There are three essential Commandments:

Respect The Elders.
Embrace The New.
Encourage The Impractical and Improbable, Without Bias.

     -David Fricke”

Official Nonsense:

·        Editor and card carrying INS member - Kurt Torster

Other INS team members:

·        Ian McIntosh (AOR Basement)

·        Tim Henderson (Brave Words)

·        Carrie Borzillo (All Star Daily News)

·        Marty Dodge (

·        Alex Richter (Hard N' Fast)

·        Martin Hennessy III (80's Nuts)

·        Mark Orsted (Heavens Smiling - Where Harmony & Melody Unite)

·        Jason Grubbs

·        Peter Sims (Now & Then)

·        Mario De Riso (Frontiers)

·        Ove Gustafsson (MTM)

·        Richard Powell (Z Records)

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Kurt's Krap:

I believe I’ve heard what may prove to be the first true essential of the new century in the new Vaughn album. I don’t think my review can do it justice. I almost didn’t get around to reviewing anything else this week, the album is really that good! And the next true essential may be the Two Fires CD that dropped on my doorstep Saturday. First few listens left me blown away.

Every so often I come across a website that is too cool not to pass alone. Emode is chock full of bizarre personality tests and a shitload of fun.

Another site worth checking out is Cardude. If you think Metal Sludge is funny, you ain’t seen nothing yet!

News Bytes:

Those who missed out on the Criterion Collection version of This Is Spinal Tap  will be ecstatic to know that MGM is planning to reissue the classic metal spoof. According to Harry Shearer, “first of all, the movie is being digitally restored and digitally remixed to Dolby 5.1, and re-released theatrically at the end of August. We just finished digitally re-mixing it. It's being re-launched theatrically at the end of August by MGM, and then being re-launched as a home video/DVD/VHS shortly afterwards. We'll probably do a concert or two. We just yesterday did the commentary track for the new DVD... This time it's the boys in the band. It's David, Nigel, and Derek."

Bon Jovi plan to start their US tour in September. You can catch the band on TV when they perform June 13 on David Letterman and June 16 on NBC’s Today Show. Also, the scene of Jon’s head exploding in fine detail has been cut from the movie U-571. Not sure what to make of that one…

From VH-1: Foo FightersDave Grohl thinks ‘movies with rock stars are Movies That suck’ (can’t say I disagree). "The last thing in the world I want to see in a movie is some rock guy," the Foo man tells Live Daily. "Like Jon Bon Jovi? I don't want to see him in a movie. It'll ruin it for me. He's Jon Bon Jovi! He's not anybody else. If I go to see a movie, I want to sit down and lose myself in a film. If Mick Jagger walks through the scene, it's gonna ruin it for me."

The vastly underrated Blessid Union Of Souls release a new single in “That’s The Girl I’ve Been Telling You About”. The band will release a collection of singles this summer featuring two new tracks as well as all of their singles over the past five years, including "Standing At The Edge Of The Earth", "I Wanna Be There", "Light In Your Eyes", "Oh Virginia", "Let Me Be The One", "All Along" and new 2000 recordings of "I Believe" and "Hey Leonardo".

The release of the QueensrycheGreatest Hits” has been pushed up to June 27.

Rumors are floating around that Ratt has been dropped by Portrait. Seems there are many who think that no one will want to see or hear Ratt without Stephen Pearcy. The band is in the midst of trying to book a tour.

Sammy Hagar is putting the finishing touches on two new songs for an upcoming compilation. From there, work will begin on a new full album.

Be on the lookout for a new double disc “Best Of” from Hanoi Rocks.

Kyle Vincent is releasing a single in Australia for “Somewhere Between Hello And Goodbye”, which precedes the release of his “Wow & Flutter” album. He’ll also be touring down under to coincide with the album release. Kyle also has a new song called “It’s A Giant Day”, dedicated to baseball’s San Francisco Giants, that was used for their opening day. Look for it on his website soon.

Speaking of VH-1, this week brings a new set of Storytellers. Every night at 10, look for new shows from Don Henley, Stone Temple Pilots and Pete Townshend.

A2 Music will now be distributed by Frontiers. The first release under this deal is Robin Brock’s Blame It On Rock And Roll”. Robin will also be performing at Ultrasound 2000 on may 28 in Las Vegas. Keith Olson is expected to produce her next album as she is currently writing songs with John Capek and Randy Bachman.

Metallica fans struck back in retaliation to their Napster lawsuit by filling Usenet newsgroups, FTP sites and Napster servers themselves with Metallica songs. Someone even hacked into the official band site and put up the words “Leave Napster Alone”. Anyone that feels that poor Lars is going broke, you can always donate money to his cause at the PayLars website.

Counting Crows will be touring with Live this summer.

Axe Killer has up on tap reissues for the debut from House Of Lords and Signal’s Loud And Clear”. Though the Signal will have no bonus tracks, the House Of Lords disc will feature remixes of “Love Don’t Lie” and “I Wanna Be Loved”. The label would like to include another song called “Waiting On Love” but cannot locate the masters. If anyone out there can help them, drop them an email.

Scottish rockers Travis have been performing Britney Spears’ hit “Baby One More Time” during their opening gigs for Oasis.

Melissa Etheridge is saying her next album will most likely be an all acoustic affair.

Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson has said “there will be no VH-1’s Behind The Music” for the band. Why? Says Ian, “intriguing, if you have one of those checkered pasts that's littered with near-death experiences and chemical excess. Unfortunately, I don't have any of those experiences to impart. My Behind The Music is just me sitting, thoughtfully, pen in hand or clutching a guitar, and trying to bridge the gap between imagination and CD. Not very exciting, I'm afraid." They hit the road this summer in the US, kicking off June 6 in Austin, Texas.

After dropping over 120 pounds, Carnie Wilson has announced that the trio of Wilson Phillips has reunited. They are currently in the studio recording songs for an upcoming album.

Yes will kick off their “Masterworks” tour on June 20 in Reno, Nevada.

Radiohead has finished the recording of their latest disc.

Shameless, featuring Steve Summers (Pretty Boy Floyd), have finished up their CD “Queen 4 A Day”. The album will sport guest spots by Jani Lane, Stevie Rachelle, Bruce Kulick, Eric Singer, Tracii Guns, Steve Riley and Kari Kane. The tracklisting: Shock The World, Queen 4 A Day, You Can´T Stop Me, Far Away,  American Man, Nonstop City, Lonely Nite In Paradise, I Don´T Think I Luv U, What U Want Is What You Get, Steal The Girlz, I´M So Good, A Place Where Love Can´T Go.

According to Paul Stanley, Kiss has no plans to record another album ever again. Of course, this doesn’t rule out releasing a new cash-in compilation every three months as well as a new live album every six months.

Thanks to Jeff Cooper for this tidbit on Ronnie Montrose: Over at Ronnie Montrose's website there is news of a forthcoming Gamma 4 project. Original Gamma members Ronnie Montrose (Guitar), Davey Pattison (Vocals), Denny Carmassi (Drums) and Glenn Letsch (Bass) are currently in ex- Eric Martin Band and Tesla drummer Troy Lukketa's studio recording a new Gamma album. Preliminary tracks to include: Bad Reputation, Darkness to Light, Last Man On Earth, Love Will Find You, Low Road Home, Oh No You Don't!, Out of These Hands, Prayers, Resurrection Shuffle, The Only One. You can check the progress of the recording session by following this link

Anyone interested in this week’s round up of tribute releases (including ones dedicated to Savatage and Sweet)? Thought not.

Vaughn will hold their US record release party on May 11 at L’Amour in Brooklyn, NY. May 13 sees the band hosting WDHA’s The Tour Bus.

Mike Tramp kicked off his “The Voice Of White Lion” tour April 19, performing solo material as well as White Lion and Freak Of Nature tunes. Check out his website for updated info.

Disgraced glam legend Gary Glitter is moving to Cuba to live out the rest of his life. Just recently released from jail on child porn charges. Maybe the government will accept a trade for little Elian?

Bonaire is a new Swedish band that have signed to Z. Members include bassist Jori Helminen (Scudiero), vocalist Johan Persson (Scudiero) and guitarist Hakan Ericsson.

Noteworthy New Releases:

ACE OF BASE - Greatest Hits
ERIC CARR - Rockology
DOKKEN - Live From The Sun (live greatest hits)
KISS - Alive IV
PINK FLOYD - Is There Anybody Out There?
SAMSON - Head On and Live At Reading '81
Various Artists - Monster Madness

Radio Koolness:

[The top 5 on the radio this week (courtesy of WPLJ radio).]

1 Vertical Horizon - Everything You Want
2 Third Eye Blind - Never Let You Go
3 Smash Mouth - Then The Morning Comes
4 Goo Goo Dolls - Black Balloon
5 Faith Hill - Breathe

Moldy Oldys:

[What’s kicking old school on the SFK Deck O’ Death this week:]
Bo Donaldson & The Heywoods – The Best Of, Jason Falkner – Demos (has a wicked version of Def Lep’s “Photograph”), Ben Folds Five – The Best (yet another personal compilation), Bourgeois Tagg – YoYo, REO Speedwagon – The Earth… (holy shit what a monster album!)

Kurt’s Picks:

Act – Today’s Report, MTM, 1999
[Similarities: Dream Theater, Yes, Royal Hunt]
Fans of power metal and prog should have no trouble sliding into this as Act play a pretty accessible form of the genre that reminds me most of Dream Theater at their most commercial. Heavily dominated by keyboards and time changes, the nine songs here are all typical of the genre and leave no doubt that these guys have the chops and, most importantly, the songs to make a sizable dent in an already crowded genre. I think what sets them apart in my mind is that even someone like me, who usually shows little tolerance for this kind of music, got some enjoyment from the listening experience. The epic “Personalities” is pretty incredible. Written in seven parts, it reminds me a lot of the “Images & Words” era, with singer Jerry Sahlin sounding like Jon Anderson in his prime. While this is something I won’t listen to a lot, it is certainly very good for what it is and will have no problem in finding fans.

Marc Anthony – Marc Anthony, Sony, 1999
[Similarities: Ricky Martin, Backstreet Boys, Savage Garden]
I know what you’re thinking… but in all seriousness, after I heard the monster track “You Sang To Me”, I really held hope that this could be an borderline AOR album ala Ricky Martin. How wrong I was. Sure the stomping dance track “I Need To Know” is catchy as anything and never fails to have me cranking the volume. But this album is so loaded with ballads, that no matter how tremendously good Marc’s voice is, or even how good some of the songs may be, it just gets real tiring having one slow song after another. The previously mentioned “You Sang To Me” is a huge mid-tempo strut that would melt ears in the hands of someone like John Waite or Steve Perry. And the throbbing Latin beat of “She’s Been Good To Me” shows off Marc’s vocals to the fullest. Though I guess most of the blame can be thrown at Sony for taking Marc out of his more uptempo element, Marc after all did write most of the songs here and at least deserves some blame too. There is certainly potential here to make a killer pop album but sadly, this is not it.

Green Pajamas – Seven Fathoms Down And Falling, Rubic Records, 1999
[Similarities: The Beatles, Jellyfish, The Byrds]
Quiet jangling pop that is one of those albums you really have to be in the right mood for. Problem is that to me, they are recycling old 60s psychedelic pop that was never really my bag to begin with. I had a lot of trouble getting through this disc in one sitting with very little sticking to my brain. The whole thing seems too aimless and meandering for my tastes, with each song feeling like they have no focus. There are songs though that buck this trend. Opening track “Just A Breath Away”, is a pleasant slice of pop that puts me in the mind of Jellyfish during their quieter moments. “Anna Day” is much of the same: radio friendly pop that shows that this band can be so good when they want to be. But the rest is mostly a hodge-podge of very dated sounding pop that relies too much on the Beatles and just had me wanting things to be louder.

Jeff Larson – Watercolor Sky, New Surf, 1998
[Similarities: Kyle Vincent, Venice, King Of Hearts]
Absolutely gorgeous Westcoast inspired pop that is love at first listen. There’s no doubt that Jeff’s influences lie in the west coast sound of bands like The Eagles, America and even the Beach Boys, but this is all original and some of the most refreshing songs that have hit my player since the last Kyle Vincent album. These days there’s not too many people doing this kind of music and Jeff has found a sound he can pretty much call his own. Upbeat acoustic songs take center stage on the ten tracks on offer with nary a filler in earshot. This is also the kind of album that needs more than a spin or two to fully appreciate, especially when it comes to the insightful lyrics. From the uptempo “Nothing But Air” and “Definite Blonde” to the slower paced “Annabelle” (which is is just beautiful) and “Song For Renee” there’s nothing here that outright rocks but also nothing here that brings you down either (even in the quieter moments). Vocally Jeff resembles Jackson Browne and has a definite California air to it. If the album is titled “Watercolor Sky” then our ears are the perfect canvas for Jeff’s musical brushstrokes of surf and sun.

Utopian Babies – One Of These Days (cd single), Warner, 1998
[Similarities: Savage Garden, Taxiride, Swirl 360]
Though only three songs (well, two actually as one is an acoustic version of the title song), this is exactly the kind of single that leaves you wanting more. Sounding like Savage Garden with more of a rock edge, “One Of These Days” is a perfect single that is instantly memorable and as good on the tenth listen as it was on the first. Same goes for the second track, “Strawberry Wine” (a thumping beat surrounded by a big time chorus). If you take that pop sound of the Aussie duo, strip down the electronic production you would pretty much get this…practically perfect ear candy. Now it’s off to hunt down a full album...

Vaughn – Soldiers And Sailors On Riverside, Z Records, 2000
[Similarities: Bon Jovi, Survivor, Night Ranger]
I’m going to resist the temptation to compare this to Tyketto simply because to me, this is Tyketto. Sounds like, looks like, whatever like…in all but name. An unbelievably good and quite solid album that shows incredible growth, it’s the kind that will hook you immediately, yet repeated listens bring more and more out of the experience. Based on a sort of 90s Bon Jovi sound (Danny’s songwriting style is NJ through and through), songs are punctuated with sharp melodies, big choruses and loads of acoustic guitars that accentuate (rather than dominate) the mix. Opener “Bad Water” throws your expectations off a bit. A Zep-like stomp that is good but nothing like the rest of the disc. From there on out though it’s pure melodic bliss. The monstrous “Is That All There Is?” (a smash hit if I ever heard one), the poignant “Healing Hands” and “The Voice” and the driving “Shadowland” are reminders that when this kind of music is great it really has no equal. “Handful Of Rain”, believe it or not, has a sort of 70s AM Rock meets Bee Gees vibe that is just beautiful and works better than it sounds. The strolling title track also has shades of classic pop with Danny Vaughn doing his best James Taylor impression on a song that reminds me of classic Billy Joel (with some fine keys work from Kyle Cummings). And the more rocking tracks like the funky “Stone Monkey” and “Gandy Dancer” ride so far above all the clichéd and generic discs being foist upon us lately that you feel like you’ve found a savior. Finally, an album that lives up to the hype and expectations…Z has a real gem here that has the words “essential” and “classic” stamped all over it and may prove to the album that may bring melodic rock back to the masses.

(Re)Views From The Hill:

Deep Purple: In Concert with the London Symphony Orchestra, Spitfire Records
[similarities: Metallica [S&M], Apocalyptica, Angelica, Therion]
No doubt some in the world think that Metallica were the first ones to perform their music with a full symphony orchestra. As with many things in the hard rock genre, Deep Purple beat them to it, by 3 decades. At the time it was thought to be the ultimate act of pomposity, and rumored to be not well appreciated by the symphony (RPO) picked to play with them. To add to the insult the score music to Jon Lord’s "Concerto for Group and Orchestra" was lost and had to be reconstructed from tapes and a video of the evening all those years ago.

Fast-forward to the dying days of the last century, and Deep Purple attempted to improve on their last attempt at performing the CGO. It was time for DP to test the alleged underground adoration of the mostly forgotten era and album for the band. The result is a two CD set that contains the whole concerto, a few Deep Purple classics and the lads from the band having one hell of a good time. It is obvious to the listener that this time the orchestra supporting the band want to be there and are having a good time. On the first CD each member of Deep Purple are given the chance to test their chops and be frontman for a tune or two. The results are surprisingly good and the selection of songs and styles refreshing. Just for good measure the band returned to the venue of their first attempt, the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Some of the highlights on Disc 1 include an incredibly amusing little ditty called ‘That’s Why God is Singing the Blues", which sees the band letting it go and having a great time with this blues track. Ronnie James Dio is along to lend his pipes to two Roger Glover penned tracks in "Sitting on a Dream" and "Love is All", the heavy metal legend, proves his pipes are a lot more varied than many people would have thought. There is big band swing with Ian Paice on "Wring that Neck", a great Steve Morse on "Take it to the Top" and Jon Lord having some fun with "Picture Within."

The actually CGO is a great achievement in its own right, that proves that despite all the crap the band took 30 years ago, it is still an outstanding piece of music. To end the set the band, with the full accompaniment, blow through two of their greatest tracks with "Sometimes I feel like Screaming" and a grand finale of "Smoke on the Water", featuring the whole myriad of talents who participated in the event.

All in all this is a great collection of music, and an awesome live album. Further proof, if needed, that Deep Purple are one of the greatest collection of talents, rock music has ever seen. The full sound added by the orchestra make this a joy to behold. This collection is for those times where you don’t want to go the whole classical hog, but would like something more special than the ordinary. A great release and justice for Jon Lord and his concerto. – MD

Hair of the Dog: Rise, Spitfire Records
[similarities: GnR, LA Guns, Van Halen, Kiss]
Its discs like this one that make all the crap I have to listen to; worthwhile. This is one of the most impressive hard rock releases I have heard in at least 5 years or longer. HotD has reminded me why the hell I listen to this stuff in the first place. Not since Appetite for Destruction have I been so overwhelmed with enthusiasm.
If there is a shred of justice in this world, the Hair of the Dog should be absolutely huge and playing arenas within months. I am in no doubt that these guys kick ass live, and I am gonna make it a priority to see them.

Musically they pay homage to their idols while never sounding too similar to any of them. There are elements of Kiss, Roth-era Van Halen, Guns & Roses and even some AC/DC. The last listed track on the album is HotD’s take on Kiss’ "I", which is a gas to listen to. But lets start at the beginning. This opus starts of on the right foot, with the title track, a blues soaked rocker that firmly tells you what this disc has got for you.

"You the One" is the band’s "Sweet Child O’Mine" and if released with the right push, would be huge. It is an arena sized power-balled that sticks in your head and has you singing along from the first listen. "Mokur Jahoobees" is great bluesy track, very Van Halen (DLR) catchy boogie. "I can’t fight you", a great Kiss-ish mid-tempo track with some great guitar work. "Rescue Me" is there other ballad, with the requisite acoustic intro and varied vocals that show that Ryan Cook has some range. This varied tempo track is another showcase for Septys’ guitar."Bum Jenkins" is a great bluesy swagger track.

This would not be a great record without the requisite party anthem. You need to look no further than "Hammered", which is straight ahead, kick ass rock with no frills, with a spoken/sung and drum combo mid-section, it’s a bloody great getting pissed song! The hidden track, "Out of Control" comes after "I" and is a very mellow sing-along, with the whole band and an acoustic guitar.

In short, you need this damn album. It one of the best hard rock albums of the last decade and hopefully a harbinger of the revival of straight ahead 12 bar blues powered rock. You owe it to yourself to go out and get "Rise", help Hair of the Dog get the success they deserve. These guys got the looks, the licks, the tunes and the attitude; they may just be the savoir of rock music! An essential summer CD! - MD

AOR Basement (Ian McIntosh):

Feel inspired this week to talk about a problem that seems to affect many aspects of the current entertainment industry, and now seems to be, worryingly, being applied to the melodic rock market as well.

It's a combination of stifled originality and an emphasis on catching people with a sound bite without having anything to back it up. You see it in the film industry where the title of a film is almost more important that what it's about! This stems from the film companies' marketing groups testing people by asking "would you go and see a film called X" or "would you go and see a film called Y", rather than asking "would you go and see a film about X or Y". Therefore the title is seen as what puts bums on seats! Great policy.

I think we see this as well in the current mainstream music industry. Of course, some music always has been and always will be sold on the image of the band and nothing else, but in the current mainstream it seems that there are hardly any significant differences between maybe two or three main categories of music, and almost everything within those highlighted categories sounds exactly the same. Marketing departments therefore can just keep peddling the same wares over and over again....

Disturbingly, I think we're seeing some of the melodic rock labels following this policy as well. Too many of the current releases sound exactly the same, and nobody seems to understand anything about fostering something even just a little bit different and original. As a result, and I know many of you are feeling this, so many current melodic rock releases sound stagnant, and while the band names might be different, there's precious little to chose between them. If that carries on melodic rock has no future in the long-term anywhere. It's time for someone, someplace to start taking some chances for the sake of art above everything else (sorry if that sounded pretentious!). But then again most of the labels are too worried about losing some money, so that shows what reason they're in it in the first place.....


From: "Wayne"

Subject: rick springfield
Great job with the sfk letters, but one thing about your comment about Rick Springfield not coming to North Dakota, The rockin the hills gig rick cancelled is a big event, They average 10,000 on up a night sundays for the last two years have averaged 12,000 on up. This is pretty good attendance for someone who isnt exactly on top of the music industry, as for the comment on there being nothing in North Dakota you maybe right, but we support live music and appreciate when bands come here and just because our social activities don’t match the big cities doesn’t mean we don’t deserve to see our favorite artists.

[True, true…no disrespect was intended from my comment.]

From: Dan Friml

Visit my RUBBER WEBSITE and place your comment to my guestbook.

From: Endre_Hubner

Subject: great artist at
There's a guy out at called Robert Lloyd. Great melodic AOR/pop stuff (similar to Kyle Vincent) Check it out BTW if any of you can download the first track (you will always have me) complete (there's half a minute missing from my download) email it to me, please.

PS: some more interesting stuff out there: Wolf Hoffman (Accept) doing classical covers, check out my fave Kyle Vincent too, plus don't forget about Marc Pattison a great instrumental guitarist with tons of songs up there.

From: Tim Wadzinski

Subject: Eric Carr - ROCKOLOGY review
FYI, that is Carr singing all the vocals on this, *not* Bruce Kulick.  And no, this isn't the greatest album in the world but this is probably the only way Carr's fans would ever get to hear his stuff, since he was notoriously held back as a singer and writer in Kiss.  Maybe you'd have been less disappointed if you knew going in this was a collection of demos rather than a true album? (Kinda like that last Lillian Axe "album"...)

[Though it wasn’t me who reviewed the album, does anyone really care if they were demos or new tunes or whatever? To me as long as the music is good, who gives a shit…that last Lillian Axe disc was great.]