommend this as they outweigh the filler.

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

Bon Jovi: Crush, Mercury Records
[similarities: Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, Oasis, Enuff Znuff]
New Bon Jovi album, big single, big video, decent album? Well no, this is probably the worst thing that the band has ever put out. Of course their worst is better than most bands can ever hope to achieve. Still, that said, Crush is a major disappointment.

Not surprisingly one of the better tracks on this album is the title cut, "It’s My Life", a catchy as hell rocker anthem that gets under your skin and never goes away. If only the rest of the album were this good. The second track and second single, "Say it isn’t So," is a beatle-esque track that sounds not too dissimilar to something from Chicago’s finest, Enuff Z’Nuff. Both of the videos for these two songs and pretty decent (but not too radical) remixes are included in the UK Edition of the album. Unfortunately someone made the videos PC only, so this Mac owning writer is sol. Also included is a demo version of the song "I could make a living out of loving you," which is one of the best tracks on the whole bloody album. The damn thing is as catchy as the best of Bon Jovi, great chorus, why this wasn’t on the album proper I have no idea.

"Thank you for Loving Me" is a tepid ballad that never really gets going, it tries to capture the same glory (mellow piano, distant guitar and symphonic interludes as "Always" from the band’s greatest hits package but never gets there. Ditto "Next 100 Years" which could have easily been a great power ballad and is instead a limp offering. Even the na-nas at the end are weak, especially when included in a Beatle-esque string and horn arrangement. There seems to be a Beatle-esque (via Oasis) theme on the album, a good clue is the white Rolls Royce featured on the cover.

"One Wild Night" is a Bon Jovi rocker that almost captures the glory of old, the chorus is catchy and you can imagine it cranked on a car stereo, the intro is good for a laugh as well. The previous track "I got the Girl" has some character but is a tad forgettable, if pleasant.

Save you money on this one or make sure to get the UK version with the extra tracks. If you don’t already have it, get Sambora’s latest solo album, which is head and shoulders above this tepid release. Besides the opening track there is not much here that leaps out at you and sticks in the head. Has the mighty Bon Jovi run out of steam, too distracted by the solo pursuits of its members? Only time will tell, but I suspect as long as the punters still go see them live, they will keep pumping the albums out. – Marty

Inhale: The Stoner Rock Compilation, Spitfire Records
[similarities: Fu Manchu, Black Sabbath, St Vitus]
As you would expect from such a compilation, this is 13 tracks of unrelenting sludge music. Most of this is fairly bog standard if not offensive to the ears. After a while it has a samey vibe to it, that blends nicely into the background and can be quite pleasant.

The two highlights of this CD are without a doubt, the awesome sludge version of "Dream Weaver" originally penned by Gary Wright. This cover is recognizable yet oddly different, and makes you sit up and take notice. A great opener to this mediocre compilation. The next highlight is Murder 1 doing a damn good version of "While Lotta Rosie", a definite standout. The picture of the band dressed up as the Fantastic 4 on the inside is good for a chuckle or two.

Ultimately there is not much here for non-fans of the genre. If you have a passing interest in this sub-genre of metal, then this compilation would not be a bad place to start. Its well put together. The Gary Wright cover is almost worth the price of admission alone. Reading the daft names of some of the bands (Mystick Krewe of Clearlite anyone?) will provide you with a few minutes of amusement as well. Who knows all of this stuff might sound much better if the listener is stoned. Me, if I am the mood for sludge, I just go back to the granddaddy of them all, Sabbath. - Marty

AOR Basement (Ian McIntosh):

707 seem to suddenly back on the scene. So much so that the band will be releasing their first album in 18 years on November 7th.... A first single from the album (which is on Bedrock Records) has already been released and is called "The Firing Line" - if you fancy downloading it as an MP3 file you can find it at: http://www.discconnection.com/707/thefiringline.mp3 . Kevin Russell who originally formed the band in the late 1970s is behind the come-back. Other musicians involved in the new recordings include well traveled drummer Denny Carmassi (ex Montrose, Gamma and Heart among a host of others) and bassist Don Bassey. Get more information at http://www.kevinrussell.com or to be put on the 707 mailing list send a "Join 707 List" note to BdrkRec@aol.com .

This week sees a few interesting releases in Japan. On the fusion side you have "The Grand Passion", a new album from guitar supreme Al Di Meola and a new album from T-Square called "Friendship". On the AOR side you get the new album from Journey ("Arrival") which will have an exclusive bonus track from Japan, plus a couple of RCA/BMG re-releases, the more worthy of which is What If's debut album. The other is "Last Safe Place" from Le Roux, which is a rather disappointing album when you consider it was released between the classic albums "Up" and "So Fired Up". Both the BMG re-releases come with "K2 Re-mastering" - god knows what that is! Geddy Lee's debut solo album is due out in Japan this week. Slightly further ahead Lana Lane's "Ballad Collection II" is due November 22 along with Satriani-like guitarist Slav Simanic's "Water of Life" which will get two bonus tracks. That same day will also see "Phoenix Rising" out from The View (sadly with no bonus tracks, and a week later will see a new release from Danish pop-rockers Michael Learns to Rock.

Reader profiles:

Name: Ady Berry

Place where you live: Manchester, UK

Age: 32

Favorite artists: Marvelous Three/FM

Favorite song: "Beautiful"- Marv 3

Favorite ballad: "Stranger Kind of Love" FM (Demo track)

10 albums I would take if stranded on a desert island:

All Three Marv 3 cd's
Tsar - "Tsar
Journey - "Greatest Hits"
FM - "Indiscreet"
John Waite - "Greatest Hits"
BeauCoup - "Born 'n' Raised on Rock 'n' Roll"
White Sister - "Fashion by Passion" (sorely underrated Classic)
The Storm - "The Storm"
Icon - " A More Perfect Union"
Everclear - "Songs from An American Movie Vol. 1"

Website: None at present but thinking about a pop rock/pop punk/alternative melodic rock site. Anyone interested?

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

Feedback:

From: "Henrik Olaussen" i-ten@online.no

Subject: TAXXI
Hi Kurt, Taxxi released 3 records. 2 on Fantasy and 1 on MCA. None has ever been put out on CD. I've been in touch with Fantasy (who's lately turned to become a label specializing in jazz) regarding a possible "best of Taxxi" - and the answer was that they are looking at it, and that something eventually will come out, but they can't say when, and if it will feature tracks from the MCA release. However, I have downloaded several songs from Napster, so you may find something there in the meantime. They had quite a few great songs, but the song "Runaway" from the second album is by far my fave! Also to be found on Napster is a song they never, as far as I can recall, released on any of their albums, called "Still in Love" Get that one too. (Not the "rascals mix" - the original version is way better)

From: "Jeff Cooper" jeff@marimba.com

Subject: Taxxi on CD: not yet
Kurt, Back in January I contacted Fantasy Records (Taxxi's old label during most of their career) begging them to release Taxxi's back catalog on CD. They replied that they were working on a Greatest Hits CD and that it would be out sometime this summer. Nothing but silence since. I've been keeping my eyes open for this and if I hear anything more I'll let you know. As far as I know none of their records were ever released on CD.

From: Mike540105@aol.com Mike540105@aol.com

Subject: Watch this Video!!!

You've gotta see this free net video that pits REO Speedwagon & Survivor as stranded on a desert.  This is the Spinal Tap version of the TV show Survivor!!! Best line is when Frankie Sullivan say, "It really doesn't matter who wins. We're just going to beat the crap out of REO FAGWAGON." I was rollin' on the floor laughin my ass off!!!

http://www.ifilm.com/ifilm/skeletons/film_detail/0,1263,429245,00.html

From: ws@ws129.com

Subject: THE NEW DAVID COVERDALE CD ON SALE NOW!
YES, don't wait anymore! Buy the new David Coverdale CD at http://whitesnake.santcugat.com

From: "David Reynolds" david@southview80.freeserve.co.uk

Subject: Steevi Jaimz

Hi Kurt,

In response to a recent question on SFK, the Steevi Jaimz CD on the Starry Eyes label has now been released and should soon be available from all the usual companies and stores supplied by Cargo Records.

The album is titled 'Damned If I Do...Damned If I Don't' and features tracks culled from Steevi's work with Crash K.O. back in 1982 plus his 90s projects St.Jaimz (all tracks from the 'Kick That Habit' EP produced with Thin Lizzy's Scott Gorham), War Party and Jaimz Gang.