Finally…a good week of releases…at least for me. There are at least 4 I am wanting to try out before I slam down some buckaroos. Thank goodness for streaming. There is a ton of Rock… More
Ok, before you say anything, the Cats movie is a musical and therefore fair game for this site. If you have noticed in the Tuesday Memes collections each week, there is always a meme with a cat in it. Why? It was really by accident. When I did my first 4, I noticed I had a cat one in each so I made the decision to always include one. And then when I saw this movie trailer for Cats and it being a musical, I thought…perfect. And then when it was sooooo soooooo bad, again…perfect. Let’s poke fun at Cats!
And you thought Sonic was bad…
What about Lion King…
By the early 90’s Stryper was in a bit of turmoil. Their last studio album didn’t do well mainly due to the band abandoning their yellow/black theme and moving away from their Christian roots. For the record, the album was called ‘Against the Law’ and I think it is one of their best albums…but what do I know. They released a greatest hits album with a couple new songs, but Michael Sweet, the lead singer, was unhappy with the musical direction and decided to leave the band for a solo career. This was February 1992. Stryper as we knew it were done (at least at this point in time, we know better now, but that is another story).
Michael recorded an E.P. called ‘Unstryped’ that was supposedly songs that were originally recorded for Stryper. That disc didn’t see the light of day until 1999 though. In the meantime, he went on to record his first full length solo album simply called Michael Sweet. Now, with the re-release of the album on vinyl, the album now seems to be called ‘1994’…sorry but it is ‘Michael Sweet’…that is the title. Here is the original album cover…
The album brought Michael back to singing Christian based songs again and he kept to the fashion of what Stryper was originally. There is no denying that is Michael when you here the vocals as his voice is unmistakeable. When this was released in 1994, the musical landscape had changed significantly and my musical habits were not what they used to be. I wasn’t totally in to the whole Grunge sound and my musical offerings at this time were limited. When I discovered this was out, I ran to my local Christian book store and grabbed a copy.
For My Sunday Song #179, we are coving “10 Years Later” by Collective Soul. The song is off their 2000 album ‘Blender’ and although not a single, it is still my favorite song on the album and one of my favorites by the band ever. And that is saying a lot.
The song has so few lyrics, but to me is saying so much. It seems very retrospective about a lost love that seemed to have no closure. It has been 10 years and he still has no idea if she thinks about him or if he meant anything to her at all and it seems to be bothering him. It is a very sad, yet touching song.
Musically, the song is slowed down and sounds like a very heartfelt ballad. With acoustic guitars and some electronic keyboard sounds. There is almost a Beatles vibe to the sound and the writing. They throw in a nice little Ross Childress guitar solo in to it that even adds to the mystery of the song. Ed Roland sings in an almost whispery voice with such a soft delivery that makes the lyrics that much more impactful. There is a really cool vibe throughout the song and has always stood out as one of my favorites.
It’s a pretty slow start to the year, nothing for me last week and only one for me this week (highlighted in Blue). However, that is normally the case for the first couple weeks of January. It will pick up soon, I promise. Hopefully there will be something for you in this list and if not, there will be something soon enough, I promise. The good news is it frees my up to keep chugging along on the Gene Simmon’s The Vault 15 part review and the David Coverdale Series…check them both out. How’s that for a shameless plug?
- Sons of Apollo – MMXX – (InsideOutMusic): I am so happy to see Sons of Apollo bringing us their second studio album, but third album overall. I thought this might be a one and done kind of thing, but thankfully nope. The band has one of my favorite singers, Jeff Scott Soto as well as some guys you might have heard of by the names of Mike Portnoy, Billy Sheehan, Derek Sherinian and some no name guitarist that goes by Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal. Just a little band full of nobodies…huh, yeah right. It don’t get much better than this lineup!! A super group for dang sure. Check them out.
- G. Love & Special Sauce – The Juice – (Philadelphonic Records / Thirty Tigers)
- British Lion – The Burning – (Explorer1 Music)
- Magnum – The Serpent Rings – (Steamhammer)
- Little Big Town – Nightfall – (Craft Recordings)
- Dustin Lynch – Tullahoma – (Broken Bow Records)
- Halsey – Manic – (Capitol Records)
- Of Montreal – UR Fun – (Polyvinyl Records)
- John McLaughlin, Shankar Mahadevan & Zakir Hussain – Is That So? – (Abstract Logix)
- Bombay Bicycle Club – Everything Else Has Gone Wrong – (Mmm…Records)
- Anti-Flag – 20/20 Vision – (Spinefarm Records)
- …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead – X: The Godless Void and Other Stories – (Dine Alone Music)
Welcome back to the Gene Simmons The Vault review. We are now on Disk 2. Below are the rules I am trying to follow with each review.
I will try and keep some consistency between each disk. I will go through each song and mention who wrote, who played on it and what I think about the song. I won’t go through all the stories as you should get the vault to get all the information. I will grade each song (ranking 1 to 5, 5 being best) and then take an average of the grades for the score of the disk. I know most of these are demos, so I won’t be taking quality of the sound in to play that much because I know what I am getting and I am more interested in the overall song.
At the end of all the reviews, we will average the score of each review and come up with an overall ‘The Vault’ score which I hope will be a fair representation of the whole package. I am going to do my best to do one a week, but as I said before, life sometimes gets in the way so I am not going to promise one a week. Plus, this is 11 disks to digest and that is a lot as I am also doing the David Coverdale Series at the same time. That is a bunch of music to go through.
The songs aren’t in chronological order. Gene states they are more of a mood or vibe. The first three or four discs appear to be pretty much the Rock selections and I am quite happy to start with those.
Well, are you ready? Then let’s get right to it.
The second disc is housed in a picture of Gene and one of his bass guitars from around the Revenge era…
On the flip side is the track listing…
The disk opens with the demo for the song “Weapons of Mass Destruction” that appears on Gene’s solo album ‘Asshole’. Recorded in 1997 and written by Gene, it has both Tommy and Eric performing. The song was considered for Psycho Circus, but didn’t make it. I like how it opens with Gene giving directions on how to start. This version is a lot slower, darker and less punk than the version on the solo album. (GRADE 3)
“WEAPONS (POWER TO RAISE THE DEAD)”
Then we get the same song…well not really. This one was given to Ace Frehley to record once it didn’t make Psycho Circus. He changed the lyrics and turned it in to a whole new animal, therefore, both Gene and Ace are credited with writing this one. It was recorded in 1998 and this is my favorite version of this song as Ace can do no wrong. Gene’s bass sounds prominent and cool on this one, but it is really Ace’s vocals and lyrics that shine. (GRADE 5)
“Hate” is the demo for the opening track of the ‘Carnival of Souls’ album and was recorded back in 1993 or 1994. It was written by Gene, Bruce Kulick and Scott Van Zen who all perform on the demo. The demo is so much heavier and dirtier than the final track. The sounds more like a Gene song for the old Demon himself. (GRADE 3)
#CARNIVAL OF SOULS #2″
This one is the original demo of final song that wound up on ‘Asshole’. The song was written by Gene and Scott Van Zen and recorded back in 1993 or 1994. It was passed over for both the ‘Carnival of Souls’ album and ‘Psycho Circus’. This is a 4 track version and I don’t think the lyrics are even finished. I like the speed of the song and it is not as upbeat as the album version. This is equally as good as the first version on Disk 1. (GRADE 4)
“MASTER OF FLASH”
This is one of the few songs Gene didn’t write. It is written by Jon Montgomery of the band Street Punk. I won’t tell you how Gene got the song. It was recorded by Gene in 1980 and is done acoustically and is mostly spoken vocals. It has a whole David Bowie vibe and is very different and you can see why it was never considered a Kiss song. There is something cool about it though even for a very rough sounding demo. (GRADE 3)
“Heavy Rain” is another version of the song “Rain Keeps Falling” and written by Gene and Bruce. It was recorded in 1993 or 1994 and man it sounds awesome. A lot of it has to do with the guitar/bass riffs are from “Within” (or used for the song “Within”). There are some rough patches in the recording, but easily ignored. It is a pretty heavy track and a great Gene song. (GRADE 4)
This is the original demo for “Within” which is off the ‘Psycho Circus’ album and was recorded in 1993 or 1994. Gene wrote this one himself and this version is missing a lot of the lyrics as Gene didn’t have them finished yet. So, when there are no lyrics he kind of scats and yabba dabba doos through it. It is awesome. It starts with Gene introducing the song for the studio tape. Even though it isn’t a complete song, it is what I love about demos to see the beginning of a song. The main riffs are from the previous song “Heavy Rain”. (GRADE 4)
“IN YOUR FACE”
This is the original demo of the song and was recorded in 1997. The song was written by Gene and he is the only one performing on the track along with a drum machine. One of the shortest demos on the release and it is pretty good. A heavy rocker even a little bright and sunny in the way it feels. There are some good bones there. (GRADE 3)
“IN YOUR FACE (WITH ACE)”
Gene gave the song to Ace who changed the lyrics to fit him so both Gene and Ace have credits on this one. Recorded in 1998 this version sounds like an Ace song. The guitars are definitely Ace and no denying the vocals and lyrics are his. It is one of the gems on this disk and so far on the album. (GRADE 5)
There are numerous versions of this song from the original “Rain Keeps Falling Down” including “Heavy Rain” above. This Gene penned song was recorded in 1994 with Eric and Bruce and it is very different than “Heavy Rain”. Not near as heavy, but a really cool bass feel to it. (GRADE 3)
This is the intro to the song “Carnival of Souls” for which the song was never used for ‘Carnival of Souls’ album or ‘Psycho Circus’. However, the intro was used as the opening to ‘Psycho Circus’. It was performed by Scott Van Zen. It is public domain song and not a Gene song, not sure why it is here. It isn’t bad…just doesn’t belong. (GRADE 1)
“I WANNA LIVE”
The first song with Gene and Vincent Cusano who you might know as Vinnie Vincent. This was written around the time of ‘Revenge’ and recorded in 1991. It didn’t make the album. It was recorded with the guys from the band Silent Rage. It definitely would not have fit on ‘Revenge’ so I see why it was left off. It is a good song, but with only an okay delivery. I like it because it is a Vinnie song even though I don’t think he is on it. The guitars aren’t overdone. (GRADE 3)
“IF IT’S TOO HOT, YOU’RE TOO COLD”
Written by Gene, it was recorded in 1990 with the band Silent Rage doing the music. You might recognize the song from ‘Sonic Boom’ as “Hot and Cold”. It is a duller version of the studio album song. But it does have a line that I love, “If it’s too loud, you’re too old”…now where I have heard that before (Nudge, nudge, wink, wink). (GRADE 2)
“RAIN KEEPS FALLIN'”
We have the third version of this song on the same disk and again another recorded with Silent Rage members. This was written by Gene and recorded in 1991. The most tame of the bunch, but equally as good. It is more of a 80’s rock song or even classic rock than the more modern, heavier sounds of the other two versions. (GRADE 3)
“BELLS OF FREDOM”
The final song on the disk is another Gene only song. Recorded in 1997 and has Tommy Thayer on guitar. According to Gene, it is a tribute to The Who, but I don’t really hear it. The chorus is the best part, but overall not really impressed. (GRADE 2)
And that is Disk 2. You get 15 tracks again and there is not one that was totally awful, just the one that I was sure why it was there. I found this to be equally as good as the first Disk and the score is similar. I would listen to this disk again for sure (already listened to it 5-6 times). The average score for this disk is a 3.2 out of 5.0. I will let you know that I think anything 3 or better is great and couldn’t be more thrilled with this disk as well. I know I will eventually run in to some stinkers as it is a matter of time.
Up Next – “Part 4 – Disk 3”
Here are all the posts we will do on the set:
- Part 1 – The Grand Opening
- Part 2 – Disk 1
- Part 3 – Disk 2
- Part 4 – Disk 3
- Part 5 – Disk 4
- Part 6 – Disk 5
- Part 7 – Disk 6
- Part 8 – Disk 7
- Part 9 – Disk 8
- Part 10 – Disk 9
- Part 11 – Disk 10
- Part 12 – The Bonus Disk
- Part 13 – The Best Songs of the Vault
- Part 14 – The Worst Songs of the Vault
- Part 15 – The Final Verdict
Recording of the ‘Slide it Album started some time in 1983 and this time around Eddie Kramer was on hand to handle productions duties. And let’s just say things did not go well, but was it a band problem (as there were ton of those) or a producer problem, I don’t know. But Eddie was replaced with longtime Snake producer Martin Birch.
The band problems were many on this record and for this tour. Micky Moody was back and recorded the album, but things did not go well on tour and David became an ass to Micky and he had enough and quit after the European tour and his last gig was in October 1983, prior to the release of ‘Slide It In’. His replacement was John Sykes who was the guitar player for Thin Lizzy at the time.
At the same time Sykes was brought on board, Colin Hodgkinson was let go as the bass player and former Whitesnake bass player Neil Murray was brought back in to the fold. Cozy Powell was now the drummer as Ian Paice had left after the last album and then Jon Lord left in 1984 to go reform Deep Purple so Richard Bailey was brought in to fill in. The band was in complete disarray during this time. It is amazing anything got done.
Since Neil has recently passed, he deserves to be honored with his own Meme collection. This is not a Rush a collection…it is ALL NEIL!!! Rest in Peace sir! You greatness will be remembered ALWAYS!! Drum roll please….
And here is Neil Peart!
For this month’s The Original vs. The Cover, we are going to cover the classic 80’s pop song, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”. The original is by Robert Hazard who wrote the song and the cover we are going to use is Cyndi Lauper’s. I know, you thought that was her original song, didn’t you? Nope. Not hers. I guess an argument could be made that Cyndi’s is not really a cover since Robert’s song was only a demo and never released and I can see that argument, but I am ignoring for that so I have a post.
Robert Hazard wrote the song in 20 minutes while taking a shower in a motel. I guess you listen whenever inspiration strikes. He made a demo in 1979, but the demo never went anywhere. That was until Cyndi’s producer, Rick Chertoff, remembered hearing the song and took her to meet Mr. Hazard. After meeting, Cyndi wanted to do the song and Robert allowed her to tweak a few lyrics to fit the song coming from a woman’s perspective as the original is taken from a man’s perspective.
Robert’s version comes from a guys point of view and talking about what he wants to do with girls and that they really want to have “fun” in the sleazy sort of way. Cyndi of course turns it as she is the one one out late getting in to trouble because she and all girls want to have fun. It became more a feminist anthem and is now so recognizable as Cyndi’s song since she truly made it her own.
Robert Hazard’s version is more of an uptempo rock song, heavier on the guitar than on synthesizers. It has a great drum beat and the chorus is catchy. His song is a little more sleazy than a pop feminist anthem There is a great little guitar solo and it is an all around fun song.
Robert’s singing is pretty good. He has a little roughness and grit to his vocals. They aren’t all smooth and slick. This helps in giving it a little sleaze factor to it. I have to admit not hearing this song prior to researching this post and it is hard getting Cyndi’s version out of your head when you hear it, but I see why she was taken with the song and wanted to sing it as there is something special there.
Cyndi’s version changes things up significantly while still maintains the original song structure and vibe. She adds a whole lot of synthesizers and electronic drum sounds including some weird little bleeps. The song went from a guitar rock song to a dance hit. It is a happy, jovial tune now without any of the sleaze.
Cyndi’s unique sounding vocals are so happy and cheerful, you can’t help but get swept up in her bubble gum pop world and get up and dance along with the song. She has such a beautiful voice as well. The honesty in her voice propels the song into a women’s anthem that empowers women to go out and do anything you want as there is nothing they can’t do that a guy does. It is okay to have “fun” the same way a guy does. You can find the song on her debut album ‘She’s So Unusual’.
Is there any discussion needed with this one? Cyndi took and owned this song. With a few minor tweaks, she turned a sleazy male point of view rock song and turned it in to an empowering anthem for women. No contest! I had so much trouble shaking Cyndi’s version from my mind when I was listening to the original demo of Robert’s which alone is a sign of the fact that it is Cyndi’s song now. I am sure Robert’s band account is fine with that fact as well.
I am really interested in hearing what everyone else thinks of these two songs. Let me know which version you like the best and why. Feel free to leave a comment and talk about the song and tell me how right or wrong I am on this one. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.
The lyrics below are for Robert Hazard’s original version…
Girls Just Want To Have Fun
Witten by Robert Hazard
For My Sunday Song #178, We are tackling the song “You Speak My Language” by Collective Soul off the 2000 album ‘Blender’. The song was never a single, but one that stood out for as there was something special about it. It was very different.
Why is it different you ask? This song is very different for Collective Soul for two reason…one, it is not written by Ed Roland and two, it is a cover song! Two very rare events for Collective Soul. The song was written by Mark Sandman of the band Morphine and Mark had died a year earlier. I believe it was done as a tribute to Mark and what a fine tribute it was. For me, the song is about walking around this world and not finding anyone that understands you for YOU!. That is until you find the one. The one that speaks the same language as you. That gets you, that knows you better than anyone. When you find that, grab hold.
Musically, Collective Soul attack this song with so much energy and ferociousness that you are taken back by how heavy and wild the song is. Ross Childress’ guitar playing is brutal with a killer riff and beast of a solo. This might be the heaviest the band ever got. Ed Roland sounds great and his lyric delivery is both deliberate and effective and with a little special vocal effect on the mic for added impact. The song is also mixed throughout with sound effects normally not found in their songs which adds to it as well. But no matter what the song is, you still hear Collective Soul and they turned a cover song into their own song. Brilliant!
I had stopped doing memorials for musicians that had died, but this was Neil “fucking” Peart! The best drummer…EVER!!!
My gateway in to Rush was the album ‘Moving Pictures’ and the song was “Tom Sawyer”. That sound, that drumming, that everything grabbed my attention and I have been a fan ever since.
Rush…they were one of the best bands I have ever seen live. I was able to see them back in 1996 and it was a show I won’t ever forget. There was no opening act and it was all Rush!! They played “2112” in its entirety which was mind blowing!! I never saw them again, sadly, which in part is probably due to me thinking that they couldn’t top that show…and you know…they definitely would have been able.
Neil Peart died from brain cancer after a long battle and when Rush called it quits a few years back, we knew then that it was the last time we would ever see the amazing trio ever play together again. There would be no reunion and then another farewell tour, we actually believed Rush when they said they were done.