“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 usr - Kurt Torster


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·        Ian McIntosh (AOR Basement)

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Kurt's Krap:

OK labels…here ya go…the most requested AOR albums that need to be reissued…are ya listening?

Airrace – Shaft Of Light
Black N’ Blue – Without Love
Desmond Child & Rouge - S/T & Runners in the Night
Gary Hughes – Strength Of Heart
Kick Axe – Welcome To The Club
Jeff Paris – Race To Paradise
Dan Reed Network – B-sides Compilation
Streets – S/T & Crimes In Mind
Waysted – Save Your Prayers
Danny Wilde – The Boyfriend

As Christmas approaches, one thing I have always loved about this time of year is the music. Here is my list of my 15 favorite rock/pop holiday tunes:

[1] Band Aid – Do They Know It’s Christmas
[2] The Eagles – Please Come Home For Christmas
[3] U2 – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
[4] Billy Squier – Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You
[5] Bruce Springsteen – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
[6] John Mellencamp – I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
[7] Extreme – Christmas Time Again
[8] Trans Siberian Orchestra – Christmas Eve Sarajevo 12/24
[9] Bon Jovi – I Wish Everyday Could Be Christmas
[10] Brian Setzer Orchestra – Jingle Bells
[11] Bryan Adams – Reggae Christmas
[12] Mariah Carey – All I Want For Christmas Is You
[13] The Kinks – Father Christmas
[14] John Lennon – Happy Christmas (War Is Over)
[15] Ronnie Spector/Darlene Love – Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree

Of course, no holiday season is complete without THE most essential Christmas album, “A Christas Gift For You” from Phil Spector and friends.

Sorry if this issue feels a little shortchanged but I was sick as a dog over the weekend and didn’t have much of a chance to tidy things up.

Koupon Korner:

CD Now $10 off a $39.95 order

News Bytes:

Kyle Vincent’s Wow & Flutter” will now be distributed by Universal Music and Varese Sarabande in North America. Next spring the album will be issued in Australia with the bonus track “Invisible Man” (and a tour to boot!).

Came across this rather interesting release. Fans of Dann Huff, he has release a disc called “Solos”, which is exactly what the title implies, a collection of his solo leads. More info at the Home Sweet Home website.

After 32 concerts, Ringo Starr And His All-Starr Band will release a 3CD box set culled from the various shows, including SFK fave Eric Carmen and his hits “Hungry Eyes” and “All By Myself”.

The Motels will release the 2CD “Anthologyland”, a 32 song retrospective containing many unreleased tracks, including “Mystery DJ” (written by Elton John/Bernie Taupin).

Look for Paul McCartney’s Live At The Cavern” to air throughout the month of December on PBS stations as part of their yearly pledge drive. The hour-long show is comprised of covers from the 50s and 60s.

Pearl Jam’s 23 official bootlegs will be available in January from their fanclub, and in February retail.

Prog supergroup TransAtlantic will release a live CD and video next year through Radiant Records.

John Mellencamp’s new album is tentatively titled “Kiss My Mule”.

Stryper will perform at Cornerstone 2001 in Bushnell, IL on July 6. Michael Sweet will also perform solo.

Anthrax’s Scott Ian on Limp Bizkit: "I can't believe that got big, to tell you the truth. Not that I consider it a novelty to cross over rap and metal, because for me, it always seemed like the obvious thing. My problem with the whole scene these days is that all the bands suck. Sometimes it makes me think like, God, if I would have had a crystal ball in 1985 when we were writing 'I'm The Man', maybe I would have said, 'You know what, we really shouldn't do this'. Limp Bizkit for instance, they're the biggest band on the block right now, and I think the worst band on the block. It's N'Sync with guitars. That's what it is, and I don't understand why people don't see that. I don't understand how anyone buys their record or goes to see them live and thinks, 'this is heavy'. It's not heavy. It's little kid pop boy band music with guitars and tattoos."

Guns N’ Roses will perform at the House of Blues in Las Vegas on New Year's Eve. The Goo Goo Dolls will ring in the New Year at the venue with a separate show.

Check out this lineup for the Rock Stock Festival, August 23-26 at Wendover Airport in Utah: Bad Company, Joan Baez, Pat Benatar, Elvin Bishop, Ambrosia, Edgar Winter, Little River Band, The Animals, 38 Special, Cheap Trick, Doobie Brothers, Todd Rundgren, Mitch Ryder, Styx, Jetro Tull, Three Dog Night, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Gary U.S. Bonds, Canned Heat, Chicago, Joe Cocker, Creedence Clearwater, The Guess Who, Peter Frampton, Bruce Hornsby, Grand Funk Railroad, Kansas, Air Supply, Fleetwood Mac, Leon Russell, Santana, Iron Butterfly, Queen, Reo Speedwagon, Carole King, Rick Springfield, Stephen Stills, Jimmy Messina, Steve Miller Band, The Moody Blues, Steppenwolf, Spencer Davis Group, Firefall, Poco, Boston, Pure Prairie League And Randy Meisner. Tickets for the festival, produced by Alexas USA, go on sale February 1st, 2001. For more info contact Kelly Hammett of Rock Solid Entertainment Inc. at (818) 788-7197 or by e-mail at

Samantha 7's debut is being released in Europe on Feb 1st with bonus “Hanging On To Jane” (acoustic) as a bonus track.

Queensryche has started writing and recording the follow-up to “Q2K”. Also, the bands “Building Empires” home video will be released on DVD, with bonus tracks, expected to be from the group’s appearance on MTV Unplugged.

Got an email from Robin George about his new website: Hi Again, I've put edited versions of "Rock of Ageists" at It's only a rough site, but better than nothing. I've been offered a few deals on the album, and want to sign before the end of the year so I can get on with my new solo project...I'll keep you informed. The Phil Lynott tribute album is still scheduled for release in Feb on Record Heaven Music (Sweden) I've been asked to do another track for it, so I am recording a version of "Kings Call" at the moment. The company has asked me to headline a few gigs in Europe and the UK around the album release, which could be good. They have a website dedicated to the tribute

Upcoming guests on The Tour Bus:
12/16/00 Sat.  Nuno Bettencourt (Extreme) performs live
12/23/00 Sat.  The Tour Bus Holiday Call-In Show - Tons of past guests call-ins: Sebastian Bach, Danger Danger, CC Deville, Cinderella, Ratt, Dokken, and more!
12/30/00 Sat. The Tour Bus – Best of Show
1/6/01 Sat.  Cory Glover (former lead singer of Living Color) performs live

Bon Jovi has recorded an as yet untitled tune for the upcoming Sun Records tribute disc. Tour dates for for next summer in Europe:
May 31  Olympic Stadium - Stockholm, Sweden  - on sale December 13
June 6 Arena - Amsterdam, Netherlands - on sale December 16
June 8 Hampon Park -Glasgow, Scotland - on sale December 15
June 13 McAlpine Stadium - Huddersfield, England - on sale December 15
June 15 Milton Keynes Bowl - Milton Keynes, England - on sale December 15
June 20 Muengersdorfer Stadium - Koln, Germany - on sale December 11
June 22 Comstatter Wasen - Stuttgart, Germany - on sale December 11
June 24 Tranbrennbahn - Hamburg, Germany - on sale December 11

Some tour dates for Rik Emmett:
-Orchestra London Christmas Show, Centennial Hall, London, Ontario on December 22, 2000 and will be performing 3 or 4 songs with the Orchestra.  Tickets: $25.00  Available by calling (519) 679-8778
-Friday February 02, 2001 - Jeans And Classics, An Evening With Rik Emmett and Orchestra London. Centennial Hall, London, Ontario.  Tickets: $35.00, $32.00, $25.00  Available by calling (519) 679-8778.

Platypus recently began preproduction on its new album in New York. Recording was scheduled to begin December 2 at Milbrook Recording Studios. Platypus is now a trio -- vocalist/guitarist Ty Tabor (Kings X), bassist John Myung (Dream Theatre) and drummer Rod Morgenstein (ex-Winger, Dixie Dregs) -- due to the departure of keyboardist Derek Sherinian. The new material will be more guitar-driven and have a heavier edge than the band's two previous releases. Platypus' new CD is tentatively scheduled for a mid- to late-spring release.

Aaron Small, Senior Writer for Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles, has launched his own website. The site, designed and maintained by will be updated the first week of each month and features Current News, a Features Archive, a list of Interviews Aaron has done, Album Of The Month, Metal Concert Listings for all of Canada, information about BW&BK and of course Links.

The latest update from Catchy Hooks is up now: VISION - The Best of (Conny Lind from Amaze Me & Guitar hero Lars Eric Mattsson),STEVE WALSH - Glossolalia (first solo album in 20 years from Kansas vocalist),LAMORNA - The Rainhorse (Great AOR from Germany) ,W.A.S.P - The Sting ,21 GUNS - Nothing´s real ,YNGWIE MALMSTEEN - War to end all wars, ALYSON AVENUE - Precence of mind (Swedish AOR at its best/eat yer heart out Tone Norum), Oliver/Dawson SAXON - Re://Landed ,LOST IN TWILIGHT - Planeeter
+ at least 300 more ! Interviews, News, Radio, AOR Poll´s etc. Check also out :BON JOVI - Live report from Holland,Germany,Belgium & England !!! You´re all Welcome to CATCHY HOOKS.

The Heavy Harmonies MP3 Of The Week: Whaddaya do when you just can't choose between a couple of songs? Give the people more than one! I never heard of the band Atlantic before a couple of weeks ago. Excellent melodic AOR in the vein of Dare. If the production were just a little bit sharper, this album would be a scorcher. Even so, the album stands up well on its musical merits. So, have a two-fer this week! From their 1994 album Power, here are Power Over Me and Dangerous Games.  

Rare MP3 Of The Week:

From a recent CDR tree from the fan club comes a very cool cover of Prince’s “Raspberry Beret” by Michael McDermott.

Moldy Oldys:

[Five discs kicking old school on the SFK Deck O’ Death this week:]
Stryper – Can’t Stop The Rock, Starship – Best Of, Corey Hart – Singles, Bruce Springsteen – Greatest Hits, Billy Joel – Greatest Hits

Kurt’s Picks:

Hybrid Ice – Hybrid Ice, Escape reissue, 2000 (1982)
[Similarities: Dakota, Styx, Aviator]
Say what you will about Escape, but one thing is hard to fault them on is their impeccable reissues. This Pennsylvania mob released this pomp semi-classic back in 1982. With two freshly recorded bonus tracks (more on those in a second) and nine from the original release, they all blend together pretty well. What that means is that either the band still sounds dated or they threw together some great tunes that stand up well to time. I’ll choose the latter, as songs like “On We Go”, “Magdalene” (with it’s larger than life harmonies on the chorus) and “Please Tell Mary Anne” hold their own against any modern AOR release. I could have done without such rah-rah dreck like “Rock And Roll Forever” or the equally inspid “Do You Believe In Rock And Roll”, but it WAS 1982 so it’s easy to overlook. As for those two bonus tracks, the Xenon-like “Looking Glass” and “Test Of Time” both show the promise that the band can remain relevant in the genre. A nice find in the ‘lost classics’ category.

Howard Jones – Pefawn, Dtox, 2000
[Similarities: Marillion, Genesis, Mr. Mister]
Simply incredible. I’ve always considered HoJo to be something of a musical genius, but I can see where some may find his brand of pop a little too slick or overproduced. But a great song is a great song, and his acoustic album of a few years back proved that. This 2CD set (a single CD version is also available under the title “Perform.00”) is twenty of his songs rerecorded “live in the studio” with a proper band. Howard spends most of the time playing a Hammond or electric piano. And in this manner, many of the songs take on a whole new power and passion that, in almost every case, best the original by a long shot. Some even become about as close as AOR as you can possibly get. Though each and every song is great, the highlights are the expected like “No One is To Blame” or “What Is Love” as well as lesser-known songs like “Tomorrow Is Now” and “Love Is A Good Thing”. If this weren’t a reissue of sorts, this would easily be my best album of the year. But though I have disqualified it from that, if these past two weeks are any indication, it is certainly becoming my most listened to set. If you were not a fan, or even just a casual one, this can make you a believer.

Pontus Norgren – Damage Done, Z Records, 2000
[Similarities: Badlands, Blue Murder, King’s X]
I was ready to dismiss this all too easily as just another riff heavy hard rock release. But, as the story always goes, shit happens. Gotta give credit where credit is due, Pontus and crew are blistering and heavy BUT also surprisingly melodic. While the lyrics are pretty bad the music itself is as catchy as anything in recent memory and the playing/singing (can Mats Levin do any wrong?)/producing of all involved is top notch. For me personally though, sometimes the lyrics are the make all/break all, and they just didn’t cut it in this combo. For those who look past such things, this is a great release. For me…that’s a whole other story.

Teen Machine – After School Special, Popsquad, 2000
[Similarities: Cheap Trick, Sweet, Candy]
At first look, I honestly thought this was a joke, or even some bad nostalgia trip. But one spin of this beauty convinced me otherwise. A brilliant slab of glam and power pop that, for lack of a better phrase, kicks some serious bubblegum ass. An amalgamation of all that was good in the 70s, from power pop to glam to AM Gold, tunes like “Bitchin’ Camaro”, “I’m Gonna Steal Your Girlfriend” and “Hot Mom” (sung by one of the Tube Tops, their backup singers) put the likes of Poison and their ilk to shame (remember too that I like Poison!). And songs like “Sugarland” and an unbelievable cover of Abba’s “Does Your Mother Know?” are pure pop heaven…songs so sugary and infectious that they defy further description. With some pretty good guitar solos (remember them?) from Jim Bacci and the incredibly hooky and witty songwriting of Bacci along with vocalist Cody Garrett, who would have thought that a band with a name so goofy like Teen Machine would throw forth one of the year’s most enjoyable listens. But that’s exactly what they have done. Damn this is good stuff…

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

Geddy Lee: My Favorite Headache, Atlantic Records
[similarities: Rush duh!]
With Rush in hiatus due to the personal traumas of his bandmate, frontman, Geddy Lee has gathered a few high-profile musicians together and made a solo album. Grunge-meister Matt Cameron, John Freisen (Guns & Roses (ex?)) appear on this disc.  The main band is a trio, funnily enough. So is this an old rocker trying to sound modern and cutting edge? Nope. Not a chance. This is the greatest Rush album Rush never made. It is one of the best things Lee has done in many a year.

Geddy's voice seems to be in perfect form, sounding much less strained than it has in the past. This is some of the best singing he has ever done. This new quality most apparent on the stunning acoustic/strings dominated piece called "The Angel's Share" and one of the best things that Lee has ever written. This is the type song that stops you in your tracks the first time you hear it. It's a very haunting track. "Working at Perfect" is another great mellow haunting track with strings and a Faith No More type piano piece. Piano shows up again in "Slipping" as well, a very beautiful love song, or rather it could be interpreted as
such, great sing-along chorus as well.

The CD opens with a heavy bass title track called "My Favorite Headache", great rock track that mentions the word nihilistic, can't be bad. There are other rockers such as "Moving to Bohemia." This track would not be out of place on a classic Rush album of old. The same could be said for "The Present Tense,"  "Home of the Strange"  and "Grace to Grace."

Every track on this one is a bloody corker and it gets better with every listen. I am sure every Rush fan already has this disc, but anyone who had a passing fancy for Rush needs this album. Ditto, anyone who likes hard rock of any kind. This is an essential album of 2000, 11 tracks of utter brilliance. - Marty

AOR Basement (Ian McIntosh):

Actually read something from a record industry executive this week! One of the head guys at Universal was saying that he expected the CD to still be the main music media carrier "for a generation". Not sure how many years that's supposed to mean, but it does sound like a sensible approach. By the point that the last CD is pressed, Universal expects that physical distribution of music will have ended, replaced by electronic downloads from the internet. Fair enough, but sound quality issues still need to be addressed....

Universal says that, to survive, all the record labels need to make money out of electronic downloads but "they they haven't figured out how".  But much of it will be working hard just to stand still. Studies show that few people believe they should pay as much for a downloaded album compared with a CD. A price of 50% of a CD is being mentioned and only a value of 20 or 30 cents per individual song. To stay where they are, record companies will have to sell a lot more music via digital downloads just to maintain their current revenues. Refreshingly, Universal sees that on-line sales might stimulate extra sales, but importantly it's promoting the idea of "communities built around specialist music that may push up the online sales of the 95% of albums that do not make the charts". Wow, that sounds like it could "rock" music!

Online stores are already finding that sales of back-catalogue releases are way higher than traditional brick-and-mortar stores ever hope to achieve. The online store is seen as far less intimidating to the "older buyer" that a hip shop on the high street.....

One swallow does not make a summer, but it almost sounds like some record label executives might understand that promoting diversity can help their business!



Subject: Ufo tour debacle
Hi Kurt; Love your reports.

I noticed your words re the Ufo saga. Well let me tell you my story briefly. I saw the ad in Classic Rock for the gigs and saw Uli Jon Roth was supporting and decided "yes...I MUST go!" So I indeed did travel all the way from Melbourne, Australia to check out 3 gigs but....needless to say the day before I went I read on the UFO/Michael Schenker website that there was major conflict in Manchester and the tour was likely to be cancelled. Sure enough it was. Still I had a great time in Uk but was absolutely gutted to not see two of my favorite acts together- it should have been great but.....Maybe next time!!!!!!!!!

From: Jerry

Subject: David G Eisley
No, you're not the only one who hates the new DGE, i was sorely disappointed, song writing is atrocious, with the exception of a couple of tracks.....War Dogs, on the other hand, is fabulous!!

From: "Roger Brosel"

Subject: you are not alone
Once again we share similar tastes. You are not alone in this... I can't stand the David Glenn Eisley cd either.

I guess you already know this band but in case you don’t here's the link:

These guys sound truly great and their debut album is a release that I am really looking forward along with the next album by Goo Goo Dolls and Vertical Horizon


Subject: SFK Digest
Hey bud....i have to say...that was one of the best digests i've ever read. Way cool...tons of info in this one and great reviews. Keep it up bro.

[Oh go on…erm, really…go on! Thanks bro. Sorry I missed your show the other night.]

From: jojo

Subject: the best
I just wanted to drop a line to say thanks for the work. Between your email and Andrews Melodicrock website, there really is nowhere else to go for the AOR fan. The two of you strike a nice balance between the pure and the fringe. I’m going broke but I don’t mind! I took a chance on Evan & Jaron, and Keith Urban and would up loving them both. Thanks.

From: Freddy Aries

Subject: Rhythm Corps
I just saw the new track on the webpage and did a little internet browsing for you. For more info on Rhythm Corps, check out these links:

From: Greg A.Bur

Subject: Rhythm Corps
I can't tell you a whole lot about Rhythm Corps other than they're a band from Michigan who released two albums, Common Ground and The Future's Not What It Used To Be.  They used to tour around here (northern Michigan) quite a bit in the late 80s early 90s but then they just disappeared.  Their first album is by far their best in my opinion.  I think they caught a bad case of the sophomore jinx on their second(last?) album.  Anyway, that's what I know about them, I don't know if that helps you at all. has a little more info on them but not a whole helluva lot.