Kiss – ‘Killers’ (1982) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

Kiss had released the ‘Music from the Elder’ back in November 1981 and it flopped. The record company was in a panic and needed to get something out so people could forget about the disaster that was ‘the Elder’ so what do they do? Well, they put out a compilation. Phonogram (the band’s European label) requested Kiss go back in and record some new songs for the compilation which they gladly did…well a couple of them gladly did. Ace was pretty much done with Kiss back in 1981 and wasn’t involved at all with any of the new songs. However, he wouldn’t leave the band until after the next album in late 1982. Gene played on them (I think), but didn’t sing or write as he was pretty busy either with his girlfriend Diana Ross or making movies.

The heavy lifting was left to Paul and Eric. Paul wrote or co-wrote all the songs and sang on all of them. The label and band brought in a bunch of outside writers including Mikel Japp, who co-wrote with Paul on his solo album, Adam Mitchell, who would write a lot on the next album ‘Creatures of the Night’, and lastly some guy named Bryan Adams. All the drum work was done by Eric Carr and the late Bob Kulick handled all the lead guitar work just as he did on Alive II, with rhythm guitar on one song done by Mikel Japp. So, I guess it is still Kiss.

Continue reading “Kiss – ‘Killers’ (1982) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)”

Kiss – ‘Unmasked’ (1980) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

By the end of they Dynasty Tour, the Kiss Empire was eroding quickly. Between Ace’s and Peter’s drinking problems (among other things), the band was at an all time low. During an interview on October 31, 1979 on the Tom Snyder Show, Ace was totally hammered and you could see the faces of Gene and Paul and they did not look altogether happy. Pissed is a probably a good word for it. And let us not forget Peter during the Tour. By the end, he would make so many screw-ups and some times would simply stop playing. Gene and Paul had had enough and so had Peter.

When 1980 rolls around, the band have to make a new album and this would become the first album without all four members of the band. Peter did not play on the album at all and there are no Peter sung songs, but he was credited to play and he was on the cover as Kiss wanted to keep the illusion going the band was fine for as long as they could. Who handled the drumming, well that would’ve been Anton Fig.

Now Ace, well, he was on the album, however, he only shows up on probably 5 of the 11 songs with the rest of the guitar parts being handled by Paul, Gene or Bob Kulick. It was becoming more and more obvious that the end was near for Ace as well although it wouldn’t be for another year or two. He somehow managed to hang in there for a little while longer.

Continue reading “Kiss – ‘Unmasked’ (1980) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)”

Kiss – ‘Paul Stanley’ (1978) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

By 1978, Kiss had reached the peak of stardom.  They were flying high and a couple members were too.  Trouble was brewing and most especially with Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. From what I have read, they both wanted to do solo albums, but the band needed to keep the train rolling.  So Bill Aucoin and others came up with a strategy to help keep the peace.  The entire band would each do a solo album and they would all be released at the same time on the same day, however, they would be under the Kiss umbrella.  Brilliant or Stupid was still yet to be seen.  No band had ever attempted this prior or since and probably for good reason.

Each member had to find their own producer, their own musicians as no one in the band played on the other persons record.  It took a lot of time and while they were working on the records, the label released ‘Double Platinum’ which we discussed last week.  All the albums came out on the same day, September 18, 1978.  Now I needed to decide what order to review these so it wouldn’t look like I was showing favorites so I let the posters do the talking.  The order of these Solo reviews is based on how the posters piece together from left to right.  In that case, Paul Stanley’s album is up first.

IMG_2333 Continue reading “Kiss – ‘Paul Stanley’ (1978) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)”

Kiss – ‘Alive II’ (1977) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

After three studio albums, it was time to repeat the magic with another live album, ‘Alive II’.  It worked well the first time so it seemed like that was the intention this time around to try and capture that gold again.  However, that was not the original intention.  While the band was touring Japan for ‘Rock & Roll Over’, they recorded the entire show of the band at the famed Budokan Hall in Tokyo on April 2, 1977.  They felt the band needed a break before recording the next album and this would be it.  However, Casablanca hated the album and it was scrapped.

R-5894228-1501033008-4468.jpeg

The band went and released ‘Love Gun’ as planned and then it was time for another live album.  This time they recorded three shows at the LA Forum on August 26-28 of 1977 while out on Tour for the ‘Love Gun’ album which was just released in June.  Heck, they even recorded the soundchecks as the goal for this album was to not duplicate any songs that were on ‘Alive!’.  And to add something special to the album, Side Four was going to be all new studio songs which gives this release a little something extra.  Eddie Kramer was brought back in to produce and he worked his magic. Continue reading “Kiss – ‘Alive II’ (1977) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)”

Kiss – ‘Wicked Lester and Progeny Demo Sessions’ (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series )

Welcome to the beginning of a new series on 2Loud2OldMusic.com.  We are finally tackling the entire Kiss catalog.  As you know, if you follow this site, Kiss is one of my favorite bands and I am amassing quite a vinyl collection.  I have done posts on Kiss over the years (a lot), but I haven’t tackled their main albums and in detail.  I figured, it was finally time to do so.  And what better way to kick it off then with the band right before Kiss was formed…Wicked Lester.  This review is a double review of sorts as this vinyl is a Bootleg and so it is part of my Bootleg Series with Kiss and it will also be the kickoff to the new series as this is where Kiss really began.

I haven’t done a full count, but I am guessing we will wind up with over 50 albums in this review as I will tackle as many Kiss albums as I can including Studio, Live, Greatest Hits, and anything else in my collection.  I will even venture off in to solo albums by the band members or other side projects they have.  It is going to be everything Kiss related.  I have a feeling this will take more than a year to complete, but I think I am up for the task. I hope you are too.  At the bottom of every post, there will be links to all the Kiss Reviews we have done in the past if you want to venture over and check them out.  I hope you enjoy…

IMG_2021 Continue reading “Kiss – ‘Wicked Lester and Progeny Demo Sessions’ (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series )”

Gene Simmons – ‘The Vault’ – Album Review (Part 15 of 15 – The Final Verdict)

We are finally to The End of the Road.  No, not the End of the Road Tour, but the end of our journey of Gene Simmons – The Vault!  We are on Part 15 of our 15 Part series.  We have spent numerous hours listening, reading, researching and writing up these posts and I have to say, it is the most fun I have had on this site maybe ever.  I wanted to deliver a very detailed breakdown of The Vault so maybe you would see whether or not it is worth buying.  For me, it was a no brainer, even though it took me two years to do it.  The price was finally right.

Let’s mention a little on the production of this album.  The production and mix were stellar.  They all had the same volume level and even the worst quality recording still sounded great.  They put a lot of time and effort in that and they hit it out of the park.

And I don’t want to forget to mention the people on this album.  I won’t go through all of them as you should read each review, but you get Ace Frehley, Bruce Kulick, Eric Carr, Eric Singer, Tommy Thayer, Bob Kulick and even Paul Stanley.  And then there is Bob Dylan, Eddie Van Halen and Alex Van Halen, but that is only a small portion…you get members of Black & Blue, of Silent Rage and even someone from Steel Panther. You get some songwriters, producers that helped write some songs and even Katey Sagal from Married With Children does some background vocals.  It is so cool to see all the different people involved.  That was one of my favorite parts.

IMG_1624 Continue reading “Gene Simmons – ‘The Vault’ – Album Review (Part 15 of 15 – The Final Verdict)”

Kiss – The Box Set (Disc Two 1975-1977) – Album Review (Part 3 of 6)

Welcome back to Part 3 of the 6 Part series. We have already talked about the Box Set and its packaging in Part 1 and we covered Disc 1 in Part 2 which covered the years 1966-1975.  That set gave us 12 Unreleased tracks.  This one has a lot, but not quite as many. For Disc Two, we get 8 previously unreleased tracks out of the 20 tracks on the disc.  And it is those 8 tracks we will spend most of our time here today on.  The rest will get covered when I actually do a Kiss series later down the road.

I am sure now you are wondering the what is the track listing for this disc if there are 20 songs and I am going to show you in pictorial form with this picture of the back of the CD case with Paul’s Starchild face covering the whole rear of cover.

IMG_1299

The first four tracks on this are taking from the Alive! album which was released in 1975 and since they are previously released will skip over them and get to the three previously unreleased tracks that come up next.

First we get the song “Doncha Hesitate” which was written by Paul Stanley.  The song was recorded as a demo and one of the few times the whole band would get together to record a demo.  However, there are different stories on when it was recorded.  Gene says it was recorded for ‘Dressed to Kill’ when they were trying to come up with more songs. Paul says it was written after ‘Alive!’ and before ‘Destroyer’ which are both after ‘Dressed to Kill’…so not sure who is write on this one.  The song is great for a demo as it is very raw and rough around the edges, but it falls flat as an overall song which is probably why it was never used.  I do like it though and always great to have unreleased tracks that were not used in any other song.

IMG_1302

Next we get the demo of a song called “Mad Dog”“Mad Dog” was recorded as a demo for the ‘Destroyer’ album along with numerous other songs that Gene had (some of which went on his solo album – not this one).  As they were picking through songs, Bob Ezrin would pick pieces of the demos and they would end of making a new song.  The riff from this song will sound familiar as it would become the riff in the song “Flaming Youth” on ‘Destroyer’. The song kinda sucks, but it has a great solo included and I love the song “Flaming You” so I actually dug this one a bit for that connection.

“God of Thunder” is a demo and the song was originally written and sung by Paul Stanley.  This to me is one of the gems on this Disc because it is so cool to here how Paul envisioned the song.  You can see why Bob Ezrin had Paul give it to Gene to sing because the theme, the sonics and the lyrics all scream Gene’s demon character.  Paul’s version is a faster tempo and less eerie as the final version, but it is fun and a rocking song.

IMG_1301

We go through some songs from ‘Destroyer’ before we get to the next demo which is “Bad, Bad Lovin”.  When you hear this one start up, you know it is the demo for the song that would become “Calling Dr. Love”. The verses are pure “Dr. Love”, but the chorus of “Bad, Bad Lovin” is so bad and doesn’t even fit with the feel and vibe of the verses.  Re-working it become “Calling Dr. Love” was definitely the way to go.  And cool that they put “Calling Dr. Love” as the next song on the album.

“Mr. Speed” is the demo of the song from ‘Rock & Roll Over’.  It is not my favorite song to begin with and this does nothing to make up for that.  This version has Bob Kulick on guitar and not Ace, but it is a demo so no big deal.

IMG_1304

We are going to skip the next batch of songs as they have all been released on albums and we will go to the next unreleased track which is a Soundcheck recording of “I Want You”. It was recorded in August 1977 at the soundcheck  at the Los Angeles forum.  Being a soundcheck, it is loose and a freaking blast!.  I love this song to begin with so any cool version I can get is fine by me.  Another favorite of mine on this disc.

The next demo is of the Kiss Klassic “Love Gun”.  Paul demoed this in New York with drummer Steve Korff of the band The Planets.  Paul played the bass and guitar for the demo.  That machine gun drum fill is the heart & soul of the song and was only replicated by Peter Criss as Paul came up with it.  The demo was pretty complete and sounds really close to the final version so not much was tweaked on this one.

IMG_1303

The last track is the Gene Simmons demo of a song called “Love is Blind”. It is one that was never recorded and it is Gene on all the instruments. And if you listen closely, you can here the click track in the background.  It doesn’t sound anything like Kiss, but maybe would have fit on his solo album as it was so diverse.  Gene felt it had more of an Eagles feel to it and I can hear that it in the overall sound.  A really cool track to me.

IMG_1300

And that is all the unreleased tracks.  Another great disc and almost as good as the first one, but not quite.  The 8 unreleased tracks are fantastic to have in the collection and I think this disc will get almost as much spin time as the first one.  Overall, I will score this one a 4.5 out of 5.0 Stars.  These first two discs were the majority of the Unreleased tracks from the set.  There are only about 10 more over the next three discs so I am going to have to review those slightly different otherwise they will be short reviews.  Until then.  Enjoy!

Check it out and let me know what you think. If you want to go back and read Part 1, click on the link below:

  • 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)

Up next is Disc Three 1976 – 1982 (Part 4 of 6)

My Sunday Song – “Rocket Ride” by Kiss

For My Sunday Song #140 and the final of this 10 song run of Kiss songs, we are discussing “Rocket Ride” by Kiss.  The song is one of the five original songs on the classic live album Kiss Alive II.  For the second live album, Kiss stepped it up a notch and added some original songs to give the album that extra boost.  The song reached #39 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was the band’s seventh song to make it to the Top 40 charts.

The song was written by Ace Frehley and Sean Delaney.  Sean, if you don’t know, worked with Kiss back in the day and was crucial in Kiss becoming Kiss.  He pushed Bill Aucoin to go see the band and then Bill became the manager.  Sean became their road manager and was critical in the development of the band’s onstage choreography and even co-wrote many famous Kiss songs.  He is a big part of the  band’s Kisstory!!

This is the only song of the five that Ace actually appeared on as Bob Kulick was brought in to play the guitar on all the other songs.  Ace and Peter are the only Kiss members to appear on this track in return.  Peter of course on the drums and Ace played all the guitar and bass parts.

The song opens with some electrifying guitar riffs delivered by the master himself.  It speeds by with a blistering pace and Ace truly nails the vocals.  The song is fun, rocking and delivers everything you want in a Kiss song including a stellar solo.  Peter keeps the beats coming with some nice little fills and the two are great together. The guitar riff at the end along with the explosiveness of Peter’s drumming ends the song perfectly and goes out the same way it came in  with bang.

51V0lbkc-FL._SY355_.jpg

Continue reading “My Sunday Song – “Rocket Ride” by Kiss”

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.

kiss-killers(compilation)

Continue reading “My Sunday Song – “Nowhere to Run” by Kiss”

My Sunday Song – “Naked City” by Kiss

For My Sunday Song #134, I am going to discuss “Naked City” off the underrated 1980 album ‘Unmasked’ by Kiss.  I say underrated now because I have grown to like this album now.  I didn’t appreciate it back in the day, but there were some great songs on this album, including this one.

First, the song was written by Gene Simmons, Vini Poncia, Bob Kulick and Pepe Castro.  The bass on the song is Gene and the rhythm guitar is Paul,  but that is it…no Ace & no Peter.  Drums are handled by Anton Fig and actually he did all the drums on the album even though Peter is credited.  Lead guitar on the song is former Kiss bandmate Bruce Kulick’s brother, Bob Kulick.  Bob actually auditioned for the lead guitar role back in the day, but Ace came in a beat him out…I guess the band never lost his number.

The song is more of a pop/rock song and doesn’t have the full edge of the classic Kiss tunes, but it is smoking when it comes to overall tone, groove and Gene’s vocals.  Even without all original members, it is still Kiss and it is still fantastic.  The song is about New York City (which a lot of their songs are about).  The song talks about the fact there are so many people in the city, so many lonely and lost people.  It is actually quite a sad, insightful and observant viewpoint of the city.

R-2852274-1481285688-9895.jpeg

Continue reading “My Sunday Song – “Naked City” by Kiss”