Gene Simmons – ‘The Vault’ – Album Review (Part 10 of 15 – Disk 9)

Welcome back to the Gene Simmons The Vault review.  We are now on Disk 9.  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 all over the place.  However, there are only a handful of songs that ended up on Kiss albums or solo albums which is nice.  It is an interesting set of tracks.

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

The CD comes in a picture of Gene in full make-up with his Axe…


And the track listing in full…



The opening track was written by Gene and Mikel Japp and was recorded in 1982 with Gene on guitar playing over a click track. Mikel Japp’s opening guitar riff was the basis for the song and Gene came up with the rest.  This has circulated around before and this version is not that much better than the one circulating.  It was actually recorded by a band called Smashed Gladys and it was called “Give It All You Got”.  This is a pretty mellow song and the guitar work is pretty decent. I could see this being a good song if more work was put in to it. (GRADE 3)


Sometime in the mid-80’s Gene wanted to update the sound on this song so he brought in Bruce Kulick and the two worked their magic.  They beefed up the guitars, added a drum and bass and gave us a more developed song.  It is a little more upbeat and more polished.  The added instrumentation gives it a more finished feel and I am torn on which version I like best, but it might be this one.  (GRADE 3)


Gene wrote this one and he asked Tommy Thayer to come in and help him record it.  A version of this was released on Gene’s solo album ‘Asshole’ as a bonus track on the Japanese release and on his SEX MONEY KISS audio lunchbox bonus disk. This version is similar at the beginning but changes the arrangement for most of the last part of the song.  The cool thing is that the opening is basically the song “Rock Bottom” that Gene had Tommy play using different chords.  He also stole parts of another of his song called “Bells of Freedom” as he always likes to do. (GRADE 3)


This version had to be recorded in the early 90’s as it is less retro sounding than the previous version and a little darker with a more distorted guitar sound which fit that time period sound.  No listing of players so can’t help you there, but I have to admit I like the grunge sound to this one.  You can hear the original sound of the #1 demo, but this one is cooler. (GRADE 4)


YES!!! We finally get Paul Stanley on a song.  9 Disks in, but he is there on the backing vocals as well as lead and rhythm guitar.  This Gene penned song does have Gene on acoustic guitar and bass as well as lead vocals.  This was recorded back around 1977 and a version is on the Kiss Box Set called “You’re All That I Want, You’re All That I Need”, but this arrangement is missing the count down at the beginning, the chorus harmonies is more than just Paul where this version is all Paul and the overall arrangement is slightly different. (GRADE 4)


This is the second song on The Vault written by Gene and Darren Leader, drummer from Steel Panther which puts it around 2002.  The title of the song came from a line in Gene’s song “Master of Flash” and parts of his song “I am Yours” was also stolen to help form this song.  I like the idea of the song as hit has elements that are nostalgic for Kiss and talks about the kids in the audience who paint their faces as Kiss, I bet that is cool to look out and see.  But overall, it is a cheesy little song.  (GRADE 2)


This Gene song was written around the time of ‘Psycho Circus’ so that puts it around 1997.  It didn’t get used and Gene wrote this one in hopes for Ace to sing.  Too bad that didn’t happen.  It is another Frankenstein song with parts from Gene’s song “Mirage” and “Now That You’re Gone”.  The guitars are very distorted and it is kind of a boring song in the state it is in.  I see why it wasn’t used.  (GRADE 2)


This is not another version of “I Wanna Rule The World”.  This is a whole new animal entirely.  It is heavy, distorted guitars and angry sounding.  It was probably written around 1993 or so and would be perfect for ‘Carnival of Souls’.  It has that sonic feel.  Gene’s vocals are a little rough, but it is a demo so what do you expect.  I do like this one better than the previous song with the similar name.  (GRADE 3)



I like how this opens with Gene on guitar strumming away some chords and mumbling some lyrics.  It is ever so soft and a very, very early version of song before it kicks in to the actual demo.  A whole “Evolutions” vibe from the Whitesnake box sets.  This Gene song has Eric Singer on it and it was around 1993 or 1994.  Gene plays all other instruments.  For me, this is a Demon song…full of cockiness and those womanizing lyrics (where they are finished).  There is an old school classic rock vibe mixed with R&B.  It is really fun. (GRADE 4)


This song was written by Gene, Adam Mitchell and Eric Carr.  A version of it is on Eric Carr’s album ‘Unfinished Business’, but that one is all instrumental.  This version is a full on rock version with Gene on vocals and bass, Bruce Kulick killing it on guitar and Eric pounding on the drums.  It was intended for ‘Crazy Nights’, but wasn’t good enough at the time, but this version seems pretty damn fantastic.  It has a whole “Radar For Love” feel to it with the chorus, but Paul sang that one. Gene even has a little speaking verse part towards the end, it sounds like 80’s Kiss.  It is a fun song and one of the best on this disk for sure and maybe even the whole set.  (GRADE 5)


Gene wrote and recorded this one sometime in 1979 or 1980 and was written with singer Stephen Bishop who he met thanks to Cher.  Gene used Stephen’s chord idea and went on to complete the song.  There is definitely a disco vibe with some latin beats thrown in for good measure.  I’m not sure I really like this one even though it isn’t the worst thing on The Vault.  (GRADE 2)


The opening piano chords on this one and you know immediately what this song became.  It ended up as “Living in Sin” from Gene’s first solo album.  It was written by Gene and had to be recorded prior tot he solo album so it is before 1978.  It had Joe X form the band Starz on the drums and Gene did everything else.  This version has the melody and a lot of the lyrics of “Living in Sin” with the Living in Sin chorus.  If you want another version of this song when it was called “Reputation” check out the Kiss 40: Decades of Decibels album. (GRADE 4)


This song was written by Gene and recorded around 1979/1980. It was brought to the table for the Elder, but Bob Ezrin didn’t like it; however they used parts of it and mixed it with Gene’s other song “Only You” to make the final version of “Only You” on the album. This version is Gene on all the instruments and a drum machine.  I see why Bob didn’t like it as it doesn’t fit that album vibe at all.  It has a 70’s feel to it and feels dated.  (GRADE 2)


This song almost made it on the ‘Crazy Nights’ album which dates it to 1987.  Gene and Adam Mitchell wrote it using the same title as a song Adam did for his own album, but this is a different song.  Bruce is on guitar and really sounds awesome; however, Bruce didn’t like the song.  Sorry Bruce, you are wrong.  This song rocks and kicks major ass.  This is a Gene song…definitely an 80’s Gene song. A really fast tempo, driving beat and womanizing lyrics…what more could you want.  (GRADE 5)


Recorded in 1978, and came from the same session as “Bad Bad Lovin'”.  This Gene song has circulated around the Kiss community for years.  This version is a little shorter and a much better, cleaner version.  It has Gene on most instruments and vocals, including backing along with some female singers).  It also includes a lot of saxophone as Gene was trying to capture a Dave Clark Vibe.  However, I truly hate this song.  It is so bad…really, it is.  It take cheese to whole new level.  (GRADE 1).

And there you have Disk 9.  After having something as spectacular as Disk 8, this was a let down to some degree.  It is at times boring and just average.  However, there are a few really awesome tracks as well which is why it stays at just over the average score.  The overall average score for this disk is 3.1 out of 5.0 which I will take anything over a 3.0 is worth listening to.  I will just skip a few tracks in the future.  We are getting closer to the end with only 2 Disk left.  I’m sad!!

Up Next – “Part 11 – Disk 10”

Here are all the posts we did on the Vault:

70 thoughts on “Gene Simmons – ‘The Vault’ – Album Review (Part 10 of 15 – Disk 9)

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