Welcome back to the Gene Simmons The Vault review. We are now on Disk 7. 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 is hard to pinpoint. It is a little all over the place with rock and some R&B vibes.
Well, are you ready? Then let’s get right to it.
The CD comes in sleeve with my least favorite picture of Gene…I hope that is not a sign…
And on the flip side, the track listing…
First track is written with Gene and Vini Poncia. You know him as he produced Dynasty, Unmasked and Peter’s 1978 Solo album. This is a great track which was recorded around 1988 and probably had Bruce Kulick on guitar. The book doesn’t give me much info on the song other than a great store about Vini. The song will sound a little familiar as I think the melody is from the Kiss song “Love’s a Slap in the Face” Only, this one might be better. (GRADE 4)
This song is by the band Black ‘N Blue, which Gene produced their first album. The song was written by Tommy Thayer, Jaime St. james and Pat Regan and recorded in 1987. The vocals are replaced with Gene, of course. There is a cool bass line throughout and the backing vocals are great. After listening to the Black ‘N Blue version, I think I like this one better…no offense to St. James vocals, Gene is just cooler. (GRADE 5)
Don’t confuse this one with the Bob Dylan and Gene song as that was called “Everybody Wants Somebody”. This is not the same song. This was written by Gene and Jesse Damon of Silent Rage who did the demo of this song which means it was recorded around 1991. You can hear the song on Jesse Damon’s solo album “The Hands That Rock” under the title “Everybody Needs Somebody”. Gene’s version is better, if only slightly. It is another rock track, a little short it just over two minutes. Not the best song, but not bad either. (GRADE 3)
“PROMISE THE MOON”
Probably my favorite song on this disk, this one was written by Gene, Bob Kulick, Thayer and St. James. It was done by Black ‘N Blue for their album “Nasty, Nasty”. The song dates back to the 70’s when Gene and Bob wrote a song called “Sentimental Fool”. Gene tried to refresh this song in the 80’s which this song was recorded around 1986. The melody of the song might sound a little familiar as it sounds a little like “Rain Keeps Fallin’ demo on this set. It is a ballad and Gene sounds really great doing a ballad. I like this softer side of Gene. This could’ve been a great Kiss song. (GRADE 5)
“ALL YOU WANT’S A PIECE OF MY HEART”
This next track is written solely by Adam Mitchell. Tommy Thayer is on it and I believe it would date back to 1988 when Adam was working with Black ‘N Blue. The song is not finished as Gene is just scatting stuff for placeholders. It is a really rough mix and not great quality demo, but the Tommy guitar solo is fantastic. There is a good bass line and some nice little riffs placed throughout. I think this could be a good song if it had a little more work. (GRADE 3)
The song was written by Matt McCormack and Gene and recorded back in 2002 which is strange as the song has this whole lounge singer vibe to it and even an old R&B feel and doesn’t fit the period. The backing vocals and Gene’s delivery are just different. The is a simple drum fill and piano played throughout. If you want to hear a version, Matt released it in 2017 on his album ‘Life in Stereo’. Matt’s version is way better…sorry Gene. I still like this a little though for its strangeness. (GRADE 3)
Gene says he wrote in the 90’s and took parts from two older songs called “Through the Night” and “Sweetheart of the Radio” which he says are in the Vault, but I am here to tell you, they are not on this Vault. Could there be a Vault II? If so, I better start saving. The song had been recorded by Doro for her 1990 album. It is a mid-tempo song and kinda bland. Nothing special…but with a little work, could be turned in to something better. (GRADE 3)
Written by Alex Chuaqui and Gene, this track was recorded around 2002 and has Alex (or Bags as Gene had him change his name as Alex Chuaqui wasn’t a good enough rock name) plays all the instruments and Gene on vocals. This song ended up Gene’s solo album ‘Asshole’. That version is not much different, mainly cleaned up, smoothed out and better production. This version has a grittier howl at the front and a little rougher like a demo should be. The sexual Little Red Riding Hood speaking part by Gene is still here and as dirty as ever. I like this a little better as it is a little grittier which fits the title better. (GRADE 3)
“IF I HAD A GUN”
This song was written solely by Alex Chuaqui and another to end up on Gene’s solo album ‘Asshole’ which would put this recording around 2002 as well. The ‘Asshole’ version is cleaner and a little better, but I don’t like either as the song is a little depressing and not the best subject matter for today’s time. Having a gun and shooting the people that piss you off hits too close to home with what is going on in the world. Plus, I think it is a bad song period. It plods along and brings you down…if I want that I will listen to grunge. (GRADE 1)
“I WALK ALONE”
This is the original demo for the Bruce Kulick sung song on ‘Carnival of Souls’ which means it has Gene on vocals and was recorded in the mid 90’s probably. The song was written by both Gene and Bruce and love seeing Bruce on the credits. Bruce’s version has a whole different vibe and delivery and way better. Gene’s version has a more metallic feel, a little more somber and darker. The demo is not great quality, but has a cool Soundgarden type bass riff that I dig. For that reason it gets an average score. (GRADE 3)
“SEDUCTION OF INNOCENT”
Written by Gene and Scott Van Zen sometime in the 90’s. The chord pattern of C and G dates back to a very early song Gene wrote called “My Girl Bought Me Chocolate Ice Cream”. He re-used it here and modernized it. The song wound up on ‘Carnival of Souls’. This earlier demo is a lot rougher and musically a little edgier, but vocally you can’t make out much. Gene sounds terrible. It is not my favorite song on the album and not here either. (GRADE 2)
“LONELY IS THE HUNTER”
Written by Gene and recorded in 1983, this song wound up on the Kiss album ‘Animalize’. Gene says the song is inspired by his love for Humble Pie and I am not sure I can hear that entirely. On the final version recorded for the animal, Gene wasn’t involved with any of it, but the singing. The demo is exactly that…rough around the edges and only includes what sounds like a drum machine and an electric guitar and that is it. It is what you expect in a demo. Gene prefers this to the final version, and I can see why. It is edgier and has a little more balls. (GRADE 3)
“NEVER GONNA LEAVE YOU #1”
Now a turn out of left field, we get a song that is drenched in Motown and R&B. The song was writen by Gene. Recorded in 1977 and feels like it. Apparently this was recorded in Gene’s spacious 200 square foot closet on recorded on a 4-track machine. It isn’t bad, but this is one of three versions of this song on this disk (the other two up next) and I only really like one of them…and this ain’t it. (GRADE 2)
“I AIN’T COMIN’ BACK”
This is the second version of “Never Gonna Leave You” only without the “Never Gonna Leave You” part. More bass heavy yet still the R&B, Motown feel. The song is a little longer than the prior version. Otherwise not much difference. Now, do you want to hear something crazy…the Vault has an error…this song is also on Disk 10…this same song. I think they messed up. (GRADE 2)
“NEVER GONNA LEAVE YOU #2”
Now we are to the version I really like, the rock & roll version with Bruce Kulick on guitar, Eric Singer on drums and recorded in a 16 track studio sometime in the early 90’s. Gene likes the 70’s R&B version better, but this song has Kiss all over it and I like it much better in this version. (GRADE 4)
And there you have Disk 7. I can’t believe I only have 4 more disks to go. The standard 15 tracks are on this disk as well and for the most part, I liked this disk. I didn’t at first, but it got better with each listen. The average score is 3.1 out of 5.0. This makes it a pretty average disk, but it does have a couple really outstanding tracks as well as a couple clunkers. I could see myself pulling this one out again especially for those opening tracks.
Up Next – “Part 9 – Disk 8”
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