“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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·        Dave Reynolds

·        Alex Richter (Hard N' Fast)

·        George Thatcher (Heart Of Rock)

·        Mike Waugh

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Kurt's Krap:

Next week there will be the usual news but no reviews. I will be recapping the best of 2000 though. And we’ll be a day late to boot.

Hey it's Christmas next week...just so you know, it's not too late to mail me a present.

Koupon Korner:

CD Now $10 off a $39.95 order

News Bytes:

The Corrs’ “Breathless” was ranked the #1 single of 2000 on the European Top 50.

Howard Jones hopes to have his new album out next summer. He plans to use the orchestra that he has been touring with on The Night Of The Proms European tour on a few tracks. The general direction of the music will be back to the more hi-tech AOR of his 80s sound.

George Lynch and Oni Logan are reuniting for another Lynch Mob album.

The finishing touches are being put on the long awaited Journey edition of VH-1’s Behind The Music. The band addresses this themselves on their website message board.

Want the latest on House Of Lords? Check out their website for a very funny message.

Every so often you come across a website that just defies description. This is one of those sites…rock and roll is the music of the devil, ‘nuff said. The scary thing is, these guys are serious. A quick warning, do not visit unless you have a lot of time to kill…you will read and read and read.

"May the best thing that happened to you last year be the worst thing that happens to you this year" Lots of Love- Chip, Donnie, Ricky and Monaco and all of us in the background of the "Z'nuff family". Check out this holiday card from Enuff Z’nuff.

Kip Winger has the latest tour dates on his site.

The message board over at Marcie Free’s website is up and running along with some really cool MP3s. Look for the reissue of “Tormented” early next year.

Vertical Horizon and Kiss have been added to the lineup for Dick Clark’s Rocking New Year’s Eve. They join Third Eye Blind and Lonestar, among others, to play for the 400,000 in Times Square. Kiss is also the subject of the first Fan Club, a new documentary style show on music fans airing on VH-1 this Friday night.

Queen, Aerosmith, Michael Jackson and Steely Dan will be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in March.

Robbie Williams is denying that he will tour with Queen in the US next year in a bid to get a foothold Stateside.

Those who ordered the Doobie Brothers new album, “Live Millennium”, may have discovered a glitch on some of the intros and outros while being re-sequenced. According to a spokesperson for IMIX, this was an unavoidable problem, as the company was not allowed to make any edits to the music.

December 26 is the release date for “Superstars And Cannonballs: Live On Tour”, the new DVD/video from Savage Garden. The Tracklisting The Best Thing, Break Me Shake Me, To The Moon & Back, The Lover After Me, I Don't Know You Anymore, Santa Monica, Two Beds And A Coffee Machine, You Can Still Be Free, The Animal Song, Hold Me, Gunning Down Romance, Crash And Burn, Truly Madly Deeply, Chained To You, I Want You, I Knew I Loved You and Affirmation.

Frontiers/Now & Then has signed ex-Journey/Vinnie Vincent singer Robert Fleischmann. Those rumored to be involved in the album are Stuart Smith, Jim Vallance, Bryan Adams and Neil Schon.

The manager for Guns N’ Roses has said that the band’s long awaited next album should be out in June of next year.

The new single from the Marvelous 3 will be “Get Over”.

Check out an acoustic performance from Michael McDermott at Yahoo! Media.

David Coverdale played two songs this past Friday on the KLOS Mark & Brian Christmas show. "I did it because they asked me and they weren't some big-hair reunion tour," Coverdale joked. His new single, "Slave," is at No. 26 on the Radio & Records Rock Airplay chart. He was backed by members of the band Dragonchoir, including guitarists Marc Bonilla and Mike Wallace, keyboardist Ed Roth, bassist Bob Birch (Elton John), drummer Troy Luccketta (Tesla), and session giant Steve Porcaro (Toto), also on keyboards. Look for a review of “Into The Light” next week in SFK.

Does anyone care about Metallica suing a perfume maker over a Metallica scent? Nah, didn’t think so.

Dream Theater’s Metropolis 2000: Scenes From New York” video will be out the last week of February. Besides the entire August 30, 2000 performance from New York City, the DVD will also contain audio commentary, one extra hour of live material, behind the scenes and a tour photo gallery.

The new Platypus album is in the can. Platypus is made up of Ty Tabor, John Myung, Rod Morgenstein and Derek Sherinian. Ty and Derek have another project going with Gregg and Matt Bissonette that should start recording in January.

Arabia will release “1001 Nights” in February through Z Records. Members of the Long Island, NY bases band include John Blaze, Dennis St. James, Bobby Marks and TJ Jordan.

Sony/Rewind will reissue “Welcome To The Club” from Kick Axe on February 20, 2001.

The Heavy Harmonies MP3 Of The Week: When one hears the name Van Zant, one tends to think of southern rock, Good Ole' Boys, and "The South Will Rise Again". Well, let's put a twist on that. Johnny Van Zant put out an album in 1985 that, unlike what you would expect, has all the trademark hooks and melodies of AOR and melodic hard rock. Here from the album Van Zant is the track I'm a Fighter.

Rare MP3 Of The Week:

The dance club remix of Bon Jovi’s It’s My Life”…need I say more?

Moldy Oldys:

[Five discs kicking old school on the SFK Deck O’ Death this week:]
John Mellencamp – Rough Harvest, Various Artists – Lost In The 70s (3CD set of my personal fave AM Gold), Bee Gees – Greatest, Whitesnake – Greatest Hits, Nuclear Valdez – I Am I

Kurt’s Picks:

AxeThe Crown, MTM, 2000
[Similarities: Guild Of Ages, Dream Theater, Deep Purple]
Well played, well produced…boring as hell. I’m sorry, but I just don’t get these guys. There’s no doubt that what they do, they do very well but this whole style or genre is lost on me. It all sounds so hopelessly dated. It seems, at least personally, that every time the band gets going they just fill the song with endless passages that don’t compliment the tune very well. “Together We Fly” could have been a tasty slice of arena rock but it just lingers on and on towards the end and outstays it’s welcome. As for the rest, songs like “Fire And Water” or “Children’s Memory” just come across as very flat and lifeless. Always though, there are exceptions and “Restless Angel”, as clichéd as it is, is a soaring ballad that is easily the highlight here. Previous fans of Axe and GOA will no doubt go ga-ga here but frankly, this just ain’t for me.

Billy Ray Cyrus – Southern Rain, Sony, 2000
[Similarities: Bob Seger, Bryan Adams, Lynyrd Skynyrd]
The line between new country and classic rock blurs more and more with each passing release. Eventually an artist would come through and not just ride the fence, but bust right on through. Who would have thought it would be Billy Ray Cyrus (yup, he of “Achy Breaky Heart” fame)? With a nice mix of incredibly heart felt ballads (the gorgeous “You Won’t Be Lonely” and “Love You Back”) and balls out rockers (the arena rocking “We The People” and the Garth-like “Burn Down The Trailer Park”), this is one very listenable and enjoyable album. Dann Huff lays down some scorching guitar leads, something which he hasn’t done is some time. And, Billy Ray can sing with the best of them. Granted, this is still packaged/labeled as country (as you will find a tiny bit of twang here and there) but this is much more born from the sounds of Bob Seger and the like then it is from Nashville. A huge surprise and one hell of an album. Classic rock fans willing to take a chance will enjoy this…a lot.

Superdrag – In The Valley Of Dying Stars, Arena Rock, 2000
[Similarities: The Raspberries, Foo Fighters, Cheap Trick]
I must have listened to this disc about a dozen times but if pressed, I could barely remember a thing about it. Very smooth Brit sounding power pop that’s too easily digestible. It all sounds pretty good when playing it, but the second the disc ends, so does any recollection of what you just listened to. And it’s sad really because some of these songs seem like they could have been scorchers just became nothing more than pleasant background music (whether it was the production (which seemed to lack punch) or something else more sinister I do not know). The band seems at it’s best, surprisingly, when it slows things down to a Beatlesque style, with “The Warmth Of A Tomb”, the only song that stuck when thrown to the wall.

Thin Lizzy – The Boys Are Back In Town, Vertigo, 2000
[Similarities: UFO, old Whitesnake, Bruce Springsteen]
Is it me or is there a new Thin Lizzy compilation out each holiday season? This one is a little different and probably the most complete and defining collection you’re likely to find. Besides containing all the usual suspects (like “Jailbreak” and “The Boys Are Back In Town”) you also get some gems from Phil Lynott’s solo work as well as a second disc of rare tracks. What this all goes to show is that Phil was simply one of THE finest songwriters to ever grace the planet. It’s genius how he can switch gears from the swank (“Dancing In The Moonlight”) to the blistering (“Bad Reputation”) to the lightweight (“Old Town”) without missing a step. Lizzy fanatics will no doubt want the rarities and for the uninitiated, this is a fine place to start. Every CD collection needs at least one Lizzy disc and you might as well make it this one. [From what I gather, the 2CD set is limited to 20,000 copies so get yours pronto.]

Kip Winger – Songs From The Ocean Floor, Frontiers/Now & Then, 2000
[Similarities: Duncan Shiek, Martin Page, Howard Jones]
I have never been the biggest Winger (the band) fan. Other than “Pull”, I found most of their songs clichéd and generic beyond belief. Odd considering how much talent the band had, and for what it’s worth, Kip is sounding vocally better than ever. Kip’s first solo outing was a mature, yet depressing, singer/songwriter album that was decent if a touch boring. The songwriting was great though. This time out, the songwriting is even better and what’s more, so are the songs. Thankfully still sounding nothing like Winger (the band), this is more along of the lines of say Duncan Shiek or similar adult pop, which is fine by me. I don’t think I could pick out a highlight (or lowlight) yet as I’m still taking it all in, but I know I like what I hear. Off the top of my head, the upbeat and off rhythm “Faster” (which reminds me of Corey Hart), the acoustic swagger of “Broken Open” and the soulful “Resurrection” have become fast favorites. An album full of layers and textures that take multiple listens to sort out, it feels like it will be worth it in the long run. Nothing here rocks the arenas but that’s just not where Kip is at these days, and we either have to choose to go along on his journey or ignore him altogether. Those that chose the latter will be missing out on an artist growing into his talent.

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

Ayreon - Universal Migrator Part 1: The Dream Sequencer, Universal Migrator Part 2: Flight of the Navigator, Spitfire Records
[similarities: Pink Floyd, Planet P Project, Dream Theater, Iron Maiden]
Arjen Lucassen, never one to do things according to normal methods has decided to release these 2 discs separately, ala Guns & Roses Use Your Ilusion I, II.  Unlike GnR, which was a mish-mash of music on both, Arjen has decided to separate his music into two categories. The first CD is very atmospheric in the Pink Floyd (with a bit of Sgt Pepper as well) sense, while the second album is more a prog-metal album. Rather than jumbling the two types of music you know what you are getting when you put in the CD. Many of us just listen to them one after the other.

For this huge rock/metal opera Arjen has assembled an impressive list of top tier hard rock and metal musicians from bands as diverse as Spock's Beard and Gorefest. Leading luminaries such as Bruce Dickinson, Andi Deris (Helloween), Lana Lane and Neal Morse lend their vocal talents to the music on each of the two discs. The cast of contributors is truly international ranging from the Scandinavian to the Japanese. Not all musicians appear on both albums, but they tend to be on the one most suited to their individual talents. Let's put it this way, there is a whole page of musicians in the press release. Arjen's arrangements seem to be very good at using musicians and vocalists for right part of his vision.

The Story of UM is one of the last surviving human in the solar system and his quest to get back to earth from his home on Mars. He is aided by a computer system which allows him to travel back in time and experience life as it was. The storyline of these albums is impressive, but not at the expense of the music, which is outstanding. As one would expect from this sort of thing, the tunes blend one into the other to create an overall landscape. Far from being ponderous or boring, the music never bogs down and continues to take the listener along as it progresses the story.

As you can expect from this sort of release, there is nothing on either disc that would work as a single, per se. Highlights are even harder to find, both albums are "session" listens". With a combined total of almost 150 minutes, these two discs are perfect for a long journey. The patient are rewarded with an amazing tapestry of hard rock music that is quite brilliant.

Personally I think one needs to buy both of these discs as they are both amazing. Try something new and unique, you wont be disappointed. Kudos to Spitfire for releasing this sort of the thing in the US. - Marty

AOR Basement (Ian McIntosh):

The stock market is getting tetchy: what's taking the Bertlesmann deal to take-over EMI so long to get done? Bertlesmann has even been working hard to cool stock market anticipation that a deal was "imminent". Talks between the two have been underway since mid-November but it is now expected to be the end of January before a deal is reached, or not.

Bertlesmann says it has a lot to check out and analyze about the deal. Knowing how EMI has operated over the years there's probably some skeletons in some closets! However, BMG says that "slow but steady" progress has been made and the main things it is addressing are: price (obviously!); management structure (how to get rid of the EMI suits without paying them too much, I'd wager!); and perhaps more importantly, a strategy for getting the deal pass anti-trust and competition regulators. The management issues are said to be "sensitive", I guess because some of the EMI bigwigs will still want some semblance of power even though it's their company getting taken over by BMG, not the other way round.

The antitrust issues are what will really prove whether the deal will fly. If the deal is done, the European Commission seems to have recognized that the major music groups will have decreased from five to four (like duh!), which is just the right number to dominate the entire market, even more.

At this stage the way to getting past the antitrust regulators would appear to be disposing of one of the EMI-owned labels. The Virgin label has already been highlighted, but whether the geezers at EMI will be able to bear parting with that remains to be seem. Then again, their company is falling about around their ears and looking like the playground whipping boy!

It's all about money, pure and simple. Making money not music seems to be prime directive for the music industry - isn't everything now back to front?


From: "Peter Edwardson"

Subject: Jaime Kyle
Hi Kurt, Last year I bought a copy of "The Best of My Heart" by Jaime Kyle released on Frontiers Records which I thought was superb, one of the best albums I've bought recently - excellent songwriting and stunning vocals.

I believe Jaime has released a new album this year called "Untangled", which is apparently less AOR and more country/West Coast. However, this hasn't made its way over here to the UK yet. Has anyone heard it? Is it any good?


Kurt, Thanks for the sfk yet again.

Noticed one classic AOR tunes missing from your all-time fav. Christmas songs, but then again I can understand how you haven't heard it: Whiteheart (Little drummer boy) Simply awesome AOR!


Subject: Kurt Here's Mine!

From: "Georgios Sidiropoulos"

Subject: Christmas songs
Try this one:

1. Spinal Tap - Christmas With The Devil
2. T-Rex - Christmas Bop
3. Monty Python - Christmas In Heaven
4. Fear - Fuck Christmas
5. Ramones - Merry Christmas (I Don't Wanna Fight Tonight)
6. TVTV$ - Daddy Drank Our Christmas Money
7. The Frogs - Here Comes Santa's Pussy
8. 220 Volt - Heavy Christmas
9. Wild man Fischer & Dr. Demento - I'm A Christmas Tree