Welcome back to Part 5 of the 6 Part series. We have already talked about the Box Set and its packaging in Part 1 and we have covered Disc 1 and Disc 2 in the set. For those, we got about 20 unreleased tracks between those two. Quite impressive. For Disc Three, we only get 3 unreleased tracks and now for Disc Four we only get 2 unreleased tracks. As a result, I will also talk about the other songs on here to make it a fair representation.
Disc Four is a fun one for me. It covers the Unmasked years of the 80’s. Not the album, Unmasked, the non-makeup years unmasked. The 80’s is where I got back in to the band. My first show was the Lick It Up tour plus I saw the Asylum Tour and the Crazy Nights Tour as well. It was all Kiss all the time (well, when it wasn’t Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Motley Crue and Whitesnake). I think this era of Kiss is so overlooked and unfairly so as I love it!! Here’s what you get…
Now here is where Kiss messed up the box set. Yes, I get they had to put Ace’s picture on a disc like they did the other original members, but Ace isn’t on any of these songs…not a one. They should have put Eric Carr on this disc and Ace on the next one. Yes, it would have been out of order, but at least it would fit the timeline.
On this disc you get 16 tracks (only 2 previously unreleased) and the interesting fact is Paul is singing on 13 of the 16 tracks, Eric is on 1 and Gene is only on 2. Now there is a very good reason for this. The 80’s were basically the Paul Stanley show as Gene was too concerned with producing other bands and being in movies than he was in Kiss. All the singles during this time were basically Paul’s so it makes sense this era gives more credit to Paul than Gene as Paul saved Kiss during these years.
A quick breakdown of the song representation of the albums is 2 from Lick It Up, 3 from Animalize, 2 from Asylum, 4 from Crazy Nights (okay, 1 is a demo that didn’t make the album), 1 from Smashes, Thrashes & Hits and 4 from Hot in the Shade (1 is a demo). It is a pretty good representation from all the albums even if some of them are safe choices. And 4 from Hot in the Shade is too many as not their best album. You do get some great 80’s power ballads and some rockers as well. For me, it is a fun album and brings back some great memories.
Let’s talk the first demo, “Time Traveller”. This demo was recorded in Paul’s apartment and other than Paul, has Bruce Kulick on it as well as Phil Ashley on keyboards. The demo was submitted for Crazy Nights, but as you hear it, you realize the vibe is completely wrong for that album. I see why it was left off, but it is such a great track. There is something there that is magic, it was a matter of wrong time and place. It is an 80’s song, no doubt, it almost has a Miami Vice feel to it and it is too bad it never saw the light of day…until this box set came out.
The other previously unreleased track is “Ain’t That Peculiar” which is the original demo for the song “Little Caesar” off Hot in the Shade. The song is sung by the late, great Eric Carr. It was recorded in 1989 by both Eric and Bruce. The song was really different than how “Little Caesar” turned out, but you can hear those beginnings. Eric sounded great and I wish he would have been given more songs to sing during his time with the band. I am glad they gave him the nod on the box set.
There were a couple song on here that I am not a big fan of such as “Hide Your Heart” and “Let’s Put the X in Sex” as they are really awful songs, but I will take everything else. Too bad there wasn’t a good Gene song, but that sums up his time in the 80’s. Overall, I do love this disc. I will give it a 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars for two reasons, it is the 80’s and the two demos are awesome.
Check it out and let me know what you think. If you want to go back and read them all, click on the links below:
- The Box Set (Part 1 of 6)
- The Box Set – Disc One 1966-1975 (Part 2 of 6)
- The Box Set – Disc Two 1975-1977 (Part 3 of 6)
- The Box Set – Disc Three 1976-1982 (Part 4 of 6)
- The Box Set – Disc Four 1983-1989 (Part 5 of 6)
Up next is Disc Five 1992– 1999 (Part 6 of 6)