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Editor and Wax On - Kurt Torster

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-Mark Alger (Z Records -
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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!).

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Kurt's Krap:

Hey! Someone uploaded a song on the SFK idrive called "Sun In Your Sky" and I've had a bunch of people asking who it is. Though I didn't upload it, it's from the Morning Wood album, which was a side project for TNT's Tony Harnell and some friends.

There may or may not be an SFK next week depending on if I have the time to whip an issue up. The surgery went well but I may be out of commission for a couple of days and probably won’t get to any reviews. Maybe an all news issue…

News Bytes:

HUGO will release his long awaited "Time On Earth" on February 7. Sound clips are available at his new website at It will be available in the US on February 22 through Majestic.

The MARVELOUS 3 is offering two 1-minute sound clips of songs from their upcoming album. You can grab "Grant Park" and "My Little Head" at (thanks Nikki): and

MOTLEY CRUE is talking of touring this summer with MEGADETH and BUCKCHERRY in tow.

STREET TALK have now started the recording of their second album to be titled "Transition". The album will be mixed during February and is scheduled for release through Point Music/AOR Heaven in April. The band's website is at

Tracklisting for the upcoming "Lift Off" album from BRETT WALKER: Rain In My Heart, Not About To Give In, Everybody Loves To Win, No One Left To Blame, Long Way Down, Far Cry, Don't Mean Much, Walking In My Sleep, It Looks A Lot Like Rain, Fooled Again, It's Coming Back To Me and Travelin' Blues.

Yet another cool cover in the FOO FIGHTERS repertoire, they jammed on Pink Floyd's "Have A Cigar" at a recent show in Hollywood. The band will hit the road opening for the Red Hot Chili Peppers this spring.

KING KOBRA are reuniting (except for Mark/Marcie Free) for an upcoming tour of Europe.

Hey EXTREME fans, over at there are tons of live MP3s of the band as well as demos from all phases of Gary's career.

Mark Kendall is reporting on his official website that he has left GREAT WHITE.

Supposedly the title now of the new BON JOVI album will be "One Wild Night". Jon meanwhile will take part in the movie 'Pay It Forward', which stars Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt.


February 22 is the release date for DOKKEN's "Live From The Sun - Best In The West - Live Greatest Hits" album. The tracks: 'Alone Again', 'Just Got Lucky', 'Into The Fire', 'Breaking The Chains', 'Tooth And Nail', 'It's Not Love', 'Paris Is Burning', 'Erase The Slate', 'Too High To Fly', 'Maddest Hatter' and 'In My Dreams'. The various band members are all planning solo projects as well.

Look for KROKUS' "The Definitive Collection" next month. Tracks include 'Ballroom Blitz', 'Long Stick Goes Boom', 'Bad Boys-Rag Dolls', 'Playin' The Outlaw', 'American Woman', 'Midnite Maniac', 'Nightwolf', 'Headhunter', 'Eat The Rich', 'School's Out', 'Bedside Radio', 'She's Got Everything', 'Heatstrokes', 'Screaming In The Night', and 'Stayed Awake All Night'.

There's a rumor that RUSH bassist Geddy Lee is planning a solo album.

Razor & Tie is at it again. Look for the upcoming "Monsters Of Rock 2" as well as "Monster 80s" as well as a new album from MICHAEL STANLEY.

The upcoming PLATYPUS album, "Ice Cycles", is scheduled to be released in the US on March 14th. Platypus is Dream Theater's John Myung's side project with along Ty Tabor of King's X, Derek Sherinian, and Rod Morgenstein of Dixie Dregs.

The latest VAN HALEN rumors (as absurd as some of these are) place any of the following as the new vocalist: Danny Bowes (Thunder), Sebastian Bach, Corey Glover (Living Colour), Dan Reed (what an awesome choice that would be!) and Eric Martin. This is not even counting those David Lee Roth, Sammy Hagar or David Coverdale stories.

Look for DREAM THEATER to release the single “Through Her Eyes” which includes a live version of “Home” as well as the “When Images And Words Unite” medley.

Frontiers has signed Norwegian band STREET LEGAL, who are said to sound like Whitesnake or Blue Murder.

JOHN LENNON's classic album "Imagine" will be getting the star treatment for it's upcoming reissue. It will include a booklet packed with rare photos as well as enhanced sound quality.

The members of TWISTED SISTER have asked the Atlanta Braves to stop playing any of their songs at the Braves ballgames in light of racist comments made by pitcher John Rocker.

Mega-producer NILE ROGERS is touting the merits of funk rockers REV. RIGHT TIME & THE FIRST CUZINS OF FUNK. Hoping to sign to Atlantic, they have been compared to Dan Reed Network and classic Van Halen.

Over at, they're giving away tix to the upcoming DEF LEPPARD tour of North America.

Noteworthy New Releases:

TOMMY BOLIN - Snapshot

Kurt's Picks:

LONESTAR - LONELY GRILL, BMG, 1999 [Similarities: Little Texas, Blackhawk, The Eagles] [ ]

I originally took a chance on this for the one spectacular song, the breakout single "Amazed" (which reminds me of REO Speedwagon actually). Seems to have been a chance worth taking as this is some tasty stuff. This band is country, no doubt, but they certainly lean on the new country/AOR fence that countless Nashville acts seem to be heading, and Lonestar do it quite well (Dann Huff's glossy production doesn't hurt any either). Though it's much more evident in the ballads, which all have that big power ballad feel ("Smile" with a little edge could easily have come from any early 80s AOR act), the rockers just may be too 'country' for some. Richie Macdonald's voice may have a little bit of twang to it, but on AOR-ish songs like the upbeat "Simple As That", the equally upbeat and truly infectious "What About Now" or the incredible mid-tempo "All The Way", it's easy to overlook. With the passing of time, it's pretty obvious that the 'new country' is sounding more and more like the 'old AOR'. No complaints out of me. [note: the band has released a single of "Amazed" with rock and pop mixes and supposedly, the whole album may get the once-over as well.]

THUNDER - GIVING THE GAME AWAY, Victor, 1999 [Similarities: Def Leppard, Bad Company, UFO] [ ]

Possibly the cream of the crop when it came to the Brit rock attack of the early 90s (along with FM, Skin and Little Angels), Thunder is consistent if nothing else, especially where the quality is concerned. Playing a brand of classic rock that never goes out of style, listening to this it becomes quite shocking how this band never managed to break out much past a cult following. Whether the band is rocking on all cylinders (like on Bob Seger-ish "Rolling The Dice", the massive "Time To Get Tough" and the huge sounding arena rocker "It's Another Day") or taking a breather (like on ballads "You'll Still Need A Friend" and the sentimental and grand "Numb"), the glaring strengths of the band far outshine any weaknesses (the Beatlesque title track really doesn't suit them and their cover of "Play That Funky Music" is both bad and good at the same time!). I think my only other complaint would be that there may be more slow than uptempo material, in spite of how superior the songs are. Danny Bowes is in top vocal form, and frankly may never have sounded better. While it may not be "their finest hour", it's not their worst either. After listening to this, someone please explain to me why this band never went multi-platinum!

KYLE VINCENT - SWEET 16, Songtree, 1999 [Similarities: Savage Garden, John Waite, Glen Burtnick] [ ]

Amazing really that these "throwaways" are better than 99% of some of the stuff trying to pass itself off as melodic rock these days. This is a collection of eighteen demos recorded in the period after Kyle left Candy until just last year. Though most are pretty good (some even spectacular), there are a few where you just feel like going "Kyle, what the hell were you thinking?" (like on the dreadful Wham-alike "If You Were My Love"). Most of the material here treads a mid-tempo pop fence, not unlike his recent "Wow & Flutter" album. Songs like "Same Old Heartache", "Any Other Girl" and "Rita" show Kyle to be one of the most unique artists today (he's really doing material many are afraid to touch). Ballads are easily one of Kyle's strong suits and he has a few here that put your emotions to the test. "I Can Still Love You", "One Ticket Home" and "Man On The Moon" are the huge, grandiose sort of ballads that come across like a sparser Journey. And though there are a few rockers here, like "Back Off" (with it's early 60s Beatles vibe and features 'The Brady Bunch's' Cousin Oliver on lead guitar!) and "Rockin' Radio", they also seem the most throwaway. But, I cannot say the same about the tremendous arena pop of "Just A Matter Of Time" (supposedly written for Starship). Bonus points for the excellent liner notes written by Kyle and the gorgeous saxophone on the ballad "Running Away". Fans of slick pop (especially that sort of 70s styled AM pop) will be in heaven here. But for those who prefer a bit of an edge, that I would suggest taking a pass here.

(Re)Views From The Hill:

VANDEN PLAS - FAR OFF GRACE, SPV [Similarities: Dream Theatre, Queensryche, Royal Hunt]

Vanden Plas are an interesting band. They hail from Germany, but have a French name. The band contains a pair of brothers with the last name Lill and they play prog metal very well but not very originally. They are huge in Germany and France but this is their first UK release. They have toured with Dream Theater in Europe, as well as Kingdom Come and Savatage.

If you like Dream Theatre you will love this band, why, because the two bands sound identical, even down to Andy Kuntz vocals. The first time I played this album I though I had put in a DT album. For added amusement, there is a bonus track of Dokken's "Kiss of Death," which you won't be shocked to hear sounds very similar to the original. They do seem to let their hair down a bit and have some fun, so it is a great version of the Dokken classic.

From the opening bars of "I can See" with its crunchy guitar, and melodic keyboard you will know where you are. The title track demonstrates just how good a voice Kurtz has, the song builds well with keyboards, guitar and voice mingling to thrilling heights. Many of the tracks have a samey feel to them, track 1 & 3 sound like 2 parts of the same song. Saying all that this is a great album. The musicianship is superb, the songwriting is pretty damn good and all in all a pretty enjoyable album.

What is frustrating is to think with all that talent they were not able to make an album that sounds the least bit original. It is possible that Vanden Plas would not seem like such copycats, if Kurtz did not do his best to sound identical to James Labrie. It would be all right if this were the band's first album, the fact that it is their third makes this copycat problem inexcusable.

If you have no had enough of Dream Theater this year then by all means buy this album. I will continue to listen to "Far Off Grace", it a pretty decent album, for a Dream Theater cover band. Certainly get this disc over Q2K from Queensryche, as this is far better. - MD

AOR Basement (Ian McIntosh):

Oh this week's news is just the perfect way to bring out my cynical side: EMI is to "merge" with Warner Music. "Merge" in this case is a very subjective term, the enlarged operation would be a 50/50 joint venture "pooling" their recording and music publishing businesses, but Warner is going to have all the control.... The new operation would then, in a stunning imaginative move, be called "Warner EMI".

Just to get the stock market and other sources of funny money excited, the two say they'll be creating "the world's largest music group" (haven't I heard that someplace before?), and that the new company will be valued at as much as $19 billion (yes "billion" not "million"!). Sounds like an impressive value, but don't forget it also includes AOL which Time Warner is in the process of taking over as well.

So what's going on here? Is Warner trying to take over the world as part of some demented Orwellian wet-dream? Far from it, it's all about sucking up to the stock market. Stick Warner and EMI together and you can say you've a huge back catalogue of music to sell by digital direct delivery, which AOL can deliver. All the ignorant stock market people have all their favourite buzz-words in the same sentence, and the management can cash in their stock options and retire as fat cats, with the stock market continuing to threw money at them hand over fist. I'd go so far as to say the whole deal is all about making EMI's management rich, rather than anything to do with music! Reminds me of the old phrase about "throwing good money after bad".....

Some of the reaction to news of the deal over here has been interesting. Plenty of them seem to want to eulogize over the "the last great British label surrendering to the forces of nature". In what has to be a pathetically naïve piece of jingoism, some were even bemoaning the fact that it might be the end of record labels having that little image of "nipper" the dog singing into a gramophone trumpet! Shows how long it's been since they've bought some music..., I can't think of many EMI releases that still use the "His Master's Voice" imprint, can you? All EMI's shareholders are falling over themselves to praise the deal - mainly because their going to get £1 for each of their shares just for passing control to Warner. Warner is also running about talking about how the internet breaches security in the modern world because rumours of the deal were rife on bulletin boards before it was announced. Sounds like a company that hasn't quite grasped that we're in the second millennium: nothing is really, truly secret, and EMI is bound to have leaked the deal to get their share price up some more..... As they say in All the President's Men, "follow the money"....

But you know what isn't being mentioned by anyone in context of the deal? Take a wild guess...., that little thing that it all starts from: MUSIC. Nobody at either company has mentioned what it does for their current, future or past rosters - all they're talking about is market capitalization and another bombastic buzz word that means very little, "synergies"!

Both labels had pretty much lost sight of the "music" in "the music industry" a while back, and now it's going to be even worse. We're getting very close to a situation where two or three music groups are going to control something like 90% of the music market, small labels and specialist interests are going to get pushed further and further into the background. Maybe this is what all the talk of doom in the new millennium was all about.....


[Found a cool artist on MP3.COM? Let the SFK world know about it!]

From: "Freddy" <>

Another site worth visiting: ie. the Audio section of the Think Tank Media website (Lana Lane, Erik Norlander, Rocket Scientists, Neil Citron, etc.). They have a full promo CD available for download there!


From: "Apartheid" <>

Being a loyal SFK reader, I was pleasantly surprised by your extremely positive review of the Block Busters Tribute CD. For your information: the musicians on the CD all come from Holland (and some of our guests are incredibly famous over here too: remember Ayreon, Helloise, Sleeze Beez, Vengeance, Tamas, Omega and/or Robby Valentine), but we do love Swedish girls over here, so what the heck.

In the case that, after this review you get questions from people that want to order the CD, have them contact us through  And if you happen to get any inquiries from American record companies: yes, we are sincerely interested in Distribution on your side of the Atlantic. For information, you can mail us at or take a look at our - still under construction - Block Busters site: Anyway, thanks a lot & all the best, Gerry Kennymore, guitarist

From: Edwin van den Kieboom <>

[Re: Blockbusters being Swedish]

I think not!! This project was initiated by Dutch music journalist Hans van den Heuvel. The other musicians are from several Dutch bands.


From: Bjorn Johnsen <>

[Re: Axe Killer]

And this not the case only with Whitesnake. The guys/girls at Axe killer has also done a superb job with: Poison, Great White, Queensrÿche, Giuffria etc etc. The sound difference between the original release and this remastering job is SUPERB. And not only that but they include lyrics, bonus tracks etc also in the packaging. So if the BIG labels shall have somebody to do some remastering jobs on any releases then hire the people from Axe Killer. Got a mail this weekend from them that they have tried to do a deal with Atlantic Records for releasing the first Fiona album with no luck. Only two words to use about Atlantic. FUCK THEM. That's actually what Rick Medlocke from Lynyrd Skynyrd told me what he had told the people at Atlantic a couple of years ago, when he was in Oslo. Because he had tried several times to get reissued the two Blackfoot albums with Ken Hensley on keys and their live album with no luck.

From: "Powell, Mick" <>

I really enjoy your newsletter and in fact I look foward to it for info each week. I just felt compelled to write you when I read your review of the Harem Scarem/Rubber CD. I read all your reviews and although I don't always agree with your assessments you usually are in the ballpark. This time though...phew......way off!

[Uh oh...]

"musically, this is an incredible album", actually, this album is like EVERYTHING else out there right now, as well as any garden variety pop band of the last 25 years. Musically it is quite lame. "if you can appreciate change, for better or worse, than you'll be jamming on this for sometime." why would ANYONE jam on this if the change were for the worse...which based on virtually 90% of all the fans responses I've seen is EXACTLY the case.

[Not what I've seen... though some of the die-hards are whining about it a bit, I've seen a somewhat positive response to it. Andrew over at also gave it a good review (a 90%). Music is such an individual thing sometimes, that if current power pop ain't your bag, then there's no doubt you'll hate this. But those who do enjoy things like Cheap Trick, the Marv 3 or Foo Fighters will certainly enjoy this. But if you were expecting "Mood Swings Part 2" then I suggest maybe Fiore or Emerald Rain is the band you want.]

"Pete Lesperance seems a bit underutilized"... A BIT???? That is like saying Mike Tyson is a bit crazy. Pete went from being one of the brightest, most gifted guitarists in AOR, to a no show! To me...and most others..this is a BAD record. Maybe not for Cheap Trick...or some other sheep like "modern rock" band. But for Harem Scarem...who have stated in countless interviews how simple it is to write cliche' material...and how they refuse to go that go in this direction is nothing more than a major sellout ripoff...we were all willing to buy the countless "B Sides"..."Best Of", "Acoustic", "Live", "Ballads", etc... just to hear the one new song on each...but few are willing to swallow this recent CD as anything more than schtick. Otherwise...keep up the good work...I enjoy your newsletter.

[I stand by my review. I like it a lot, maybe more now that I did eariler. I'm glad the band simply doesn't rerecord the same album over and over (isn't that what we have Ten and AC/DC for?). Hey, when it comes to music, to each their own. You know (and this is not directed at you Mick), I'm so sick of people in general whining that bands just keep rehashing the same thing over and over, yet those that try something different are criticized even more. What kind of sense does that make? The reason this genre of music died from the mainstream is exactly that reason. Nobody had anything new to offer...nothing. And what's going on now is all these artists are simply rehashing the 80s without any sort of passion or spark. To me, being a sellout is doing music simply for pleasing others than's not like this is all that radical a departure from "Believe" or "Big Bang Theory".]

From: IanL <>

Being a Brit I think it is a good move. Dennis Publishing is a big magazine publisher...that amongst others publishes Computer Shopper....yes similar to the US version but not quite as thick. It's there to make lots of money from as few mags as possible. Future Publishing are different from most UK publishers. A mag can survive with a lot fewer sales. I also have an Amiga. The last Amiga mag went about 18 months ago but still Future are publishing Amiga Format every month to a loyal and small following. I would have no doubt that Classic Rock will last...don't know about changing direction though.

By the way where did the info come from. I have the latest issue dated Feb 2000 Issue 11...still from Dennis?? Hope this alternative insight is of use.

From: "annclark" <>

Cool web page! Check out mine at