STRIKTLY FOR KONNISSUERS 09-04-00

”There are three essential Commandments:

·        Respect The Elders.

·        Embrace The New.

·        Encourage The Impractical and Improbable, Without Bias.

-David Fricke”

Official Nonsense:

·      Editor and witless moron - Kurt Torster

Other people that may be morons:

·        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 lost some email over the past weekend, so if you sent me a reader profile or some other mail and haven’t seen it address here, can you please send it again? Thanks.

Saw two awesome movies over the weekend…Saving Private Ryan (yeah, I know…I’m a little behind) and Fight Club. Both highly recommended.

News Bytes:

Bon Jovi will be taping their VH-1 Storytellers episode in New York City on September 21. Look for the show to air in October to coincide with the kickoff of their US tour, which will also include simulcasting the first few songs on the network as well. The band will also reissue “Crush” in the UK with the following bonus tracks: I Could Make A Living Loving You (demo), Say It Isn't So (UK Mix), It's My Life (Dave Bascombe Mix) and videos for the two singles. And if that’s not enough for ya, the band plan a DVD release of their recent concert in Zurich (which is now all over Napster BTW).

Apparently Portrait has dropped the Damn Yankees, leaving their third album in limbo.

AOR Heaven will be getting in stock over the next two months many AOR classics. Check it out: OUTSIDE EDGE-Running Hot, OUTSIDE EDGE-More Edge (unreleased 2nd album), ROBIN GEORGE-Dangerous Music, LEGS DIAMOND-Fire Power, LE ROUX-Last Safe Place, KICK AXE-Vices, GIUFFRIA/Silk + Steel and WHAT IF.

VH-1 is currently cybercasting a concert featuring Third Eye Blind, Vertical Horizon and Nine Days. Also available on cybercast is a Florida show featuring Sister Hazel.

The special edition of Rick Springfield’s Alive”, available through his website, is $70 US!

A2 has signed Telsa offshoot Bar 7 to release their very good “The World Is a Freak” album in the UK. Release date is September 21.

Samantha 7 will have their song “I Wanna Be Famous” featured as the theme song for the new WB series Grosse Point.

Looks like the Journey album WILL be delayed until February, at least in the US. Says Neil Schon on the band’s website, "Pushing it back had nothing to do with Van Halen (?), and had everything to do with Sony and our management. It seems management was not convinced that they had enough "set up" time and due to the hundreds of records that are going to be released before x-mas, everyone thought that it would be best to come after the first of the year. Very sorry to all you fans out there...as I know this will be our third release date now. As guess so much for jumping the gun on the internet." Now, on the other hand, I hear the album still has an October 18 release date in Japan. Go figure.

September 12 marks the 25th anniversary of the release of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon”. In celebration Shockwave will post an animated video of the title track.

The official U2 site has posted an audio clip of "Beautiful Day", the first single from the band's late October release, "All That You Can't Leave Behind". The track listing is as follows: "Beautiful Day”, "Elevation”, "Walk On”, "Stuck in a Moment”, "Peace on Earth”, "Kite”, "New York”, "In a Little While”, "Wild Honey”, "When I Look at the World” and "Grace".

The upcoming “Capitol Punishment” hits set from Megadeth will be out on October 24 and contain two new tracks as well as a video track. Fans can vote for which video should appear over at the band’s website.

The track listing for the upcoming Hootie & The Blowfish B-sides collection: "Fine Line", "Use Me", "I Hope That I Don't Fall In Love With You" (MTV Unplugged), "Before The Heartache Rolls In", "Araby", "Driver 8", "Dream Baby", "Renaissance Eyes", "I'm Over You", "Gravity of the Situation”, "I Go Blind”, "Hey Hey What Can I Do”, "Almost Home”, “Freedom's Child", "Frances", "Let Me Be Your Man”, "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want" and "Christmas This Year".

Look for “Tales From The Crypt: Monsters Of Metal” in September, which features new songs from Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Queensryche, Anthrax and Megadeth, among others.

Fight club: Sebastian Bach and Rikki Rocket are duking it out through words over at Metal Sludge. Rikki, at least IMO, is easily on the winning side of things.

Got a note from Chuck Wright of House Of Lords. Seems the band is trying to get themselves signed to Portrait and wants everyone’s help. "Hello again friends and fans, Please contact Portrait Records (or any other label you may think of) via their website and guestbook and let them know you want a new HOUSE OF LORDS record. We want to come back stronger and better than ever. Thanks so much for being loyal to real rock! Thanks again for you input and help. Have a great week. All the best, Chuck".

There’s a rumor floating around the net that Robbie Williams and the surviving members of Queen want to get together.

Saturday, November 4, is the date for the Gods 2000 festival in Wigam. Appearing this year is Ten, Two Fires, The Sign, Melodica, Millenium, Heaven And Earth, Johnny Lima, Teer, Praying Mantis, Street Legal and Lost Weekend. Tickets are priced at £20 each and can be ordered directly from Now & Then Productions. Make checks, Postal Orders, Eurocheques, International Money Orders or International Postal Orders payable to MARK ASHTON in UK Pounds Sterling ONLY. Send orders to: Now & Then Production, Unit 23, Empress Mill, Ince, Wigan, WN2 2BG, UK. Credit card orders (as well as check transactions) can be made at the following outlets (subject to booking fee): Destiny Records, Loud One Mail Order or The Groove Machine.

The new Savannah album, “Forever’s Come And Gone” (produced by Michael Sweet) will be out October 23.

Tony Franklin has now finished the bass parts for the upcoming debut from Rainmaker, set to be released October 2.

Over at Windows Media, you will be able to download fifteen tracks from the new Doobie Brothers album, “Sibling Rivalry”. The album is set to be released October 3. Later this year the band will release “Live Millennium” in a similar fashion.

The latest single from Savage Garden is the title track to their last album, “Affirmation”.

Z has signed 21 Guns to release their “Nothing’s Real” album. Tracklisting: No Soul, Underground, Kings Vengeance, Come On In , U&I, Nothings Real, Movin' On, Mister Mofo, Wolves and The Otherside.

The September edition of AOR - The melodic Rock Site is ready with “some stunning News and exciting Reviews”.

The tracklisting for the upcoming album from Heartland, As It Comes”: Staring Down The Gun, Eyes Open Wide, She Blows Me Away, Willing To Fly, Love Resurrection, Too Good To Be True, Whatever Gets You Through The Night, One Love, Live To Fight Another Day, The Run Away, You Make Me Smile, Conquer All and Too Good To Be True (Guitar version - bonus track).

The second Hughes/Thrall album is about 75% done and the band is looking at an early 2001 release.

Aerosmith is self-producing their next album. Look for a March 2001 release.

You can grab some acoustic MP3s over at Queensryche’s website.

John Waite along with Joan Jett and Jefferson Starship will be playing Freedom Hill in Sterling Heights, Michigan on September 9.

The tracklising for the new Michael McDermott album, “Last Chance Lounge”: Getting Off the Dime, Broken Down Fence, Unemployed, Spark, Murder On Her Lips, Hand of the Hunter, 20 Miles South of Nowhere, Annie and the Aztec Cross, Bourbon Blue, Leave Her to Heaven, Aces and Eights, Thinkin' About You and Junkie Girl.

Rare MP3 Of The Week:

Another soundtrack tune, this time from Valentine and their song “Keep The Faith” from the Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead flick.

Noteworthy New Releases:

Various Artists – The Boys Are Back: A Tribute To Thin Lizzy

Moldy Oldys:

[What’s kicking old school on the SFK Deck O’ Death this week:]
Toto – Fahrenheit, Peter Cetera – World Falling Down, David Foster – River Of Love, Bridge 2 Far- Bridge 2 Far, Mark Williamson – Time Slipping By

Kurt’s Picks:

Brian Setzer Orchestra – Vavoom, Interscope, 2000
[Similarities: Stevie Ray Vaughan, George Thorogood, Bryan Adams]
Though he predated the neo-swing revolution of a couple of years ago, gotta give Brian credit for sticking to his guns and continuing on a genre that was pretty much over before it began. First thing that sticks out is the drop-dead incredible guitar playing of Brian (an individual who doesn’t get near the amount of respect he deserves). Second, this album is, at times, a whole lot of fun. Granted, over the course of an album it the whole swing thing wears a little thin but there are some standouts. “Jumping East Of Java” has some blazing guitar work and is a highly infectious tune. And “Getting’ In The Mood” should be one of the biggest hits of his career as well as one of THE tunes of summer 2000. I also liked “If You Can’t Rock Me” a lot, as it had a real Stray Cats feel to it. If you’re a fan of the first couple of Orchestra discs, you will like this. I just don’t think there’s enough variety though to keep the casual fan interested.

Dakota Moon – Dakota Moon, Elektra, 1998
[Similarities: Doobie Brothers, The Eagles, Blessid Union Of Soul]
Imagine if vocal group Boyz II Men decided one day to pick up some guitars and jam out their favorite Doobie Brothers tunes. They just might then be called Dakota Moon. A nice mix of acoustic rockers and ballads all built around some incredible harmonies, these songs are influenced as much by classic rock as they are by classic soul. With upbeat tracks like “Another Day Goes By”, “She Knows” and “Won’t Be Alone Tonight” driving the set, this is classy borderline Westcoast AOR. The ballads, like “A Promise I Make” or “If I Can’t Have You”, compliment the rockers nicely and balance out the mix almost perfectly. Two years on and I have yet to figure out why this wasn’t huge.

Evan And Jaron – Evan And Jaron, Columbia, 2000
[Similarities: Nelson, Jude Cole, Swirl 360]
Though this Atlanta duo has been around a couple of years (their major label debut was produced by Danny Kortchmar), I never heard of them until my ears got a hold of their awesome single “Crazy For This Girl” that has been getting a fair share of radio play here in NJ. From there I was hooked. This is an album filled with infectious acoustic based rockers and introspective ballads that immediately get stuck in your head and leave you singing for days afterwards. Songs like “Outerspace”, “From My Head To My Heart” and “Make It Better” is the kind of upbeat fare that both old school AOR fans and fans of the newer wave of melodic pop can enjoy together. Add to the mix some amazing harmonies from this pair of brothers, intelligent songwriting and a nice glossy production and you’ve got yourself one hell of a can’t miss album that has already dominated my playlist time like no other album in recent memory.

Ivory Tower – Beyond The Stars, Limb, 2000
[Similarities: Queensryche, Siam, Dream Theater]
As much as I really can’t stand German power metal, gotta give credit where credit is due. These guys have some talent that is undeniable. Sven Boge’s guitar work is out of this world and drives every track like an F-1 racer. The vocals of Andre Fischer are part James LaBrie, part Tony Mills and when he hits his stride sounds pretty good as well. Musically, this is your typical power metal release, sounding like any number of artists like Queensryche, Dream Theater, Fates Warning or Savatage. I can’t say anything bad here because although this whole genre does zilch for me I’m pretty sure this will appeal to those who are so inclined, and there’s no doubting that what Ivory Tower has put together is well written and produced. Even I got caught up in a couple of the tracks (like the eleven minute epic “Foreboding”). Make of that what you will.

Steve Morse – Major Impacts, Magna Carta, 2000
[Similarities: Eric Johnson, Joe Satriani, Jeff Beck]
Never a fan of the instrumentals, this album proves though that when the songs come first rather than just jams, the results can be awesome. There was not a moment on this disc where my mind wandered or I wasn’t drawn in by Steve’s incredible guitar play, that for once didn’t seem like an excuse to wank all over one’s axe (which shows why Steve is also a legend). All the songs here were written using Steve’s influences (as listed in the liners) and it’s hard for me to single any one tune out, if even harder to convey how much I like this disc. Guitar and prog inclined fans…buy now because they don’t get better than this. Guitar God? The proof is right here in the playing.

Various Artists – A Tribute To Van Halen, Triage, 2000
Argh! Enough with the freaking tribute albums already! No matter how deserving the artists or how good any of the renditions are, enough…it’s lame, it’s tired. Put your energies into creating something new and exciting! OK…rant over. So, here’s a track by track of yet another to come down the pike.

·        Unchained (Jack Russell and Dweezil Zappa) – faithful, straight on rendition.

·        I’m The One (Mark Slaughter and Doug Aldrich) – since I hate Mark Slaughter’s vox, not much to add other than he still sings like his balls are in a vice. Doug Aldrich almost single handedly saves this.

·        Dance The Night Away (Joe Lynn Turner and Reb Beach) – easily the best version here, Joe Lynn shines and Reb actually adds something to the original guitar parts.

·        Light Up The Sky (Doug Pinnick and Yngwie Malmsteen) – horrible vocals and Yngwie’s over the top axe sligning is not a good combination

·        Panama (Jani Lane and George Lynch) – hey, George Lynch remembered how to rock! Shame he couldn’t save this punchless mess.

·        Hot For Teacher (John Corabi and Bruce Kulick) – crunchy, bruising. I was ready to hate this and wound up liking it.

·        Runnin’ With The Devil (Stephen Pearcy and Jake E. Lee) – holy shit is this bad! Maybe it’s not the worse thing in the world that Ratt moved on without Pearcy.

·        Oh Pretty Woman (Nelson and Albert Lee) – nice…very nice. The Nelson twins sound good and Albert Lee is just himself, rather than trying to outplay Eddie.

·        Atomic Punk (Fee Waybill and Brad Gillis) – is Fee Waybill serious? He sings the part like it’s an opera and turns the song into a joke. At least Brad Gillis sounds good.

·        So This Is Love (Jeff Scott Soto and Blues Saraceno) – Blues can play! Man…he whips out a very smooth solo and Soto rounds this one out nicely. A highlight.

·        Little Guitars (David Glenn Eisley and Mitch Perry) – Eisley is a great vocalist but is WAY out of place here. He is all wrong for this kind of music. Mitch Perry does a nice job with the guitars.

Back in the 80s I would have killed for a line up like this. Now, I dunno…I guess I’m all tribute album-ed out as short of a few tracks, nothing much here to get worked up over. Tacked on to any real album as a bonus track they probably would be cool but all lumped together on one album got annoying after a while, especially when most of them add nothing to the original. Gimme the real Van Halen any day of the week.

Robbie Williams – Sing When You’re Winning, Chrysalis, 2000
[Similarities: George Michael, Oasis, Bon Jovi]
There’s no doubt that one of the hardest things in the music world is following up a successful album. Robbie hit worldwide pay dirt last time around so stakes were high for this release. Instead of taking the easy route and simply putting out a carbon copy of his last disc, Robbie has thankfully taken some chances this time around and winds up spitting out a pretty damned good album. Opening track, “Let Love Be The Energy” is a big thumping rocker that is Oasis done one better. “Better Man” is another big acoustic ballad ala “Angels” and is just superb. “Singing For The Lonely” is jangly and catchy and could have fallen off the last Gin Blossoms album. In an album where I went looking for fault I could only find it in first single, the unabashedly British “Rock DJ”, which is catchy but the lyrics are just stupid and the faux rapping really ruins the song. Further nitpicking reveals the ballad “If It’s Hurting You” to be whiny and dull and “Knutsford City Limits” just goes and goes and never winds up getting anywhere. Looks like Robbie’s winning streak just goes on, for the moment at least.

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

Firehouse: Bring Em Out Alive, Spitfire Records
[similarities: Winger, TNT, Babylon AD, XYZ]
Firehouse is one of those bands that some people love and some people don’t amongst the AOR crowd. Named for the KISS song of the same name.  From this disk it is obvious that the Japanese love these guys. The crowd noise and sign-along is testament to the continued following in the land of the rising sun. For the record, for some reason, I have always had a soft spot for this foursome. They seem to be able to write songs that hit the right note for particular moments. This album is a great greatest hits live collection that might just show the cynics why these guys deserve more praise than they have gotten in the past.  Remember these guys have 6 million sales worldwide and have sold 15 platinum/gold records in 13 countries.

Occasional listeners of MOR stations might have heard a couple tracks on this album. Firehouse received some kudos for their two ballads: the top 5 emotive " Love of a Lifetime", which for better or worse was the biggest wedding song of 1991. The other major ballad on here is the equally emotive "When I look into your eyes", this is a power-ballad, especially when played in a live setting. "I live my life for you" is no slouch in the ballad department either, and well worth a listen.

"Bring Em" marks Firehouse’s re-launch in the US, secure in the belief that grunge is well and truly dead, and hard rock is back once again. Other great tracks from their past are "Overnight Sensation", "Don’t treat me Bad", and the classic "being dumped" song "All She Wrote."

This is a great live album, while not as much fun as their other hits like package, the acoustic "Good Acoustics," this is still a great album. It is a must have for even passing fans of the band and anyone who likes AOR Lets just hope their next album is more similar to their first two albums, that their last "Category 5". Its represented by the lame "Acid Rain" and "Bringing me Down." 

Could this be the second coming of Firehouse, the time when they finally get the respect they deserve? Doubtful, but they could have chosen a far worse launching pad for their rebirth. Kudos for Spitfire Records for allowing US fans to hear this album without being gouged by import prices. - Marty

AOR Basement (Ian McIntosh):

[Due to some family problems, Ian is taking a week off.]

Reader profiles:

Name:  Frank Lachman

Place where you live:  Edison, New Jersey

Age:  31

Favorite artist: Def Leppard

Favorite song:  Heavy Pettin "Lost in Love"

Favorite  ballad : Johnny Lima "Another Lonely Day"

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

Kick Axe "Vices"
Heavy Pettin "Rock Ain't Dead"
Black 'N Blue (S/T)
Lillian Axe "Love & War"
Y&T "In Rock We Trust"
Johnny Lima "Shine On"
Kane Roberts "Saints & Sinners"
Pretty Boy Floyd "Leather Boyz With Electric Toyz"
Def Leppard "Vault"
Lizzy Borden "Visual Lies"
TNT "Intuition"

Website: none

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

Feedback:

Subject: Review of Michael Jahnz CD
Just wanted to drop you a line to personally thank you for the great review you gave of my new "Project 3:13" CD. My manager and record label, ProFound Sound, put your review on our web site, along with a link back to your SFK site.

Keep up the good work! So many people, including myself, rely on your newsletters in steering us toward what to listen to in new releases. I'm very pleased you thought my CD was "classy" and "heads and shoulders above the rest."

Subject: Canadian CDs
I had good luck recently shopping the website for the Canadian music store, HMV (www.hmv.com). I ordered the new Freddy Curci CD, "Now and Then", as well as Young and Restless form Prism and a Platinum Blonde "best of" CD. At the time they were offering free shipping and they give the current US exchange rate, which is pretty favorable right now. All three arrived in about a week. They currently show that they have the two Alan Frew (from Glass Tiger) solo CDs referenced by one of your readers. They also show the Honeymoon Suite "13 Live" CD available as a special order ($18.99 Cdn$, $12.50 US$). I think the free shipping offer is over, but these are still pretty good deals with the current exchange rate.

Subject: Velocity...
G'day, long time no write. Just a quick one re the new Velocity track. 

I've been listening to it for a month or two now when it first became available and I've gotta say, if this is any indication of the new album, then I'm buying two copies for when the first one wears out.  The song rocks harder then anything I've heard from the MHR genre in years (In Flames, Saxon and Motorhead currently take up too much of my attention to notice by the way), I can't wait.

Oh, and just out of curiosity, are you sure Britney Fox's live album is out yet?  I got told October 17 is the release date...or do you guys have an advance copy?  Tell me, is it good?  My fav album is Bite Down Hard by the way, though I like them all, so be as brutal as necessary, I won't care. Cheers and beers!

[I gotta be honest, I do not like Britny Fox. Britney Spears maybe though! Anyways, the release info was taken from ICE Magazine.]

Subject: Female Vocalists Wanted
Female Vocalists Wanted MUST BE 18 TO 19 OR EMANCIPATED MINORS

To Join Existing Hip, Edgy Super Pop Group With MAJOR MANAGEMENT, PRODUCERS, & SONGWRITERS

MUST BE READY TO RELOCATE TO LOS ANGELES FOR RECORDING & TOURING IMMEDIATELY

SEND PICTURE, CD/TAPE, & RESUME TO:

Rock Solid Entertainment, Inc.
Attn:  Dan
P.O. Box 19192
Encino, CA  91416

Or Call Kelly For Audition Appointment (818) 788-7197

Subject: Poison at Mohegan Sun
Hey guys, I have already written a Poison review for their show at Great woods so I'll make this brief.

It's CC Deville’s world and we all just live in it. The guy is an absolute nut. During the solo for something to believe in, I start hearing these god-awful notes coming from his guitar. I mean, it was like dropping a guitar on to pavement from 50 feet above. the solo was ruined. CC runs to the side of the stage and throws his guitar down. He comes back, stops the song and yells into the mic "Connecticut, my guitar died!!!! would you please please please let me play the solo again before I die?" After the crowd yells for a while and Bret gives his go for the restart, CC continues "Don't ever buy an aluminum guitar! They suck! Aluminum is good for airplanes but bad for guitars!!" Needless to say, they played the whole song again. Now, at every Poison show I have seen in the past 2 years they have always stopped that song for some reason so it may have actually been staged but anytime I hear the Deville-o-matic ramble off some phrases it always makes for good fodder..

Other Great CC quotes "a few years ago I would have said put that in your pipe and smoke it!", "and if any of you girls want to show some titties I won't mind.."

He didn't even mention Samantha 7 during his solo..I was surprised.

All in all, the show was awesome. Poison rocked.. They also said that Dee snider has asked them to go out on tour next summer and it appears that Hairfest #3 is in the works..Bret also mentioned a DVD for the PTTP tour coming out for XMAS..

Peace..