Gene Simmons – ‘The Vault’ – Album Review (Part 7 of 15 – Disk 6)

Welcome back to the Gene Simmons The Vault review.  We are now on Disk 6.  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 a little pop, a little R&B and nothing real rock like.  Plus, it is a lot of demos from the ‘Asshole’ album which isn’t a good thing.

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

The CD comes with a picture of Gene in front of a lot of Kiss memorabilia…

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And on the flip side is the track listing…

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“WAITING FOR THE MORNING LIGHT”

This is the final arrangement of the Bob Dylan and Gene Simmons penned song.  This is pretty close to being what you hear on Gene’s album ‘Asshole’ which means it sucks just as much as that one.  This demo, recorded in 2002, is only sung by Gene and a guy named Bags plays all the instruments. It is all keyboards and drum machines.  It is a slow, ballad-type song that isn’t horrible, it is just average.  It is better than the other 2 arrangements though.  This doesn’t sound that different than the ‘Asshole’ version with maybe minor tweaks on sections being moved around and the song is about 30 seconds longer here.  (GRADE 3)

“IS IT REAL”

This is a quick 1 minute demo, recorded in 2009, with just Gene on an acoustic guitar in his kitchen.  Gene starts off by playing and saying which chords to play.  The song has major potential and if fleshed out would be fantastic.  (GRADE 4)

“ARE YOU REAL”

Right at the end of “Is It Real”, the full fleshed out version immediately kicks in with drums, electric guitar and acoustic guitars.  The title was changed to “Are You Real” and backing vocals added.  It is Tommy Thayer on guitar and Eric Singer on drums.  It was recorded in 2011 which would have put it right on the ‘Monster’ record which came out in 2012.  The song isn’t on Monster though.  Why it didn’t find its way to be released, I don’t know as it is fantastic!! Even has a nice Beatles influence to it.  (GRADE 5)

“SOMETHING SEEMS TO HAPPEN AT NIGHT”

Recorded in 1982, this song was written by Adam Mitchell, no Gene.  Adam worked with Paul and co-wrote “Creatures of the Night” so you have heard of him before in the Kiss World.  All Gene did was sing over the already recorded demo.  It is a medium tempo song with a nice driving groove.  It builds up, slows down and flows so nicely.  It has a great guitar solo and is really perfect the way it is.  I don’t see where this was ever released in any other form or I am just missing something. How this song never saw the light of day, I do not know.  (GRADE 5)

“I BELIEVE”

Recorded sometime after “Is It Real” and “Are you Real” as it is the same chord patter only with different lyrics.  I don’t like the lyrics as much as the other song.  Gene worked with Erich Lenning on the arrangements and mixing to take this song to a different level, but I am not sold on this one.  The lyrics are unfinished and Gene scats a little on it.  If I had to choose, I would rather play the others songs. (GRADE 2)

“BEAUTIFUL”

Recorded in 2002, this song is penned by Mark Addison and Nina Singh and was recorded first by their band Kitty Gordon on their 1999 album and it was called “Somebody Beautiful”.  The song wound up on Gene’s solo album ‘Asshole’.  This version is about 20 seconds shorter and is actually better than the ‘Asshole’ version. That version was rougher and sounded bad.  This one is a cleaner, smoother, softer and more ballady.  I actually prefer this version to the one he actually released…by a long shot.  But still not one of the best on here.  (GRADE 3)

“GUILTY PLEASURES”

The song was recorded in 2011 and had Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer playing on it along with Gene. This is a Gene penned song and he was hoping for a Neil Young type song, but it turn out to be that.  It is more a rocking song, but it is dark and dreary in my opinion.  Musically, it sounds good, lyrically it is all wrong.  Still needs a lot of work.  (GRADE 2)

“I DREAM 1,000 DREAMS”

This demo was written by Gene and recorded in 1998. Imagine his 1978 solo album and hearing “When You Wish Upon a Star” and how that made you feel.  This is the same thing.  It is so Disneyesque and even has a country music feel to it and it utterly sucks!!  The final version of this landed up on ‘Asshole’ somehow because I guess he wanted to end this solo album the same way.  On that it was called “1,000 Dreams”.  There is nothing redeeming about it.  Sorry.  (GRADE 1)

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“I AM YOURS #1”

Written by Gene and recorded somewhere around 1997/98.  Gene states that this was recorded with they guys from Silent Rage, but I think it is the next version of this song.  Version 2 seems more unfinished with not all the lyrics…this version is more flushed out.  I think the book has it wrong.  It also sounds like a better guitarist on here than the Silent Rage guys.  I am guessing someone like Tommy.  This ones a lot cleaner.  (GRADE 3)

“I AM YOURS #2”

This is another version of the song above, but honestly, this one sounds like it is the original version.  I think the books gets it backwards.  The music was demoed by Silent Rage and Gene did all the vocals over that demo.  It had to be done in the early 90’s.  Inspired by the song “All the Young Dudes” by David Bowie for Mott the Hoople, I think he captured some of that essence.  This version is the original and vocals aren’t quite finished and Gene does his scat thing to have sound as place holders. This a little rougher sounding and mix.  Not as clean.  I would prefer listening to the other version.  (GRADE 2)

“LOVE IS BLIND #1”

Written by Gene and recorded in 1977, the song is just Gene on guitar and bass.  you can here the click track as they had no drum machine at the time.  It is a slow song and Gene thinks it sounds like the Eagles and I can say there is a little of that there especially with the harmonies on the chorus.  It is a decent track.  This track ended up on the Kiss Box Set and it is much more polished version of this demo.  I think it might be a better version than this one, but not by much.  (GRADE 3)

“LOVE IS BLIND #2”

This version of the song is Gene trying to take the “Love is Blind” demo and make it better with more.  This is one case where I think less is more.  The more simple acoustic version is much better.  What also doesn’t help is the recording of this is rough sounding.  Not as professionally (only on a 4 Track), but that is not why I don’t like it as much.  It is just better, stripped down.  (GRADE 2)

“WHATEVER TURNS YOU ON”

This song is born from a demo Gene received from a band.  He contacted the band and they finished the song. It was written by Dave Williams and Gene.  The musical track is Dave and his band, Gene is on vocals and Shannon, Tracey and Shannons’ mom  Louise are the backing vocals and they are having a lot of fun.  Gene ended up recording this for his solo album ‘Asshole’.  That version sounds like a bunch of people drunk and having a good time.  This version isn’t quite as polished and the people don’t seem as drunk and rowdy yet.  This isn’t one I like a lot and would skip if it came up again, but it isn’t the worst.  (GRADE 2)

“HOLD ON”

We are back in the early 90’s and Silent Rage is at it again with doing the demo of Gene’s song.  It includes Mark Hawkins, EJ Curse and Jesse Damon on all the instruments.  The song is loosely based on the “Love is Blind” arrangement and I wasn’t a huge fan of those songs so this doesn’t fare  that great either.  Some songs should be left alone.  (GRADE 2)

“FIRST LOVE”

This is taken from a song Gene wrote on piano back in the 70’s where it should have stayed buried.  Gene is on all the instruments.  He re-used the melodies from “Now That You’re Gone”.  Vocally Gene doesn’t sound that great on this one and I am just bored I think at this point. The only interesting thing is that his daughter Sophie did a version of this song for his Family Jewels show in 2008. Probably a more interesting take.  (GRADE 1)

Overall, we have now found my least favorite Disk.  There are a couple of great tracks, but that is it.  The rest is full of a lot of ballads and songs that are missing that little something extra to take it to the next level.  We finally get to hear the final version of the Bob Dylan song that he and Gene wrote which was a dud for me.  We do get two songs on here that Gene didn’t write at all and one of them is one of my favorites on the Disk and the set. But overall, left me feeling ehh.  The overall score for this disk is rounds up to 2.7 out of 5.0 which would be the lowest score so far and makes sense.  Let’s hope this is the worse one and it is up hill from here.  We will see.

Up Next – “Part 8 – Disk 7”

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

18 thoughts on “Gene Simmons – ‘The Vault’ – Album Review (Part 7 of 15 – Disk 6)

  1. As I read through these weekly Vault Posts the early 80s demos seem the most interesting to me as we know the killer material demon came up with from around 1982.
    Your opening paragraph about the Asshole tune is classic. That album was awful.
    This post was Great though.
    Once again great detail John. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I tried to find the Adam Mitchel song on YouTube but couldn’t.
    Great write up again and for the record i am more of a Stanley and Ace fan, I’m loving these Vault posts.
    In relation to Asshole, Back when it came out, I downloaded it, heard it and then deleted it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have always loved Paul and Ace more also (their solo albums were better than Gene’s). But at the same time, there were so many Gene songs that I loved and Iately I have really loved hearing demos that artist have released on all these box sets that I decided this would be fun. And I was right. Despite some shitty songs, it is so fun to learn about the tracks and dive in to them and hear snippets of songs that would come from these that it has felt like a history lesson in Kiss.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “This is pretty close to being what you hear on Gene’s album ‘Asshole’ which means it sucks just as much as that one.”

    HAHAHA! Shots fired!

    I have no idea who that “Bag” guy is. Maybe a new protege that he was promoting at the time. Who knows…who cares? LOL

    This sounds like an awful CD with only a few good tracks. The Creatures outtake sounds interesting.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, this one was hard to get through. Thankfully, the worst one (even though I am struggling with my thoughts on Disk 10, so that might change) Sadly, I still enjoyed it though.

      Bag’s real name is Alex Chuaqui . Gene had signed him to his label.

      Like

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