STRIKTLY FOR KONNISSUERS 10-4-99

Official Nonsense:

Editor and Godfather - Kurt Torster

The Capos:

Ian McIntosh (AOR Basement http://www.aorbasement.com)
Tim Henderson (Brave Words - http://www.hardradio.com)
Peter Sims (Now & Then/Frontiers - http://www.nowandthen.co.uk)
Ove Gustafsson (MTM - http://www.pi.se/mtm)
Carrie Borzillo (All Star Daily News)
Marty Dodge ( http://www.lupusandco.com )
Keyji Johnsen

All e-mail should be directed to ktorster@yahoo.com.

Snail mail address for press kits & CDs, porno tapes, DVDs, Star Wars toys, money, etc.:

SFK c/o Kurt Torster

68 Lindbergh Blvd

Bloomfield, NJ 07003 USA

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The Legal Mumbo-jumbo:

You are free to pass along this copy of SFK to whomever you wish (through either e-mail or print out). You are also free to take news and reviews with the stipulation that you let your readers know where it came from (and sending a copy to us would be nice!).

The Escape Clause:

We here at SFK hold the right to print any and all E-mail sent to us unless you specifically state not to.

Kurt’s Krap:

CD NOW is running a $10 off everything in the store sale...check it out: http://www.cdnow.com/from=sr-38281

There will be no SFK’s for the next two weeks. I will be on vacation in Houston, Texas. Any Texans who wanna get together, contact me.

Check out a cool website at www.theartofthemix.org. It’s a site totally dedicated to making mix tapes.

I hate to admit it, but I am absolutely hooked on Len’s "Steal My Sunshine". I also hate to admit that "Cowboy" from Kid Rock is a pretty cool tune.

Well, thanks to the new voting booth, I exceeded my output for the website from Mindspring. I have removed the voting booth temporarily until  I return from vacation, but so far it looks to be a success.

News Bytes:

CHANGE OF HEART and NEWMAN have been added to the Gods ‘99 festival. Also, TEN will play a full set while solo sets from Vinny Burns and Gary Hughes have been cut.

Look for QUEEN’s "Greatest Hits Volume 3" to feature the following tracks: The Show Must Go On (Queen And Elton John), Under Pressure ("Rah Mix" - A New Remix Done By Queen, Josh Macrae And Justin Shirley Smith), Barcelona, Too Much Love Will Kill You, Somebody To Love (Five Live Version With George Michael), You Don’t Fool Me, Heaven For Everyone, Las Palabras De Amor, Driven By You, Living On My Own, Let Me Live, The Great Pretender, Princes Of The Universe, Another One Bites The Dust (Queen & Wyclef Jean), No-One But You, These Are The Days Of Our Lives, Thank God It’s Christmas.

Ex-KANSAS/STREETS singer STEVE WALSH will release a new album through Magna Carta in 2000.

The first single from DREAM THEATER’s upcoming "Scenes From A Memory" CD is the track "Home".

You can sample the new MARILLION disc, to be release late October at their website at www.marillion.com.

SFK Faves JOHN EDDIE and MICHAEL MCDERMOTT recently played sets in Chicago that resulted in some very unhappy BRUCE  SPRINGSTEEN fans. There was a rumor that Bruce would be performing that evening with the two, so people were paying upwards of $1000 for a ticket to the show, only to find out that it was just a rumor.

You can download a special acoustic version of the latest single from SAVAGE GARDEN, "I Knew I Loved You", over at at http://windowsmedia.msn.com/preview/savagegarden/.

MELISSA ETHERIDGE will perform a free concert tonight at the New York Hard Rock Café, that will also be broadcast over the internet at  vh1.com, hardrock.com and melissaetheridge.com.

Some various news on new singles: The next single from BLESSID UNION OF SOULS will be the power ballad "Standing At The Edge Of The World".The next single from SMASH MOUTH will be "Then The Morning Comes". Looks like the next single from RICKY MARTIN will be his cover of the HOOTERS’ "Private Emotion", which just may be the best track on his album. Ricky also taped his upcoming live concert for CBS in New Jersey this past weekend, which included special guest CARLOS SANTANA.

Came across an excellent website over at http://www.doremi.co.uk/glam/welcome.html which highlights the history of British Glam.

Tour dates for DEF LEPPARD are available at http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/mreinemann/99tour.htm.

AC/DC has now pushed back the release of their latest album until early 2000.

The latest from COUNTING CROWS, "This Desert Life", will be released November 2. The first single, "Hanging Around", is quite the little pop ditty and has the catchiness of their hit "Mr. Jones".

Over at the RickRocks site ( http://webster.uihr.uiuc.edu/rickrocks) you can get discount tickets to see RICK SPRINGFIELD on Broadway performing in ‘Smokey Joe’s Café’.

CROWDED HOUSE will release a rarities disc later this fall.

Tomorrow will see the release of "More Than This", a career retrospective from BRYAN FERRY, including music from his days in ROXY MUSIC.

TONY IOMMI will release a solo album next year, with guest appearances from Ian Astbury of THE CULT, BRIAN MAY and ROB HALFORD, among others.

GEOFF MOORE has revamped his website over at www.geoffmoore.com.

With THE CULT recently signing to Atlantic, their old label Beggar’s Banquet will reissue their past catalog along with a new "Best Of" CD.

Though not quite melodic rock, the BEASTIE BOYS will release a greatest hits titled "The Sounds Of Silence". What’s most interesting though, is that besides the normal version, you can also get a customized version of the disc, picking your own favorite songs from the rock/rap trio from their entire catalog.

Noteworthy New Releases:

[* recommended by SFK]

GARTH BROOKS - In The Life Of Chris Gaines

MARSHALL CRENSHAW - Number 447

THE DOOBIE BROTHERS - Long Train Runnin’ (1970-2000)

GRIM REAPER - Best Of

STING - Brand New Day

YES - The Ladder

ZZ TOP - XXX (w/six new studio tracks and six live tracks)

Original soundtrack to "That ‘70s Show" (w/new version of Big Star’s "In the Street" by Cheap Trick)

Kurt’s Picks:

ICON - 1984: LIVE BOOTLEG, Epilogue, 1999 [Similarities: Judas Priest, Kiss, Dokken] [ http://www.inficad.com/~epilogue ]

Maybe I’m spoiled by what I consider to be one of the best melodic rock albums of all time, Icon’s very own "Night Of The Crime". But   listening to this was just painful. Besides the fact that the sound is just horrible (which is admitted in the liner notes that this recording came from a bootleg video), the songs centered more on Icon’s first, rather generic album rather than that career defining classic. It’s hard to tell whether the performance was any good as I just had a real hard time getting past the godawful sound. Besides that, like stated previously, the songs from that first album really weren’t all that good. It was hard enough to get worked up over the studio versions of songs like "Under My Gun" or "On Your Feet". Just think how much more difficult it is a listen taking into account the sound problems. Save your money for the import of "Night Of The Crime" instead.

JELLYFISH - THE GREATEST, EMI Japan, 1998 [Similarities: Queen, Beach Boys, ELO]

Every so often you come across a band that should have been huge but simply faded away into obscurity. Jellyfish is certainly one of those bands. Though they have a rather decent sized cult following, to most people (even knowledgeable melodic rock fans) they are unknown. One listen to this disc will deepen the mystery as the San Francisco based band plays a rather interesting mix of orchestrated bombast mixed with a 70s pop groove (think Queen meets the Partridge Family!). Comprised of tracks from their lone two albums, this is a great introduction to a band that was so sorely overlooked. Listening to the gorgeous melodies of "I Wanna Stay Home" and "Baby’s Coming Back" or the  outright rocking blasts of "The Ghost At Number One" and "Joining A Fan Club" will make you wonder how a band can make it look so easy yet deliver the goods with so much passion. From the huge harmonies to their excellent instrumentation (the harpsichord in the background of "The King Is Half Undressed" sounds amazing), this band seemingly had no faults. This great collection also includes a mini-concert of sorts, with 5 live tracks featuring their versions of Badfinger’s "No Matter What", Wings’ "Jet" and "Let ‘Em In", as well as a couple of their own ‘classics’. Start with this ‘primer’ and you’ll be picking up their other two discs in no time. I know I did.

http://www.cdnow.com/switch/from=sr-38281/target=buyweb_purchase/itemid=497051

VENICE - SPIN ART, Vanguard, 1999 [Similarities: Taxiride, The Eagles, America] [ http://www.pacificnet.net/~egoman/venice/ ]

From the very first strains of album opener "The Man You Think I Am" you already know the tone and pace that the band sets forth and from this and the similarities listed above, you can pretty much tell whether or not this is for you. This is acoustic based melodic rock that is surrounded by the incredible harmonies of the four Lennon brothers and on songs like "Garden Wall", the romantic ballad "The Road To Where You Are" and the simply awesome "More Of A Miracle" they have some pretty good shots of Rock-40 radio. Though at times, the album can be a little too soft for even me (like on "Landslide"), a  song like the upbeat "Poor You Poor Me Poor Love" will come along and pick things right up again. The passion and commitment they put forth in their music helps to make the whole album seem much more than just a simple going through the motions, which is what most of what passes for melodic rock is these days (though this may lay too far on the soft side of the fence for some). Whether this means I’m going mellow or just getting tired of the whole generic fluff being tossed about these days, I don’t know. But I for one am thankful that I have bands like Venice to turn to.

http://www.cdnow.com/switch/from=sr-38281/target=buyweb_purchase/itemid=780898

(Re)Views From The Hill:

GUILD OF AGES: VOX DOMINATAS, MTM Music [similarities: Ten, CITA (duh), Dream Theatre]

The band Guild of Ages, who were formerly known in the guise of CITA, have just released one of the best rock albums of the year. There is not a duff track on this disc. It contains two covers, one of Duran Duran’s "Hungry like the Wolf" and the Jonathan Cain & John Waite/Bad English tune "Wish that I was there." GoA do justice to both tracks and neither track seems to stick out on the disc. As one who always enjoyed Duran Duran I was worried that GoA had butchered my fave DD track, I worried needlessly. GoA add some distorted vocals and speed the track up a bit, however it is clear that the band is having a damn good time with the song. "Wish that I was there," if released by a major label or a boy band would have pubescent girls squealing in the aisles. Considering the track’s pedigree, this should not come as a shock, but GoA make this song theirs. The rest of the tracks on Vox range from strong Prog "When you run Away", ala Dream Theatre, to good solid AOR. None of them ever seem out of place on the record and the track placement blends nicely. Unlike some recent releases there is nothing on here that would have the  listener reaching for the remote skip button.

It is hard to pick the standouts but "Save me Tonight" has to be one of my favourites, combining harmonies, with a great guitar line that works with the emotion of the track. Acoustic guitar fills precedes and follows a choral verse, adding a haunting texture to the track. "Set me Free" is introed by a bit of Indian sitar, the track itself is a slow-ish tune that is heavy on emotion and guitar sound, complete with a great guitar interlude.

Simply put "Vox Dominatas" is a great hard rock album that deserves your attention. The only odd thing about this album, is the cover that makes the band look like purveyors of goth or doom, which combined with the name give the entirely wrong impression of the contents of the album. It just oozes class, MTM and Guild of Ages have done it again. I think it can be said that Guild of Ages no longer has to remind people of their past as CITA, they are now well and truly established. Just get your hands on a copy of this album and enjoy it. - MD

HARLAN CAGE: FORBIDDEN COLORS, MTM Music [similarities: The Distance, Westworld, Unruly Child,Fredricksen/Phllips]

To be honest I have never owned a Harlan Cage album, before now. I was aware of the band from MTM compilations and various AOR mags cover discs. While here in France, I took a chance on one of their discs during a CD buying frenzy (14 and counting) caused by the myriad of choices that can be found in Virgin Paris’ Heavy Metal section. As with the aforementioned Guild of Ages, I lucked out on this one, it is yet another excellent release from the MTM stable. Now if they werent such a pain to find the US, we would be all set. This trio play a tight keyboard laden brand of hard rock that real gets under your skin. The almost 50 minutes contained in 12 tracks are each and every one a joy to behold. Much of the pleasure of this album is contained in LA Greene’s great voice, it is clear and brisk, and there is none of the shrieking that can be found in some types of hard rock and AOR. His voice is distinctive and precise, so much so that it is possible to hear every word in each song. Tommy Funderburk and some guy named Wilheim Wannabe Remarkable help out with backing  vocals on the album. Of great interest is "Thrill of it All" with its keyboard and guitar harmonization with Greene’s voice. "Cant tame the Raven" contains violins and mandolin, adding to somber element of the track about a young girl’s disappearance and death. "A little Rain" starts with catchy guitar, a  track that makes you sit up and take notice, one of those songs with a chorus that will stick with you for days. (Considering it has done nothing but rain since I arrived here in France, I might be a bit prejudiced. Floyd followed me across the Atlantic.) "Making my Way back to you," is one of those power ballads that you will either love or hate. Added to the love hate factor is the fact that Greene starts the song sounding like Mealoaf at his most mellow, it is only when his raises his voice that Greene shows that his pipes don’t screech when pushed. I happened to love this track, replete with all the cliches of the "separation ballad": piano, whiney guitar and sappy lyrics. In case you thought that these boys did not know how to rock check out "Last Plane Out" and "Late Night Escapes" with its almost techno metal crunchy guitar and German metal keyboard combo, drummer Ron Wikso, kicks out the jams as well. If you are so inclined, the temptation to air guitar/keyboard may be hard to resist on this one. As an interesting touch, there is a tembo change midway through the  song which signals a Helloween-esque jam session, Billy Liesegang and Greene prove they can play with the best of them. Another recommended buy from the MTM catalogue. Well worth paying import prices to add to your collection. - MD

AOR Basement (Ian McIntosh):

Been reading a very interesting presentation this week from a guy called George Geis whose an information systems professor at the   University of California, Los Angeles. The main thrust of what Geis is saying is that the arrival of digital music delivery may do for the recording industry what rock and roll did in the 1950s: empower a new generation of independent producers and break up the global oligopoly of the major labels. That would be good for all forms of music, melodic rock included, and get the power in this industry away from the people that know nothing about music!

Geis also added that internet delivery could expand the market for music into new applications and "liberate a $100 billion dollar industry trapped inside a $40 billion body".

All the major labels are running about embracing internet delivery methods, but in truth they’re shit scared of it! Geis confirms that point by saying that the establishment of a direct link between artist and consumer could many redundant many of today’s vertically integrated music groups. Manufacturing, shipping, group management and even marketing could "fall out of the industry’s established value chain" and even retailers could be threatened too.

After a long, slow regrouping the "big five" (Universal, EMI, BMG, Warner and Sony) account for 80% of album sales, but they need a good shake-up. Now they’re all saying how much they are going to support internet delivery, but Universal’s shares fell the best part of 10% in a couple of days due to fears its growth would be slowed by heavy internet-related costs. That shows just how short term the music industry has become, and the major labels must stick to  their guns rather than being led around by rings in their noses by accountants.

Sony is one that’s been quick to embrace internet delivery and has planned to make 4,000 albums available for download on demand in US shops. Such a system has already been tested at the Virgin Megastore in Columbus, Ohio and is due to introduced in Los Angeles and New York "in time for Christmas". Gies says this is a sign of the times though "whether it succeeded was irrelevant, but the initiative shows how the big five are bending over backwards to keep retailers in the value chain". What he’s saying politely is they’re trying to find a way to appear internet delivery while still lining as many pockets as possible.....

Feedback:

From: "Pat Beals" < pbeals@hotmail.com>

I saw Marvelous 3 in concert twice this spring as an opener for Collective Soul. Great energy...reminded me of The Outfield

sound, but I can see comparisons with Cheap Trick, too. I bought the Hey! Album and have found it good listening. Clever lyrics.

Glad to see that some of your SFK readers have noticed and like them.

From: "Ray Thomas" < ray@vipers.net>

A quick word on the list of "latest Springsteen Tour Dates" in this week’s issue... it’s wrong, mate.

The reason I know is I was looking at the schedule today, ‘cos I can’t make it to the concert on Thursday in Chicago now - which sucks - it’s because of work too. However, he’s coming to Indy now in November, so we hope to get to see him there. Anyhow, I find that an excellent site for a lot of tour dates is WWW.POLLSTAR.COM - look Springsteen up on there and it’ll give the full US tour list, thus far. Cheers - take care.

[Believe it or not, those dates came direct from Bruce’s mgt. through email!]

From: McGeeF19@aol.com

Thanx for all your great work keeping us up to date on happenings in the music world. I’ve been posing the question of whatever became of...to several knowledgeable sources of late and thought I’d touch base with you to see if you had any further information. I really enjoyed two Little America albums released in the 80’s and have been wondering whatever became of front man Mike Magrisi. I would love to see him back in the business but can’t find a trace of him since the Little America days. Any info. you have or recommendations on who might be in the know on this would be appreciated.

[I did some pretty thorough web searches and came up empty on all counts. Anyone know anything on this band?]

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MARTIN POPOFF’S THE COLLECTOR’S GUIDE TO HEAVY METAL has gone to a 2,000 book second printing after being sold out for four  months. The mammoth 540 page, 600,000 word, book contains 3,700 heavy metal record reviews, glossary, rock lists, plus a full-length 19 track CD Century Media sampler.

US orders: $24.00 US funds. Canadian: $30 Can. funds.

International:$30 US funds.

All prices include shipping, payable to Martin Popoff, P.O. Box65208, 358 Danforth Ave., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4K 2Z2.

Email Martin at martinp@inforamp.net with all questions, comments, flames, etc.

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