Eric Carr – ‘Rockology’ (2023 Record Store Day Release) – Album Review

Sadly, Eric Carr passed away on November 24, 1991 due to an aneurysm that probably stemmed from the numerous surgeries he had to remove tumors related to his heart cancer. Before his death, Eric was always writing songs as he was a very creative soul. He could write, he could sing and he could play more than just the drums. ‘Rockology’ is a collection of the songs he had been working on prior to his death. These are demos and not necessarily full fledge songs in some cases so keep that in mind. Think of this as his ‘Vault’ because it is very similar in the type of songs you get on Gene Simmons ‘The Vault’. You get some fully fleshed out songs, you get some where lyrics are being scatted because their aren’t any yet and you get some straight-up instrumentals.

The album was put together by one of Eric’s great friends and former Kiss bandmate, Bruce Kulick. With the help of Adam Mitchell (co-writer of numerous Kiss songs), they pieced together a collection of songs from old cassettes or where ever they could find them. They would clean them up the best they could, add some backing vocals where appropriate and even Bruce overdubbed some killer solos in a few songs to help complete them. Bruce produced the album and I think this was a wonderful tribute to his old friend and bandmate.

This release is a Record Store Day release that came out on April 22, 2023 and it was released as a 2 LP Vinyl and a limited run of CDs (only 500 available). Luckily I got them both. The cool thing about this release is that there are 5 bonus tracks that have been previously unreleased so this it the only place to currently get them. The other really cool thing is how they changed up the cover to look like the 4 Kiss Solo albums with Eric getting an orange color around him. They even included a poster done in the same style of posters from the original Kiss Solo albums. The LP version comes on 2 LPs with translucent splatter vinyl, one orange and one clear. Both beautiful. The CD was designed as a Vinyl replica with a cardboard sleeve and the CD looks like a vinyl. Both packages done with care.

Unfortunately, a lot of Eric’s songs that he had written for Kiss albums were refused by Gene and Paul. I think they were being short-sighted in their decisions because during the late 80’s, Kiss could’ve used the songs and have Eric sing to help give the band some fresh blood. There are two really good songs that Kiss missed and first up is the opening track “Eyes of Love”. Eric wrote this one in 1989 and it is Eric on drums, bass and vocals. Bruce is on guitar. This is one of the ver few fully fleshed out songs and I have to say it is fantastic. It would’ve fit nicely on Hot in the Shade or even Revenge. It is catchy as hell and has a great chorus. It has an 80’s hard rock feel and is an all around stellar song. I agree with Bruce on this and that this could’ve been a hit.

The next track Kiss passed on was another 1989 demo called “Somebody’s Waiting”. The song is a ballad and has Eric again on bass, drums and vocals with Bruce on acoustic guitar this time around. It is another song that showcases his vocal talent. It is not as strong as “Eyes of Love’, but still a solid track. I know why Paul turned it down because Paul probably thought he was the only one to do ballads for the band and didn’t want to be upstaged by another drummer.

“Heavy Metal Baby” is one of those songs where the lyrics are non-existent but he some idea of how he wants it go so he scats the lyrics. He probably picked this up from Gene as Gene does that on so many Vault Demos. It was recorded in 1989 and is a heavy rocking track musically. Some cool distorted riffs from Bruce and Eric is actually on the drum machine. Too bad this never got worked out in more detail because the bones are there for a great song.

The next track is from 1987, “Just Can’t Wait”, and one Eric, Bruce and Adam all worked on. For this version, Bruce and Adam added some keyboards and an acoustic guitar to help finish out the track a little more. It is an all instrumental track and it was almost fully complete musically. It is only missing the lyrics which were never recorded with Eric singing which is a shame as this another one with good bones.

“Mad Dog” is up next and not to be confused with Gene’s “Mad Dog” on ‘The Vault’ even though it sounds like it could a Gene song and even Eric’s scatting sounds a little like Gene. It is a darker, heavier track. I love this type of song where we get to see them working on the lyrics as they are playing. You start to get a taste of where the song is heading and this one was heading in the right direction. Prior to this, the only version was on cassette so I am glad they were able to save this track. Bruce says in his notes that there were supposed to be some dog barks added to the chorus and the fade out of the song.

The next track, “You Make Me Crazy”, was originally called “Van Halen” due to its influence and you can hear that influence. It is a pure 80’s track, uptempo and a lot of fun. No lyrics and you can hear Eric scatting again. Eric is on drums and bass as usual with Bruce on guitar and having fun with the solo.

Then we get two versions of the song “Nightmare”. The first is an early 1987 demo that is more developed with Eric scatting the lyrics and the guitar playing is sensational. The second is the demo of a live take of the song with Eric on guitar, tapping out the beat of the song and Bruce on electric guitar. I actually like the second demo a little better due to the rawness of it and it sounded like a cooler song overall.

I had mentioned earlier that Eric was very creative. So much so in fact that he was working on a developing a children’s cartoon called The Rockheads. The cartoon was a parody of rock & roll with four band members who are all very different. This set includes a couple songs that were for the cartoon and the first is “Too Cool for School”. It is a full fledged song that and it sounds like it is a little kiddie to fit for the show. Very simple school related lyrics and not a bad track, but you can tell the song was written for a kid show.

“Tiara” is another ballad by Eric with him on keyboards playing to a drum loop. It is a very soft side of Eric. Bruce says with the way Eric played the song, there is a hypnotic feel to it and he is write. It is almost a lullaby in its current form. It is a very sweet song.

Eric also wrote songs for some other artists and one was Bryan Adams. After getting to know Bryan during the ‘Creatures of the Night’ sessions as Bryan helped write a couple tracks. Eric returned the favor with the song “Don’t Leave Me Lonely” off Adams 1983 album ‘Cuts Like a Knife’. This next track “Can You Feel It” Eric wrote and it sounds like they were hoping Bryan would play this one as well, but that never happened. I can see why as it has a Bryan Adams vibe to it. It is more in that softer rock sound of Adams and I think it is a pretty cool track. Eric sounds great it, the song is catchy and is a fun track that would’ve been right up Bryan’s alley.

The last track is another song for the ‘Rockheads’ Cartoon called “Nasty Boys”. This song was meant to show the characters more wild side and the song definitely conveys that attitude. Bruce lays down a great solo in this one. It rocks out and is great for the cartoon, but might be a little cliche and cheesy in any other context.

The 5 New Previously Unreleased Tracks:

The first bonus track is the long demo of the song “Tiara” which is a sweet ballad. The long demo is a rougher mix for sure, a little hollow sounding at times and the lyrics aren’t flushed out, but you see the working of a beautiful song. A softer side of Mr. Carr which is always nice to see. There is some nice guitar work in here as well which adds to its coolness.

“Can You Feel It” (Alternate Version) is up next and this is a more rawer version of the track above. This is definitely earlier stages of the song he was hoping Bryan Adams would perform, which he didn’t. I like these rough demos as it is always interesting to hear where a song was once you know how it ended up.

The “Eyes of Love” here is an a cappella version but really it sounds just like the vocal track of the song stripped out. It is a good chance to hear Eric’s vocals and only his vocals. Not bad at all sir. I wish you got to sing more on the Kiss albums.

Then we get a Beatles cover of the song “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” from one of Eric’s earlier bands before Kiss called The Cellarman. It is a fun, happy version of the song. It has a bar, karaoke feel to it, but in a tasteful way, of course.

The final track is another one from a band prior to Kiss. The song is “Stranger” from his band Creation (formerly known as Salt N Pepper). It is an R&B style tune and it says it is sung by Sarita Squires with Eric on drums and probably backing vocals as well. There is some really cool guitar playing and a great solo on here. A solid 70’s style track. My favorite of the bunch of new tracks.

And that is the album. I am not going to do a Track Listing Score as this is all demos and some aren’t even close to being finished. The album is for pure Kiss fans and Eric fans and you can’t really rate the songs since there is still some work to be done on a lot of them. I don’t think it is fair to judge them by the Keep/Delete method. I personally enjoy going through demos as I love to see what the artist are working on this fit that bill nicely. I enjoyed seeing a different side of Eric and I am glad Bruce put this together. The production isn’t always great due to the source of the material for some songs, but it is still well done and sounds great for what it is. When I originally reviewed this a few years back I gave it a 3.5 out 5.0 Stars because it is a bunch of demos and such and isn’t really for non-fans. But this time around, with the 5 new tracks and the killer packaging, this version is easily the coolest one to get if you want a version of Rockology. My Overall Score now is a 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars. This will fit nicely in my Kiss collection under Kiss Adjacent!

Here is how the album looks next to original Kiss Solo Albums. Not too bad…


16 thoughts on “Eric Carr – ‘Rockology’ (2023 Record Store Day Release) – Album Review

  1. Nice looking set John. I like how they did up the poster like the original 4 had. Your right Gene and Paul were to controlling and should have let Carr add more instead of nixing his idea’s. Those guys had gone bonkers by ’89. lol
    Great score for you and I buddy of mine got this as well so I will forward him this review….
    Awesome as always Sir!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks to you I got this one as well!

    I think u mentioned earlier that this was out on RSD and luckily one of the stores over here still had a copy left. I got the last one there (cd, not vinyl).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. kiss was the hottest band on the planet rip Eric and Mark st.John and the solo albums were cool and Eric one in the middle was awsome and great art work on all them were Awsome on who ever did it Awsome great job.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Surely some of the crap from Simmons and Stanley that made it to albums in the 80s could have been replaced by some of Carrs tunes.

    This is nice homage to him as well. Great job from Mr Kulick.


  5. I have heard nothing but good things about this guy personally…everyone talks great about him. He was a hell of a drummer.


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