“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:

There will be no SFK next week as I am taking a sanity break from all the music and stuff. We’ll be back in two weeks though with a ton of new reviews of some great new stuff from Frontiers, MTM, Kivel and all the other usual suspects.

I got a letter from someone this past week wondering if I knew how to get in touch with an old Frontiers magazine scribe Mik Gaffney. Anyone?

Koupon Korner:

CD Now

News Bytes:

Here’s the tracklisting for the upcoming Taxxi compilation, “Chequered Past”: Cocktail Queen, I’m Leaving, Not Me Girl, Sex And The Suburban Suicide, Maybe Someday, Players, Girl (New York City), Whipping Boy, Walking On Air, Best In The West, Runaway, Cold Night, American Made, The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter and You’re So Pretty.

Some Bon Jovi news. First, the band will release a new radio giveaway promo CD titled “The Love Songs” with the following tracks: "Thank You For Loving Me", "Bed of Roses", "Always", "Never Say Goodbye" and "I'll Be There For You". Secondly, sometime this year the band will release a new best of compilation in Japan. Thirdly, the next set of North American tour dates have been announced (with SR-71) opening up:
April 25        Mexico City, Mexico, Furosol
April 30        Denver, Colorado, Pepsi Center
May      2      Dallas, Texas, Starplex
May      8      Grand Rapids, Michigan, Van Andel Arena
May    10       Greenville, South Carolina, Bi-Lo Center
May    11       Atlanta, Georgia, Philips Arena
May    15       Raleigh, North Carolina, Walnut Creek Amphitheater
May    17       Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Corel Centre
May    19       Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, Colisee De Pepsi
July    27       East Rutherford, NJ, Giants Stadium

Some Van Halen speculations from Launch: Dweezil Zappa says David Lee Roth is back with Eddie and Alex Van Halen and bassist Michael Anthony, and sessions for a new Van Halen album are well under way. Zappa told LAUNCH, "Well, I definitely know that they're recording, and they've already finished at least five or six songs. I would imagine that they would like to tour, but they're just gonna go ahead and take their time and make the record. I just saw Eddie Van Halen. He's just making sure he likes everything he's working on." Launch reported that a Warner Bros. spokesperson declined to comment on the reunion but added that the rep said a new VH album would be fall at the earliest. Of course, Michael Anthony stayed mum on the new singer at NAMM only saying, “It's Van Halen. As opposed to the last album, 'Van Halen 3,' it's more oriented toward the early Van Halen-type sound. We will be making some announcements very soon. All I can really tell you is we're in the studio working on new material, there will be a new Van Halen coming out, and it sounds great."

Howard Jones releases a new single on March 23 in the form of “Everlasting Love” from his “Perform.00” album from last year.

The first single from the upcoming Rubber album “UltraFeel” will be a cover of the Squeeze classic “Another Nail In My Heart”.

Escape has signed a new band from Pittsburgh, Ashes II Ashes. Expect the album, “Darker Side”, next month. The tracklisting is: Dead Wrong, I Will Make You Mine, Death Groove, Underground, Radio Red, Darkside, Wetter, Bury Me, Wear You Out, Maybe You Kill, Run Man Run, 3 Blind Dates and Pass The Earplugs (If Rockin' Is A Crime).

Oh the humanity! Country crooner Dolly Parton covers Collective Soul’s Shine” on her new album.

The Corrs will play New York’s Radio City Music Hall on March 16.

Ex-Toad The Wet Sprocket vocalist Glen Philips will play a series of dates in support of his new release, “Abulum” (yes, that is the spelling). Check him out at:

1/29 Arlington, Va., Iota Club.
1/31 Annapolis, Md., Ram's Head.
2/1 New York, Shine.
2/2 Newark, Del., Deer Park Tavern.
2/3 Philadelphia, North Star Bar.
2/5 Northampton, Mass., Iron Horse.
2/6 Winooski, Vt., Higher Ground.
2/7-8 Boston, House of Blues.
2/9 Portland, Maine, The Skinny.
2/10 Rochester, N.Y., Milestones.
2/11 Pittsburgh, Club Cafe.
2/17-18 Chicago, Schubas.

The Bee Gees will release their new album, “This Is Where I Came From”, on April 17. The title track will be the first single, due out in March. The US/Europe version has twelve songs while the Japanese release will have fourteen.

Rhino will reissue the classic Alice Cooper 1973 album, “Billion Dollar Babies”, next month. The two-disc version contains the original ten songs plus outtakes and live tracks from his 1973 tour.

Rhino also hopes to issue a 2CD compilation from INXS later this year.

Lit just finished recording a version of “I Wanna Rock” for an upcoming Twisted Sister tribute album to be released on Koch. Other acts include Motorhead and Sevendust.

The full lineup for the upcoming Nemelrock Festival in Spain: Harem Scarem (Rubber), House Of Shakira, Millenium, Adriangale, Rafa Martin, Eyte, 91 Suite, Ice Blue and Skyline. For aditional info visit

The Ultrasound Festival has been pushed back until September 8 & 9.

This year’s Rock Stock festival is shaping up as such: Al Stewart, Ambrosia, Spencer Davis Group, Dave Mason (Traffic), Vanilla Fudge, Grand Funk Railroad, Creedence Clearwater Revisited, and Bad Company's Paul Rodgers.  Other possible acts include:  REO Speedwagon, Marshall Tucker Band, Kansas, Peter Frampton, and Journey.

The lineup for Z Rock 2001 at Maximes in Wigan on August 26: Tygers Of Pan Tang, Humanimal, Heartland, Danny Danzi, 24k, Arabia, Change Of Heart and Contagious.

Head over to the Luke Morley website for a video of “Go With The Flow”.

Ex-Strangeways vocalist Tony Liddell is the new frontman for Tygers Of Pan Tang.

The next Von Groove album will be titled “The Seventh Day” and should be out in March.

The upcoming Digi-pak release of Asia’s Aura” will contain three bonus tracks: “Come Make My Day", "Under The Gun" and "Hands of Time".

Capitol plans to reissue the Beach Boys catalog as 2-on-1 CDs. Meanwhile, TNT will host a tribute to former member Brian Wilson on March 29 at Radio City Music Hall.

Look for Michael Jackson to reissue his “HIStory – Greatest Hits” as a single disc, with new artwork and liner notes.

That Pink Floyd link from last issue was wrong. Try this one.

Sunsinger will release an album of Starcastle demos next month.

Supposedly Napster plans on charging a monthly fee later on this year to being paying royalties to the artists.

Tour dates for Dio, Lynch Mob and Armored Saint:
Wednesday, February 14th    New Orleans, LA     House Of Blues
Friday, February 16th       Houston, TX         Aerial Theater
Saturday, February 17th     Austin, TX              The Back Room
Sunday, February 18th       Dallas, TX              Bronco Bowl
Monday, February 19th       Oklahoma City, OK       In Cahoots
Wednesday, February 21st    Cincinnati, OH          Bogart's
Thursday, February 22nd Cedar Rapids, IA        3rd Street Live
Friday, February 23rd       Milwaukee, WI           The Rave
Saturday, February 24th     St. Louis, MO           Pop's
Monday, February 26th       Kansas City, MO     Beaumont Club
Tuesday, February 27th      Lincoln, NE             Royal Grove
Friday, March 2nd           Portland, OR            Roseland Theater
Saturday, March 3rd     Tacoma, WA          Temple Ballroom 
Sunday, March 4th           Vancouver, BC, Can. Commodore Ballroom
Tuesday, March 6th          Chico, CA               The Brickworks
Thursday, March 8th     Sacramento, CA          Crest Theater
Friday, March 9th           Vehas, CA               4th & B
Saturday, March 10th        Anaheim, CA             House of Blues

Dan Harding’s Heavy Harmonies MP3 Of The Week: Hi! Who the *HELL* are you??? This one was a pawnshop gamble, and since it was still sealed I couldn't preview it before purchase. Well, sometimes you just gotta say "What the [CENSORED]!!" (bonus points if you name the movie). This disc is surprisingly good! Keyboard-driven AOR with a slight westcoast bent (some of Phil Cristian's vocal subtleties are very reminiscent of Peter Cetera). I have no idea what other discs he put out; a look at implies there are others. Well, here from the 1988 release No Prisoner are a pair of tracks, Hey Andrea, and Prisoner.

Rare MP3 Of The Week:

It takes a lot for an artist to cover a song and make it better than the original but Kevin Gilbert turns Led Zep’s “Kashmir” into an upbeat arena rocker. (this will be posted tonight)

Moldy Oldys:

[Five discs kicking old school on the SFK Deck O’ Death this week:]
Swirl 360 – Ask Anybody, Cheap Trick – At Budokan: The Complete Concert, Kevin Gilbert – Thud, Various – The World’s Greatest Power Pop Compilation…Really!, The Beatles - 1

Kurt’s Picks:

Peter Frampton – Peter Frampton, Sony Reissue, 2000 (1994)
[Similarities: The Rembrandts, John Lennon, Joe Satriani]
Every so often you come across an old album, whether by chance or reissue, that makes you stop what you’re doing and take notice. This “comeback” album should have put Frampton back on top of the world, but short of the minor hit he had with the upbeat arena rocker “Day In The Sun”, this album made nary a whimper. It’s a crying shame too. This album is about as close to perfect as I’ve heard in quite a while. Not a note of Frampton’s underrated and extraordinary guitar playing goes to waste, especially shining on the instrumental “Young Island/Off The Hook”. And the songs are all of the pop rock variety, not unlike his classics from the 70s brought up to date. With songwriting help from Jonathan Cain, Steve Marriot and Kevin Savigar, this has quickly gained it’s way into my essential favorites. Those who may have the original album may want to pick this up as Sony has included four bonus tracks in the form of live, acoustic numbers (including “Baby I Love Your Way” and “Show Me The Way”).

Heaven’s Fire – The Outside, Frontiers, 2000
[Similarities: Triumph, Rush, Xenon]
A decent mix of lite prog and straight up arena rock, not unlike fellow Canuck trios Rush or Triumph. The production is muddy and each song sounds a bit muffled. While the material is good enough when listening, it isn’t all that memorable, making this nothing more than upbeat background music as there’s no identity to be found. I dunno, in the end the whole affair left me a little cold which is unfortunate because there is a decent band brewing underneath that just needs some stronger songs to break out.

Doug Howard – Last Man Standing, MTM, 2000
[Similarities: Van Halen, Billy Squier, the rocking side of Styx]
This is some very good, in your face hard rock that is both unassuming and unpretentious. That’s a good thing because obviously Doug isn’t pretending to be something he’s obviously not. The former Stun Leer man has a style not unlike many late 70s/early 80s arena rockers that combined both melody and power into what’s best described as “kick ass”. From the opening of the frenzied “Higher” to the closing of his cover of Ram Jam’s “Black Betty”, there wasn’t a moment where I wasn’t rocking along without a care. Usually I would tune out of fare like this pretty quickly, which shows you the quality of the songs within these grooves. Variety is provided by songs like the Todd Rundgren-like “Hey Money (Superstar)”, the thumping “Faith” or the soaring “Living Proof”. For whatever reasons, I wasn’t expecting much here. This was a very pleasant surprise.

Jorn – Starfire, Frontiers, 2000
[Similarities: Whitesnake, Deep Purple, Rainbow]
This man can sing, there is no doubt. Unfortunately, the best songs on here are the covers of Journey’s “Edge Of The Blade”, Foreigner’s “Break it Up” and Deep Purple’s “Burn”, all of which give the songs their proper respect. There are two other covers, City Boy’s “The Day The Earth Caught Fire” and Jefferson Starship’s “Just The Same”, but those are decent if unimpressive. The originals, while not bad in any sense, are just very derivative of the bands he’s covering. Though the beautiful “Forever Yours” is an exception, the rest did very little for me (“End Comes Easy” is about as bad as I’ve heard recently). Certainly worth it if for nothing else than the scorching vocals and the RIPPING cover of “Burn”. [Ed note. I’ve got another beef here but not with the album itself rather than with the average melodic rock fan…will someone please explain to me why boy bands and the like are looked upon with much scorn for not writing their own material, yet someone like Jorn (or Alfonzetti) is praised when their albums are less originals than cover versions?]

Just Jay – Through My Eyes, JAG, 1999
[Similarities: Saga, Styx, Journey]
Not the most original sounding disc I’ve come across, yet there was something rather innocent about this band’s progressively tinged AOR. Vocalist Jason Gonzalez sounds like the bastard child of Rik Emmett and Steve Perry and musically, this project follows suit in those singers’ bandsakes. The production, unfortunately, is pretty bad and the songs suffer because of it. The writing and playing is good but the lack of power and a bottom line really just bothers me. And it’s this very reason that I had trouble paying attention at times. It lacks oomph. For what it’s worth, I did think the songs were pretty good and with some different arrangements and production, there are some killers hiding here (the standout “Holding The Line” would be a smash with a bigger sound).

KC Bowman – Fresher Tin Villages, Timber Trout, 1998
[Similarities: Paul McCartney, Jellyfish, XTC]
Unique is the first word that springs to mind upon listening. This is grand music that is part adult contemporary, part pure pop and part baroque. With twenty songs on offer, it’s hard to imagine that not a single one of them disappoints but they don’t. KC Bowman has a lot of James Taylor in his vocals and fits the music amazingly well. Though the song titles left me scratching my head, tunes like “Palomine Cranes”, the bouncy “Capitol I” and “California In February” will have popheads foaming at the mouths. The production is crystal clear and every instrument is heard in near equal parts. This is an unbelievable album for a few reasons…one is that it’s THIS good, and secondly is that no one, and I mean no one, seems to have ever heard of him. Don’t let this guy be a secret any longer.

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

Mediaeval  Baebes: Worldes Blysse, Undrentide Neetwerk/Virgin Records
[similarities: Blackmore's Night, Therion, In Extremo]
Twelve babes singing mediaeval music, pretty much sums up Mediaeval Baebes. The band was formed in Germany on the Berlin cabaret circuit by former Miranda Sex Garden (remember them?) vocalist Katherine Blake in 1996. Both of these discs are awesome, melodic, ethereal and very catchy.  Much of the music is sung in various variations of English (mediaeval, middle, 13th, 14th & 15th Century) as well Provencal French and old Italian. It is a mixture of old songs and excerpts of poems sung in a traditional style.

For the most part, traditional instruments (tambourines, violin, flute, recorders etc) are used to add to effect of the music, but in a way that is minimal and not overwhelming. Undretide contains several tracks that feature electonica and are as a result not as satisfying especially "Aria" and Isabella. The later album was produced by John Cale of Velvet Underground fame. One would hope that this is not the route the group is taking as these modern forays don't seem to work with the rest of the music and are frankly lame.

The album does contain a song called "Omnes Gentes Plaudite (The Drinking Song)," so it isn't all mushy stuff! Rest assured that 12 women singing a drinking song sounds a bit different to that bunch of barbarians in In Extremo.  It would be interesting to compare these two albums (MB's first album) to the acapela albums of In Extremo.

Both of these albums could be considered "romantic", and as such would make great Valentine's Day purchases. Undrentide contains a song about the day, "Now Welcome Sumer" based on a poem by Geoffrey Chaucer.  This is very much, candles, wine and cheese type stuff, or for those without a mate perfect music for reading William Blake's poetry or a bit Tennyson.  Heck, better yet combine both of these!

I highly recommend both of these discs for those who want a break from the traditional melodic rock. For more info on this rather odd but highly interesting group go to:

AOR Basement (Ian McIntosh):

The fall-out from the EU commission's investigation into the aborted EMI-Time Warner "merger" is still continuing and it just might have the labels in Europe a bit worried. The commission is now investigating what it seems as price rigging in the music industry across Europe. Everybody knows it exists, but the labels have always got away with it before.

Our American readers would shudder to think how much is charged for CDs in Europe. In the high street, bricks and mortar stores a CD can easily cost 50% more than its equivalent in a US based store. Most of the European on-line retailers also don't really go in for significant discounting. The end result is that for most Europeans it still works out cheaper to order a CD from the US, pay for air-mail postage, and maybe pay import duty - than it does to walk around the corner and buy the same CD from their local store. Something is very wrong here! And for DVDs it's even worse, though half the time the particular DVD won't even be released in Europe.

Now before you jump up and down, I know the Commission has investigated this before, just a couple of years ago. Labels at that point managed to hide behind the (barely-concealed) lie that Europe has higher transport costs and different taxation methods. Then they said that they didn't dictate the high street prices, they set a wholesale price and it was up to the store what it sold it for. That's such bullshit - stores that heavily discount can find that the labels stop supplying them.... The whole thing is a cartel orchestrated by both the labels and the major retailers. The commission needs to investigate the whole music supply set-up....

Under the previous investigation the labels managed to present a picture which suggested that CDs in Europe were only 10% more expensive than their American counterparts. That's stretching the truth somewhat! And since then a lot of things have changed with many of the labels cooperating on manufacture and distribution to lower their overheads - but, funnily enough, the prices haven't dropped any....

The sinister thing is that I believe, the labels think they can do the same thing as the do in Europe, to the rest of the world in time. All of the recent merger activity makes the labels feel bigger than any government and more powerful. Not only do they not provide us what we want to listen to, they're going to try and find more ways to rip-off the poor listener again and again.


From: "Richrath Lover"

Subject: REO Speedwagon Faux Pax 2000 Tour
Name: Carl From: PEORIA, Proud Home of Gary Richrath and No Damn Richrath Street Signs

In the wake of REO conning the Gov of Illinois to proclaim "REO Speedwagon Day" last Friday (Jan 19), I'd like to circulate my list of REO's top achievements over the last year. I'm calling it:

REO Speedwagon Faux Pax 2000 Tour Top 10

1. For the first time in 10 years, REO Speedwagon finally gets to play on national TV, and completely blows it. NBC executives, not wanting viewership ratings to take a dive, require the band to play Gary Richrath's greatest hit, "Take It On The Run," in order to appear. Cronin's voice is hoarse beyond recognition, and he proves he can't carry a tune when he ends up whispering and hacking through several songs.

2. Cronin's poor performance is blamed on scheduling problems the band themselves created, and critics have a field day as REO earns the nationwide reputation as aging rockers on the last leg of their geriatric tour into oblivion.

3. On the coattails of Styx, who's new label and record sales fuel a summer tour, REO's lackluster live show proves they're all grandpa's by opening with the same song they've been using for decades. They refuse to play anything written in the last 15 years or from their last 3 albums, 95% of their set list are songs they wrote 25+ years ago, and they're befuddled when people make a stampede to the exit.

4. At the Dallas Starplex in June, with the crowd dwindling as he takes the stage, a frustrated Cronin yells "F*CK YOU!" in appreciation to Styx fans who decide to get a jump on the crowd by heading to the parking lot. REO winds up proudly "headlining" to an emptying arena.

5. REO releases a disastrous "Arch Allies" CD on Styx's label, since their own label hasn't financed anything but greatest hits projects for the last 10+ years. AA is pummeled by the critics as a cheap rip off, and REO earns the unworthy distinction of being the first band in American history to record not one, not two but THREE versions of the same song on the same CD. Compounding the problem, the "new" CD is widely viewed as a farce since it features songs they've already recorded dozens of times on dozens of other compilations.

6. Cronin appears on Rockline and commits a gigantic faux pax, claiming he wrote "Ridin' the Storm Out," one of Gary Richrath's most famous tunes. Cronin offers no explanation for making this unsubstantiated claim (30 years after the song was solely copyrighted to Richrath), except to take a cheap shot at Gary.

7. In another disastrous appearance on Rockline, a caller asks the history behind Gary Richrath's song, "Golden Country." Instead of acknowledging Gary wrote it and Cronin wasn't even in the band at the time it was recorded and released, Cronin makes up a fanciful tale about citizen responsibility to vote for his pet political candidate, vying for a gig at the White House. Even REO loyalists are outraged that Cronin would intentionally distort the meaning of one of Gary's songs in the name of pandering to political hacks.

8. As Karma would have it, REO winds up canceling the last month of their tour due to vocal cord strain by Cronin, who just can't handle it. (Cosmic paybacks are hell, ain't they?)

9. In a last ditch PR stunt, Cronin cashes in political chips he earned by using Gary's song to plug politicians the entire tour. REO milks their 15 seconds of fame by finagling a two block section of a small city street on Champaign, Illinois to be named after them. Half the original band never bother to show up, even the local newspaper forgets their names, and Cronin tries to grandstand the limelight for a band he didn't start in a city he never lived in.

10. Finally, this band can't even be kind to their followers. With their warped philosophy that ANY publicity is GOOD publicity, REO makes international headlines over how shabby they treat their most loyal fans, and their webmaster gets fired over the incident. There's more, but apparently nobody can talk yet since the legal case is still pending.

Yes, it's been quite a year for REO, hasn't it?

VH-1 Behind the Music, here they come!!!