”There are three essential Commandments:

·        Respect The Elders.

·        Embrace The New.

·        Encourage The Impractical and Improbable, Without Bias.

-David Fricke”

Official Nonsense:

·        Editor and Vice Presidential Candidate - Kurt Torster

Other members of the SFK party:

·        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

All e-mail should be directed to

Snail mail address for press kits & CDs, porno tapes, t-shirts, DVDs, action figures, HotWheels cars, money, booze, naked pictures of your wife or girlfriends, etc.:

SFK c/o Kurt Torster
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Kurt's Krap:

Last week I mistakenly attributed “Transition” to Talk Of The Town. Their album is titled “The Ways Of The World”. Street Talk put out “Transition”.

Check out the SFK site for the all-new “Rare MP3 of the week”. Details below.

Kurt’s Kause Of The Week:

Anyone who grew up in the early 80s, men especially, probably has very fond memories of arcade video games. To this day I would still rather play a game like Defender, Robotron or Sinistar over the high gloss new console games. Well, over at the newly redesigned Shockwave you can play games like those and dozens more…for free! It’s a blast…

News Bytes:

The first two singles from Journey’s upcoming “Arrival” album will be “Higher Place” and “All The Way”. A little war of words seems to be brewing between producer Kevin Shirley and Andrew over at Melodicrock. Check it out at Kevin’s site.

The songlisting for the new Japanese Mr. Big ballad compilation, “Deep Cuts”: Where Are They Now?, I'll Leave It Up To You , Had Enough, Promise Her The Moon, Just Take My Heart, Superfantastic, You Don't Have To Be Strong, Anything For You, Wild World, Ain't Seen Love Like That, Dancin' Right Into The Flame, The Chain, Goin' Where The Wind Blows, If That's What It Takes, To Be With You, My New Religion (live).

Some new singles to keep your ears out for: Matchbox Twenty Angry”, Savage Garden Hold Me”, Fastball You’re An Ocean”, Third Eye Blind Deep Inside Of You” and my personal pick hit to be HUGE, Brian Setzer Getting In The Mood”.

German melodic label MTM has started their own online radio station.

Matchbox Twenty will be touring The Jayhawks this fall.

Neve, meanwhile will be splitting their time opening for both Kiss and Hanson.

There are rumors making the rounds that Judas Priest is on the verge of reuniting with Rob Halford.

Launch has an article on that other supposed reunion of Van Halen, calling it all crap.

Trans Siberian Orchestra is busy writing material for the soundtrack to The Grinch, the new Jim Carey movie.

Look for a new compilation from Freddie Curci & Alias titled “Then And Now” through both EMI and Frontiers. It will contain two unreleased tunes as well as a live version of the Sheriff classic “When I’m With You”.

Frontiers has signed Kelly Hansen and Hurricane.

Also joining up with Frontiers is Brit rock legends Praying Mantis, who will issue their latet album “Nowhere To Hide” in September.

The next Heaven & Earth album, “Windows Of The World” is almost done and ready for release. Tracks recorded include Prisoner, Windows To The World, Years Gone By, Through Your Eyes, Politician, Pain Where There Once Was A Heart, Worlds Apart, I Don't Need No Doctor, Toccata, Gone By Morning, Away From Harm and Moderation.

Also almost done is the debut from AOR supergroup The Sign. Possible tracks include I’m Alive, Crossed The Line, Aryon, Forever Again, Stranded, All Your Life, Wait, I’ll Be There Fore You, Love Is Alive, Nothin’ But A Heartache, Wine, Desperate Heart and Signs Of Life.

Look for a late 2000 release of “Stranger From The Past”, the latest from David Glen Eisley.

Helping out the songwriting on the solo album from Night Ranger drummer/vox Kelly Keagy is Kevin Chalfant and Jim Peterik.

Green Day’s new single “Minority” is the first off their upcoming “Warning” album due October 3.

The new album from the Bee Gees will be titled “This Is Where I Came In” and is set for a late 2000/early 2001 release.

August 29, Cheap Trick will release yet another collection, this one titled “Authorized Greatest Hits”. It will contain the usual tunes as well as their version of “Out In The Streets” from Fox’s That 70s Show and a live version of “The Flame”. The band will also play an acoustic set on August 3 at City Hall in Boston.

Also out August 29 will be the 2 CD “Anthology” from George Thorogood. Tracks: Disc 1: Madison Blues, One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer, Delaware Slide, Move It on Over, The Sky Is Crying, I'm Wanted, Nobody But Me, Bad to the Bone, Willie & The Hand Jive, I Drink Alone, Gear Jammer, Long Gone, Reelin' & Rockin' (Live), Bottom of the Sea (Live), Night Time (Live) Disc 2: Who Do You Love (Live), Born To Be Bad, You Talk Too Much, I'm Ready, Shake Your Money Maker, If You Don't Start Drinkin' (I'm Gonna Leave), Hello Little Girl, Long Distance Lover, Get a Haircut, Howlin' for My Baby, Christine, Let's Work Together (Live), Johnny B. Goode (Live), Rockin' My Life Away, I Don't Trust Nobody

Forget about Napster…over at Tapster, you can download the latest single from Spinal Tap, Back From The Dead”.

Classic rockers Nazareth plan a DVD release of concert footage next year.

Members of the U2 fan club will get an exclusive live CD titled "Hasta La Vista Baby! Live From Mexico City". Tracklisting: Pop Music, Mofo, I Will Follow, Gone, New Years Day, Staring At The Sun, Bullet The Blue Sky, Please, Where The Streets Have No Name, Lemon (The Perfecto Mix), Discotheque, With Or Without You, Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me, One.

MTV is using Kyle Vincent’s Somewhere Between Hello And Goodbye” as filler music in their series Undressed and will be using at least five more songs of his on the animated series Daria.

The Who will be opening the Jimmy Page/Black Crowes shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Both acts have albums available on MusicMaker.

Zoom Club Records is reissuing the classic and long sought after debut from pomp Gods White Sister.

Chris Goulstone, guitarist with long lost UK pompsters Bronz, advises the release of a new Bronz album, as well as a reunion featuring all the original members, including vocalist Max Bacon, last seen touring the Northern UK playing clubs and singing to backing tapes!! The new album is called 'Unfinished Business', details of which can be found on Chris' site.

From the folks at Blue Car Records, the team that bought you the excellent Mark Allen Band (6 Interlocking Pieces) comes a new band featuring the very man Mark Allen, as part of a new power trio called Promises Promises. They are an out and out AOR band, playing in a very smooth style. Check them out.

Heres the latest from Finnish AORsters Urban Tale. They have added a new song to their site. This song is a well-worked demo version of 'Still Strong'. They have still yet to confirm a record deal after some recent communication issues with one particular label who shall remain nameless. More to follow..

Fans of ex Styx mainman Dennis De Young can check out a series of MP3 format interviews over at MP3.COM.

Rare MP3 Of The Week:

This week’s Rare MP3: Night Ranger’s Wild And Innocent Youth”, from the soundtrack to the 1986 movie Out Of Bounds.

Live In Your Face:

Styx w/Venice:
Sat   10/21/00   Hamburg, GER    Docks Konzerte
Sun  10/22/00   Rastatt, GER       Baadenerhalle
Tue   10/24/00   Zurich, SWI         Volkshaus
Wed 10/25/00   Stuttgart, GER     Congresscentrum
Thu   10/26/00   Cologne, GER     E-Werk
Fri    10/27/00   Offenbach, GER  Offenbacher Stadthalle
Sun  10/29/00   Dortmund, GER   Soundgarden
Mon 10/30/00   Munich, GER       Cirkus Krone Bau
Tue  10/31/00   Furth, GER          Stadthalle Furth

Noteworthy New Releases:

Various Artists - Bat Head Soup: A Tribute To Ozzy

Moldy Oldys:

[What’s kicking old school on the SFK Deck O’ Death this week:]
Donnie Iris – Out Of The Blue, Rick Springfield – Rock Songs, Mike & The Mechanics – Hits, Loverboy – Get Lucky, Glass Tiger – Air Time

Kurt’s Picks:

The Corrs – In Blue, Atlantic, 2000
[Similarities: Shania Twain, Faith Hill, Heart]
Stunning set of female oriented pop/AOR that’s rightfully topping charts worldwide. With nary a song out of place, this is some very dreamy yet spirited music that has touches of AOR, new country and typical radio pop. Gone are much of the Irish flourishes that were on their previous sets, with the help of Mutt Lange, the sound is tighter and quite immaculate (and owe more than a passing nod to the “Shania” sound). Songs like “Somebody For Someone”, the monster ballad “All The Love In The World”, “Radio” (a different version of the one from their “Unplugged” set) and “All In A Day” should be smash hits in due time and honestly, any song from this album could be plucked as a single. About the only thing I would have wished is more real drums (as the drum machine sounds do leave you wishing at times for the human touch). This should make fans out of those few that still aren’t.

Firehouse – Bring ‘Em Out Live, Spitfire, 2000
[Similarities: Winger, Def Leppard, Night Ranger]
Firehouse is an odd band. On one hand, they can craft some of the most brilliant melodic rock around. On the other, they can also flip out the passionless generic rocker with little difficulty. Unfortunately, the first half of this disc relies on those very songs. Though the sound is decent (though the crowd sounds fake at times) and performance flawless, songs like “Overnight Sensation”, “Lovers Lane” and “Hold Your Fire” never did much for me first time around…and things haven’t changed (and where the hell is “Sleeping With You”?!?). But things pick up starting with “Dream”. After that, it seems to be one hyper-melodic track after another. Songs like “Acid Rain” and “I Live My Life For You” sound good but it’s just not enough to sway my overall opinion that this is just a speed bump on the road to their next proper album.

Iron Maiden – Brave New World, Portrait, 2000
[Similarities: Rush, Queensryche, Dream Theater]
Well, it’s about bloody time! Finally, the kings of melodic metal have regrouped (along with third guitarist Janick Gers) and put forth one hell of an album that recalls their glory days. Whether your tastes run from the quick hits of the ripping “The Wicker Man” and “The Mercenary” or the epic, almost prog-like “Dream Of Mirrors” (ranks right up there with their classics) and “The Nomad”, this is the finest and most consistent Maiden album since “Powerslave”. With three guitarists now filling in the sound behind the huge drumming of Nicko McBrain and the thumping bass of Steve Harris, this leaves no doubt in my mind. Iron Maiden is back, older…wiser and maybe better than before!

Motley Crue – New Tattoo, Beyond, 2000
[Similarities: Poison, AC/DC, Van Halen]
Getting back to their roots, Da Crue’s latest is an exercise in over the top sex and drugs rock n’ roll. Thank God! Though Vince still can’t sing and Mick still can’t play the guitar worth shit, Nikki’s songwriting saves the day as the band puts forth an album on par with “Dr. Feelgood”. Songs like “Hell On High Heels”, “Dragstrip Superstar” and “Hollywood Ending” have punch and bravado that is usually the result of a band being young and hungry. Sure, the band can still pump out the filler too, as evidenced by “First Band On The Moon” or “Fake”, but overall this is classic Crue through and through and longtime fans will not be disappointed.

Travis – The Man Who, Sony, 2000
[Similarities: Oasis, The Beatles, Radiohead]
Pleasant if rather boring Brit pop that feels like it is crying out to be louder or crunchier. Nothing here is irritating like Oasis (though the vocals are 1000 times better), yet nothing also inspires any passion like Radiohead. I did like songs like “Driftwood”, “Turn” and the brilliant “Why Does It Always Rain On Me” but not enough that I would keep going back for another listen. Decent background music but desperately left me wanting to rock.

(Re)Views From The Hill:

Pink Floyd: The Wall Live:  Pink Floyd 1980-1981, Columbia Records
[similarities: Marillion, Dream Theatre]
Pink Floyd fans have been waiting for this set for many a moon. The two CD set contains the full concert (recorded over several nights) from Earls Court, London. It is one of the limited numbers of times (29 in all) that Floyd played The Wall in its entirety. Be warned, this two CD set is more of an musical outing than most CDs, you will find it very hard to concentrate on anything else while you listen to it.  It is very much a lights down/candle and wine affair.

All your favorites are here, as you can imagine, plus enough extra to make you feel a part of the gig. The really expensive set comes with a 64-page booklet that would keep even the most ardent completist happy. It contains sketches of the original set, and includes a large number of photos of the show and the band. The most interesting part of the non-music content is the section, which contains reflections on the gig from each member of the band. The deluxe hardbound box set, is an incredibly well put together package and well worth the premium you will have to pay for it over the plain set.  There is definitely a lot for your money here.

‘Comfortably Numb" is simply bewitching, a tour de force, this version will stick in your head for a long time to come. The solo and vocal performance is simply breath taking. "Run like Hell" is another highlight of collection, complete with Waters asking if there are any paranoids in the audience for an intro. "Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2" was the big hit from the album, a song that defined teenage school days angst in a very few words.

As The Wall is a concept album, it is very hard to take one song as a highlight.  Put simply this album is essential for any hard rock fan, whether they are really into Floyd or not. The Wall Live is simply one of the best live albums every recorded, an amazing achievement. If you can possibly afford it, get the hardbound 2 disc set, well worth the premium.

AOR Basement (Ian McIntosh):

Every other week at the moment, someone in Europe seems to decide it’s time to set up a “new”, dedicated melodic rock magazine. Ignore the fact that we’re in the 21st century: all the new magazines are paper based and display barely a schoolboy level of writing proficiency!

I don’t get why people persist with such plans. But then again most of the people behind the magazines are not in it because they want to write about music. Rather they have some other interest (like being involved with a label or a mail order outlet) and the pretext of a “magazine” is just a paltry excuse to make an extended marketing tool available filled with articles that would be just at home in an advertorial. Most of them carry such similar articles (just how many interviews with Danger Danger could one person want to read?) that it smacks of cronyism.

In that light, consider that it’s virtually impossible for any printed melodic rock magazine to come anyway close to making any money. They simply cannot reach a big enough audience. They have no money to throw at true promotion (like proper magazines do) and don’t understand anything about how the publishing industry works at all.

With so many similar labels, promoting so many similar releases, editorial independence is going to be a major issue at some point, as the listener is going to get fed up wasting hard-earned cash on substandard releases that are nowhere near what they purport to be. The attitude that’s currently being displayed makes me worry that very few people are in it for the long-term, and they’d put sales ahead of reputation any day.

The question really is what can be done with a publication that really moves rock music forward? Right now everyone just covers the same ground in the same way. It’s only a matter of time until all the current printed publications disappear and are replaced by new titles making exactly the same mistakes. It’s a lovely viscous cycle that does no one any good and keeps melodic rock looking like people out of step with musical reality surrounded by industry amateurs.

Reader profiles:

Name: Steve Cox

Place where you live: Edgware, London, England

Age: 26

Favorite Artist: Keith Caputo/Guns N Roses

Favorite Song: Guns N Roses - I Think About You

Favorite Ballad: Keith Caputo - Home

10 Albums You'd Bring If Stranded On A Desert Island:

Pump – Aerosmith
Southen Harmony - Black Crows
Died Laughing - Keith Caputo
Proud Like A God - Guano Apes
Appitite For Destruction - Guns N Roses
Use Your Illusion I - Guns N Roses
Soul Searching Sun - Life Of Agony
Like A Prayer – Madonna
End Of Silence - Rollins Band
Troublegum - Therapy?

Website: Don't have one yet, but one is on it's way! 

[If you’d like to be featured in SFK’s Reader Profile, drop me a line at]


From: Don Nafe

Hi Kurt, Time for a little rant on my part...

For the last six months I have been waiting patiently for a review of Chapter 23's CD in Powerplay Magazine in England (I'm sure fans of AOR/Melodic Rock are familiar with the Mag and their Web Site).

I tried on several occasions to ascertain whether or not one was forthcoming and got squat in reply. By sheer luck they hired a new webmaster who actually replied to my email and went hunting through past issues to look for a review of our CD...and lo and behold there it was in issue #15. (Thanks Charlie)

Oh and what a review...totally scathing...

The problem I have with the review is not one of content but of the choice of appears they had lover of 80's hair bands (who's obviously pissed off at the world for not continuing to embrace the genre) review our CD...I equate that to letting a Death Metal-head review a Back Street Boys CD (okay that's a tad exaggerated)...not a fair assessment of the CD.

My beef is simple get people who are into the genre review the genre, that way the readers get a fair assessment of the CD.

Here's the review for your dinning and dancing pleasure:
Chapter 23's - Flying in the face of conventional wisdom, Independent Release

I hate music like this: it is the antithesis of everything that first hooked me on to rock music. Whilst Chapter 23 may be adequate musicians, if this album is anything to go by they cannot write a tune and have zero attitude.

Lyrically they steer clear of well-worn clichés, although at points this seems forced, as in "Catch 22" for instance. The crux of the matter is they are promoting themselves as musicians, not poets, and thus need strong melodies.

I cannot help but contrast this to the Poison Debut, where catchy songs overcame dodgy production and musicianship, or Skid Row's "Slave to The Grind", which still kicks. I know Chapter 23 are not these styles, more prog rock wannabies, but the only emotion produced is to reach for the stop button. Bluntly if music such as this died tomorrow, I for one would not care in the slightest. Second opinion, Mark? me this will be put on our web site and highlighted so that Matt gets equal air time...

Don Nafe - Drummer - Chapter 23


Subject: House of Shakira
Hello fellow AORster's!!

Here's a little review of my own that I want to add about a group that I read alot about, but until recently didn't get the pleasure to listen to. And that group is House of Shakira.

It seems that their own record label discontinued their first two CD's, but hot on the heels of their latest release, House of Shakira III, was the release of their Best of Two. I am awaiting the arrival of "III", so I will review Best of Two here.

I will not go song by song, but will instead tell you that if you love AOR music, and you like a lead vocalist that has a full range, then House of Shakira is for you. They have included a couple of unreleased tracks, and one of them, "Susan", is a true AOR song, full of pounding rock....and, they have also included a live version of "Separate Ways",...yes, the Journey tune, and they are very true to the original, and the lead vocalist can cover Perry well.

They hail from Scandanavia, and as far as I'm concerned, could teach so many American bands about how to write, compose, and play a song.

This is not a CD to be missed....everyone who loves good music, soaring vocals, wonderful Queenesque harmonies, and pure driven rock, should own this CD....this ranks up there with Journey, Queen, Hugo, Kansas and Styx as one of the great musical journeys you could encounter.

All I can say is, go buy it!!!