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.

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Kiss – The Box Set (Disc Five 1992-1999) – Album Review (Part 6 of 6)

Welcome back to final review in the series which is Part 6 of the 6 Part series. We have already talked about the Box Set and its packaging in Part 1 and we have covered Disc 1 and Disc 2 in the set.  For those, we got about 20 unreleased tracks between those two.  Quite impressive.  For Disc Three, we only get 3 unreleased tracks and Disc Four we only get 2 unreleased tracks and for the final disc, Disc 5, we only get 3 previously unreleased tracks.  As a result, I will also talk about the other songs on here to make it a fair representation.

For Disc 5, we only have 3 studio albums and some live albums to include on this set and not everything was great.  As far as studio it is the fantastic ‘Revenge’, the lack of direction ‘Carnival of Souls’ and the reunion album ‘Pschyo Circus’ which not everyone played on so not really a reunion, but that is another discussion.  You also get tracks from the MTV Unplugged album, The Detroit Rock City Soundtrack and some unreleased tracks.  Here are the songs and I love how Eric Carr in Fox Makeup is the background!!

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First up on the disc are four songs from the album ‘Revenge’ which is an album that saw Gene get comfortable in his skin again and gave us one of their heaviest albums since Creatures.  It was fantastic.  Out of the four songs, we get the demo of “Domino” which was written by Gene in 1991 for the ‘Revenge’ album.  The demo is pretty close to the original song with some minor changes as the solo in the album version is played at a different key than the demo.  It is a cool piece to the collection.

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The next batch of four songs is from the MTV unplugged album. The first three tracks are with Eric Singer and Bruce and the last song, “Nothin’ to Lose” has Ace and Peter on it.   I think all four tracks are great as is that whole album.  With so few albums to pull from on this set, we are getting a lot of songs for each album which is part of the drag on this disc.

Next we get two tracks from the album ‘Carnival of Souls’ and to say this isn’t a good album is almost an understatement.  There are some good songs from the album such as “Master and Slave”, but the songs chosen for this release are not my favorites.  These don’t sound like Kiss songs to me.

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Then we get four songs from ‘Psycho Circus’ and none are demos or anything rare.  The song choices are fine it is just like I said earlier, four songs from one release is a lot and it would have been nice to have more unreleased stuff on this disc.

There is one cool song on here from an album I didn’t have which is the Detroit Rock City Movie Soundtrack.  The song is “Nothing Can Keep Me From You”.  I believe the song played through the end credits and was actually written by Diane Warren and not by Kiss.  I enjoyed the track and this is the perfect set for songs like this to be on.

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Then we get one of the most famous unreleased tracks, a song called “It’s My Life”.  This song is one of the best on the disc and did you know Kiss played this live for the first time on the Kiss Kruise IX which was a month ago.  The song dates back to around the time of ‘The Elder’ and was never fully finished.  I believe it has all the original band members on this track was supposed to be on Psycho Circus, but as you know, didn’t make it.

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The last two tracks are both live.  The first one is “Shout it Out Live” from a show in 1996 and on ‘The Greatest Kiss’ album.  And then a previously unreleased version of “Rock & Roll All Nite” because that was what we needed (yeah, no!).  It was from 1999 and was later released on the ‘Alive! The Millennium Concert’ in 2006. For me, not much a great win as an unreleased track.

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This disc had a few highlights for me with “It’s My Life”, “Nothing Can Keep Me From You” and “Domino”, but outside of that it was underwhelmed.  There were too many songs from each disc and the Carnival of Song choices kind of sucked. I don’t ever need another version of “Rock & Roll All Nite”…I mean who does.  I am going to only give it a 3.0 out of 5.0 Stars as a result.  The 3.0 is generous, but I do love “It’s My Life”.

And now that we have all the scores from all 6 reviews, we need to tally up the whole Box Set and come up with an overall score.  Here were the scores:

  • Overall Packaging – 5.0 out of 5.0
  • Disc One – 5.0 out of 5.0
  • Disc Two – 4.5 out of 5.0
  • Disc Three – 3.5 out of 5.0
  • Disc Four – 4.0 out of 5.0
  • Disc Five – 3.0 out of 5.0
  • Overall Average Score – 4.2 out of 5.0 Stars

Check it out and let me know what you think. If you want to go back and read them all, click on the links below:

And that is the end!!  I hope you enjoyed this 6 Part Series of The Box Set!

Kiss – The Box Set – Album Review (Part 1 of 6)

I didn’t buy this when it originally came out as I was not a in a good music place at the time.  My music buying was limited.  So, now that I wanted it, I had to search for it, find one in good condition and find it at the right price as some of the prices were RIDICULOUS!!!

Lo and behold, I was at a record show here in Charlotte and a guy had one for sale.  Actually, he had two.  One was in the guitar case, CDs still sealed and had the hard back book, but I didn’t want to spend that much dough, when I could get this version for a fraction of the price. Plus, I wasn’t paying a premium for sealed CDs as the seal doesn’t last long on my collection. I listen to my music.  As much as I want the guitar case version, my wallet decided this was the better way to go. Sometimes my wallet is smart and other times, he wants to spend, spend, spend.

The Box Set by Kiss was released on November 20th, 2001 and consists of 5 CDs spanning their entire career (up to that point) and a paperback photo book which we will get to in a minute.  I will review all 5 CDs individually over 5 different posts over the next couple of months.  For now, we will talk about the overall box set and the packaging.

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The CD’s span different eras of the band and there are 5 discs full of music.  The Box Set includes 94 tracks,  which consists of 30 previously unreleased band and solo demos as well as outtakes and live recordings.  The other 64 tracks are songs selected from each of the band’s albums except for Gene’s solo.  From that one you get a demo.

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That is a lot of stuff.  Here are the discs…

Disc One: 1966-1975

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Disc Two: 1975-1977

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Disc Three: 1976-1982

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Disc Four: 1983-1992

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Disc Five: 1992-1999:

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PHOTOBOOK:

You also get a 120-page color booklet that contains track-by-track commentary by the band, detailed track information, photos and essays.  I loved the commentary and getting all the tidbits of information on the songs.  The pictures are stunning and the book is really high quality as it is with everything the band does.

Here are some pictures…

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I had to have my daughter hold it open to take the pictures as the book hadn’t really been viewed and was nice and stiff.  I was able to edit out her fingers.

The package comes in a nice box with a red velvet insert to hold the disc.  It is really a nice little set up.

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And then on the spine of the box, the Kiss logo is in engraved into the fabric for a nice shiny feel.  You can feel the grooves.

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For the packaging and the photobook, I will give the set a 5.0 out of 5.0 Stars.  It is what you would expect from a Kiss Box Set. Now for the music, I will review over the next 5 posts and rate each disc separately and then a final Overall Score on the last post.  There will be 6 parts overall (this is part 1) to this series and I hope you enjoy them all as much as I will going through them.  Thanks for stopping by and until next time, have a great day!

 

Kiss – All The Way At The Ball Room (Bootleg Series) – Album Review

This piece of Kiss Bootleg I found at my local independent record store called Lunchbox Records.  It is Kiss from February 7th, 1995 and was recorded at the Hilton Hotel Ballroom in Melbourne, Australia while they were down under on tour.  The album is an acoustic show and this is a collection of outtakes from that show.

The line-up is Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons of course and since this is pre-reunion, it also includes Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer.  A great non-makeup lineup.  The band sounds great and even Paul is singing his heart out.  The recording I believe is an audience recording only due to the loudness of the crowd, but let me tell you it sounds freaking awesome.

The crowd is really in to and at times it feels like a campfire singalong.  The band is definitely enjoying themselves as they are interacting with the crowd and seem to be having a blast.

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The set is a single LP and includes a full size poster in with the album. The picture is of the front cover so not something different from what you already see…

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Kiss – The End of the Road Tour – Concert Review (Charlotte, NC August 10, 2019)

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming of Tuesday’s Memes to bring you this special announcement…

August 10th, 2019, Kiss bid farewell to the city of Charlotte, NC.  The End of the rode made a stop on a beautifully, hot night and a venue that holds 19,500 people was pretty freaking packed!!  If it wasn’t sold out, it wasn’t by much.  The place was filled with young and old alike and the costumes and make-up were a plenty including leather pants so tight, I don’t know how the women got them on (or off for that matter).

My first show was December 26, 1983 and August 10, 2019 was my last.  That is according to Kiss as this is the Farewell Tour or so they say.  I tried to drag my kids to it, but in the end, my oldest was the only one to go so I let her bring a friend.  My youngest has a few issues with noise sensitivity and after the show, I realized, she was probably right not to go as it would have been too much for her as the explosions and music were pretty darn loud.  Hell, my ears are still ringing a little this morning as I type.

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With tickets in hand, we found our seats and were ready to see “The Hottest Band in the Land…KISS”

But first, we had to sit through the opening act.  No, not a rock band.  Nope, not a comedian either.  We got the great pleasure of having David Girabaldi doing some performance art…painting.  What?  Painting is a performance art?  I was not aware of this.  David is immensely talented and whipped through 3 paintings in about 30 minutes. He did one of Jon Bon Jovi, while their music played.  His final one was of Kiss which was raffled off with proceeds going to Make a Wish Foundation which is cool.  The 2nd painting was of Ozzy!!  And it was really great…heck…they all were. The problem was it was so boring and unexciting.  The crowd liked it somewhat, I thought it sucked.  I would have liked a band to play, a young up & coming band or someone that had toured with Kiss before…Actually, Bruce Kulick’s band would have be the bomb!!

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Kiss – The Hottest Show On Earth (Bootleg Series) – Album Review

We are on Vinyl #7 and the Final Vinyl from my trip to Paris.  Man, what a collection of bootlegs I picked up and I couldn’t be more thrilled.  I have been enjoying them immensely and they were well worth the money despite what my wife says!

The final vinyl in the collection is from the Epicenter in Fontana, CA on September 25th, 2010 on the bands The Hottest Show on Earth Tour.  The album actually says it is at the Auto Club Speedway, but they even say Epicenter in the show.  So that ain’t right.

This particular bootleg was made in Japan and even has the awesome Japanese obi strip on the album cover as you see on the above picture.  And the back of the strip is some more pictures of the band.

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And the back cover is pretty awesome as well as it has a great stage shot of the menacing Demon himself, Gene Simmons.

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Hired Gun – Documentary Review

I have been wanting to see Hired Gun since it was announced as a documentary in the Summer of 2017.  Thanks to Netflix, I finally got that chance.  If you don’t know what it is, I will tell you.

‘Hired Gun’ is a documentary about those musicians singers and bands hire to be in the band whether to help make an album or to do a tour.  They are the “hired guns” and they aren’t actual members of the band.  For me, that sounded like a very interesting story to be told.  What do these musicians/artists go through to get the gig and to actually keep that gig.

The people they interview are incredible musicians.  You might not know them all by name, but you would probably recognize a lot their work.  They are as follows:

  • Liberty Devito (Billy Joel)
  • Jason Hook (Five Finger Death Punch)
  • Phil X (Bon Jovi)
  • Eric Singer (Kiss)
  • Ray Parker, Jr. (Ghostbusters)
  • Justin Derrico (P!nk)
  • Rudy Sarzo (Ozzy Osbourne)
  • Steve Lukather (Michael Jackson)
  • Kenny Arnoff (John Mellencamp)
  • Jason Newsted (Metallica)

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Scooby-Doo and KISS – Rock and Roll Mystery – Movie Review

For some reason, my youngest daughter has been fascinated by the band KISS.  I am sure it stems from all the KISS albums and videos I have. When she was younger, we would joke that her tongue was like Gene Simmons, so the Demon became the character she liked best.

My youngest also loves Scooby-Doo.  So when KISS and Scooby-Doo joined forces for a video, naturally she had to have it.  And being the great father and Kisss fan that I am, I made sure she had it.

Instead of me trying to be creative and explain this hard to explain movie, I will let the editors of Amazon.com do it for me…

Get ready to Rock! Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Inc. Gang team up with the one and only KISS in this all-new, out-of-this-world adventure! We join the Gang at Kiss World – the all-things-Kiss theme park, as they investigate a series of strange hauntings. With help from Kiss, they discover that the Crimson Witch has returned to summon The Destroyer from the alternate dimension of Kissteria! The evil duos ghastly plan, to destroy the earth! Can the Gang’s cunning and Kiss’s power of rock save the day?! Tune in to this Rock and Roll Mystery for some thunderous, heavy FUN!

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