”There are three essential Commandments:

·        Respect The Elders.

·        Embrace The New.

·        Encourage The Impractical and Improbable, Without Bias.

-David Fricke”

Official Nonsense:

·        Editor and lead singer - Kurt Torster

Background vox:

·        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:

I have SO many CD’s to review and catch up on…not that I’m complaining but in case you’ve been waiting on a specific review, just be patient. Just received late last week and bound to make a stir in SFK next week is the debut album from John Taglieri, who has released one of THE best AOR albums in some time and goes far to restore my faith in the genre.

Kurt’s Kause Of The Week:

[Ah hell, why not get a little political (or even politically incorrect)? There are loads of issues I believe in, and this little bit is not meant to get too deep into anything controversial.]

Last year I suffered from anxiety. This year it kicked in again. Why? Who the hell knows? Stress? Whatever… If you know what I speak of, check out this website and welcome to my occasional nightmare.

News Bytes:

Word has it that the second single from Bon Jovi’s Crush” will be for the track “Say It Isn’t So”. The album has been doing very well all throughout the world, hitting #1 on several charts in Europe and Japan.

Here is the tracklisting for the upcoming David Coverdale album, “Into The Light”, which is out on August 30th in Japan: Into The Light/The River Song, She Give Me..., Don’t You Cry, Love Is Blind (first single), Slave, Cry For Love, Living On Love, Midnight Blue, Too Many Tears, Don’t Lie To Me and Wherever You May Go.

Rhino will be issuing two CD’s from the great Marshall Crenshaw later this year. The first, “This Is Easy: The Best Of” contains tracks recorded from 1982-1996. The second is a reissue of his classic debut from 1982 that will have nine bonus tracks.

Look for new “Greatest Hits” sets on Universal from Whitesnake, Scorpions, Night Ranger and Cinderella.

Edel America has signed Roxette to release their excellent “Have A Nice Day” album. The first single will be “Wish I Could Fly”. Come this fall, EAR will release their greatest hits disc “Don’t Bore Us, Get To The Chorus” with a different tracklisting and artwork from it’s European counterpart. To top it all off, the duo also have mini-tour of the States in their future.

Kivel will be releasing a “new” album from pomp/AOR legends Tour De Force. It’s a set of songs around the time of “World On Fire”. There’s also a chance of a best of from the band as well.

You can grab an MP3 of the new single from Jude Cole, More Than A Breakup Song” from MP3.COM. The album “Falling Home” is due any week now.

Pearl Jam will offer up entire soundboard concerts from their European tour for sale on their website. They also hope in the future to make available demos, b-sides and other hard to get tracks for free as MP3s to their fans. Say what you will about the band, but they seem to know how to treat their fans.

Garth Brooks “Double Live” has just hit the 13 million mark in sales, tying it with Bruce Springsteen’s live box set as the best selling live set in history. Speaking of The Boss, Bruce will be filming his set of shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden for release as a concert film.

Slash has been busy laying down tracks for the new Rod Stewart album due later this year. There’s a rumor that Slash may also tour as part of Stewart’s band come wintertime.

June 18 on VH-1 AC/DC will be featured on Behind The Music. VH-1 is also working on a Where Are They Now?, The List and Behind The Music all dedicated to the legend that was Spinal Tap!

Z Records has a new, more official domain name.

The lineup for the new Danny Danzi band: Danny Danzi (Lead Guitar / Lead Vocals), Andy Slostad (Guitar), Guy Defalco (Drums), Fran Wood (Keyboards) and Wayne Davis (Bass).

Damned Nation have plans to release a live album in the near future of their Z-2000 performance.

Westworld's new album, Skin, is out in Japan very shortly.

Former Yes member Trevor Rabin is busy scoring the music for a new Disney movie Whispers, due out on 1 September. It tells the story of a baby elephant separated from and desperately searching for its mother. It chronicles a true-life adventure about the journey of a heroic and unforgettable elephant. It has significance for Trevor with his South African background adding to the flavor of the score.

The second Intruder album is due out this summer on Escape Music. Again, most of the songs have been written by George Karak, and there's a version of the Bon Jovi classic 'Runaway. Some of the boys from Shotgun Symphony are also riding shotgun for this project, namely Tracy White, Ed Avila and Ron Simulich.

The new Spocks Beard album will simply be called 'Spock's Beard' and will be released on August 22, 2000. These guys are hard at work getting this opus together after their recent European jaunt with premier progsters Dream Theater.

Danish pop wonders Michael Learns To Rock are back in the studio working on their fifth studio album, which is due out towards the end of the year.

Whats up with Tony Macalpine these days? Well the legendary guitar wizard is as busy as ever, and after last years 'Masters Of Paradise' album, he is back as part of three piece called Planet X. Refer their website Get this, the rest of the band are Derek Sherinan (ex Dream Theater) on keyboards and drummer Virgil Donati (ex Australian AOR wonders Southern Sons). Tony has also worked on the CAB Project this year, alongside Bunny Brunel and Dennis Chambers.

“Bat Head Soup -  A Tribute To Ozzy Osbourne” will feature the following lineup and tracks: 'Mr. Crowley - Vocal: Tim 'Ripper' Owens, Guitar: Yngwie Malmsteen, Bass: Tim Bogert, Drums: Tommy Aldridge, Keyboards: Derek Sherinian; 'Over The Mountain' - Vocal: Mark Slaughter, Guitar: Brad Gillis, Bass: Gary Moon, Drums: Eric Singer, Keyboards: Paul Taylor; 'Desire' - Vocal: Lemmy Kilmister, Guitar: Ritchie Kotzen, Bass: Tony Franklin, Drums: Vinnie Colaiuta; 'Crazy Train' - Vocal: Dee Snider, Guitar: Doug Aldrich, Bass: Tony Levin, Drums: Jason Bonham; 'Goodbye To Romance' - Vocal: Lisa Loeb, Guitar: Dweezil Zappa, Bass: Michael Porcaro, Drums: Stephen Ferrone, Keyboards: Michael Sherwood; 'Hellraiser' - Vocal: Joe Lynn Turner, Guitar: Steve Lukather, Bass: Billy Sherwood, Drums: Jay Schellen, Keyboards: Paul Taylor; 'Shot In The Dark' - Vocal: Jeff Scott Soto, Guitar: Bruck Kulick, Bass: Ricky Phillips, Drums: Pat Torpey, Keyboards: Derek Sherinian; 'Children Of The Grave' - Vocal: Jeff Martin, Guitar: Paul Gilbert, Bass: John Alderete, Drums: Scott Travis; 'Paranoid' - Vocal: Vince Neil, Guitar: George Lynch, Bass: Stu Hamm, Drums: Gregg Bissonette; 'Suicide Solution' - Vocal: Adam Paskowitz, Guitar: Peter Perdichizzi, Bass: James Book, Drums: Nick Lucero; 'I Don't Know' - Vocal: Jack Blades, Guitar: Reb Beach, Bass: Jeff Pilson, Drums: Bobby Blotzer, Keyboards: Paul Taylor. The project is produced by Bob Kulick and Bruce Bouillet and will be released on August 8th in Japan and then later in the U.S.

Noteworthy New Releases:


Moldy Oldys:

[What’s kicking old school on the SFK Deck O’ Death this week:]
Styx – Edge Of The Century, The Kinks – Come Dancing (Best Of), Richard Marx – Greatest Hits, Gladhands – La Di Da, Backstreet Boys - Millennium

Kurt’s Picks:

BB Mak – BB Mak, Hollywood, 2000
[Similarities: Taxiride, Nelson, Hanson]
First off, put aside any preconceived notions…yup, they are considered a boy band (marketing I guess). BUT, they are also very different. They actually write, produce and play their own songs (with no synchronized dancing!). While mildly resembling the Backstreet Boys or Nsync at least in harmonies, this is acoustic driven rock falling more in line with Aussie mob Taxiride or Nelson. This is ear candy of the highest order and as it is, is also extremely well produced and executed. It’s really hard not to get swept away with songs like “Back Here”, “Love Is Unpredictable” and the incredibly tasty “Still On Your Side”. I would have to REALLY nitpick to find anything amiss here (though the song titles could have used an injection of originality). This is a guilty pleasure through and through and will leave you smiling a mile wide. It may also take up a lot of playing time as well…you have been warned.

The Gladhands – Wow & Flutter, Big Deal, 1999
[Similarities: Jellyfish, Enuff Z’nuff, any 70s AM pop]
A couple of issues back I wrote up this band’s 1997 essential pop release “La Di Da”. After listening to this 13 song set the first words that come to mind is “they’ve done it again!”. Sounding like the entire Time/Life AM Gold series all at once, it’s akin to spinning the dial on a 70s AM radio and stopping at every catchy melody you hear. At any given time you can hear sounds as diverse as Todd Rundgren, Player, Orleans or even The Carpenters. And the band manages to conjure up all this imagery without sounding retro, which is amazing. Songs like “Get Real”, “Too Good For You” and “Breath Of Angels” get stuck in your brain making this one of THE most instantly likable albums I’ve heard. Lyrically smart and dripping in harmonies this, along with their other releases, are perfect (and I do mean PERFECT) examples of pop done right. This trio is close to becoming one of my all-time favorite bands…

Joshua Kadison – Troubadour In A Timequake, Storyville, 1999
[Similarities: Elton John, Michael McDermott, Don Henley]
It’s amazing what one man can do with nothing more than a piano and a great set of pipes. Joshua, who hit platinum in the 90s with his debut album only to see his career nosedive into obscurity after, has still been putting out music on his own through his website. This ten-song set is a singer/songwriter heaven. Amazingly gorgeous melodies wrapped around stories (no these are not your standard verse-bridge-chorus affairs), it is a captivating and hypnotic listen that takes the listener on a journey along with the singer through life’s many roads and highways. And if nothing else, these are simply some beautiful songs that are soft yet brimming with a passion and energy that many louder artists seem to lack. If you’re not moved by listening to songs like “My Father’s Son”, “I Believe In You” or “Child Of These Roads” then you may want to check your pulse because it’s entirely possible you don’t have a soul. Though those who love it loud and no other way may not appreciate this, when the mood is right and you’re in need of either something romantic, thought provoking or meditating, than I cannot recommend this enough. [As an aside, Joshua also has a novel out called 17 Ways To Eat A Mango and it’s a GREAT read. And the fact that I don’t read much at all should tell you something. A very inspired and uplifting story of how not to overlook the simple things in life.]

Raine – Peace, MTM, 2000
[Similarities: TNT, Dokken, Harem Scarem]
Comparing Raine to other bands really doesn’t do them justice because every time you think you have a handle on where they’re is at, they switch gears and go off in a different direction. And it’s this diversity that at the least keeps this album fresh and interesting. Though moments, like “Without You”, “Miracles” and the dreadful “Inside Out”, are your typical generic hard rock bores, they are thankfully the exceptions…not the rule. Songs like “I Am”, “Everytime” and the “What I’d Rather Be” overpower with class and <gasp> originality that is exactly the kind of thing the genre needs to stay alive. Singer David Lindland has an interesting voice that when he’s down in the low end is decent but when he’s hitting the high notes he’s hollow and shrill (though this could be a production detail). The guitar playing of Jay Stone has to be singled out though as he restrained and hits the exact notes he has too (in other words, he doesn’t overdo it). While this is far from a classic, it’s more original than a lot of what’s been offered up as of late and with a little fine-tuning, this band could be on the verge of something big.

Sister Hazel – Fortress, Universal, 2000
[Similarities: Tesla, The Black Crowes, Aerosmith]
I gotta be honest, I thought this album would probably be pretty good but not this good. This is HUGELY catchy roots rock that has more than a metallic element to it that puts me in the mind of the softer side of Tesla. Every song feels like a highlight and has such potential to break out on it’s own. Kicking off with the brash “Change Your Mind” the album zigs and zags through rockers and slower paced numbers rarely giving the listener a chance to catch their breath. Songs like “Thank You”, “Beautiful Thing”, “Shame On Me” and “Save Me” should be fixtures on every rocker’s radars by year’s end. The bluesy Aerosmith-like “Surreal” is also top notch, taking the southern rockers into the gutter. This is a very tasty mix of southern, glam, roots rock and a few other minimal styles and with it, the band has created a near perfect album that is one of THE most consistent and tight albums in recent memory. This band has kicked out the jams…

Under The Sun – Under The Sun, Magna Carta, 2000
[Similarities: Yes, ELP, Dream Theater]
There is so much going on here that it takes more than a cursory listen to digest it all. UTS are true prog…influenced heavily by classic Yes and ELP, this is overdramatic and overindulgent art rock that is so well done that it’s nearly impossible to fault. Everything that prog fans dig is here in abundance…soaring vocals (that for once, are not Geoff Tate/James Labrie cloning), music played to perfection and songs that are long yet never really boring. What really caught my ear is the heavy reliance on the piano which helps separate this from the crowd. Though the thumping “Seeing Eye God” should appeal to anyone, the rest of this disc is not for average fans looking for a quick fix. At times beautiful and moody, this one needs to be listened to closely and if you are a fan of progressive rock, put this right at the top of your shopping list.

(Re)Views From The Hill:

Glenn Hughes: Return of the Crystal Karma, SPV
[similarities: Bad Company, Deep Purple]
After Glenn’s much documented battles with drugs, he has tried to straighten himself out, 9 years on the wagon so far.  His comeback has been long and hard, helped along by the KLF of all people, when he sang on "What time is Love?" . His last two albums "Addiction" & "The Way it is" were good albums where Hughes worked through his demons.  ‘Return of the Crystal Karma" is a much patchier affair, that lacks in many tracks that leap out at you. The initials of the album are meant to portray the gist of this album, R.O.C.K.,  it is dedicated to his so-called "rock-based fans." Unfortunately it really never gets going, the disc gets slower and melodic as it nears its end. Amusingly enough this disc shares its producer with another interesting named album Van Halen’s For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, Michael Scott.

So of the highlights include a track originally penned for Tony Iommi’s forthcoming solo album. Dropped as a result of bootlegging by Toni, "Gone" made it on this album because Glen thought it was too good to waste. It is really seems to miss the tell-tale rifting of Sabbath’s guitar maestro.  "Ode to J" is an instrumental that follows on from Deep Purple’s "Ode to G" and is inspired by Hughes’ hero Jeff Beck. In fact Hughes plays guitar on some of the tracks on this album as well as playing bass and singing.  "Days of Avalon" is a track about death, that is neither mournful nor depressing, and is one of the albums few highlights, a great ballad. Another ballad, with very Toto-esque highlights, is "Angela," nice piece of music.

All in all this album really does not do much for me, I for one much prefer "Addiction" to this collection of tracks. It is possible that Glenn is at his best when he stays away from pure rock and goes for his more eclectic mix of r&b, funk and blues.

Most of us are waiting for the follow-up to the classic Hugues/Thrall album, which has been recorded and has shown no sign of being released. This is not any where near an essential Hughes record, get Addiction instead. - Marty

AOR Basement (Ian McIntosh):

Back in good health this week and back with the regular column!

Something that the half the world seems to have not noticed, but definitely interests me, is that the European Commission is set to subject the $20 billion combination of Warner Music and the EMI Group to a full four month investigation on competition grounds.  The investigation is being brought after a group of European music writers registered concern that the combined group would dominate the music publishing market in some countries. Current calculations suggest that a combined Warner-EMI could control 50% of all music publishing in Sweden and an even higher 7-% in Finland (to name just two countries).

The group of writers is encouraging the commission to consider only approving the deal if some divestiture takes place. The labels could present concessions in a number of days that might head off the full enquiry, but there's no sign of them yet.... If that wasn't enough to scare them, the EU authorities also want to have a good look at the AOL-Time Warner merger for both its general ramifications and its implications for the music market. They're concerned at how old and new media empires are being combined.

So why should the everyday music punter care? Well, all the major labels' future strategies are based on copious amounts of control. Control to skim off even more money and control that will probably give the average listener even less choice. The music industry isn't about music anymore, it's about stock values and how to make people think you really might make some "big money" for them at some point. Your don't do that by signing a few dodgy bands, you do it by leaving blood on the boardroom carpet and by exploiting everyone and everything you get the chance to.

Will the chaps in gray, drip-dry suits in Brussels protect us? Hmmn, good question..., I doubt it because "big money" usually does what ever the heck it wants. They're already beaten the Euro authorities over extortionate pricing practices (our American readers would shudder at the prices of CDs in Brick and Mortar stores over here) and won, so why should it be different this time. Anyone who wants the freedom to listen to as wide a sphere of music as possible, will be the ones to lose out, not some music business bozos with dreams of building a media empire and Citizen Kane would have been proud of. Did anyone say "Rosebud"?

Reader profiles:

Name: Don Palmer

Place where you live: York, England

Age: 39

Favorite Artist: Toto

Favorite Song: "Perfect world" (as recorded by Glen Burtnick, Alias & What if)

Favorite Ballads: "Is this love" (Whitesnake) or "I'll be over you" (Toto)

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

(No preference in order)
Michael Thompson Band (How long)
David Foster (River of love)
Glen Burtnick (Talking in code/Heros & zeros)
Toto (Fahrenheit)
Chicago (21)
Kansas (Power)
Jude Cole (A view from third street)
Paul Janz (Presence: Best of)
Giant (Time to burn)
Jay Graydon (Airplay/music from the planet)

May try & sneak a few others [by Boston (Greatest hits), Michael Morales, Mr Mister, Mark Spiro, Tim Feehan, Chicago (21), Beckett, Think out Loud, Foreigner (Inside information), Drive she said (s/t), Harem Scarem, Eric Martin, Stan Meissner, Allies, Whiteheart, Gary Moore (Wild frontier), Kevin Raleigh (Delusions of grandeur), Rick Springfield (Rock of life), Stage Dolls (s/t), Strangeways, .38 Special, BJ Thomas (Midnite minute), Winger (s/t), Walk on fire and What if] my bag, socks pants or whatever

Website: very soon/hopefully this Summer (or something like that)


From: "Mike Franklin"

Subject: Valentine & Heaven's Edge
Can anyone help me out here. Years ago I had a tape with Valentine's 1st album on one side and Heaven's Edge's 1st album on the other. I was watching 'Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead' last night and I was reminded of a couple of tracks from the Valentine album. Has anyone any copies of the above two cd's that they don't want or is there anywhere cheap that I can pick them up from on the net.


Hey Kurt, I really dig your zine. Like you I was an 80's child and love that whole era of music and loved being around in the 70's for all that great music also. The dumbest move I ever made was trading in my Diving For Pearls CD at a Compact Disc World in the early 90's and NOW can't find it anywhere. Do you have any connections for finding that?

The other question I have was that there was a band in the 80's called Vendetta with a black guy doing most of the guitar and vocals his name is Niki Buzz and it was a 3 piece band the other guys names were Terry Fox & Klyph Black. Some of the killer tunes on it were Night Time, Jet Eye Knight, Deadly Like A Rose, and Can You See Through Me. The cover was basically green with a red jackhammer lying on the sidewalk and engraved on the sidewalk was the bands name VENDETTA!!! Do you have any info on where I can find this on CD or any info on lead singer/guitarist Niki Buzz. Someone told me he was also in a band called M-80??

Thanks for your help and keep up the great work.