Gene Simmons – ‘The Vault’ – Album Review (Part 6 of 15 – Disk 5)

Welcome back to the Gene Simmons The Vault review.  We are now on Disk 5.  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 each disk is more of a mood or vibe.  The vibe of this one appears to be more mellow and a chill vibe full of love songs and heartache and most with a Beatles influence (or British band influence).  This is also the version with Gene and Bob Dylan in a writing session.

Well, are you ready?  Then let’s get right to it.

The CD comes with one cool photos as it is a picture of band before Kiss, Wicked Lester.  It is badass…

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On the flip side is the track listing…

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“SEE YOU TONITE”

This song was written prior to Wicked Lester when Gene was at Stephen Coronel’s house.  It doesn’t have a date on when this demo was recorded and I don’t know who plays on this one other than Gene.  It is pretty great early version of the song that ended up on Gene’s solo album with maybe very minor lyric changes.  It really is fantastic as it is very calm and soothing with a nice groove.  It has an early Beatles vibe which was intentional.  Gene tells you a great story on what the “it” means in the song, but you have to get The Vault to read it. (GRADE 4)

“YOU’RE MY REASON #2”

This an acoustic version of “You’re My Reason For Living” and Gene wrote and played all the instruments.  Interesting on this is that there is no drums as Gene didn’t have time. It has some great piano playing and was recorded around 1976.  This is one of those rejected Kiss songs and although it might not sound like a Kiss song, it sounds like a Gene song from maybe his Solo album timeframe.  It would have fit nicely.  There is a Beatles influence on this one as well.  Gene calls it an English influence. There are 3 versions of this song on this album and this is my favorite. (GRADE 4)

“ALWAYS NEAR YOU”

Gene is on a Beatles role with these songs as this one has another big Beatles influence.  Gene wrote and played on this demo of the song that wound up on his solo album called “Always Near You, No Where to Hide”.  Musically it is even more laid back than the final version.  It is only a guitar and a piano and it is Gene on both.  It has Nancy Parkinson on background vocals, but she is the only extra player.  Very soothing and calm and very nicely done early version.  Cool piece.  (GRADE 4)

“ONE MORE CHANCE”

Gene wrote this song prior to his solo album and I have no date on recording of the demo.  Gene is on all instruments which is mostly drums and an acoustic guitar.  The minute you hear it you know what this song is. It is “Mr. Make Believe” except there is no Mr. Make Believe.  This is mainly the verses and the chorus was the “One More Chance” part that became the bridge of the final version.  It is outstanding to hear it in such an early and great sounding stage. The final version of “Mr. Make Believe” was pieced together with this song and an actual song called “Mr. Make Believe” which is further down on the list.  And of note, more English influence on the sound of this one as well.  I am noticing a trend.  (GRADE 4)

“NOW THAT YOU’RE GONE #2 SYNTH”

This song was written by Gene and Bob Kulick (whose seems to have gone off the deep end recently, but that is another conversation).  Bob plays guitar on the track and Gene is on everything else (I believe) which was recorded in 2000.  More English influence on the sound, but this one is not that exciting or interesting.  This song wound up on his solo album “Asshole” with that version being a little cleaner, but still kind of ehh. (GRADE 2)

“YOU’RE MY REASON FOR LVING SYNTH”

Another version of the song we heard earlier on this disc.  This time Gene wanted to update the song and this recorded somewhere between 1991-1993.  He slowed it down a little and added an organ.  Silent Rage is the backing band on this demo.  Apparently this track is on the Japanese edition of “Asshole”, but I don’t have that version so do not know for sure. I like the other version better, but this is still pretty good. (GRADE 3)

“DREAMER”

Written by Gene on a 12 string guitar in 1975, it was recorded a year later.  The song is part of 2 old Gene songs “When I Awoke” and “Something of A Dreamer” as Gene liked to piece the best parts of his old songs.  It has piano, guitar and bass and I don’t think there are any drums on this either.  It is all Gene.  It sounds like it could have gone on the solo album, but there were too many slow songs already.  It is okay, not horrible, but not great either. (GRADE 2)

“NA, NA, NA, NA”

Alright, we now get a song written by Gene and none other than Bob Dylan!  Yes, that Bob Dylan. This is going to be great…well…not really.  This is an early version of what would become “Everybody Wants Somebody” which is further down.  And then both versions in some form or fashion would become “Waiting For the Morning Light” which is on ‘Asshole’.  This particular piece was recorded in 1991.  It is really just the chordial pattern that put together during their writing session and Gene scats the vocals as placement holders I am sure.  It is pretty bad, but it is Dylan.  (GRADE 1)

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“MR MAKE BELIEVE”

Recorded in 1977 in Detroit, this Gene song would become the music for the song “One More Chance”.  This version of “Mr. Make Believe” will be familiar for the chorus and the musical pattern.  The verses are not what wound up on the solo album as those lyrics came from “One More Chance”.  This is hollow sounding version as it was recorded on a 4 Track and some effects put on Gene’s voice to almost sound like a dream state.  It isn’t bad…but I like “One More Chance”more.  (GRADE 3)

“NOW THAT YOU’RE GONE #3”

Another re-work of the Bob Kulick and Gene Song.  This time around it is Tommy Thayer on guitar and Kevin Valentine on drums.  It was recorded in 1988 and is much heavier than the other versions.  The sound is bad and not a good recording at all which was detract a little from the song and I wouldn’t let it bother me if there weren’t 3 different versions of the song.  I like the heavier take, but I don’t know if i like it more. (GRADE 2)

NOW THAT YOU’RE GONE #1″

This was recorded back in 1977 and is the original version of the song (I think, there are so many, I get confused easily).  Again, decent track but it still is missing something to take it over the top.  Too many versions of an ehh song doesn’t help either.  (GRADE 2)

“YOU’RE MY REASON FOR LIVING 4 TRACK”

Recorded in 1980, this demo is yet another version of this song on this disk. Number 3 to be exact.  It has no drums and only Gene is on the track playing guitar and bass.  It is a slower version and has a nice slower, but my least favorite version of the song.  (GRADE 2)

“WE ARE ONE”

I love this song. It was recorded by Kiss for the ‘Psycho Circu’ album.  This song was written by Gene in the early 90’s and the demo was recorded around that time as well as Gene states that Silent Rage is the backing band on the demo.  Gene does the backing vocals and lead guitar as well as sing.  The lyrics aren’t done yet at this point as Gene scats random words at times to fill the space.  The chorus and bridge were completed though. It is a really interesting version and not too far from the final version.  A hit from the beginning.  (GRADE 4)

“EVERYBODY WANTS SOMEBODY”

Here is the other Bob Dylan and Gene song.  This was recorded in 1991 as well and has Tommy Thayer on it as well.  It uses that same chord pattern as “Na, Na, Na, Na”. More lyrics than the other version.  It has a slow tempo and is a little rough recording.  Other than it being written with Bob Dylan…it is not a great song at all.  (GRADE 2)

“BOB DYLAN AND GENE SIMMONS WRITING SESSION”

This isn’t a song.  It is a 15 minute track of Bob Dylan and Gene during a writing session.  Is Gene is a like a kid in a candy store and he almost can’t contain his excitement at writing with Bob Dylan.  Gene shows Bob a bunch of different pieces of songs and tries on getting advice on where to finish the songs.  Bob also is real surprised that Gene writes and usually plays all the instruments on his demos.  This session was September 23, 1991. Honestly, it is really cool.  I am not going to include this in the Best Songs List even though I am giving is a huge grade, but it is still so cool!! (GRADE 5)

And that is Disk 5.  There are some pretty cool stuff on this disk, but there are quite a few clunkers for me as well.  The Bob Dylan session was really interesting and I loved hearing how some of that went. The only thing that bothered me with this one was two many versions of the same song.  They could have spread them out more or not included as many…either way works.  My overall score is 2.9 out of 5.0.  Not a horrible score, but the lowest so far and make sense as I had a few issues with it so slightly below average works.  But if this was as bad as it got, I could live with this.

Up Next – “Part 7 – Disk 6”

Here are all the posts we will do on the set:

26 thoughts on “Gene Simmons – ‘The Vault’ – Album Review (Part 6 of 15 – Disk 5)

  1. I agree with on We Are One. It’s a great song and one of my favorite from Psycho Circus.

    Another great write up and those Dylan and Simmons songs, I sort of had an idea as to what they would sound like from when I read it in Metal Edge. But now I’m interested to hear the 15 minute songwriting session.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I thought this looked like it might be a good disc cause I really like the solo album songs that are on here. Seems like the Asshole stuff is letting the side down? Still, sou ds like you had a blast going through all this. (I couldn’t get into We Are One personally)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Stellar stuff! I guess when you get this deep into the box set there is expected to be some misses. Still though to own it is a cool thing John and thanks as always for giving great insight.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. First I looked at the track list and tried to guess which songs would suck. I was glad I predicted “Na, Na, Na, Na, Na” correctly just by the title.

    This review is my reason for living.

    The Dylan writing session track sounds really cool. This is the kind of thing that makes a box like this worthwhile I think. Hard to imagine them in the same room but I am not surprised Gene was like a kid in a candystore! Very cool that this is included.

    Like

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