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Music Reviews

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October 30, 1996

Book of Shadows

Zakk WyldeZakk Wylde, Book of Shadows (Geffen 1996) - Guitarist extrordinare Zakk Wylde, who recorded with Ozzy Osbourne for seven years, has branched off from Ozzie's theater of rock for Book of Shadows. The new release is filled with tasty guitar hooks built around an arena-rock style, which Wylde holds together solidly.

One of the current American guitar heros, Zakk Wylde is a throwback to the long-haired bands of the 70s. And Wylde likes it that way. Book of Shadows has a melancholic streak to it not unlike the stylings of Kansas (including the sweeping string sections). Although it took me several listenings to sink my teeth into Book of Shadows, I find it tastier as time goes on.

Having started with Ozzy Osbourne at age 19, it's not surprising that Wylde is influenced by the Oz-man's "big-rock and lots-of echoes" style. Thus, Book of Shadows, which was produced by Ron & Howard Albert (who have also worked with Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones) and mixed by Bob Clearmountain, doesn't fall far from the tree.

But Wylde manages to avoid the personal excesses that mar Osbourne's work. I've seen Ozzy live (remember, he stiffed Fresno twice in the last year), and he's not a real likeable guy. By contrast, Wylde is more approachable.

In 1994, Wylde decided to make his own path -- to write and sing his own songs and investigate other musical avenues. "It's the difference between sharing an apartment with someone and living by yourself," he explains.

Zakk WyldeWylde recorded a well-received album as the lead singer with the power trio, Pride & Glory. After a seven-month tour with Aerosmith that ran through Europe and Japan, Wylde became dissatisfied with the musical compromises he found himself making. "I'm creating my own world," he says of his reincarnation as a solo artist. "These are my tunes, my vision."

In addition to such expected guitar extravaganzas as "1,000,000 Miles Away," the album also includes sweeping power ballads like "Two Numb to Cry" and "Way Beyond Empty." In particular, "Way Beyond Empty" has real radio potential.

Geffen has the tendency to light a slow fire under an album and keep it building. Expect the same to happen with Book of Shadows. It may take six months or a year, but you'll start hearing this material on the radio. Just remember, you heard it here first.

Arbitron Radio Ratings -- According to the Summer 1996 Arbitron survey, the top ten radio stations in Fresno for June 27 through September 18, 1996 are as follows:

1. KBOS (FM 94.9) 10.4%
2. KMJ (AM 580) 9.6%
3. KJWL (FM 99.3) 6.3%
4. KSKS (FM 93.7) 5.3%
5. KTHT (FM 102.7) 5.2% (tie)
5. KFSO (FM 92.9) 5.2% (tie)
7. KLBN (FM 105.1) 4.9% (tie)
7. KRZR (FM 103.7) 4.9% (tie)
9. KJOI (FM 98.9) 3.7%
10. KFRR (FM 104.1) 3.5%

Our radio market population of 593,800 features many loyal listeners, as nine of the top 10 are repeats from the Spring, 1996 ratings.

Most remarkably, KBOS (CHR -- "contemporary hit radio") holds number one for the second consecutive quarter, while also increasing its market share from 9.8 to 10.4. KMJ (talk & news) stands strong at number two, with a slight market share increase (up from 9.5)

Number three KJWL (easy listening stars of the 40s and 50s) suffers its first decline since it went on the air, as its share decreases from 7.5 to 6.3. Big winner KSKS ("the new KISS country") rises from number ten to number four, but continues its yo-yo ratings performance (up one quarter, down the next).

Tied at number five with a 5.2 share are KFSO (oldies, with a nice increase from its spring share of 4.2) and KTHT (adult contemporary, an even better increase from the spring book's 3.8).

Showing the volatility of the Spanish market, KLBN (Spanish) tumbles from number four to a tie for seven. More significantly, KLBN's share decreased from 7.4 to 4.9. Also tied at number seven is KRZR (AOR -- "album oriented rock"), which drops from number five in the spring book.

While KLBN will encounter competition from KKDJ (which recently dropped its oldies format in favor of a contemporary Spanish format), both would be wise to study the fate of KOQO (Spanish), which shot as high as number four in the Summer 1994 book, but which has now dropped completely out of the top ten.

Holding at number nine is KJOI (adult contemporary), while KFRR ("new rock") makes its first return to the top ten since the Summer, 1995 book. Dropping out of the top ten is KEZL (oldies), which had been at number six. Do the changes at KKDJ and the decline of KEZL signify a decline in the oldies format? Don't bet on it.

Required Legend -- These ratings are copyrighted by Arbitron, and are based on the percentage of listening audience ages 12 and over tuned in during any 15-minute period from 6 A.M. to midnight on Monday through Sunday.

-- Randy Krbechek

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