“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 & ? - Kurt Torster

More unanswered ?s:

·        Carrie Borzillo (All Star Daily News)

·        Marty Dodge (

·        Jason Grubbs

·        Tim Henderson (Brave Words)

·        Martin Hennessy III (80's Nuts)

·        Ian McIntosh (AOR Basement)

·        Mark Orsted (Heavens Smiling)

·        Dave Reynolds

·        Alex Richter (Hard N' Fast)

·        George Thatcher (Heart Of Rock)

·        Mike Waugh

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Kurt's Krap:

The message board got off to a decent start. Two hot topics these days, “Does Kurt have any taste?” and “Time/Life Sounds Of The 70s”. Join the fun…

News Bytes:

Though not official, look for announcement soon that April will bring a live album from Bruce Springsteen, culled entirely from his stint at Madison Square Garden. The single disc will contain almost all new songs including “American Skin (41 Shots)”, “Code Of Silence”, “Further On Up The Road” and “Land Of Hope And Dreams” as well as songs not commonly played like “Lost In The Flood” and “If I Should Fall Behind”. A DVD release should follow.

For the next leg of Bon Jovi’s North American stadium/arena tour (which kicks off April 18), power poppers SR-71 have been tagged as the openers.

Everclear and Matchbox 20 will kick off a co-headlining arena tour on February 27 in Minneapolis. Lifehouse will open things up. Matchbox 20 will release a new single, “Mad Season” in March.

The reunited Tesla plays the following dates (more tour dates and a possible live album will be announced soon at the band’s website):
Friday, February 16th           Boise, ID                   Big Easy
Saturday, February 17th         Salt Lake City, UT          TBA
Sunday, February 18th           Denver, CO                  Ogden Theater
Monday, February 19th           Kansas City, MO         Beaumont
Wednesday, February 21st        Milwaukee, WI               The Rave
Thursday, February 22nd     Chicago, IL                 Old Vic Theater
Friday, February 23rd           Chicago, IL                 Old Vic Theater
Saturday, February 24th         Minneapolis, MN         First Avenue
Monday, February 26th           Oklahoma City, OK           In Cahoots
Tuesday, February 27th          Dallas, TX                  Bronco Bowl
Wednesday, February 28th        Houston, TX             Aerial Theater
Friday, March 2nd               Tucson, AZ                  Rialto Theater
Saturday, March 3rd         Phoenix, AZ             Celebrity Theater

Fantasy has plans to issue a Taxxi compilation in February titled “Chequered Past”. Finally!

Guns N’ Roses added another new song to their setlist at the Rock In Rio festival, “Madagascar”.

Live On The Net has a Kyle Vincent webcast lined up for January 31.

This coming Thursday you can catch a live webcast of Michael McDonald from Club Passim in Massachusetts.

Long lost 80s AOR band Tycoon has a group of songs available for download at MP3, all from their unreleased “Secret Dreams” album.

You can catch the trailer for the movie Rock Star at it’s official website.

Savage Garden will release a new single in the form of “Hold Me” soon, which will contain bonus live tracks.

Metallica’s Lars Ulrich and others from the world of music will participate in a special week of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire in February.

NWOBHM act Tygers Of Pan Tang have reformed and will release an album on Z later this year.

There are rumors coming out of the INXS camp that Baby Animals singer (and wife of Nuno Bettencourt) Suze DeMarchi will replace Michael Hutchence for a new album and tour.

Look for Honeymoon Suite’s Rob Laidlaw to produce the new Rush album, due out later this year. The trio has just started pre-production work.

Marillion will undertake a tour of UK universities in February. Catch them at: 13 - The Venue, Bath; 15 - The Ballroom, Durham; 18 - The Fusion, Sheffield; 19 - Stanley Theatre, Liverpool; 20 - Glow Bar, Nottingham; 22 - The Boat Race, Cambridge; 25 - Divas, Swansea

Dogface is a new Swedish act featuring singer Mats Leven and guitarist Martin Kronlund. The sound is said to be heavily Rainbow/Deep Purple influenced.

Look for the long awaited Diving For Pearls disc soon on MTM.

The new Tommy Denander project, Ceremony Of Innocence, will be out on MTM in March. It features vocals from Bobby Kimball, Fee Waybill, Fergie Fredrickson, Jason Scheff and Jim Jihad. Sounds very promising.

Ignition is a new band featuring Peter Soderstrom and vocalist Jan Johansen. They will be helped out with songs written by Bob Marlette, Mark Spiro and Martin Page.

Warner Japan has put up their shockwave enhanced official Rubber website.

.38 Special has posted their 2001 tour dates at their website.

Sony will release an expanded version of Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell” on January 30 that contains a fourteen-minute live segment recorded at the Nassau Coliseum in New York.

Roland Orzabal, one half of the Tears For Fears duo, will release an album in March titled “Tomcats Screaming Outside”.

80s AORsters Joshua will release new album through M&K this spring, which is being produced by Keith Olson. More info at the band’s website.

Mecca is a new band featuring vocalists Fergie Fredricksen and Joe Vanna along with other members of World Stage and Toto. More info at the Jim Peterik website.

The Partners In Crime tour, featuring Jim Peterik, Don Barnes, Kelly Keagy and Kevin Chalfant, among others will play the Norris Theater in Illinois on March 17. It’s possible they will be joined by Kevin Cronin and Tom Keifer.

Some Michael Jackson newsbits: First up, he will take place in the Jackson 5 reunion set for later this year. Secondly, the advance word on his new solo album is that he turned in some forty odd songs to Sony and according to one Sony rep, “not one of them was any good or single worthy”. Ouch…

The Japanese release of “Live At The Greek” from Jimmy Page & The Black Crowes features new songs in the form of “In The Light”, “Misty Mountain Hop” and “Mellow Down Easy”.

A new Fleetwood Mac album and tour is due this year, both without Christine McVie.

In what seems to be a going trend, members of various classic rock acts are teaming up as a touring tribute to themselves (ie. Voices Of Classic Rock). I came across this website for the World Class Rockers, which features ex-members of The Eagles, The Knack, Steppenwolf and Toto.

Luke Morley has a set of dates in Japan lined up to support his February release of “El Gringo Retro”: Wednesday 23rd May 2001 Osaka Banana Club, Thursday 24th May 2001 Tokyo On-Air West, Friday 25th May 2001 Tokyo On-Air West

The latest on Ultrasound 2001 from Dave Tedder:
-The lineup right now is: Rob Rock, Tony Harnell & Mark Reale of Westworld, Seven Witches, Velocity, Robin Brock, Mitch Malloy, John Taglieri, Talon, American Dog and Jarra.
-Just as a reminder our Southwest Airlines code # is: R3053. You must refer to this code number in order to get the 10% discount on flights for UltraSound.
-Our discount rates at the Hilton are available until February 3. After February 3, the rooms are no longer available at the rates below: Standard Guest Room Rate: $99 + tax  (Single / Double), Junior Suite Room Rate: $134 + tax  (Single / Double). You must refer to the EGO TRIP ENTERTAINMENT RATE in order to get the discount.
-check the website for more info

The Heavy Harmonies MP3 Of The Week: I remember the first time I listened to Artica. They reminded me of a blend of Survivor and Journey and a touch of Triumph. There was something about them that intrigued me though. Let's find out what everyone else thinks. From their 1995 (and as far as I know, their only) album As It Should Be, here is the track One Night.

Rare MP3 Of The Week:

I’m leaving last week’s MP3 up an extra week by request. In case you missed it, grab The Gladhands version of Pilot’s AM Gold classic “Magic”.

Moldy Oldys:

[Five discs kicking old school on the SFK Deck O’ Death this week:]
Ray Parker Jr. & Raydio – Greatest Hits, Chicago – The Heart Of, Bee Gees – One Night Only, Ben Folds Five – personal best of compilation

Kurt’s Picks:

Hootie & The Blowfish - Scattered Smothered & Covered, Atlantic, 2000
[Similarities: Gin Blossoms, Toad The Wet Sprocket, Matchbox 20]
Not quite a proper new release but rather a collection of fan chosen cover tunes. And for what it’s worth, there’s not a bad song in earshot. And what’s more, all the songs fit together pretty well…well enough that the flow almost has the feel of a complete album rather than an ‘odds & sods’ sort of thing. Among the highlights include their spanking covers of 54-40’s “I Go Blind” and Zep’s “Hey Hey What Can I Do” as well as the upbeat “Fine Line” and the barroom rocking “Araby”. Basically, if you like them already then you will like this a lot. Or, in other words, for fans only.

Rascal Flatts – Rascal Flatts, Lyric Street, 2000
[Similarities: Lonestar, Backstreet Boys, The Eagles]
I guess it was inevitable that the world of teen pop would spill over into new country. The trio that makes up Rascal Flatts can sing their hearts out, as the harmonies on this disc are some of the best I’ve heard in recent memory. In typical new country fashion the boys had no hand in the songwriting but all the songs are of the new breed of country, that is more pop and AOR than that of the ol’ twangy Nashville. The eleven songs offered up are all catchy and very listenable and above all, memorable. One listen will have you humming many of these tunes for days. Opening track “Praying For Daylight” proves this beyond miles. Ditto for “This Everyday Love”, “Some Say” and “From Time To Time”, which are far more AOR than one may think. The only real low points here are on the ballads, where they honesty sound like carbon copies of every other slow song pouring out of Nashville’s hit factory and come across as more prefab than the rest of the disc. Short of a few minor missteps, this is very enjoyable. (And for those keeping score, yes, Dann Huff plays guitar on here. Does this man ever sleep?)

Michael Sweet – Truth, Restless, 2001
[Similarities: Def Leppard, Extreme, Giant]
After slowing things down for his last album, “Real”, Michael cranks up the amps once again and releases a scorching slice of arena rock that is not too far removed from his debut album (or his Stryper days for that matter). With help from people like Oz Fox, Tim Pierce, Bob Marlette and Kenny Aarnoff, Michael has issued the first salvo in a very young year and set the bar pretty high for those who follow. What stands out most on first listen is the strength of the vocals. They simply consume the mix (but not to overwhelm). There’s a lot of variety going on here too. From the roof blowing rockers “Distracted” and the HEAVY “Save Me” to the new country feel of “All I’m Thinking Of Is You” to the soaring ballads “Blue Bleeds Through” and the beautiful “Stone”, Michael covers a lot of bases here yet never wanders far from the original sound or vibe of the disc. He’s even got some shots at mainstream success with single worthy tunes like “Tomorrow” and the peppy “Lift My Head”. Superb.

The Trade – Perfect World, demo, 2000
[Similarities: Stryper, Styx, ELO]
Get past the rather amateur production job (which isn’t bad but just needs some boost) and you will find some crackling arena rock just dying for a bigger budget. Ed James, as a one man band, cranks out eleven big sounding pompish rockers with one foot in the past and one foot looking towards the future, as all the songs also have a very catchy “pop” feel to them. Every song has a chorus that just oozed harmonies and will have you singing along with ease. They are all built on equal parts of keyboard leads and tasty guitar runs, surrounded by the Michael Sweet-like vocals of Ed James. Highlights in a disc packed with them include “She’s Come Undone”, “The Face On Mars” and the INCREDIBLE “Just The Facts” (which has a bit of a Danger Danger feel to it). Very impressive stuff, especially considering this is a DIY “basement tape” type release.

Bill Wilson – Other Days So Unusual, 4 Square, 1999
[Similarities: Kyle Vincent, Badfinger, Crowded House]
It’s no secret around here of my love for 70s Top 40 radio pop. So when I come across an artist of today that creates music like in that style, I usually go ga-ga. Add Bill Wilson to that list as this is some marvelous pop built around incredibly strong melodies and excellent lyrics. It’s releases like this that make one wonder what is wrong with the current state of music when someone like this cannot get signed. There are songs on here screaming to be made hits. The bouncy “In Her Eyes” kicks off the album and is an immediate favorite. Other upbeat classics include the acoustic bop of “Turn Your Head”, the orchestral “Lend Me Some Time” and “Something Happened To You”. And for those who want to slow it down a notch, a song like “Everytime You Cry” is simply smashing. This is retro tinged pop that does not feel dated in the least. In the words of Austin ‘Danger’ Powers, “Yeah Baby!”.

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

Westworld:  Skin, Roadrunner Records
[similarities: TNT, Tea Party]
Skin, the second outing for this hard-rock super-group, is much darker and less approachable than their first disc.  It is much less fun as well, and takes a few listens before it really takes hold. As you would expect with anything done by Bruno Ravel and Tony Harnell, its not that bad. But really not that much on here could be described as "catchy."

"Ice Queen" is interesting but nothing to write home about really, as is the album title track. "Uneasy" is the first sign of something decent, with its more upbeat and TNT-ish feel to it. "Limbo" is a real standout with its acoustic and solitary voice intro, a tender ballad that shows what these guys can do.

"Black Shadow Symphony" is a good hard-rock track, very cool and catchy. "Out There" is a great mournful power ballad that gets the message across without being too depressing. Now "Heart is a Heavy Load" is a real nice bluesy power ballad which is the best thing on here with its catchy chorus and back vocals. "Uninvited" rounds out the CD on a high note, with its Tea Party-like middle-eastern feel and haunting piano/vocals combination.

Skin is a very mixed bag that I wouldn't bother searching for. If you see, you might want to pick it up. Not one of my favourite hard rocks CDs of late. Very hard to get into, and not much on offer once you do. - Marty

Axe: The Crown, MTM
[similarities: Toto, Gary Moore, FM, Magnum]
Axe's 5 was one of the better albums of 1996 (Was it that long ago?), one I still listen to on a regular basis. The Crown is a patchy affair that really could be better. This is a very bluesy affair which sees Ben Barth gets his Gary Moore voice down perfect.

"Together we Fly, Together We Fall" besides having a pretentious title is not a bad track with this slow start, good chorus and enthusiastic vocals. "Fire and Water" on the other hand is a message power ballad that tries too hard and just come across as contrived.  "Good Times" is a rocky lament which is pretty good and shows promise.

By far the two best tracks on here are "Restless Angel" and "Sunshine Again". The former and the later both showcasing some of the best singing on the CD. Restless being the more rockier of the two, a great mid-tempo track that is very catchy. Best track on the CD by far is "Sunshine Again" a "Still Got the Blues" type ballad that showcases the band's talent, with its haunting guitar and vocals. If only the rest of tracks were this good.

All in all, not a bad outing, but this band is capable of so much better. Lets hope their next CD will live up to the standards of Five. - Marty

AOR Basement (Ian McIntosh):

Little round up of news this week, rather than ranting and raving about the state of the world...

8084 are continuing their heavy studio schedule for their up-and-coming new album which is now, tentatively, titled "Souls". The album is set to include 11 or 13 new songs all written and recorded over the last two years. Titles include, "The Last Great Train", "Without You", "Do you Ever Feel the Rain", "Catch my Breath", "Seven more Days" and "Sometimes". A summer 2001 release is anticipated and different distribution options for both the US and overseas are currently being looked into. 8084 are also going to have a line-up change. One of the original members, bass player/Vocalist Frank Barnes will be leaving in early March to pursue his teaching career. He'll be replaced by Roy Brown who has appeared in various bands as a lead vocalist. Further details on the band's plans can be found at

Joshua is making a comeback. The hot guitarist who's been releasing albums since the early 1980s is in the final stages of mixing and a release is expected this spring. The album was produced by the well respected, and well traveled, Keith Olsen and the band also brought ex-Santana singer Alex Ligertwood in to help on some of the lead vocals. Ligertwood has also in the past appeared with The Dregs/Dixie Dregs and on Steve Morse's "Stand Up" solo album. The sound of the new album is likened to a mix of Journey and Humble Pie - should be interesting! More details at the band web site at The label releasing the new album is M & K sound who can be found at

I've also just received some details on a Jason Becker tribute album under the title "Warmth in the Wilderness" as a mark of respect to his battle with disease. The album will feature interpretations of his work in both the David Lee Roth band and Cacophony as well as solo material and will be performed by friends and musicians who have been touched and influenced by Jason's music. The album is so far set to feature Marty Friedman, Anders Johansson, Stormwind, Carina Alfie, Phantom Blue, Torben Enevoldsen, Phi Ansari Yaan-Zek, Rolf Munkes, Alex Masi, Lars Eric Mattsson, Kelly Keeling, Mark Boals, Sultan Of Swing, Patrick Rondat, Stuart Smith, Jesse Bradman, James Byrd, Tommy Denander, Chris Sterberl, Terry Syerk, Dave Martone, Jeff Scheetz, Slav Simanic, Mike Campese, Symphony X, Neil Zaza, Stephen Ross, Goran Edman, Tony Franklin, Paul Shortino, Freak Kitchen and Lance King with other players to be announced. Lion Music of Finland is the driving force behind the project. Email them at or Nika Music is also involved ( ) Web site addresses are and .