I can’t believe I am done going through all the disks in detail. It took 10 solid weeks to get through all 11 disks. I read the entire Vault Book and researched more details online. I dived into it like I have never done before for any release. It was time consuming and it was a total and utter blast.
And to keep the fun going, I thought I would compile what I found to be the 20 Worst Songs in The Vault. There are a 164 songs in The Vault to go through. I know you get 166, but one song is in there twice (oops on someone’s part) and the Bob Dylan 15 minute track with Gene at a writing session doesn’t really count.
To determine the songs, I picked all the songs that scored a 1 or 2 and placed them in a playlist. That gave me around 40 songs to choose from. From there, I played the playlist and easily determined some of the songs weren’t as bad as originally thought and some were worst or just as bad. That made it easy to narrow down and it didn’t take me long to determine the 20 Worst Songs of The Vault.
This time, no song was off limit. If it was a Kiss song originally, it could be included in this list unlike The Best of where I excluded any demos of previous Kiss or Gene songs as that seemed unfair. Not here. If it sucked, it sucked…plain and simple. Again, the order is subjective and could move around at any time depending on my mood, but generally speaking these songs didn’t cut the mustard. Let’s get started.
#20 – “BURNING UP WITH FEVER #1” (DISK 4)
Recorded in 1975 and was considered for ‘Destroyer’. Gene wrote and performed this demo, but it was recorded on an 8 Track and therefore doesn’t sound as clean as version #2 also in The Vault. And like the other version, nothing special and kind of bland and not as good as the others. The final version wound up on Gene’s solo album.
#19 – “QUEEN OF HEARTS” (BONUS DISK)
“Queen of Hearts” was written by Gene and Peppy Castro who wrote with Gene on “Naked City”. It was recorded in 1980 around that same time as “Naked City”. It is a poppy song with keyboards which Peppy plays and Gene on everything else. It sounds real cheesy and too poppy. It is also a rough sounding demo. It isn’t a bad song, just needs a lot of work. No, it’s a bad song.
#18 – “SECRETLY CRUEL” (DISK 3)
This song was written by Gene pretty early in the 80’s and the final version ended up on ‘Asylum’. This version could be recorded in 1983, but nothing certain. Gene plays all the instruments and the recording is really rough, listenable, but rough. Regardless of that, I don’t care for this song no matter what it would sound like. The final version is much better even though I don’t care for it all that much.
#17 – “EVERYBODY WANTS SOMEBODY” (DISK 5)
Here is one of the Bob Dylan and Gene songs. This was recorded in 1991 as well and has Tommy Thayer on it. 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.
#16 – “SWEET TEMPTATIONS” (DISK 9)
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.
#15 – “LEETA” (BONUS DISK)
You’ve heard this one before on the Kiss Box Set. It was written and recorded back in 1969 or 1970 and is very Beatles influenced…it is dripping with Beatles influence. I didn’t really like on the Box Set and not digging it here and honestly, I don’t hear any significant differences between the songs. It is slow and plods along to make it quite boring for me.
#14 – “NOW THAT YOU’RE GONE #2 SYNTH” (DISK 5)
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.
#13 – “GYPSY NIGHTS” (BONUS DISK)
Written and recorded around 1979 and influenced heavily by ELO. It was recorded around the same time as “Feel Like Heaven” on this disk. I’m not going to say its bad, but it ain’t no good either. It is kind of pedestrian and boring.
#12 – “YOU’RE MY REASON FOR LIVING 4 TRACK” (DISK 5)
Recorded in 1980, this demo is yet another version of this song on this disk as there are many. 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 quite dull and boring and my least favorite version of the song.
#11 – “GUILTY PLEASURES” (DISK 6)
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 didn’t turn out to be that. It is more a rocking song that is dark and dreary in my opinion. Musically, it sounds good, lyrically it is all wrong. Still needs a lot of work.
#10 – “TRUE CONFESSIONS #1” (DISK 4)
Another track considered for ‘Destroyer’ and also recorded in 1975. This version has JR Smalling on drums and Gene does all the rest. We know this wound up on Gene’s solo album, but this version does not include the Group with Name girls on it like version #2 does on Disk 3. As with “Burning Up With Fever” not a fan of this one either so won’t get a great grade.
#9 – “MY BABE” (DISK 10)
The second Eric Carrr and Gene song in a row, pretty cool. But this song isn’t. Eric is doing the guitar thing again on this one and the drums and Gene on everything else. This song is not a really a diamond in the rough. It is a simple rock track that repeats “My Babe” way too much. Pretty weak for me.
#8 – “WHATEVER TURNS YOU ON” (DISK 6)
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 as there are still a few ahead of it.
#7 – “MAN OF 1,000 FACES #2” (DISK 4)
This version of “Man of 1,000 Faces” has Ace on guitar and JR Smalling on drums. Gene didn’t like the original recording’s vibe so he did this one. The guitars on this one are softer and closer to the final vibe, but the instruments are all muted compared to the vocals on this one. I thought having Ace on it, it would be better, but nope.
#6 – “AND LOVE CAME TO ME” (DISK 10)
Written by Gene and has Gene on all the instruments. This was recorded in the late 70’s as it is Gene’s attempt at disco or something close to that. The band hated it and I can see why. I love the Vault’s description that it is Gene doing Paul McCartney doing disco and that sums it up better than I could. Avoid this one (not completely as you have to listen to everything on hear).
#5 – “FIRST LOVE” (DISK 6)
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.
#4 – “I DREAM 1,000 DREAMS” (DISK 6)
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 as his 1978 solo. On that it was called “1,000 Dreams”. There is nothing redeeming about it. Sorry.
# 3 – “NA, NA, NA, NA” (DISK 5)
Alright, here is the second 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 a little higher on the list. 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.
#2 – “IF I HAD A GUN” (DISK 7)
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.
#1 – “FOUREVER” (DISK 9)
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. If he used any cliches in this song he might have been arrested.
And that is it for the Worst Songs of The Vault. The funny thing is that some of the ones up for the Worst, I ended up liking them a little more over time and so they came out of contention for the bottom. However, these 20 seem to be the ones I liked to skip over the most. These songs still got played a lot as they had to for me to have over 2,000 song listens for the course of this 15 Part Series. We will wrap it all up with a nice bow for the final post.
Up Next – “Part 15 – The Final Verdict”
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