My Sunday Song – “Nowhere to Run” by Kiss

For My Sunday Song #135, we are going to discuss the song “Nowhere to Run” off the bands 1982 compilation called ‘Killers’.  After the doomed release of ‘The Elder’, Kiss immediately went into the studio and recorded 4 new songs to go with a greatest hits compilation because they knew that ‘The Elder’ was dead on arrival.  The four new songs were all fantastic.  This was my favorite of the bunch.

Out of the four new songs, this was the only one solely written by Paul Stanley.  For all the others, he had help.  Also interesting is the fact that Paul sang all four of the new songs, no Gene.  Although, he did play bass and Eric was on the drums.  And Ace tour it up on lead guitar, at least that is what I thought as a kid.  It was actually Bob Kulick who had originally auditioned for Kiss back in the day, but was beat out by Ace.  Now, he was lead guitarist (just not officially).

The song had an old Kiss sound and felt like they were going back to their roots, but it was the 80’s and the production was louder and bigger with Michael James Jackson at the board. It is a rocking track and Bob really does kill it on the solo and Eric’s drums are loud and powerful as he brought such a new life to the Kiss sound.  I love the little drum fill at the beginning with a little acoustic intro and it built up from there.  Paul sounded sensational and this was Kiss hitting on all cylinders.  After the disaster of ‘The Elder’, Kiss was back in good favor…at least in my book.

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My Sunday Song – “Shock Me” by Kiss

For My Sunday Song #133, we are tackling one of my favorite Ace songs from Kiss called “Shock Me”.  It was off the 1977 album, ‘Love Gun’ and it was actually the first song Ace had the lead vocals on.  He had written other songs, but never sang.  Ace intended for Gene to sing, but Gene pushed it back and encouraged Ace to sing this one.  And thankfully that happened as it was a showcase for Ace during their live shows.

On December 12, 1976, Kiss was in concert in Lakeland, Florida when Ace touched a railing that had not been properly grounded and let’s say he got the shock of his life.  That incident was the inspiration for the song even though that is not what the song is about.  The song is about one of Kiss’ favorite subjects.  Nope, not rock & roll, but sex.  That is right, sex.  I know!!  You are surprised and you can’t believe it, but it is the truth.

Now Ace doesn’t have the best voice, but he has a great rock voice.  It is a little gritty and dirty and it is rough just like rock should be.  If you want a pretty voice, go listen to pop music.  I believe I read that Ace recorded this by lying down on the ground.  I don’t know if that is true, but that does sound like something he would do.

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My Sunday Song – “Black Diamond” by Kiss

For My Sunday Song #131 and for the next 10 songs, we are celebrating the songs of Kiss!!  Now that Kiss has started their Farewell Tour, I thought I would honor some of my favorite Kiss songs.  There will be No “Beth”, No “Detroit Rock City” & NO “ROCK & ROLL ALL NITE”!!!  Sorry, not my favorites..,well Detroit is one but too obvious a choice.  We will start it off with “Black Diamond” from the debut album ‘Kiss’.

Black Diamond was written by Paul Stanley and it was about New York as were a lot of their songs. This one was on the seedy side of it at least.  It is about street hookers and the queen of them all, the Black Diamond.  Stanley has been quoted as saying this was partially inspired by the Rolling Stones classic “Brown Sugar”.

Lyrically there is not much there, but musically…Damn!!  What a way to close out your debut album.  The song kicks off with Paul Stanley on vocals for the first verse while playing an acoustic guitar.  He screams “HIT IT!!” and all hell breaks loose.  Peter Criss takes over vocals and the song kicks in to full gear with his pounding drums, Gene Simmons’ thumping bass and Ace Frehley’s frenzied guitar.

The guitar solo is top notch and I love how it ends with the heavy ass bass sound with the ominous sounding drums as it gets slower and slower and then fades out.  It is amazing how so few lyrics can turn into a song over 5 minutes long and when the play it live it is even longer…live is a whole other story.  Don’t get me started on how great this song is live.  They used to close their live shows with this one a lot.

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Gene Simmons – ‘Kiss and Make-Up’ – Book Review

I was walking through an Antique Mall as my daughter had found another great place to buy used vinyl.  We came to a booth that didn’t have a ton of books, but there was one book there that immediately caught my eye.  It was the Gene Simmons’ autobiography called “Kiss and Make-Up”.  I had not read yet, so I grabbed it.  And at only $5, it was a steal.

And what did I think?  It was okay.  It was an easy read, but there was really nothing surprising or earth shattering.  I did forget he dated Diana Ross, but I knew about Cher so no shocker.  I had forgotten about some of the movies he did, but not ‘Runaway’ as I loved that one.

It was interesting to read about his childhood as it did explain a lot about who he is and why he is the way he is.  Gene is definitely full of himself and you know what, that is okay.  He knows it and I was worried I would like him even less after reading this, but I didn’t. I actually like a little more.  I feel I understand him a little more.

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Ace Frehley – The Albums Ranked Worst to First

Ace Frehley!  This ratty kid walks into the audition with a mismatched pair of shoes and Gene and Paul are not sure what to think of this mess.  He plugs in and plays and the rest is Kisstory as they say.  Ace is the one of the main reasons I love rock & roll.  His playing was amazing and he played with such feel that you wanted to be Ace.  When you and your friends wanted to pretend to be Kiss, I always wanted Ace and if I couldn’t get Ace, I was Paul (no one wanted to be Peter, not even Peter…old joke).

His time with Kiss was tumultuous at best.  But when the band did their solo albums back in 1978, Ace showed he had the goods to do this on his own and eventually that is what he did.  Eventually due to his drinking and other issues, Ace was let go and his solo career began.  And that solo career is the focus.  We will include the Kiss solo album because it is an Ace Frehley album, but only Ace’s stuff, no other Kiss.  And only studio albums will be counted, no live or compilations.

Sit back and enjoy the ranking of the Ace Frehley albums from Worst to First…

THE WORST – FREHLEY’S COMET – SECOND SIGHTING (1988)

Now when it comes to Ace, I am a little biased.  I do enjoy all his albums so for me “worst” is a little harsh.  I would just say it is the least favorite and not really the “worst”.  I have heard some pretty awful albums and this isn’t one of them.  But, it isn’t that great either in my humble opinion.  I know some would disagree (right LeBrain!!).

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The Top Rock Songs of 2018

Welcome to the Top 20 Rock Songs of 2018.  These songs are my favorite songs of the year and were not necessarily played on the radio or even shot up the charts.  They just moved me in some way good or bad!

If you missed the Top Rock Albums of 2018 or the Top Albums of 2018 (that were not Rock), just click on the link and go check them out.

It is time to start the list so here we go…

#20 – “Loading Zones” –  Kurt Vile off the album ‘Bottle it In’:  Kurt’s can be about the mundane and anything that troubles him in life. This is about the horrors of trying to park in the city.  It has such a great little beat to it and some great guitar and such a simple subject that yet turns into something amazing.  The video is great as well.

#19 – “Roll Me Under” – Stone Temple Pilots off the album ‘Stone Temple Pilots (2018)’:  I know I did give the album the best review, but I liked this song.  It had the old STP sound, but it was also Jeff Gutt at his best on the album.  Such a heavy bass and guitar sound,  it was just great.

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The Top Rock Albums of 2018

2018 was another year with some great releases and way too many to get through them all so 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 a later post.  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.  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 2018:

My #1 Album of the Year:

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Reach – The Great Divine: A modern, yet melodic rock album that just grabs hold and won’t let go from beginning to end.  A band I had never heard of prior to this album and I am now wondering where they have been my whole life.  Just a fantastic album with no songs to skip or delete.  Almost pure perfection.  The first album I bought that was new in 2018 and still listen to it today.  With songs like “The Great Divine”, “Nightmare” and “Into Tomorrow” you can see they have the goods.  The production value was great, the music, the vocals, it was all solid and my favorite album of the year!!  Give it a try (and check out my original review by clicking the album title).

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My Sunday Song – “Fractured Mirror” by Ace Frehley

For My Sunday Song #121, we are going to explore the instrumental classic by Ace Frehley called “Fractured Mirror”.  For the next 10 posts, I am going to go through 10 of my favorite instrumental songs.  I figured I would start with the first instrumental song I ever got into.  The song is from Ace Frehley’s 1978 Kiss Solo album and it was the last track on an album that made me wish I could be Ace Frehley and a guitar god.

“Fractured Mirror” was actually the first instrumental that Ace would release would end up being a total of 5 pieces released in total on most of his solo records. You have “Fractured Too”, “Fractured III”, “Fractured Quantum” and finally “Quantum Flux” on his latest release.  For me, they are usually the highlight of the albums.

On Ace’s 1978 solo album, Ace showed he could be the frontman, he could survive on his own and do songs just as good or better than Kiss.  It was the start of things to come.  With “Fractured Mirror”, Ace showed that he was a technical guitarist and that he had the chops to hang with the best.

From the opening bells of the song, the opening guitar riff and throughout the beautiful melodies he created to the ending of that same opening guitar riff, Ace delivered a masterpiece that all his other instrumentals would be compared against.  Sadly, all were good, but none were this good.

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Tuesday’s Memes – Guitar Gods!

I have done a post on guitars, but I will step it up and do one on Guitar Gods because I love the guitar and over the next year I will finally learn to play.  Until then, I will leave this to inspire me.  I hope you enjoy…

Jimi…

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And another Jimmy…

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Ace Frehley – ‘Spaceman’ – Album Review

In the last 10 years, Ace has been quite productive with four solo albums, including this one over that time span.  How many albums has Kiss put out (studio albums, not greatest hits or live albums)?  Only 2 with no signs of anything new coming.  I would say Ace is winning in this category.

Ace’s new album is a throwback of sorts.  Let’s start with that cover.  The cover is paying homage to the photo shoot from his 1978 Kiss solo album which was 40 years ago.  Here is the picture I found on pinterest…

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The album title as well is a throwback to his days as “The Spaceman” in the Band.  He will always be the Spaceman in my book (even though Tommy Thayer is killing it as that character in the band now).

The whole album has a reflective feel to it.  As Ace has gotten older (and sober), he seems to be reflecting on the past and with songs like “Bronx Boy” and “Rockin’ with the Boys” (the first two singles) you definitely get that feeling that he now appreciates his past, embraces it and thinks fondly of it.  Heck, even the cover song he does, “I Wanna Go Back” (Eddie Money cover), is looking back.  And makes me think he wants the Kiss job again.

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