“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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News Bytes:

Buckcherry will release a new album, “Time Bomb”, on March 27.

The set list from the well received Guns N’ Roses show at the Las Vegas House Of Blues on New Year’s Eve: "Welcome to the Jungle", "It's So Easy", "Mr. Brownstone", "Live and Let Die", "Oh My God", "My Michelle", "Think About You", "You Could Be Mine", "Sweet Child O' Mine" "Knockin' on Heaven's Door", "November Rain", "Out Ta Get Me", "Rocket Queen", “The Blues”, "Chinese Democracy", Buckethead performance art and guitar solo, "Patience", “Chinese Democracy”, "Nightrain", “Silk Worms” and "Paradise City".

According to his official website, “there is light at the end of the tunnel” – Peter Gabriel referring to his new album “Up”, finally due in the fall. Amazingly enough, due at the same time is a new album from REM, also titled “Up”. Both artists know of the situation and neither mind. In fact, both are proud to be associated with each other.

Bon Jovi nabbed two Grammy nominations, one for Best Perfomance By A Rock Group for “It’s My Life” and one for Best Rock Album for “Crush”.

Congrats part 1: Wife of Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx, Donna D’Erricho gave birth on January 2 to a girl, Frankie Jean.

Congrats part 2: This past New Year’s Eve, Black Crowes singer Chris Robinson married daughter of Goldie Hawn, actress Kate Hudson, at a ceremony held in Aspen. Longtime significant other of Ms. Hawn, Kurt Russell, gave away the bride.

Congrats part 3: Styx member Tommy Shaw married his longtime girlfriend Jeannie Mason on December 28 in Las Vegas. In related news Styx will release a new album in February titled “Styxworld”. It’s five new songs along with some more live tracks (none of which overlap the recently released “Arch Allies” disc).

Champaign, IL has renamed Main Street REO Speedwagon Way, in honor of their hometown boys.

VH-1 plans an episode of Fan Club on Rick Springfield for later this spring.

Mr. Big will release their “Deep Cuts: The Best Of The Ballads” album next week on Atlantic in the US.

Humanimal is a new band featuring Talisman members Jeff Scott Soto, Marcel Jacob and Pontus Nogren along with drummer Tomas Broman.

Dreamhunter are getting ready to mix their new album, “Bad Attitude”.

The official Luke Morley website is now online.

Also up with a new official website is Kane Roberts.

A rather odd title due next month, “Breaking The Law: An Industrial Rock Tribute To Judas Priest”, that has such “industrial heavyweights” like Warrant, Union, Bang Tango, Bonham, Ratt, Quireboys, LA Guns, Warrior Soul, Faster Pussycat and Circus Of Power covering JP tunes.

The Retro Rewind Artist Of The Month is Roxette. Later this month will an exclusive live performance from the September 27 Virgin Records NYC appearance will be uploaded. A new album from the duo is due this spring, right now going by the title “FA” (or forthcoming album).

The Dave Matthews Band have posted "I Did It", the first single from their fourth studio album "Everyday", at their website.

ZZ Top will be playing one of the many inauguration parties for president elect George W. Bush.

The Heavy Harmonies MP3 Of The Week: I love cover songs, especially hard rock and heavy metal covers of classic tunes. It's even more of a bonus when an unknown band does a kick-ass cover. Such is the case with a 4-track EP CD I found this afternoon. The band's name is S'aint America (no the apostrophe is not a typo) and the EP is on Me & Him Records, Kimball, Minnesota, from 1991. I have NO clue who the hell these guys are or were. The band lineup is Nigel Harris - guitars, vocals; Tim Lyons: bass, vocals; Kipp Hoeft - percussion, vocals; John Hienen - lead vocals. If anyone knows anything about these guys and whether they ever released a full-length CD, please contact me. The track that caught my ear is a cover of Harry Chapin's Cat's in the Cradle. Unfortunately, since this was a minor- label, seemingly self-produced effort, the sound quality suffers. I've gone ahead and tweaked the audio in Cool Edit Pro, giving the song a 6db boost as well as a equalization curve; the end result, while not perfect, is considerably better than the version on the CD. Musically, I especially like the choruses and the outtro on the song. The other 3 tracks on the disc are pretty good as well. Ok, enough babbling from me. Enjoy S'aint America's wonderful cover of Harry Chapin's Cat's in the Cradle.

Rare MP3 Of The Week:

My favorite power pop band The Gladhands covered one of my all time favorite AM Gold tracks, “Magic” from Pilot. Here it is…

Moldy Oldys:

[Five discs kicking old school on the SFK Deck O’ Death this week:]
Wang Chung – Greatest Hits, Mr. Mister – Broken Wings, The Beatles – Revolver, Todd Rundgren – An Elpee’s Worth Of Productions, Various – Raspberries Preserved (tribute)

Kurt’s Picks:

Lifehouse – No Name Face, Universal, 2000
[Similarities: Collective Soul, Vertical Horizon, Creed]
Thanks to the recent addition of MTV2 to my cable system, the video for this band’s superb “Hanging On A Moment” caught my ear and impressed me thoroughly. I was worried though that this was going to be one of the many one-hit wonder type of bands permeating the airwaves these days. Glad to say it’s not, as each song continued to build on a rather impressive debut with it’s modern rock sound given a thorough melodic pop sheen. Songs like “Sick Cycle Carousel”, “Only One” and the beautiful “Quasimodo” have all the right ingredients needed to rule the charts for the coming year as well as impress some melodic rock fans too. Though the album tends to drag at times, these moments are thankfully kept to a minimum. Singer Jason Wade sounds a bit like Scott Stapp without the droning. It’s Creed without the grungy elements.

Network – Crashing Hollywood, AOR Heaven/Point reissue, 1999 (1989)
[Similarities: Refugee, Autograph, Aviator]
As dated as this album sounds in 2001, it’s the kind of music most of us lived and breathed in the 80s and in a way, holds a special place in our hearts. Filled with big melodies, sing-along choruses and all the requisite keyboard/guitar riffs (and hair!), Network slapped together twelve textbook arena rockers that still pull the right strings. Even such clichéd titles as “Break Away” or “Rock Me” I can handle, as they are so bouncy and infectious that even my jaded heart couldn’t deny their brilliance. And songs the riffing “Tell Me Why” and the massive ballad “Suzanne”, like most everything else on offer, come across almost perfect. There’s even a hint of hi-tech Mr. Mister like AOR on the title track. A nice find and fans of mid to late 80s arena rock will be blown away and shows there are still some gems that have yet to be uncovered.

Rose Tattoo – 25 To Life, SPV, 2000
[Similarities: AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, old Whitesnake]
Can you imagine that I have never heard a Rose Tattoo song (other than a GNR cover)? This double CD live set serves as good as an introduction as any. This is loud, in your face hard barroom rock and roll that feels like it’s been dragged through the seediest gutter you can find. I cannot believe I have overlooked this band for this long as this is some great stuff, and in a live setting sounds brutal. While some of this is as cliché as them come, it doesn’t make the songs any less powerful, as some of my faves from this collection include the anthems “Bad Boy For Love”, “Rock N Roll Is King” and “Nice Boys (Don’t Play Rock N Roll)”. Angry Anderson reminds me a bit like the great Bon Scott in both his singing and songwriting. This is true Spinal Tap lifestyle rock and roll (and I meant that as a compliment) from one of the originals. I loved it!

Street Talk – Transition, AOR Heaven/Point, 2000
[Similarities: Journey, Foreigner, John Waite]
Gorgeous lighter edged AOR that reminds me most of Journey in their “Raised On Radio” phase (my personal fave, for the record). Signer Goran Edman actually does sound a bit like a lower-registered Steve Perry helping taking the Journey comparisons a step further. The songs are always what counts, and without being outright clones of any one band, is smooth sailing. There’s no reason anyone should deny themselves the beautiful mid-tempo “Need Someone” or the arena swaying “If Anybody Breaks Your Heart” or the perfection of “Always Stand By You”. Try as one might, I couldn’t find one bad thing to say here. And just wait til your ears get a dose of “Everything I Do Is Just For You”, a sort of ELO meets Foreigner hybrid that put me in heaven. You know, for all the doomsaying that is going on lately, there are some standout releases that don’t live in the past or move too much towards the future, landing somewhere in between. This is one of them. AOR perfection.

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

Millenium: Hourglass, Frontiers Records
Jorn: Starfire,
Frontiers Records
[similarities: Whitesnake, Foreigner, Rainbow, Journey etc]
Jorn Lande is the Norwegian with the chameleon voice from hell. The man can sound like any of a number of great vocalists. When he sings in his own voice it isn't that bad either. Jorn (ex Vagabond, The Snakes, and Ark), the new vocalist for American act Millenium, has one of the most impressive voices since David Coverdale.

The title track to the Millenium album could have come straight of Whitesnake's 1987 opus, it has it all storming guitars and keyboards with an instrumental middle ala "Still of the Night", a cracker. "No more Miracles" on the other hand is one of those bittersweet ballads that sounds like something that Blue Murder would have recorded, it would be a great single.

Then we get "Superstar" and "Rocket Ride", two barn-storming anthems that would not put either Def Leppard or Europe to shame. They contain all the right elements, a catchy as hell chorus that is instantly memorable, and a pounding pace that gets you going. Both would be great to hear live and a lot of fun. The band show their blues roots on the Gary Moore-ish "I will Follow", one of those tunes that gets under your skin and just stays there. As you would expect from this sort of album, there is more than a hint of Led Zep on here as well. To add cred to this 80s style band, Don Airey plays keyboards on several tracks.

Jorn's solo album is a mixture of covers and originals that flow so easily together its sometimes hard to tell them apart. Guests range from his Millenium and The Snakes bandmates to Ronnie Le Tekro from TNT.

Jorn makes each cover his own and even manages to sing a Journey track "Edge of the Blade", as if it were a classic Whitesnake track, turning it into circa- 87 power rock. His take on Starship's "Just the Same" is far better than the original.  Jorn really lets it all hang out with his cover of  'Break it Up" off the Foreigner 4 opus. This keyboard heavy track sees Jorn sounding like a dead-ringer for Lou Gramm. "Burn" is another cover on this album, a great track but one that is a tad over-covered and thus does not make much of an impact. There is a City Boy cover on here of their classic "The Day the Earth Caught Fire" , a song which has a heavy Ten feel to it.

The originals are excellent as well, with "Forever Yours" as one of the highlights. This tender acoustic ballad has Jorn singing is his own voice, and is a refreshing change of pace to his doppelganger act. "End Comes Easy" is a return to Jorn's Coverdale-ism, although this time the song would fit better on the single Coverdale/Page outing. One wonders whether the next big move for Jorn is Jorn/Page perhaps?  "Just the Same" is a very catchy Whitesnake/Ten power rock track thay hits hard and never lets go.  Then there is always "Abyss of Evil" that sounds like Coverdale fronting No More Tears-era Ozzy band.

If you are a fan of 80s power rock, then both of these albums are a great investment.  Both have been major features of my playlist since I bought them in the UK.  Great stuff for a cold winters day.

On both of discs:  80s rock is Jorn Again! - Marty

AOR Basement (Ian McIntosh):

As we start a new year it's probably worth taking a little stock of where rock music is perceived as being, at present. For the last couple of years there's been plenty of people (musicians, label types and general commentators) nodding sagely and saying rock is beginning its climb back into the proper mainstream. People are saying that even more loudly right now, but is there any concrete evidence to back it up?

I think for sure the active audience for rock is growing. More people clearly want to hear it. But, does it really make any difference if the major labels are deciding they don't want to provide it and limiting what is available.

For some time I've been bemoaning the short-term attitudes so many of the labels are taking. However, I'm beginning to think that it's not really all their fault and they are currently more of a product of the whole business environment. Some people might still disagree, but for rock music to make a wholesale comeback, it has to reach the mainstream in the United States in some fashion or to some degree.

The problem that manifests itself in short-term record label signing policies could be more related to the bizarre tact of almost all US businesses at the moment and the rather weird image American society is trying to present of itself to the outside world. I don't think it's too harsh a truth to expose, but American business right now is about doing a great sales job, not about having a real product. All the dot com and technology stock hype proves this, all it's doing is trying to get people to buy into a vision (no matter how improbable!) to get them to part with their money, rather than actually standing up and saying "I've got this great product the world needs right now". All the record label mergers and jockeying for internet positioning shows they've been suckered into the same mess! Investment types might not like to admit it but what you have here is a glorified form of gambling!

That would be fine and dandy if investors want to leave their money in something to make a long-term packet. Unfortunately, investors are by their very nature only interesting in the short-term. A year is an eternity to them, they want their original money back in several multiples in just a few months. In a record label context this means they have to find means to convince people that the next merger deal they do is going to mean a windfall for investors, yet shareholder short-term attention spans also means they still have to find a way to try and make decent profits every quarter, otherwise the investors will leave. The net result is they're looking for deals to do, yet not taking any risks at all with what is their daily business: making new music!

Combine that with the presented general insipidness of contemporary American society and you have a music industry that will continue to shoot itself through the foot while presenting virginal artists like Britney Spears as shining examples of the American way of life!


From: "a berry"

Subject: top ten faves for the year
Kurt, Here's my top ten faves for the year- bit different but just as melodic!

1. Marv 3 - "ReadySexGo"
2. New Found Glory - "New Found Glory"
3. Tsar - "Tsar"
4. Everclear - "Songs from an American Movie.."
5. The DumDums - "It goes Without Saying"
6. Wheatus - "Wheatus"
7. Lifehouse - "No Name Face"
8. Nine Days - "The Madding Crowd"
9. Zebrahead - "Playmate of the Year"
10. Foo Fighters - "There is Nothing Left to Lose"

Other Noteworthy releases - Adventures of Jet - "The Insignificance..", GameFace, Lucky 7 - "Miss Fortune", Goldfinger - "Stomping ground", Mest - "Wasting Time" and At the Drive In (for combining madness with melody!).

Biggest Surprise of the year? Finding the back catalogue for Pollen (Check out "Peach tree" (1996) and "Chip" (1999)).

Biggest disappointment? Once again the lack of any great new AOR bands- come on there's gotta be some out there!


Subject: My Top 10 For 2000
Here is my top 10 CDs for 2000. The ones who held court in my CD player of the year!

1. The Yo-Yo's -Uppers And Downers, Brit Rocks Finest and Funniest band, The Monkees On Crack!

2. Silver Ginger 5 - Black Leather Mojo, Ginger the Crown Prince on melodic rock, long live the melodies

3. The Clarks - Let It Go, still Pittsburgh's best kept pop band with a guitar driven edge.

4. Marvelous 3 - ReadySexGo - Power pop at it's finest, why has the kids not gotten with the program?

5. Tsar - Tsar, great tunes, upbeat power pop!

6. SR-71 - Now You See Inside, yet more fantastic power pop!

7. Harcore - Superstar, A fine gutter glam rock band from Sweden

8. Grand Theft Audio - Blame Everyone, big hard drivin' guitar sound with a killer mix of big beats, featuring former members of 3 Colors Red and the Wildhearts.

9. Lizzy Borden - Deal With the Devil, like grunge never existed, a whole lot of 80's attitude!

10. Samantha 7 - Samantha 7, Poison guitarist C.C. shows his Cheap Trick, Smoking Popes roots! Just wish the Disc was longer.

Over the 10, but still rockin': American Pearl, Cold, Alice Cooper, Rancid, U2.

From: Kyle Vincent

Subject: Arctic Wildlife Refuge
Hey kids, For once an email that has nothing to do with my career!  Trust me, this is
far more important.

I am urging, at this late point even begging, all of us to write or call the Prez regarding the protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge before Mr. Bush opens it up to "exploration."  Even the most conservative Republican lobbyists have admitted that this oil will have a minimal impact at best on the supply in this country. 

Republicans, Dems, independents, slack-jawed yokels, tots, whatever you are, whomever you voted for, it should not matter.  No one benefits from this potentially devastating environmental mistake.  When the oil is gone, and the rigs have left, they will leave behind a permanently damaged ecosystem. 

Please help us urge Mr. Clinton to make this area a National Monument and preserve its pristine beauty.  There aren't many areas like this left, folks.
Your email or phone call WILL make a difference.

Thanks. Kyle