Gene Simmons – ‘The Vault’ – Album Review (Part 9 of 15 – Disk 8)

Welcome back to the Gene Simmons The Vault review.  We are now on Disk 8.  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 Rock & Roll.  These are Gene songs plain and simple.  When you think of the Demon, you would imagine him singing these type of songs.

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

The CD comes with a picture of Gene’s rendering of the lights on an early 80’s tour.  It is pretty cool…

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On the flip side we get the track listing…

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“WE ROCKED IT ALL NIGHT”

The opening track is a pure rock & roll anthem.  It was written by Gene and intended for Sonic Boom, but didn’t make the cut.  I believe the year would be 2009.  It doesn’t reference the players on it, but I would guess it has Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer based on what it sounds like as it is a pretty finished version.  It is an autobiographical tune of Gene’s life and has many, many Kiss references and is totally awesome.  (GRADE 5)

“SHE’S ROTTEN TO THE CORE”

The next song was written by Gene and Bruce Kulick.  There is an old Gene demo called “Rotten to the Core”, but this isn’t another take off of that.  This is a completely different animal.  A lot of the lyrics of this song are pieced together from other songs Gene has demoed including “Juliet” on Disk 1.  It is a rocking track and I would put the timeline on it as mid to early 90’s since Bruce is on it.  The guitar solo is another great Bruce solo that was actually written by Gene (according to Gene).  If you want to hear a version of this song, check out Lita Ford’s album ‘Time Capsule’ as she covers it.  Now her version doesn’t quite sound the same as this, but still pretty cool. (GRADE 5)

“S&M LOVE”

This song is basically “Sweet & Dirty Love” written by Gene.  It started out as “Jelly Roll” which was from 1975 and is a couple songs down on this list.  This version is Gene and Tommy and has to be Eric on drums.  It sounds like this is a final produced song and not a demo.  It is unbelievably good.  Gene is hitting notes that he doesn’t hit on the next version of this song so you know some work has been done.  This is a much cleaner and better version than what is on his solo album ‘Asshole’. (GRADE 5)

“SWEET & DIRTY LOVE”

This is another version of the prior song.  This one is from 2003 and has Tommy and Eric again.  It is closer to the version you would hear on ‘Asshole’, but more demo form.  It is a little more raw and a little less bass which in this case is a good thing.  I think I prefer this raw version to the final ‘Asshole’ version.  So two for two with this song.  I like the “S&M” version a little more than this so I will give this slightly less score.  (GRADE 4)

“JELLY ROLL”

Here is the original 1975 version of the song that became “Sweet & Dirty Love”.  What started out as a riff from “Nothin’ to Lose” turned in to more of a boogie.  Leave it to Gene to take the jelly roll pastry and turn it in to something sexual.  It has a great groove and I can see why Gene kept at it until he got it where he liked.  This is a cool version.  (GRADE 4)

“JUST GIMME LOVE #2”

This is the second version of a song that would come “You Wanted the Best”. This version is around 1997 and has Tommy on guitar, but doesn’t reference a drummer.  The drum part according to Gene is from Chubby Checker’s “The Twist”.  It has a lot of the lyrics that would wind up on the “You Wanted the Best” song, but without that chorus.  When I first heard it, I thought it was that final version until I listened to it and then the chorus came in.  I was really digging it. (GRADE 5)

“YOU WANTED THE BEST”

Later in 1997, we get a closer version of the song that would wind up on ‘Psycho Circus’.  It has Tommy on it (again no drummer referenced, but it ain’t Peter as he and Ace didn’t show up).  The song is faster in tempo and a little rougher mix.  It is Gene on vocals and he is saying each members name right before the verse they would be singing.  And for Ace, he actually imitates Ace and does a good job…not really.  I laughed though.  The lyrics aren’t completely finished as he does some scatting and the last half of the song is all instrumental.  It is a really cool version.  (GRADE 4)

“JUST GIMME LOVE #1”

This is the original version of the song that would turn in to “You Wanted the Best” 20 years later.  This was written by Gene and recorded in 1977.  As far as players, it is Gene on bass and guitar with a click track.  The background vocals are done by random people that were in the studio at the time of recording.  It is so different than what it would become, but it is just as cool.  It is done at a slower tempo and I like the bass work on it as there is more of that than the guitar.  (GRADE 4)

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“HIT THE GROUND (PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS)”

Written by Gene while he was driving down the road, it was recorded sometime in the 2000’s as no timeline is given.  It features Eric and Tommy so we have a general idea.  This is the song  in its infancy as there are no complete lyrics.  Gene just wanted to get down the music while he still remembered.  Musically, it could be a great song.  It has that Gene and Kiss feel so could fit nicely on any of their albums. (GRADE 3)

“WHO SAID SO”

Another Gene written song and this one was only recorded back in 2011 and he says it is at the same time as “Guilty Pleasures” and “Are You Real?” both in the Vault.  It has Tommy and Eric playing and Eric sounds great…so does Tommy, but Eric stands out more.  The song was inspired by Pete Townsend and you can hear that influence.  There are no lyrics and Gene just scats words. He yells out where the verses will go, the bridge and the chorus so he knows where to put the lyrics when he writes them which I don’t know if has ever done it.  Another song that could be a good Kiss tune for Gene.  (GRADE 3)

“BAD BAD LOVIN'”

Since the original “Bad Bad Lovin'” became “Calling Dr. Love”, Gene kept the “Bad Bad Lovin'” title and re-wrote the song. This was recorded in 1978 and is so different than the other version of the song in The Vault. Musically, it is more stylistic with the 60’s and vocally Gene is mostly speaking the lyrics in that Lou Reed fashion.  It is groovy man and I am digging it. (GRADE 5)

“I’M PARALYZED”

This song is written by Gene and producer Bob Ezrin and recorded somewhere around 1988/1989.  The song ended up on ‘Revenge’, but in a slightly different form and about a minute longer with a weird spoken word part that sounds like clips form movies or something, the demo only has Gene speaking and is way better.  That album version made some weird choices stylistically, but this demo version is straight up rock and roll. Gene sounds like he is having so much fun and he goes a little crazy and it’s alright, I love it.  It has Gene on guitar and bass and there is a guitar part that, as Gene says, is chugging along. (GRADE 5)

“CHROME HEART”

This song was written by Gene and Bruce Kulick.  It was recorded in 1986 and based off a killer riff brought to Gene by Bruce.  It was done around the time of ‘Crazy Nights’ and is more heavy than anything on that album.  Bruce’s guitar riff and work on this song is freaking awesome and too bad they couldn’t work out the song.  And note, this is not an early version of “Heart of Chrome”, totally different song. For Bruce’s guitar work, this gets a really high grade despite the overall quality of the song which is little rough around the edges.  (GRADE 5)

“TILL THE END OF TIME”

Written by Gene and recorded somewhere around 1993/1994, the song started out inspired by the Mountain song “Theme from an Imaginary Woman”, but wound up sounding like more of a fit for ‘Carnival of Souls’ with the grunge sound.  It seems to have taken parts from the songs “Legends Never Die” and “Seduction of the Innocent” which are both on The Vault.  The lyrics aren’t finished and Gene scats like he does when there are no lyrics.  It is just missing something that could take it to the next level, but still cool to hear.  No mention of any players on it, but it is more than just Gene. (GRADE 3)

“THOU SHALT NOT”

This is the instrumental version of the song that wound up on ‘Revenge’.  It was written by Gene and Jesse Damon and recorded in 1991.  It had no lyrics at this point and the only lyric you do here is the chorus part singing “Thou Shalt Not”.  This is a really clean and pretty dang great mix of the song.  It sounds like a remastered version and sounds better than the original album (IMO).  This version is about 1 minute shorter, but let me tell you it totally kicks ass. (GRADE 5)

And there you have Disk 8.  By far, heads and shoulders above all other disks.  This thing rocked out from beginning to end and all versions of the songs were perfect Kiss and Gene songs. I couldn’t have asked for a better disk…well I was hoping for a lot more, but I will take it.  The overall average score for this disk is 4.3 out of 5.0 which is leaps and bounds above all other disks.  This is the one disk that will get played the most as I can’t say enough good things about it. I honestly never expected a disk to score anywhere close to 4 as there are always enough bad songs on the disk to keep the score in the 3’s or less, but nope…not here.

Up Next – “Part 10 – Disk 9”

Here are all the posts we did on the Vault:

35 thoughts on “Gene Simmons – ‘The Vault’ – Album Review (Part 9 of 15 – Disk 8)

  1. Now thats cool when you get this far into the box set and are surprised at how good it is. Say what you want about Gene but at least he involved the other guys in the demo stage.
    Job creation for all involved.
    Another stellar review Mr Snow!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m actually salivating right now dude. This sounds like a solid disc and some interesting stuff on it.

    Now about Jelly Roll — I don’t know, I must be missing something? Blue Murder had a song called Jelly Roll too. What is this? Is this some kind of slang I’m missing?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is fantastic. Best one in the set.

      I don’t think a jelly roll mans anything for Gene. I would have to go read the song info again but I think it is something about the phrase she puts the jelly in my roll that he got the inspiration from.

      Like

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