“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:

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·        Ian McIntosh (AOR Basement)

·        Mark Orsted (Heavens Smiling)

·        Dave Reynolds

·        Alex Richter (Hard N' Fast)

·        George Thatcher (Heart Of Rock)

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Kurt's Krap:

Last week’s quote from Motley Crue drummer Randy Castillo should have been credited to Metal Sludge, a website I cannot recommend highly enough.

Another website I’ve killed a lot of time with this past week, Retro Rewind. Check them out for TONS of great exclusive performances from artists like Mr. Mister, The Outfield, Michael McDonald and more.

Hey! Here’s something we haven’t done in a while…a survey. With all the AOR reissues that seem to be hitting the market, there are still a ton that sit somewhere just waiting for someone to do them up. So, my question to you guys is: what one album do you wish would be reissued OR what one artist (who’s material is out of print) would you like to see get the compilation treatment? Just reply to send me your vote (or send it to ). I will post the results next week.

News Bytes:

Howard Jones has released two new albums (both variations of the same theme), “Perform.00” and “Pefawm” (which is the 2CD Internet only version). Both sets contain re-recordings of many of his biggest hits. You can check Howard’s website for ordering info. I’ll have a review next week.

Michael Jackson is planning to release a new album next spring.

Early next year Sony Japan will release a “The Journey Continues: The Best Of” collection from Journey containing Lights, Wheel In The Sky, Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’ Too Late, Any Way You Want It, Don’t Stop Believin’, Who’s Crying Now, Open Arms, Separate Ways (Worlds Apart), Faithfully, After The Fall, Send Her My Love, Girl Cant Help It, Be Good To Yourself, When You Love A Woman, Message Of Love, Remember Me and All The Way.

There’s talk that Rick Springfield will take over for Tommy Tune in the Vegas show EFX.

The Elton John/Billy Joel tour has announced it’s first set of dates, all on the West Coast:
Friday, January 19 - San Diego, California - Cox Arena
Monday, January 22 - Vancouver, British Columbia - GM Place
Wednesday, January 24 - Tacoma, Washington - Tacoma Dome
Friday, January 26 - Portland, Oregon - Rose Garden
Monday, January 29 - Salt Lake City, Utah - Delta Center
Wednesday, January 31 - Sacramento, California - Arco Arena
Friday, February 2 - Oakland, California - Oakland Coliseum
Sunday, February 4 - San Jose, California - San Jose Arena
Tuesday, February 6 -Los Angeles, California - LA Forum
Tuesday, February 13 - Phoenix, Arizona - American West Arena
Saturday, February 17 - Las Vegas, Nevada - MGM Grand

Hard rock radio show, The Tour Bus, has been added to VH-1’s At Work Network.

Rough Cutt were left stranded by in Plymouth, Massachusetts on November 26, forcing them to miss a Christmas show at the Voodoo Lounge in Queens, NY.

Human Race will release a new album early next year on Massacre titled “Dirteater”.

Rumor has it that Go-Go’s singer Belinda Carlisle has posed for an upcoming issue of Playboy.

Frontiers/Now & Then has signed the reformed Hardline. Says Johnny Gioeli, "Although I never felt I left the rock scene, I certainly slowed down quite a bit. The slowing was great timing as I was blessed four years ago with my beautiful daughter Kaitlin who I got to spend a tremendous amount of time watching her grow. Now I am SO SO SO SO ready to put out another Hardline record for all of the fans who really believed it was more than a one record wonder... Neal Schon and I spent days, months and years writing songs that would have been on future Hardline records. Will I use them????? Hhhhhmmmmmmmm. I don't know. I have swarms of new ideas turning in my mind for the new record. Why am I doing this record? Not for money-not for fame-but for the love of a great melodic chorus.  Sometimes when I stop and think of the past, I can still hear the crowd and see the millions of faces and their reactions...I live for this...and I am going to make this the record of records. It is still undecided as to who will be on the record but I do know that - apart from Joey (on rhythm guitar) and myself on vocals, famed guitar hero Joey Tafolla will play lead guitar." Expect a release for next summer.

Frontiers/Now & Then will also reissue the Jimi Jamison Empires” album in the US, which will contain two bonus tracks: “Keep It Evergreen” and a live version of “Too Hot To Sleep”. It WILL NOT have the Survivor name attached to it anymore to prevent confusion now that Jamison has reunited with Frankie Sullivan.

The Radioactive album is almost finished. The project, which features guitarist Tommy Denander, should be out next March and contains the following tracks:  Crime of Passion , When Your In Love (both co-written with Bobby Kimball), Waiting for a Miracle, Grace, Played the Fool (co-written with Fee Waybill), On My Own, Ceremony Of Innocence, Haunt Me Tonight (by Richard Marx, Fee Waybill, Bruce Gaitch), LA Movies, Voices, The Story of Love  and a still untitled instrumental.

Guild Of Ages has finished the recordings of their third release, "Citadel", which was recorded at the NEH Studio in Denver, Colorado. The full track list: Wicked Game, Losing My Religion, From Now On, Until The End, So This Could Be, Reaching Out, Thats Why, How Many Times, Feeding the Fire and How Can I Say.

Slamer-Thompson finished most of the recording of their project, with songs including: Wasting Time, Cant Get a Hold of Love, Get Up and Dance, Like Dust in the Light, One Man Mission, All Over Me, I Wont Lie Down, Angel, Girls Kick, Till The End, Ticket to Thailand and You Got Me.

Loud n Clear will release "Disconnected" soon, with songs to include Take Another Look, Ain’t Talking About Nothing, Vanishing Point, Lovers In The Night, Disconnected, If You Want It, Take Me Higher, Love and Pain, If You Ever, Time To Let Go, Making Memories, Behind My Eyes, What Are You Waiting For and Better Than Radio.

Alice Cooper’s house was burglarized while on tour. The thieves nabbed over $6,000 in clothes and electronics as well as four gold records and a gold record from Guns N’ Roses.

If you’re a fan of The Cult, keep your eye out for a special version of their “Rare Cult” 6-CD box set, which contains a seventh disc of remixes.

The Monkees plan to hit the road next year for “Monkee Mania Returns!”. The tour will be filmed for TV/video release.

MCY will broadcast Sammy Hagar’s “Cabo Wabo Birthday Bash” in early 20001. The show was taped November 18.

The Asia website has clips of their new album, “Aura”, available for listening.

Jeff Lynne is putting the finishing touches on “Zoom”, the first new album from Electric Light Orchestra since 1986.

A somewhat disturbing news item that I saw on the TV the other night, Loverboy bassist Scott Smith is missing and feared drowned after being swept overboard by a wave in San Francisco. Though the official search has been called off, the family has started their own. Scott left behind two sons and a fiancé. Andrew over at Melodic Rock has set up a condolences board.

Speaking of Melodic Rock, I’m not one prone to swiping news bits from other websites, but this bit of gossip was too good to ignore. The full story is of course at Andrew’s site. UFO PLUNGE INTO SPINAL TAP LIKE INSTANATEOUS COMBUSTION: UFO's sometimes comical career reached a new, if not predictable, low last week, as the remaining dates of their UK tour were cancelled after members within the band once again fell out with each other... The rest you have to read for yourselves.

Burning Rain has begun work on songs for third album. The band is also planning a  Japanese tour for next year. Guitarist Doug Aldrich has written two songs for a Japanese TV show called Mikazuki, one of which is twenty minutes long and has guest appearances by Rudy Sarzo, Frank Hannon and Tim Bogart.

The Heavy Harmonies MP3 Of The Week: A recent discovery for me, Planet P Project has an interesting sound. It's AOR, but it isn't. Stylistically, they were a blend of Pink Floyd, Alan Parsons, Electric Light Orchestra, and Supertramp. Of the songs from their self-titled debut, most people might be familiar with Why Me?, which received some airplay. I've decided to feature one of their lesser-known tracks, “Power Tools”.

SANTERS will start recording their comeback album early next year, which is scheduled for autumn 2001release!

Our very own SAYIT are putting the final touches to the 2nd album which should be finally ready to go by late January - KEE MARCELLO and keyboard wiz MATS OLAUSSON were added to the endless guest list as well!

That's it for now - please keep in mind that we have closed for vacations from DECEMBER the 23rd until JANUARY the 7th!

Finally, the results of the My VH-1 Awards:
You Want Fries With That Album? - Faith Hill for her Pepsi ads
2 for 2 - Creed
Legend in Action - Sting
Gods of Thunder - Metallica
Givin’ It Back - Limp Bizkit
Coolest Fan Web Site - (Dave Matthews Band)
Best U.K. Act - Robbie Williams
Best-Kept Secret - The Corrs
Welcome to the Big Time! - Creed
Pushing the Envelope Video - Red Hot Chili Peppers - "Californication"
Sexxxiest Video - Faith Hill - "Breathe"
Woman of the Year - Faith Hill
Man of the Year - Carlos Santana
Best Stage Spectacle - Metallica with the San Francisco Symphony
Double Threat (Musician/Actors) - Will Smith
Video of the Year - Bon Jovi - "It’s My Life"
Most Entertaining Public Feud - Eminem vs. Everyone
Best Live Act - Dave Matthews Band
Group of the Year - Creed
Song of the Year - Creed - "Higher"
Your Song Kicked Ass but Was Played Too Damn Much - Santana - "Smooth"
Booty Shake - Ricky Martin
Must-Have Album - Red Hot Chili Peppers - Californication

Rare MP3 Of The Week:

A cool tune I had sitting around, “Common Ground” from Rhythm Corps. A BIG ‘whatever happened to?’ to this mob…

Moldy Oldys:

[Five discs kicking old school on the SFK Deck O’ Death this week:]
Eric Martin – Soul Sessions, Corey Hart – The Singles, Howard Jones – Live Acoustic America, A-Ha – Headlines And Deadlines, The Cars – Greatest Hits

Kurt’s Picks:

David Isaacs Timebomb, FTG, 2000
[Similarities: Brett Walker, Jude Cole, Michael McDermott]
That sound you just heard was my jaw hitting the floor. Cripes! What an album! Thirteen perfect songs of midwest pop with a hard rock edge, it’s the kind of album that if you were a musician, you’d strive to be this good. Intelligent lyrics, infectious melodies and gorgeous vocals have made this yet another essential purchase for 2000. All it takes is one listen to a song like “Waterfall” or “All We Are” to convince you that this is something truly special. “Goodbye To You” is one of those songs that had you heard it on the radio, you would stop what you’re doing to find out who it was and where you could get it. “Little Angel” is another. In fact, out of the thirteen songs here, you will not find one that lets your mind wander even the slightest bit…I was hooked from beginning to end, captured with no chance to escape. I know it’s become an all too easily thrown around cliché but this is hands down, one of THE best melodic rock albums of the year, or year’s past for that matter.

Ricky Martin – Sound Loaded, Sony, 2000
[Similarities: Backstreet Boys, Brian Setzer, Desmond Child]
Say what you will, but I still found Ricky’s last album an absolute treasure. It was album that to me successfully rode both sides of the pop and melodic rock fences. After hearing first single, the addictive “She Bangs”, I held out hope that he would release another killer album that could be enjoyed by fans of different genres. Honestly, I’m a tad let down. In many ways this album is a carbon copy of the last, and I’m sure it’s gonna be huge. But maybe that’s exactly the problem. The performances are flawless and the songs are all “there”, but in the end it’s all so damned generic (and in the boy band age that’s REALLY saying something). The only exceptions to this rule the Journey-like power ballads “Come To Me” and “Nobody Wants To Be Lonely” and the upbeat and enrapturing “Loaded” (a possible song of the year contender). Other tracks just feel lost. The Santana like romp “Amor” does little for me as does the wanna-be rocker “Jezebel”. Make no doubt, this album will be huge but merely on the strength of it’s singles…a perfect example of the sum of the parts not adding up to a whole.

Richard Marx – Days In Avalon, Signal21, 2000
[Similarities: The Eagles, Toto, Bryan Adams]
With an artist like Richard Marx, you always know what you’re getting. Though you may find a surprise here or there, he’s the kind of artist who takes what he does and brings it to a whole other level without actually doing anything new. He seems to be mellowing with age as some of these songs sound better suited for Barbara Streisand, but this man still knows how to write a hit. Songs like the title track, the anthemic “Someone Special” and strumming “More Than A Mystery” are the stuff of West Coast dreams and will no doubt be decent sized singles. Played and sung to perfection (maybe Richard’s strongest vocals to date), I can’t get too highly enthused, but I also can’t knock it. It’s just too well done. But, on the other hand, I also think it’s time for Richard to ‘kick out the jams’ a little as he’s slowly creeping into Bryan Adams/Michael Bolton territory. Overly pleasant West Coast pop, for better or worse, perfect for the housewives on your Christmas list.

Outside Edge – Running Hot/More Edge, Virgin Reissues, 2000 (1986/1987)
[Similarities: Honeymoon Suite, FM, Foreigner]
I must confess that until these dropped in my mailbox, I have never heard of Outside Edge. They must have just slipped under my radar back in the late 80s. But MAN what I’ve been missing. These two discs represent the pinnacle of keyboard driven arena rock. Sounding not unlike FM in their AOR prime, this foursome just piles on melodies on top of melodies. Just wait until your ears get a dose of “Louella” and “Don’t Leave Me Tonight” (from “Running Hot”) or “Not Made Of Glass”, “Flesh And Blood” and “Heaven Tonight” (from “More Edge”). And that’s just scratching the surface as between the two discs are 17 heavenly slices of AOR filled with lush keyboards and hyper guitar riffs that all hold up pretty well some 15 odd years on. If I had to choose just one, I would go with “More Edge” as overall, it’s near perfect from beginning to end, with a better production and performances (especially in the vox). But, with brilliant liner notes to boot, Virgin once again comes up aces on both of these with their continuing series of AOR reissues (thanks to Par Winberg).

Praying Mantis – Nowhere To Hide, Frontiers/Now & Then, 2000
[Similarities: Pretty Maids, Asia, Ten]
Not at all what I was expecting, this is glorious AOR with a touch of prog to it. I have never heard the music of the band, though I have heard the name and always assumed they were some sort of Saxon clones (or similar). Not even close as this keyboard driven hard rock that most reminds me of Pretty Maids, with a much better singer. It’s funny but I had a really tough time thinking of something to write. The songs are good, but at first, not so good that they stick in your head. But something just makes you keep coming back to this disc time and time again. At times, moody and atmosphere (much like the best of Dream Theater) on tracks like “The Clocktower” and “Future Of The World”. At others it’s just over the top, in your face arena rock like on “Nowhere To Hide” and “You’ll Never Know”. An album that makes you want to revisit it is a rarity these days and every listen you will get something new out of it. Can’t say that about too many these days.

Teer – Teer, Frontiers/Now & Then, 2000
[Similarities: Brighton Rock, Danger Danger, Harem Scarem]
It’s amazing that something so unabashedly influenced by 80s hard rock could sound so fresh, but Teer have done exactly that. If this were released 15 years ago, they would have been huge, and for those who look beyond the nostalgiac sound will find so much to enjoy. The strength of the material carries this project far, with each riff as catchy as the last, massive chorus hooks and some lyrics that are a touch better than most. All the songs here are very good or better, with “Vampire’s Lullaby” and “Monday Mourning” standing out just a bit more than the rest. Sounding like the lost Harem Scarem album between the debut and “Mood Swings”, this is arena rock at it’s finest.

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

Mr Big: Get Over It, Atlantic Records
[similarities: Tesla, Black Crowes]
New album, new guitarist and old band with its share of radio hits. Sound vaguely familiar? Gone is Paul Gilbert, in comes Richie Kotzen. Richie is the guy who replaced CC Deville in Poison and got his arse booted out for shagging Ricky Rocket's fiancé. Great guitar player, with solo albums and one lame Poison album to his name. Mr Big replaced one guitar guru with a protégée, so does it work well?

The opening track "Electrified" has a great chorus and is a decent blues based rocker. 'Hiding Place" sees Mr Big getting a bit funky, while "Superfantastic", the first single from the album, has hit written all over it.  This very-Tesla like song with its catchy chorus and acoustic intro should be huge, and no doubt will be in Japan.

Another catchy track is "How does it feel?" This features some nice guitar work and has a good bluesy feel to it. While "Try" is a Stonesy song, that sounds like something the Black Crowes would have recorded during the "Shake your Money Maker" sessions. It is catchy as hell, and will stick in your head for a long time to come. Billy Sheehan's bass really shows through on "Dancin", a catchy blues track.

The CD ends with a "My New Religion" a mellow acoustic track, with the requisite strings. This track is very catchy and makes a good partner to the guy's biggest hits. This will no doubt do well in Japan as well. All in all, this is a solid effort. There is nothing really outstanding here, but it is all good. It will be interesting to see what their next disc will sound like once Kotzen has settled in a bit. - Marty

AOR Basement (Ian McIntosh):

Something I think that's been overlooked in all the recent developments with and around Napster in recent weeks, is that what the final outcome is, could well shape how music is going to develop on the internet for the next couple of years, or not.

The whole development of Napster has divided the music industry into two camps: those who view internet file swapping as a useful promotion tool, and those that think it's stealing money out of their pockets. Now that BMG is looking to legitimize Napster, it would seem there is at least some sense of victory for those that thought it was grand larceny. But that was always going to be the end game, to quote All the President's Men: "follow the money".....

Napster's current plan is to charge people a $4.95 membership fee each month (each month???? That'll soon mount up, follow the..., you know where I'm going with this) for "promotional" tracks. There's also talk of a high-quality download format that would "time expire" after certain dates where people would be charged for every single download (again, keep following the greenbacks....). So what's most significant about that? Where the money goes.... Those proposals could allow Napster to operate just like the American Record Clubs. Those clubs might sell CDs at a discount, but by virtue of their special deals, they pay a big chunk of money to the record labels involved, under different contracts that mean the musicians get even less than normal. Therefore, the record labels will just sit there and say "it's our money, and we're keeping it all", while still getting to feed their fixation of being anally-retentive control freaks!

The counter argument is that new listeners will hear new bands that they've never heard before and then go off and buy CDs. My repost to that is that if people are paying for it, they'll be a lot more selective in what they download, and new music and unknown bands are going to find it harder to get heard by anyone.

More money for an inferior product while you feed some executives' prospects of getting more money from the stock market will be the likely be the end result - seems to be the way of the world in the 21st century where ever you turn....



Subject: Re: Corey Hart   
I saw your recent review of Corey's last album ("Jade") which is indeed, terrific. I actually favor the album just before it, which is self-titled, although they are both very good.  A place you may want to recommend to your readers for obtaining both of these CDs as well as the entire catalog of Corey Hart albums is, which is A & B Sound Online in Canada. They have an excellent selection of Canadian artists as well as releases
which are hard to find in the states (Just try finding my personal favorite Corey Hart album 'Young Man Running' in the US on CD, while it is available at A & B for under $5, less than $8 with shipping (I just picked up a copy as a gift for a friend, so I can confirm they have it available)).

From: "a berry"

Subject: A New Found Glory
Kurt, Just felt I had to send you this review as I feel so strongly about this cd- it's probably as good as the M3 release and definitely more original. It would be a shame for people to miss out hearing this cd 'cause it's quite awesome.

A New Found Glory- "New Found Glory" (MCA 2000) 10 out of 10
It's not very often you hear a cd that totally turns your ideas and opinions of a particular genre on it's head but Florida quintet New Found Glory have done so, with an astonishingly good piece of Pop Punk which totally annihilates all the opposition  (Blink 182, Mest etc.). Put it quite simply, with the exception of ReadySexGo, this is easily the best alternative melodic rock cd of the year. Yes it's very Punk but whereas the other Pop Punk bands mentioned can only manage to muster a couple of great songs NFG have a cd full of 'em. 12 tracks - all infectious and highly melodic. Perhaps the best touching point would be Lit with more of a hardcore punk attitude. These guys show serious chart potential with the highly melodic likes of “Boy Crazy”, “Better Off Dead”, ”Vegas” and the awesome “Hit or Miss”. Check ‘em out before they’re huge!

For any fans of Lit, The Offspring or Blink 182 this release is utterly essential. For the more adventurous amongst us it will prove to be one of (if not) the best releases of the year and like me will take some serious moving from the old cd player!


Subject: David Glen Eisley "Stranger From The Past"

Hey Kurt! First, thanks again for the coverage of all the music...helps me purchase more great music!!

I would like to drop a line about DGE's new CD, "Stranger From The Past". I have listened to DGE since "Call To The Heart", and "I Must Be Dreaming". One of the most underrated singers in the AOR business, it's great to have him back doing the music that he does best....melodic AOR!

As with U2, one becomes afraid when you hear that an artist is going to "return to his/her roots", and do a new CD. U2 has proven that that isn't always possible, as your ego tends to get in the way of the music....however, DGE doesn't have that problem.....I guess appearing in a Schwab commercial keeps reality in check!

I didn't care for "Murder's Row", or "Stream", two of DGE's last bands...I did like "Dirty White Boy", and his vocals on Craig Goldy's "Hidden in Plain Sight"...and it's here, and from Giuffria, that DGE comes back too to do "Stranger From the Past." is vintage DGE, and
there's only a couple of disappointments on the CD....but that's true with all CD' can't make everyone happy with everything! But one listen to "Don't Turn Away", and you feel as though you have Giuffria's S/T in the player!

His sound is again reminiscent of a "rough" Journey....his vocals can best be described as scotch-drenched, and he sings again with a passion....and it is all pure AOR!

Another beautiful part of this CD finds that his players include former band mates Chuck Wright, and Craig Goldy...we also se Ron Wikso! But we have the best 3/5's of Giuffria back on this CD....and that makes for some great music...apparently DGE didn't leave Giuffria empty handed, either...we find him playing most of the keyboards on this CD...something he must have picked up from Gregg Giuffria!

This CD, "Stranger From the Past" was a pleasure to receive in the mail...if you like pure AOR, and are a fan of Giuffria, Dirty White Boy, or any of the various projects that DGE has been involved in, you'll enjoy this CD. CD of the year? Maybe not, but that doesn't take away from the fact that it has enough music to keep all his fans very happy. DGE is indeed a "Stranger From the Past", and I, for one, am very glad to have him back!

[Am I the only one who hated this album?]

From: Don Nafe

Subject: Chapter 23 year end update
Hello one and all from Chapter 23 First off a few words of thanks.

To all the reviewers who took the challenge and put poison pen to paper, you did a great job. If you'd like to compare reviews go to

To the radio guys out there - a big thank you for playing our music...keep that CD spinning...we really appreciate it!.

To our distributors...sell sell sell!!! A million is never enough!

To all the AOR labels...we've written Santa Claus and told him NOT to leave a lump of coal in your stockings despite the fact that you've ignored us all year.
For anyone who's interested....

We were amazed at the response we received from the AOR community and the new fan base we cultivated thanks to your work. Month after month, reviews of our CD "flying in the face of conventional wisdom" came in. They in turn spawned more reviews, interviews, radio play and yes, even some label interest. Rarely a week went by when we didn't receive e-mails or orders for the CD from some far flung place on the planet...truly amazing!

As most of you were aware, late last year our cooperative group of musicians decided to take the plunge and build our own recording studio. It was a rather ambitious project and all involved were looking forward to the many months of blood, sweat and tears that would be required to get us up and running. Throughout the spring, summer and early fall everything was going according to plan but unfortunately circumstances arose which forced 23 pull out of the cooperative. Although this was a major setback with regards to our recording plans, we did have most of our new material demo-ed and have been able to continue recording, albeit at a tad slower pace than we're used to.

As for the CD itself, we have worked out a deal with a local recording studio (of excellent caliber) to record our next CD but this has forced us to push back the recording of the CD well into the new year while we amass the cash to pay for this puppy. So if you know of any wealthy rock'n'roll philanthropists who would like to help a struggling rock band, have them contact us (no, we are not above begging)

Over the summer we began posting RealAudio demos of our new material on our web site for your dinning and dancing pleasure and will continue to do so until the CD is released. We hope to post MP3 files of our songs (as they seem to be the audio file of choice) and with any luck they'll be online for all you Napster fans out there sometime in the new year. The demos can be found at but due to space
constraints we are limited to four songs online at any one time.

This problem will be resolved when we move to Our new site, which is being designed and tested as you read, will be full of interesting eye candy, better quality audio and...are you ready for this...actual pictures of the band!!! (faces only our mothers could love)

Lastly, as we are approaching the festive season we want to wish you all a Merry Christmas (for those who indulge) and a Great New Year!