Kiss – Alive / Worldwide Tour (1996-1997) – Tour Book

In my quest to get all the Kiss Tour Books in my collection, I have now come to my fifth in the Tour Book Series.  This is one of two that came from the Kiss Alive / Worldwide Tour from 1996-1997.  You might remember I already did one from that tour, but that was a special edition book during the 1997 part of the tour which included the Giant 1997 Poster Calendar and had a silver cover. It was a replica of the European Book. Plus, all the pictures were different.  This is original Tour Book with the Black Cover.

I bought this book right at the beginning of the pandemic. A friend of my brothers was selling it and so he reached out to me and I said, yes, buy it for me (I did pay him back). I asked my brother to hold on to it and I would grab it the next time I was down in Atlanta which would’ve only been about a month or two after I bought. 9 months later and I still hadn’t gone down thanks to Covid. I finally asked him to mail it on up to me and he graciously did.

One of the interesting things about this book is that it was bought at the October 1, 1996 show at the Omni in Atlanta. How do I know, the ticket stub was still inside. That for me is cool to know which show it was purchased because I was actually at that show. I can’t believe I have a book from the actual show I attended. What are the odds of getting one 25 years later. Our ticket stubs are below.

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Ace Frehley – “Space Truckin'” – 12″ Picture Disc (Record Store Day Release)

To celebrate the release of Ace Frehley’s new album, Origins, Vol. 2, Ace and his team decided to release a Record Store Day “First” for the Black Friday 2020 release day. This time around we got a limited edition 12″ Picture Disc for the song “Space Truckin'”. How exclusive, well there were only 2,100 released worldwide and I got one. Now, if you notice I said “Record Store Day First” which means all we got was an early copy of what will be released at a later time. So the 2,100 limited run is the one with the RSD Sticker I imagine.

There are two things that are really awesome about this release. First is the pictures on the disc. They are incredible Cartoon renderings of Ace and the band. Really great and cool artwork. Second, all the songs on the B-Side are “Space” related. I like how they kept to a theme.

SIDE A:

On Side A is strictly the song “Space Truckin'”. The song is a cover of the Deep Purple classic and Ace does what he doest best and makes the song his own. It has his signature guitar sound and he turns it up a notch and makes the song a fun, rocking track. He has an old friend from Brooklyn do the organ work to try and replicate the great John Lord. His name is Rob Sabino and he does a fantastic job. Matt Starr is on the drums and does a banging job and then Ace lays down a really cool solo. Is it as good as Purple’s version, oh no, but it doesn’t have to be. It just needs to sound like Ace and that is all you need and with his addition to the lyrics of “Hey Curly” it is fantastic. This version is the full album version.

SIDE B:

Side B has not 1 song, but four. All our space themed and you get the songs “Space Invader” (Radio Edit) from the ‘Space Invader’ Deluxe Edition album. Next is “Mission to Mars” from the album ‘Space Invader’ and then you get “Space Truckin'” again but this time it is the Radio Edit and it is about 1/2 the time of his album version. Nice to now have this version on vinyl. And lastly, you get the hilariously bizarre “The Return of Space Bear” from the album ‘Anomaly’ Deluxe Edition. You even get the Space Bear in the artwork above. This song is really an instrumental with Ace being…well Ace. Crazy, Silly, Demented Ace! He talks throughout the song and sounds so insane and wasted, it is quite comical. Worth a listen for that song alone.

I really love this disc and it is a great add to the collection. Getting the Radio edit of “Space Truckin'” was really what I wanted here and the picture disc itself looks quite stunning. A brilliant collector’s piece that will be loved and enjoyed forever.

Kiss – ‘Chikara’ (1988) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

Kiss were plugging along and everything is still right in the world. In 1988, as they were preparing for their Tour of Japan, the label and the band decided to release a greatest hits compilation. The CD was issued on May 25, 1988 and was limited to only 100,000 copies and only released in Japan. The was the 2nd greatest hits package to not be issued in the U.S., the first being 1982’s ‘Killers’. For that fact, this is a hot collector’s item for Kiss collectors and I didn’t even know about it until years after its release and I still don’t have a physical copy of this release (but I will get one someday).

The Japanese character on the back of the case and on the CD might look familiar. It is the same symbol that was on the bottom of the cover art for the band’s 1974 album, ‘Hotter Than Hell’. Eric Carr also used that symbol on his drum kits for quite some time. Chikara is the Japanese word for Power if you are interested in knowing that fact. And when you are looking to buy this CD on ebay or somewhere, the prize to get is the OBI strip with all the Japanese writing. A lot of the ones I’ve seen out there don’t have that strip anymore.

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Top Rock Albums of 2020

2020 was probably the strangest year yet.  With the Covid virus running rampant, many new releases were either postponed until late in the year or we never saw the release at all.  There were a flurry of albums at the beginning of the year, then basically nothing for a few months until we got to the Fall and now there are too many to get through.  But there were some great releases and I am sure I missed a number of great albums and if you look around the web, there will be tons of Top Album lists you can get a pretty good idea of what you should check out in case you missed any of these.

This list will be my favorite “Rock” albums of the year.  All other types of music will be for another post tomorrow.  I am going to leave this one to my favorite genre.  It is a broad genre, but these are the albums that I consider to be ROCK!!

Also note, these are MY FAVORITES!!  These are not the most popular or trendy albums.  You won’t find the cool trendy bands, because they are usually here today gone tomorrow.  These are the albums that I connected with during the year and I kept coming back to again and again.  And without further adieu, here are the Top Rock Albums of 2020:

#10 – Storm Force – Age of Fear:

81HSuWcovgL._SY355_ Thanks to some fellow bloggers in the name of LeBrain and SuperDekes, I was introduced to this Canadian band that unapologetically brought us a classic 80’s rock album full of songs that rocked you out and songs that were actually relevant to the events going on in the world which is amazing considering this song came out prior to the Covid shutdowns.  I believe these guys can see the future and with music like this, I can see their future being very bright.  You need to hear the songs “Breathe”, “Because of You” and “Dirty Vegas because once you do, you will be caught in the Storm!!

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Ace Frehley – ‘Frehley’s Comet’ (1987) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

After Ace Frehley left Kiss in 1982, it took him awhile to get going on a solo project. Where Peter had a solo album out within a year of leaving Kiss (if not sooner), it took Ace 5 years before his first bit of music was released. There was a reason for that. When Ace left Kiss, he still maintained a 1/4 share in the band and was not able to release anything until at least 1985. He basically had a non-compete contract for a limited time. However, around 1984, he did start piecing together a band and of course he started with drummer Anton Fig. Anton had played on Ace’s 1978 solo album and had done a few things with Kiss as well on some of their records. After Anton, he recruited John Regan on bass and Richie Scarlett on guitar and vocals. Ace now had a band.

The band recorded some demos in 1984-85 with famed producer Eddie Kramer, who had produced Ace’s 1978 solo album as well as other Kiss album, and actually played their first live show on November 30, 1984. He wasn’t releasing any music yet, so not breaking his contract. The band played some more in 1985, but in the end, Richie Scarlett wanted to pursue his own solo career and left the band. Not a good start so far.

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Kiss – ‘Creatures of the Night’ (1985 – Reissue) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

You saw the title to this and you are probably saying to yourself, “John, you’ve already reviewed ‘Creatures of the Night’. Have you lost your rocker?” And the answer to that question is YES! I have reviewed ‘Creatures’ and I am off my rocker. The thing is, the band re-released the album in 1985 for some strange reason. The new line-up of Kiss with Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Eric Carr and Bruce Kulick was riding high. The fans loved the line-up, the last album was successful, the tour went off well, so all was good in the Kiss world. Someone, somewhere in the Kiss camp thought, “Hey, we should re-release the album ‘Creatures of the Night’ because why not.” I have no idea the rational or reasoning behind this at all as it makes no sense.

If you are going to re-release it, why not put a brand new cover on the album with the band without make-up. Check! Why not stick a picture of Gene’s Ass on it in tight-fitting leather pants. Check! Here’s the thing. The picture of the band without make-up has Bruce Kulick on it and if you aren’t aware, he didn’t play on the album. I guess that isn’t a problem because the original picture on the album had Ace Frehley, and if you read my review earlier, you know he didn’t play a note on the album either. So in the end, I guess it doesn’t matter whose picture is on the cover. And here’s the other thing, it was never fun looking at the back cover because there was a giant ass staring you in the face. You felt a little grossed out looking at that….thing!!

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November 2020 Purchases – Vinyls & CDs

October wasn’t even over before I bought more records, however, the October Purchase post was already done and I wasn’t about to go back and update, too much work. I wrote the post on the October Record Store Day and there was one album I didn’t get that I wanted (well there were two, but I didn’t get the second one). I did get it through another local record store. And when I went and picked it up on that Sunday, I saw another record I didn’t have that was in the new arrival used bin and it was sealed and less than $20 so I bought it.

The RSD record was from the Joe Elliott band Down ‘N Outz…I love the cover with the eerie clown and it almost looks 3D at this angle.

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Wendy O. Williams – ‘WOW’ (1984) – Album Review (Bonus Edition – The Kiss Review Series)

No, you are not reading things wrong. This is part of the Kiss Review Series. You may ask yourself why because Wendy O. Williams was a part of the Plasmatics, she wasn’t in Kiss? How can this possibly be a part of this series? There are so many reasons why and I will go on record and say that this might be the best Kiss album that is not a Kiss album. WTF??? Am I smoking some weed, have I been drinking? The answer to both of this is None of your business. I guess I need to explain myself a little.

This is part of the Kiss series because nearly every member of Kiss at the time was on this album, most songs were written by members of Kiss and Gene Simmons was the producer of this album. Basically, it is a Kiss album. The bass player on this album was named Reginald Van Helsing who was actually Gene. And a funny point about the bass playing…Gene played Bass on more of these songs than he has on any Kiss album around this time period. What other Kiss members were on this album? Here is the list…

  • Paul Stanley
  • Ace Frehley
  • Eric Carr
  • Vinnie Vincent

So, yes…this is part of the Kiss Review Series!

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Kiss – ‘Creatures of the Night’ (1982) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

Kiss had to get back to their hard rock roots after the disaster of their last studio album ‘Music from the Elder’. The band had been on a downward spiral since ‘Dynasty’ with their sound going softer, Peter Criss leaving the band and now Ace was pretty much done. Due to his disillusionment the last few years with the band, the fact he had no say in anything, his alcohol problem and his prescription drug problem related to a car crash, Ace was done. He was so done in fact, he does not show up anywhere on this album. Well, that isn’t entirely true. Kiss still credited him as a member of the band, his picture is on the cover and he made some public appearances in support of the band including appearing in the music video for ‘I Love it Loud” which he didn’t even play on. After that video shoot though, Ace was no longer in the band.

Kiss was basically a trio for this whole album. Additional musicians and songwriters were brought in to help them write and record this album. Michael James Jackson was brought in as the producer and Michael had worked on the four new songs used on the ‘Killers’ album early in the year. They went in to the studio with the sole purpose of bringing back the heavy rock. Paul’s writing friend, Adam Mitchell, was back to help as well as Jim Vallance, Bryan Adams and Mikel Japp. All these guys co-wrote on the ‘Killers’ album, so it stands to reason that all these songs for both ‘Killers’ and ‘Creatures’ were part of the same writing sessions.

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October 2020 Purchases – Vinyls & CDs

Is October already over!! Wow! The time is flying by now. Luckily for me, it was another stellar month for picking up so new stuff (most is old stuff new to me though). And I didn’t waste any time as right at the end of September after I wrote the September Purchases post, a few things came in the mail from Amazon within minutes and days of each other. First up was Ace Frehley’s Origins. Vol 2…and yes I have Vol 1…duh!!

Then Queen & Adam Lambert’s Live Around the World. I chose CD on this only because when I ordered it the vinyl wasn’t listed. It did come with a DVD of the shows as well. Since my daughter saw this tour a couple years ago, no brainer…

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