Gene Simmons – ‘The Vault’ – Album Review (Part 3 of 15 – Disk 2)

Welcome back to the Gene Simmons The Vault review.  We are now on Disk 2.  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 they are more of a mood or vibe.  The first three or four discs appear to be pretty much the Rock selections and I am quite happy to start with those.

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

The second disc is housed in a picture of Gene and one of his bass guitars from around the Revenge era…

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On the flip side is the track listing…

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“WEAPONS”

The disk opens with the demo for the song “Weapons of Mass Destruction” that appears on Gene’s solo album ‘Asshole’.  Recorded in 1997 and written by Gene, it has both Tommy and Eric performing.  The song was considered for Psycho Circus, but didn’t make it.  I like how it opens with Gene giving directions on how to start.  This version is a lot slower, darker and less punk than the version on the solo album. (GRADE 3)

“WEAPONS (POWER TO RAISE THE DEAD)”

Then we get the same song…well not really. This one was given to Ace Frehley to record once it didn’t make Psycho Circus.  He changed the lyrics and turned it in to a whole new animal, therefore, both Gene and Ace are credited with writing this one.  It was recorded in 1998 and this is my favorite version of this song as Ace can do no wrong.  Gene’s bass sounds prominent and cool on this one, but it is really Ace’s vocals and lyrics that shine.  (GRADE 5)

“HATE”

“Hate” is the demo for the opening track of the ‘Carnival of Souls’ album and was recorded back in 1993 or 1994.  It was written by Gene, Bruce Kulick and Scott Van Zen who all perform on the demo.  The demo is so much heavier and dirtier than the final track.  The sounds more like a Gene song for the old Demon himself.  (GRADE 3)

#CARNIVAL OF SOULS #2″

This one is the original demo of final song that wound up on ‘Asshole’.  The song was written by Gene and Scott Van Zen and recorded back in 1993 or 1994.  It was passed over for both the ‘Carnival of Souls’ album and ‘Psycho Circus’.  This is a 4 track version and I don’t think the lyrics are even finished.  I like the speed of the song and it is not as upbeat as the album version.  This is equally as good as the first version on Disk 1. (GRADE 4)

“MASTER OF FLASH”

This is one of the few songs Gene didn’t write. It is written by Jon Montgomery of the band Street Punk. I won’t tell you how Gene got the song.  It was recorded by Gene in 1980 and is done acoustically and is mostly spoken vocals.  It has a whole David Bowie vibe and is very different and you can see why it was never considered a Kiss song.  There is something cool about it though even for a very rough sounding demo.  (GRADE 3)

“HEAVY RAIN”

“Heavy Rain” is another version of the song “Rain Keeps Falling” and written by Gene and Bruce. It was recorded in 1993 or 1994 and man it sounds awesome.  A lot of it has to do with the guitar/bass riffs are from “Within” (or used for the song “Within”).  There are some rough patches in the recording, but easily ignored.  It is a pretty heavy track and a great Gene song.  (GRADE 4)

“WITHIN”

This is the original demo for “Within” which is off the ‘Psycho Circus’ album and was recorded in 1993 or 1994.  Gene wrote this one himself and this version is missing a lot of the lyrics as Gene didn’t have them finished yet.  So, when there are no lyrics he kind of scats and yabba dabba doos through it.  It is awesome.  It starts with Gene introducing the song for the studio tape.  Even though it isn’t a complete song, it is what I love about demos to see the beginning of a song. The main riffs are from the previous song “Heavy Rain”.  (GRADE 4)

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“IN YOUR FACE”

This is the original demo of the song and was recorded in 1997.  The song was written by Gene and he is the only one performing on the track along with a drum machine.  One of the shortest demos on the release and it is pretty good. A heavy rocker even a little bright and sunny in the way it feels.  There are some good bones there.  (GRADE 3)

“IN YOUR FACE (WITH ACE)”

Gene gave the song to Ace who changed the lyrics to fit him so both Gene and Ace have credits on this one. Recorded in 1998 this version sounds like an Ace song.  The guitars are definitely Ace and no denying the vocals and lyrics are his.  It is one of the gems on this disk and so far on the album. (GRADE 5)

“RAIN #2”

There are numerous versions of this song from the original “Rain Keeps Falling Down” including “Heavy Rain” above.  This Gene penned song was recorded in 1994 with Eric and Bruce and it is very different than “Heavy Rain”.  Not near as heavy, but a really cool bass feel to it.  (GRADE 3)

“CARNIVAL INTRO”

This is the intro to the song “Carnival of Souls” for which the song was never used for ‘Carnival of Souls’ album or ‘Psycho Circus’.  However, the intro was used as the opening to ‘Psycho Circus’.  It was performed by Scott Van Zen.  It is public domain song and not a Gene song, not sure why it is here.  It isn’t bad…just doesn’t belong.  (GRADE 1)

“I WANNA LIVE”

The first song with Gene and Vincent Cusano who you might know as Vinnie Vincent.  This was written around the time of ‘Revenge’ and recorded in 1991.  It didn’t make the album. It was recorded with the guys from the band Silent Rage.  It definitely would not have fit on ‘Revenge’ so I see why it was left off.  It is a good song, but with only an okay delivery. I like it because it is a Vinnie song even though I don’t think he is on it.  The guitars aren’t overdone.  (GRADE 3)

“IF IT’S TOO HOT, YOU’RE TOO COLD”

Written by Gene, it was recorded in 1990 with the band Silent Rage doing the music.  You might recognize the song from ‘Sonic Boom’ as “Hot and Cold”.  It is a duller version of the studio album song.  But it does have a line that I love, “If it’s too loud, you’re too old”…now where I have heard that before (Nudge, nudge, wink, wink). (GRADE 2)

“RAIN KEEPS FALLIN'”

We have the third version of this song on the same disk and again another recorded with Silent Rage members.  This was written by Gene and recorded in 1991.  The most tame of the bunch, but equally as good.  It is more of a 80’s rock song or even classic rock than the more modern, heavier sounds of the other two versions.  (GRADE 3)

“BELLS OF FREDOM”

The final song on the disk is another Gene only song.  Recorded in 1997 and has Tommy Thayer on guitar.  According to Gene, it is a tribute to The Who, but I don’t really hear it.  The chorus is the best part, but overall not really impressed. (GRADE 2)

And that is Disk 2.  You get 15 tracks again and there is not one that was totally awful, just the one that I was sure why it was there.  I found this to be equally as good as the first Disk and the score is similar.  I would listen to this disk again for sure (already listened to it 5-6 times).  The average score for this disk is a 3.2 out of 5.0.  I will let you know that I think anything 3 or better is great and couldn’t be more thrilled with this disk as well.  I know I will eventually run in to some stinkers as it is a matter of time.

Up Next – “Part 4 – Disk 3”

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

Whitesnake – ‘Slide it In’ – Album Review (The David Coverdale Series)

Recording of the ‘Slide it Album started some time in 1983 and this time around Eddie Kramer was on hand to handle productions duties.  And let’s just say things did not go well, but was it a band problem (as there were ton of those) or a producer problem, I don’t know.  But Eddie was replaced with longtime Snake producer Martin Birch.

The band problems were many on this record and for this tour.  Micky Moody was back and recorded the album, but things did not go well on tour and David became an ass to Micky and he had enough and quit after the European tour and his last gig was in October 1983, prior to the release of ‘Slide It In’. His replacement was John Sykes who was the guitar player for Thin Lizzy at the time.

At the same time Sykes was brought on board, Colin Hodgkinson was let go as the bass player and former Whitesnake bass player Neil Murray was brought back in to the fold.  Cozy Powell was now the drummer as Ian Paice had left after the last album and then Jon Lord left in 1984 to go reform Deep Purple so Richard Bailey was brought in to fill in.  The band was in complete disarray during this time.  It is amazing anything got done.

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Continue reading “Whitesnake – ‘Slide it In’ – Album Review (The David Coverdale Series)”

Gene Simmons – ‘The Vault’ – Album Review (Part 2 of 15 – Disk 1)

Welcome back to the Gene Simmons The Vault review.  We are starting with Disk 1, naturally, and 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 they are more of a mood or vibe.  The first three or four discs appear to be pretty much the Rock selections and I am quite happy to start with those.

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

The first disc is housed in a picture of Gene with a lot of Platinum albums behind him…

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Continue reading “Gene Simmons – ‘The Vault’ – Album Review (Part 2 of 15 – Disk 1)”

Whitesnake – ‘Saints & Sinners’ – Album Review (The David Coverdale Series)

After the album ‘Come an’ Get It’, the band was starting to crack.  Issues were developing, tensions were rising.  They started to work on the album during 1981, but it wasn’t a smooth ride.  In December 1981, Micky Moody left the band.  Then in early 1982, David Coverdale put the band on the back burner and took some time off to be with his daughter who had become ill.

The sick daughter wasn’t the only reason Coverdale put things on hold.  The band was having financial troubles and he couldn’t understand where the money was going.  During the hiatus, he parted with his management and Coverdale started to handle the business side of things.  Also during this time, three other members left the band (or were fired). They would be Ian Paice, Bernie Marsden and Neil Murray.  Jon Lord was the only one to stay in the band with David. And of course Martin Birch still produced. He hadn’t left yet either.

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As a result, David needed a new band.  Not to finish the album because it was basically done, but to tour with.  David found guitarist Mel Galley from Trapeze and Cozy Powell on drums from Rainbow and lastly, Colin Hodgkinson on bass.  The band was complete.  However, the album still had some backing vocals needed so Micky came back briefly to finish the backing vocals along with Galley.  Galley is the only new player to appear on the album.

 

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Gene Simmons – ‘The Vault’ – Album Review (Part 1 of 15 – The Grand Opening)

I have actually been wanting this since the day it was announced back at the end of 2017 or early 2018, I can’t remember.  However, at the time, the price was the hinderance.  Then at the beginning of 2019, they offered a less pricey Vault that didn’t include the Gene Simmons Vault Experience.  You only received The Vault.  Still, I didn’t pull the trigger.  I always thought, if it ever a hit a certain price, I would pull the trigger.  Lo and behold almost two years later, there was Black Friday Sale and it hit that price. It didn’t take much convincing then, I pulled the trigger!  Bang!!

And to make it even better, 2 days before Christmas it arrived!!  And if you didn’t know, my birthday is Christmas…so it was a Big Early Present to myself!!  My kids poked fun at me because I have been chomping at the bit for it to arrive.  Two weeks after ordering, I had heard nothing, not a word.  I emailed the company and asked if I would get a tracking number and they replied back pretty quick with a tracking number.  The item shipped 4 days earlier and I didn’t know.  I checked that tracking often, to an obsessive level as I wanted my Vault.  I guess they weren’t going to send it until I said something. I am glad I got, because it did calm me down…a little.

On day of arrival, I received box 2 of 2 first.  A smaller box that I figured contained the contents of the vault, but it only contained the book and the CDs which if I am going to get a box early, at least it was that box. And if I didn’t have that tracking number I would have freaked not knowing it was shipped in two boxes.  I would have also been freaked if I received the Vault first with no book or CDs inside!!  Tracking number told me that so it wasn’t unexpected.  About 4 hours later, I received The Vault itself.  In a massive box inside another box…

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Deep Purple – ‘Live in London’ – Album Review (The David Coverdale Series)

In 1982, Deep Purple didn’t exist, no new music was coming for a few more years, but the world needed a brand new Live album by the band.  Or at least that is what the record company thought.  This live album was really not new, it was only newly released. It was recorded back in 1974 with the Mark III line-up of the following:

  • Richie Blackmore – guitar
  • David Coverdale – lead vocals
  • Glenn Hughes – Bass and vocals
  • Jon Lord – keyboards
  • Ian Paice – drums

The album was recorded on May 22, 1974 at the Gaumont State Theatre in London, England and was used a BBC Radio Broadcast but never actually saw the light of day on a physical release until 8 years later. The tour was for the album “Burn” which is where a majority of the songs will come from.

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Like with most Deep Purple Live albums, there are only a handful of songs as some of the songs last an eternity.  You get 6 whole songs on the original release and when they do the re-issues years later you are blessed with getting a whole other song that adds over 30 minutes to the time…yep…one song at 30 minutes.  Wow!!

Continue reading “Deep Purple – ‘Live in London’ – Album Review (The David Coverdale Series)”

Whitesnake – ‘Come An’ Get It’ – Album Review (The David Coverdale Series)

We are now in 1981 and the band is on their 4th album.  Whitesnake has started to gain some traction with the album’s ‘Ready an’ Willing’ along with the live album ‘Live…in the Heart of the City’.  When ‘Come an’ Get It’ arrives, it goes to #2 on the chart and barely misses #1 thanks to Adam and the Ants’ ‘King of the Wild Frontier’.  Yes, an Ant kicked a Snake’s ass!!!

The band’s line-up is unchanged, the producer, Martin Birch, is unchanged and they follow the successful formula of ‘Ready an’ Willing on this album to rather great success (on the charts).

  • David Coverdale – vocals
  • Micky Moody – Guitar
  • Bernie Marsden – Guitar
  • Neil Murray – Bass
  • Jon Lord – Keyboards
  • Ian Paice – Drums

I know this is a favorite Snake album for a lot of people and even a favorite of David Coverdale’s; however, it isn’t one of my top albums.  I have spent the longest with this album in hopes that it would grow on me and it has to some extent, but not overall.  This was a hard beast for me to get through, well Side Two was.  Side One kicks some major ass.

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Pearl Jam – MTV Unplugged (Record Store Day Exclusive) – Album Review

For Record Store Day Black Friday 2019, I got up bright and early to go stand in line for some Exclusive vinyls and most notably was for Matt Nathanson’s 2007 album ‘Some Mad Hope’.  This was the first time that record was to be released on vinyl.  Another exclusive I wanted was Pearl Jam’s MTV Unplugged appearance from 1992 finally being released on vinyl.  And I’ll be honest, this is the FIRST Pearl Jam album I have actually bought on vinyl…I know, crazy right!!  But what a way to start.

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The album was recorded in 1992 right after the end of the Tour for their debut album ‘Ten’ and a set list that covers that album quite nicely, you are treated to one mesmerizing and very special performance.  When I watched this back in the day, I realized than that the guys were pretty freaking great.  I was not a Grunge fan at all as I come from the 80’s and the whole 80’s Rock scene. Grunge was blasphemy.  But there was something about this show that resonated and when I saw it was coming out on vinyl,  it was a no-brainer.

The packaging is a beautiful gatefold for only 1 LP which I always love to see.

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Britny Fox – ‘Britny Fox’ – Album Review

Do you have a memory that is tied to a specific band and when you hear that band, you immediately are transported to that memory?  Britny Fox has such a memory for me.  Now I am the youngest of 7 kids and I am the only one of the 7 to have lived alone with my parents as an older child as all my brothers & sisters had moved out and I was left alone during high school and part of college.  As a result, I actually was able to take vacations with my parents and it just be them and me.  None of the others got to do that sort of thing.

Every Summer, my parents would head down to their time share down in New Smyrna Beach, Florida and I would tag along because why not…free vacation.  I cherish those times with them and now that they have both passed from this Earth, I think of them often and miss them dearly.  You are probably wondering how Britny Fox helps with that memory and I will tell you.

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When this album came out on June 6th, 1988, I had just purchased on CD and we were heading out to vacation. I remember sitting by the pool, with my Sony portable CD player, headphones on and this CD cranked up.  I was probably 18 and since I was so shy, I was not about to be scoping out the hot babes at the pool.  Nope!  Instead, I would sit by the pool in my tan, smoking ripped body and pretend like nothing else mattered but the music.  Ok, not all of that was true…I wasn’t very tan.  Ok, and I didn’t have a smoking hot ripped body.  I was scrawny little shit.

 

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