After the Lick It Up Tour with Kiss, Vinnie Vincent was officially let go from the band. Except can you call it official since technically never signed his contract so I guess he was never officially in the band. However you want to look at it, by mid-1984 Vinnie Vincent was gone from Kiss. And since my goal in the Kiss Review Series is to review the first thing the former band members put out after leaving Kiss, we are going to discuss Vinnie’s debut release with Vinnie Vincent’s Invasion. After being let go, Vinnie decided to go see the world and upon his return, he was ready to make music. His paths crossed with Dana Strum who had worked with Ozzy. Dana knew Vinnie was out of Kiss and was looking for a good guitar to play with so he searched out Vinnie and they finally connected.
Now the band needed a drummer and they found that in the muscle-man himself, Bobby Rock. The main band was now together and all they needed now was a singer. They looked no further than the former lead singer of the band Journey. No, Steve Perry hadn’t left Journey (yet), they found the guy he replaced, Robert Fleischman. And the band was now complete. The band got a record deal with Chrysalis…okay, it wasn’t really the band, it was actually only Vinnie that had the deal, but we are splitting hairs at this point. And they were off to make a new album.
Vinnie had a ton of demos laying around for when he was working with a band called Warrior back in 1982 prior to Kiss. He took those demos and re-worked them into his current style of music which was heavy glam rock influenced and fit right in to that 80’s rock mold at the time. Hell, except I think they were a little more over the top than even bands like Poison. The hair was a tad bit puffier and the lips had a bit more lipstick (at least for Vinnie). Just look at Vinnie on the back cover, I swear it looks like he jumped off the cover of Vixen’s latest album.
The band was complete, the album was done and Vinnie was ready to set the world on fire. But before they could even shoot their first music video for the album, there was a contract dispute with Robert and he quickly left the band. Now, they had an album coming out and no singer. Wow, it sounds like an episode of Quiet Riot’s lead singer problems over the last few years. Vinnie Vincent seem to be imploding before his project even got off the ground. In walked Mark Slaughter to cover vocals for the band and the next album and all was saved…at least until the end of the next album, but that is a story for another day.
We are here to talk about this album, so let us get right to it. And away we go…
The first track up was one of the two singles of the album and it was called “Boyz Are Gonna Rock”. It is a heavy, over the top, song. Robert sings in a very pitched vocal that is par for the course of the era. Vinnie’s playing was a little unrestrained and uncontrolled. And here lies the problem with a lot of the songs on this album. No one has any control over Mr. Vincent. He is constantly showboating and playing for himself and not the song. However, on this track, the song is actually a great opening rock anthem. Before the band could shoot the video, Robert left the band and in walks Mark Slaughter to save the day. He is in the video lip synching to a song he didn’t even sing on. It was very karaoke.
The second track was another rocker called “Shoot U Full of Love”. Robert’s vocals are little too high pitched that at times only my dog can hear. Production wise the song feels a little flat, especially on the vocals. The lyrics are pretty corny and this one is sits on the cusp of being something great, but not actually reaching its full potential. Vinnie’s solo on this one is pretty good, but towards the end his fills and riffs try to compete a little with Robert until Robert blasts out that one big scream and then Robert wins.
“No Substitute” is up next and they slow things down a little and turn in a nice ballad type song. It is a lot more reserved, toned down and is the most reserved song of the bunch and it is very listenable and enjoyable as a song. This would’ve been a good single for the band to release as they could’ve had a hit with this one. Vinnie’s playing is spot on for the song and doesn’t go too over the top. It is one of the songs that he doesn’t go all bezerko on which really helps. This might the first song I truly enjoyed.
Vinnie opens the song with a nasty little riff and the song “Animal” comes to life. What for the most part is a solid rock track, albeit Fleischman’s vocals again are too high to fully enjoy, turns in to a shred-fest at the end with some of Vinnie’s most over-the-top moments. They playing has nothing to do with the song, there is no melody, it is “Hey! Look at What I Can do!”.
The first side ends with “Twisted” which is a pretty decent rock track overall. Vinnie’s solo is pretty short and then towards the end the song goes a little crazy with Vinnie playing fast and frenzied for a big grand display at the end. The drums sound electronic and not real which I am sure is the case as Vinnie hates drummers and prefers the sound of a drum machine over a real drummer. What a fucking douchebag!!! Sorry…that was harsh!!
The second side opens with “Do You Wanna Make Love” which is the first song written with Robert Fleischman as all others so far had been only Vinnie. It might be one of the better tracks on the album (which isn’t saying much) except it is too generic and again I am not a fan of the high-pitched vocals by Robert. The big fault is the chorus repeats way too many times…Do You Wanna Make Love?…DUDE!! If she hasn’t said yes yet, she ain’t going to say Yes!! Get a clue!!
The second single off the album is “Back on the Streets”. This song was written with Richard Freidman and actually performed by a band called 3 Speed for a 1984 movie called Voyage of the Rock Aliens. And another interesting fact, a Kiss fact at that, Ace Frehley’s band would perform this song during some of their early Frehley’s Comet shows. This song has a little more bluesy feel to it, a slower groove and Robert doesn’t sing as high. If Vinnie could’ve reigned it in a little more, this would be a damn fine rock song, instead, it is just a good one.
Next up is “I Wanna Be Your Victim” and I’ve listened to this album at least 10 times now and I can’t for the life remember how this one goes so on with the headphones to listen to yet again. That is not a good sign. As I’m listening to it again, I remember now, Fleischman’s vocals are back to dog range and the song is overall boring. Nothing worth remembering at all. Skip!
“Baby-O” comes on and it is more of the same, but finally a catchy chorus which helps make this one a little more memorable. Overall, it is still got everything I dislike about this album and makes this song only so-so. Which is too bad, because the chorus is good. I think I’m to my wits end by now which doesn’t help.
And lastly, THANK GOD!!, we get the song “Invasion”. It starts out with some fast playing by Vinnie, no surprise. Robert comes in and sings a little high and a little more normal at times. The overall track kicks a little butt and I do like it. The song should’ve stopped at about 4 minutes and it would’ve been one of the better tracks on the album. Instead, they tack on 3 minutes of distorted guitar sounding like a siren screaming out a warning that we are being invaded. If you have the vinyl, that siren will never end, it will get stuck in a loop at the end of the vinyl and play on and on and on and on and on…you get the point.
- Boyz Are Gonna Rock – Keeper
- Shoot U Full of Love – Delete
- No Substitute – Keeper
- Animal – Keeper – (1/2 Point)
- Twisted – Keeper (1/2 Point)
- Do You Wanna Make Love – Delete
- Back On the Streets – Keeper
- I Wanna Be Your Victim – Delete
- Baby-O – Delete
- Invasion – Keeper (1/2 Point)
The Track Score is 4 1/2 out of 10 or 45%. My biggest problem with this album is two-fold. One, Vinnie’s playing is over-the-top. It is too much shred and not enough heart. The solos and playing don’t play for the song which is what a good solo is supposed to do. The second problem in unfortunately Robert Fleischman’s vocals. I know the time this was out this was the thing to do, but it is too much. His vocals are way too high pitched. It isn’t very pleasing and was quite off-putting at times. For all these reasons, I give it a 1.5 out of 5.0 Stars. This isn’t not something I’m going to pick up any time soon again and don’t even bother. Go straight to the second one ‘All Systems Go’ because I like Mark Slaughter a whole lot more.
Next up is the bonus on Tommy Thayer. I know I said my goal is to review the first solo effort after a member leaves Kiss, but Tommy is still in Kiss so I am going to an album that has a major Kiss connection…
Next Up: Black & Blue – ‘Nasty Nasty’ (1986 – Tommy Thayer Edition)
Check out the rest of the series if you have time!!
The Kiss Review Series:
- Wicked Lester and the Progeny Demo Sessions (Bootleg)
- Kiss – Kiss (1974)
- Kiss – Hotter Than Hell (1974)
- Kiss – Dressed to Kill (1975)
- Kiss – Alive! (1975)
- Kiss – Destroyer (1976)
- Kiss – “Flaming Youth” 45 Promo Single – Bonus Edition (1976)
- Kiss – Special Kiss Album For Their Summer Tour (1976)
- Kiss – The Originals (1976)
- Kiss – Rock & Roll Over (1976)
- Kiss – Love Gun (1977)
- Kiss – Alive II (1977)
- Kiss – Double Platinum (1978)
- Kiss – Paul Stanley (1978)
- Kiss – Gene Simmons (1978)
- Kiss – Peter Criss (1978)
- Kiss – Ace Frehley (1978)
- Kiss – Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park Movie (1978)
- Kiss – Dynasty (1979)
- Kiss – “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” (1979) – 12″ & 7″ Singles (Bonus Edition)
- Kiss – Unmasked (1980)
- Peter Criss – Out of Control (1980)
- Kiss – Music From The Elder (1981)
- Kiss – Killers (1982)
- Kiss – Creatures of the Night (1982)
- Kiss – Lick It Up (1983)
- Kiss – Animalize (1984)
- Wendy O. Williams – WOW (1984) (Bonus Edition)
- Kiss – Animalize Live Uncensored (1985)
- Kiss – Asylum (1985)
- Kiss – “Tears Are Falling” 7″ Single (Bonus Edition) (1985)
- Kiss – Creatures of the Night (1985 Re-Issue)
- Vinnie Vincent Invasion – Vinnie Vincent Invasion (1986)
- Black N’ Blue – Nasty Nasty (1986)
- Ace Frehley – Frehley’s Comet (1987)
- Kiss – Exposed VHS (1987)
- Kiss – Crazy Nights (1987)
The Bootleg Series:
- Kiss – ‘Accept No Imitations’ (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ASYLUM TOUR)
- Kiss – Look Wot You Dun to Me (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (CRAZY NIGHTS TOUR)
- Kiss – The Summer of Satan: The Devils Ride Out! (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DESTROYER TOUR)
- Kiss – Return to Capital Center (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DYNASTY TOUR)
- Kiss – With Fire & Thunder (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (HOTTER THAN HELL TOUR)
- Kiss – Northhampton PA March 19th, 1975 (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DRESSED TO KILL TOUR)
- Kiss – The Hottest Show On Earth (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (THE HOTTEST SHOW ON EARTH TOUR 2010)
- Kiss – All the Way to the Ball Room (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (Australian Tour 1995)
- Kiss – Kiss of Thunder (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (The Rising Sun Tour 2006)
- Kiss – Agora Ballroom 1974: The Cleveland Broadcast plus Bonus Cuts (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (THE KISS TOUR)
- Kiss – Hotter Than Hell: Radio Broadcast 1976 (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ROCK & ROLL OVER TOUR)
- Kiss – The Tickler (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (LICK IT UP TOUR 1983)
- Kiss – Barbarize (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ANIMALIZE WORLD TOUR 1984 – North American Tour)
- Kiss – They Only Come Out At Night (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ANIMALIZE WORLD TOUR 1984 – EUROPEAN TOUR)
- Wicked Lester and the Progeny Demo Sessions (Bootleg)
Kiss – The Box Set:
- The Box Set (Part 1 of 6)
- The Box Set – Disc One 1966-1975 (Part 2 of 6)
- The Box Set – Disc Two 1975-1977 (Part 3 of 6)
- The Box Set – Disc Three 1976-1982 (Part 4 of 6)
- The Box Set – Disc Four 1983-1989 (Part 5 of 6)
- The Box Set – Disc Five 1992-1999 (Part 6 of 6)
Gene Simmons – The Vault:
- 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
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