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Editor and Godfather - Kurt Torster

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Ian McIntosh (AOR Basement -
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Peter Sims (Now & Then/Frontiers -
Ove Gustafsson (MTM -
Carrie Borzillo (All Star Daily News)
Marty Dodge (
Keyji Johnsen

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We here at SFK hold the right to print any and all E-mail sent to us unless you specifically state not to.

Kurt’s Krap:

CD NOW is running a $10 off everything in the store sale...check it out:

Starting again with this issue will be links to order the CD’s reviewed in this issue from CD Now (which also has soundclips to check out as well). In the meantime, here’s some links to recently raved about discs:



SWIRL 360 []



Fucking A…’The Matrix’ was the best movie I’ve seen in years. The DVD is flat out amazing.

For some reason, some of you seem to get two issues of SFK every week. Why? I still have no idea.

News Bytes:

There’s a good chance that PAUL STANLEY will head to Broadway next to take on the lead role in ‘Jeckyl And Hyde’.

Here’s the tracklisting for the upcoming "Affirmation" disc from SAVAGE GARDEN: Affirmation, Hold Me, I Knew I Loved You, The Best Thing, Crash And Burn, Chained To You, The Animal Song, The Lover After Me, Two Beds And A Coffee Machine, You Can Still Be Free, Gunning Down Romance, I Don’t Know You Anymore. If the first single, "I Knew I Loved You", is anything to go by this thing could be a monster.

JON BON JOVI has recorded a verse for an upcoming ‘We Are The World’ style cover of the Stones "It’s Only Rock And Roll" for the upcoming "Children’s Promise" charity album. Other musicians include AXL ROSE and OZZY OSBOURNE.

And here’s the tracklisting for the upcoming MICHAEL MORALES CD, "That’s The Way": Better Way, Change The World, Where Does Love Live?, That’s The Way, Blood, Let You In, What Kind Of Fool, No Tomorrow, Maria, I Remind Me Of You, Driving Back To Your Heart, Corey, No Way Out

BOB CATLEY has left HARD RAIN for a more permanent solo career. He will release his second studio cd "Legends" in the near future. He also has plans of touring Europe in the new year.

Tomorrow night on HBO’s music series ‘Reverb’, the MARVELOUS 3 will perform three songs from their fantastic "Hey Album". GENESIS will offer a free download on their website at for "The Carpet Crawlers 1999", a track from their upcoming best of set "Turn It On Again". The rest of the tracks: Turn It On Again, Invisible Touch, Mama, Land Of Confusion, I Can’t Dance, Follow You Follow Me, Hold On My Heart, Abacab, I Know What I Like, No Son Of Mine, Tonight Tonight Tonight, In Too Deep, Congo, Jesus He Knows Me, That’s All, Misunderstanding and Throwing It All Away.

Wondering what happened to MARK/MARCIE FREE. Well, look no further than her official website at

REO SPEEDWAGON fans should check out for frequent news updates on the band.

Feel like naming DEE SNIDER’s latest disc? Head over to to get in your suggestions.

The third disc from BALANCE OF POWER will be out October 20 through Pony Canyon/Massacre.

The word from their management is that ROBERT PLANT and JIMMY PAGE have not split, contrary to recent reports.

Ryko has pushed back the US releases from Z Records artists DANNY DANZI and DAMNED NATION until early 2000.

In the meantime, Z will release a compilation of it’s artists titled "Crusade", which will include tracks from DREAMHUNTER, DAMNED NATION, GREAT KING RAT, 24K, SEVEN WISHES, JEKYLL & HYDE, SAVANNAH, DANNY DANZI, ECLIPSE, KEN TAMPLIN, AMAZE ME, PUSH, HUMAN RACE, LILLIAN AXE, PRISONER, SHOUT, SCUDIERO AND SOUTHPAW.

Former Dexy’s Midnight Runners singer Kevin Rowland wanted to release his version of BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN’s "Thunder Road" (with different lyrics), but all it took was one listen from The Boss to nix that. Rowland even sent a personal note, but Springsteen still turned him down.

And, the latest BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN US tour dates:















Here’s European dates for MARILLION:

(UK) NOVEMBER 15 Newport/Bristol/Cardiff, TBC; 16 Dudley, JB’s; 17 Nottingham, Rock City; 18 Manchester, Academy; 20 London, Shepherds Bush Empire (HOLLAND) 22 Groningen, Oosterpoort; 23 Tilburg, 013; 24 Enschede, Music Centre; 25 Amsterdam, Paradiso (GERMANY) 27 Hamburg, Docks; 28 Berlin, Columbiahalle; 29 Koln, E-Werk; 30 Stuttgart, Longhorn DECEMBER 02 Dresden, Schlachthof; 03 TBC; 04 Mannheim, Capitol

And some European dates for DREAM THEATER:

Mon November 8 Docks Hamburg, Germany

Tue November 9 Capitol Hannover, Germany

Thu November 11 Ijssehal Zwolle, Netherlands

Fri November 12 Ancienne Belgique Brussels, Belgium

Sun November 14 Palladium Koln, Germany

Mon November 15 Forum Nurnberg, Germany

Wed November 17 Volkshaus Zurich, Switzerland

Thu November 18 Colosseum Munich, Germany

Fri November 19 Filaforum Milan, Italy

Sun November 21 Transbordeur Lyon, France

Mon November 22 Forum Ludwigsburg, Germany

Tue November 23 Kulturfabrik Luxembourg

Wed November 24 Elysee Montmartre Paris, France

The Voting Booth:

Lit – My Own Worst Enemy

Smash: 65%

Trash: 34%

A new song will be uploaded tonight.

Noteworthy New Releases:

[* recommended by SFK]

BLUE ÖYSTER CULT - Don’t Fear The Reaper: The Best Of

CHRIS CORNELL (ex-Soundgarden vocalist) - Euphoria Morning

TED NUGENT - Great Gonzos: The Best Of

OUR LADY PEACE - Happiness...Is Not A Fish You Can Catch

PETE TOWNSHEND - Pete Townshend Live

Various Artists - Whole Lotta Blues: The Songs Of Led Zeppelin

Kurt’s Picks:

GOO GOO DOLLS - DIZZY UP THE GIRL, WB, 1998 [Similarities: Bon Jovi, Soul Asylum, John Mellencamp]

Just like their previous efforts, but even more so this time out, the ‘Dolls seem to be two different bands depending on who’s handling the vocals. When bassist Robby Takac is on vox, the band takes on a more punk air about them and seems out of place (and downright generic) when placed up against the superior songs led by guitarist John Rzeznik, who also has the better voice. Hits like the acoustic tinged arena rock of "Slide" and the ballad "Black Balloon" as well as could be hits like "Broadway" and "All Eyes On Me" (with it’s ear candy chorus) appeal more to my melodic side and are just flat out better songs than the thrashy "January Friend" or the repetitive "Amigone". And, at least to these ears, "Iris" may be one of THE greatest ballads of all time and seems to be the kind of song Jon Bon Jovi wishes he could write. To sum it all up, this would be a perfect album if taken strictly as the Rzeznik sung tracks and the Takac sung tracks were ignored. And still, with that in consideration, this is one of the best mainstream rock releases over the last year.


REINGOLD - UNIVERSE, MTM, 1999 [Similarities: Yngwie Malmsteen, Helloween, TNT]

This is by far the worst release to ever come from MTM, but it does has it’s brief moments of decency. Unfortunately, by the time you get to them you’ve probably long tuned out. Bombarding the senses with overwrought guitar heroics that usually don’t fit the melody lines of the music, I found it hard to listen to almost any of the twelve songs here. Short of track 11, "Can I Take You To Heaven", I found myself waiting, even hoping, for the next song to be short just to get to the end of the disc. A bad sign by any stretch of the imagination. Lyrically it’s nothing special and musically, it’s pretentious and lacking any feeling. Though Gorman Edman’s vocals are fine, the music that surrounds his vocals are all over the place and have no real melodic structure to keep the listener interested. Usually we’re all so interested in what’s the top 10 of the’s one for the bottom 10.


SAVAGE GARDEN - TRULY MADLY DEEPLY, Sony Japan, 1998 [Similarities: Roxette, Swirl 360, Dan Reed Network]

SG’s debut disc has grown to become what I now consider a ‘desert island disc’, as it’s candy coated rock/pop never fails to catch my ear. I was excited to find that the band’s B-sides (all collected on this disc along with some remixes and acoustic tracks) are equally as good. Tunes like the quirky and catchy "All Around Me", the mid-tempo John Waite-like "Fire Inside The Man" and the romantic psuedo-ballad "This Side Of Me" show a diversity to this band that prevents them from being pigeonholed into any one genre. The remixes of the hits "I Want You", "To The Moon And Back", "Truly Madly Deeply" and mostly "Santa Monica" give them a danceable gloss without losing any of their rock oriented luster. Lumping in two acoustic performances in "Break Me Shake Me" and "I Want You" help offset what might be considered a pricey Japanese import. Savage Garden has simply become one of my favorite bands and anyone who’s a fan of perfectly crafted melodic pop rock needs to add this, as well as their debut, to their collections pronto.


AOR Basement (Ian McIntosh):

Have been listening to Californian band Venice’s new album "Spin Art" quite a lot - great songs and great musicianship and way better than their rather soft "Born and Raised" album. A fine example of what AOR can be in the modern environment while still being acceptable to a wide audience. On top of that   they’re about to play some rare European shows (all in the Netherlands). The biggest date will be on Saturday, October 9, at the Crossing the Border Festival in The Hague, but they’ll also do some headlining shows as well: The Oosterpoort in Groningen on Friday, October 8, and Doornroosje in Nijmegen on Sunday October 10. Don’t think they’re ever played in Europe before. More details on the shows can be found at the following web sites:,, and

Another interesting live occasion coming up is "Baja Prog 2000" which takes place during the first week of March next year. It will run from Wednesday March 1 through to Saturday March 4 in the city of Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico, across the border with California. From my point of view, the most interesting band confirmed to be playing is Scottish band Pallas, but others confirmed are: After Crying from Hungary; Jadis from the UK, Halloween from France; Nexus from Argentina; The Nightwatch from Italy; Drama from France; The Flower Kings from Sweden; and Mexican band Cast will also make a brief appearance. Further bands are also still to be added to the bill. For general information about the festival, go to:

Boston area female guitarist Jaye Foucher is currently in the studio working on tracks for her second instrumental prog-rock CD entitled "Contagious Licks". The CD contains 11 songs and is expected to be released by January 2000 – more information and sound bytes are available at

Canadian intelligent hard rockers Emerald Rain have just launched their official web site. Surf into to check it out....


From: Joe Kruger <>

This week’s issue touched a nerve with ME!

SFK was supposed to be about music that is STRIKTLY FOR KONNISSUERS [sic]. When I first started reading, I thought that it was going to be devoted to the higher quality forms of melodic rock.

I have to admit that the first couple of issues that I received got me a little worried. What I found was the same coverage of the same bland and tired music that I wasn’t interested in hearing about again. It was the type of music that receives plenty of coverage already. It was the ultra-retro, wish it was yesterday, humdrum stuff being released on the well-known UK and European labels. In short - it was the incredibly boring and uninteresting music already covered by the likes of the AOR basement, Hard Roxx, and (back when it was some incredibly bogus nonsense string ending in .au) I tried buying some of the modern underground melodic rock. I found some in cut-out bins and other stuff thru mail order vendors. I also listened to billions of sound clips on the various web sites. It all sounded the same to me. It all seemed like second-rate AOR leftovers from bands who never cut it when AOR was big. I even made the mistake of purchasing the second RTZ disc - Lost. It was horrid, and should have been left in the vault.

I have found a couple of decent newer released discs - Big Bad Wolf and Steelhouse Lane are both pretty good but are completely dated. I do think that both would have been successful in the old days - but both happen to feature really old guys from 70’s bands who really know how to write interesting melodies. Most of the stuff that I’ve listened to from Escape, Z, Now&Then, and those guys just isn’t all that great - except for the great reissues. They capture the tone and mood of the glory days of AOR, but are completely missing the spirit. I really think it results from bland, by-the-numbers, borrowed melodies. I’ve found most of it uninspired, unoriginal, and just plain uninteresting.

I know that probably isn’t a popular opinion to be spouting off in a forum that somewhat caters to fans of these bands, but that’s how I feel. I admit to being a person who listens to the radio and watches MTV in order to remain current on musical trends. I’m a big fan of melodic rock and metal, and if they make a comeback in the mainstream I want to know. Most internet sites and discussion areas maintain some sort of elitist hatred of modern and popular music that makes no sense to me whatsoever. The melodic rock and metal that the same people grew up loving was just as much in the mainstream, yet it remains virtually uncovered in any melodic rock forum except for SFK.

I think that the last 12 months have seen a rebirth of melodic rock in the mainstream that most of the people calling themselves fans of melodic rock have completely missed. The music is fresh, original, and exciting. I’m disappointed that whenever you cover it, you get so much negative feedback. Groups like The Flys, Marvelous 3, Tal Bachman, Ricky Martin, Backstreet Boys, and Lit are not just the future of melodic rock - they are the present. That they are ignored by so many simply because they are guilty of being popular and have been heavily influenced by grunge and other "lower" forms of music is so narrow-minded. I expect some people will eventually catch on, but so many more just refuse to move themselves beyond the 80’s. It’s a shame.

Thanks for your coverage of these groups in this forum. These are serious artists and are excellent melodic rock bands. They are a nice break from the tired formula still being pushed by the clueless and isolated underground elite. Please keep covering them, maybe you’ll discover and report someone I’ve missed.

[You have summed up nicely the way I feel these days. I think ‘AOR’ has no spark or passion anymore. There’s nothing fresh and this genre badly needs a jumpstart if it expects to succeed again.]


Like other loyal readers I was starting to question your judgement with all the raving about Ricky Martin, the Backstreet Boys and numerous country artists.

However, your review of Hey! Album from The Marvelous 3 has renewed my faith in you, and SFK. This disc is easily my favorite of ‘99 (followed by Tal Bachman).  I caught these guys in a club this spring, and they’re even better live. In addition to their own material, they did an awesome version of an improbable cover, Naked Eye’s "Always Something There To Remind Me". They’ve filled a power pop void left by a lack of new material from Cheap Trick and the untimely end of Material Issue. Your assessment said "If anyone is wondering where the future of melodic rock may be headed, then look no further." I’m done looking. 


[Re: Ratt’s latest with a different title in France]

Not true. I am in France right now and have purchased the album here. The artwork is different, but it is still just called RATT. The label they are on is called Axe Killer, which apparently licensed the album from Columbia and Portrait. Interestingly, the label is releasing all those deadline/cleopatra albums,too -- and all with different artwork, some with the songs in a different order... Even the live Cinderella disc has the songs in a different order than the US release does.

From: "Daniel Menestres" <>

[Re: Marty’s review of the new Megadeth]

I just wanted to thank you for putting in a good review of the new Megadeth album, Risk. I’m a big fan of this album although Megadeth fans from the old days will be pissed but I don’t care. I didn’t quite agree with the point you made about Metallica "reinventing" themselves with their 1996 release, Load. All the same, we all have varying opinions about these topics. I was just glad to see an unbiased review of Risk.

From: "Tommy Denander" <>

Hey dude! Thanks for yet another masterpiece! Here’s some info about what i’m up to....

I recently recorded 2 tracks with Fergie Frederiksen....1 song for my Radioactive album that features almost all old and new Toto members (except Luke, Simon and Byron!) + a mega list of true stars, and 1 song for Oliver D’avesta’s westcoast album. Fergie asked me to write and produce for his next CD...i’d love to of course...

Tomorrow the new album by Talk Of The Town will be mixed....i produced, wrote and played on it and i dare to say that this CD brings back hope for the whole AOR tell me i’m wrong when you hear and i’ll say i’m sorry:-)))

I’ve got a new band called CRY togehter with Bruce Gaitsch, George Hawkins bass (K Loggins, A Jarreau), Geir Ronning vocals(Toto) and Marcus Liliequist Drums, with guests like Richard Marx, Fee Waybill and Bill Champlin on the’s like Eagles and Dobbie Brothers join forces with Steely Dan and Van Halen!!! Bruce Gaitsch and I are putting together the songs for our new CD togehter...

I just signed a project called PRISONER to Z Records...that features me, Geir Ronning vocals, Piere Wensberg vocals and Ricky B Delin Keyboards...and guests like Thomas Vikstrom (Talk Of The Town) and Mikael Eriksson (House Of Shakira)

I’m soon releasing a "new" solo album in the US called features some tracks from my first 2 albums that only have been available through import and a bunch of new tracks...

I recently produced an album called SAYIT that just was released by AOR Heaven. It’s Toto style and features a lot of great singers and Bruce Gaitsch....the production is very "demo" sounding so try to ignore that if you hear it....but it’s cool music.

I’m right now writing and producing a great swedish band called the Corrs vein. The album features 2 beautiful girls and Antonio from Talk Of The Town....and we got Andreas Carlsson on backing vocals who wrote "I want it that way" for Backstreet Boys and also the next single from Celine Dion!!!....i heard that track and it’s pure uptempo AOR in the style of HEART!!!! GREAT GREAT SONG!!!!!!.....comes out in december.

From: "Nick and Claudia DiTondo" <>

Hey, I found these discs in Germany while on vacation.

Poverty’s No Crime - Slave to the Mind. These guys are Prog Metal, but I am amazed by just how good this is, as an Album. If you like Dream Theater, with a bit more structure (not that DT is unstructured, they just sometimes can be a little long in the interludes) Check these guys out. I actually think they have something here better than the status quo...

Stuart Smith - Heaven and Earth. This album has Kelly Hansen, Richie Sambora, Glen Hughes, Joe Lynn Turner and many more Guests. I don’t know if you had already reviewed it, but this album REALLY KICKS ASS!!! This in fact has had a tough time leaving my CD player. And there is enough here to please just about everyone.

I also found a Pretty Maids sampler. This contains some of their more laid back tracks, plus an unreleased song called Love and A Fiction. For a 5 song ep, this thing was worth it, and I’d likely buy the next release from them, as they really still present great talent for the Hard Rock category.

I also picked up Harem Scarem’s - Mood Swings, I had forgotten just how great this album really is. And I wish Scarem had a Mood Swings 2 in them, as the new stuff just doesn’t turn my head like the songs from this album.

If you could point me towards more good stuff in this type of music, LEAD ON!!!

Sorry about the flood, Damn Hurricanes!


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