Bruce Kulick as you know from this series, was the Kiss guitarist from 1984 to 1996…the non-makeup years. He was a perfect fit for the band and one of the most likable guys to ever be in Kiss. Before Kiss he was in a band called Blackjack with some guy named Michael Bolton from 1979-1980 and that would’ve been a good album to review since there is a Kiss connection with Michael has he co-wrote “Forever” off ‘Hot in the Shade’. But the goal for this series was to cover an album after the artist left the band, not before (unless there wasn’t an after as in Tommy’s case). That left the band Union which Bruce was in the John Corabi, even though he has been with Grand Funk Railroad for 20 years now, but they’ve never done an album. So that really got me thinking I should do his solo album since it was all Bruce.
Now technically I did already do a Bruce project when I did the Eric Singer Project, but that one was really Eric’s spotlight since the band was named after Eric which by the way had John Corabi in that band too. So Bruce’s first solo album is where I wound up. It was called ‘Audiodog’ and was released on October 23, 2001. There is a Kiss connection with this album as well, other than Bruce. That connection is Curt Cuomo who co-wrote a bunch of these tracks with Bruce and played keyboards plus some backing vocals. The Kiss connection with Curt is that he co-wrote two songs on ‘Psycho Circus’ with Paul Stanley including the title track.
The album was not a full instrumental album surprisingly. There were only 4 songs on here that were instrumental. The rest had vocals which were actually handled by Bruce. Bruce’s vocals aren’t the strongest and I would put him in the area of maybe Ace’s vocals. Not great, but definitely decent enough to be rather enjoyable as it is a solid rock tone. Bruce played all guitars and bass, but drums were handled mostly by Brent Fitz who played in Bruce’s band Union as well as with Gene Simmons. Two of the songs had legendary John Mellencamp drummer Kenny Arnoff on them which is pretty cool as well.
My youngest daughter loves her Funko Pop! Figures and was thrilled when I got my own set of the Def Leppard Funko Pop! Set. She also knows I am a huge Kiss fan and so for Christmas this past year, she searched out and found all 4 of the Kiss Funko Pop! Rocks Figures. I was thrilled and happy to get this set and to come from her makes it extra special.
This set is the 2nd Kiss set in the Funko Pop! Rocks series as they are numbered #121-124. The first set in their series was #04 to #07 and they looked a lot different than this set. And it is much more expensive, so maybe some day down the road I will find that, but for now I am going to enjoy this special set.
This set doesn’t go by the band member’s actual names as that would be tough to choose who you are basing the make-up and the costume on and possibly give credit to past members and Kiss doesn’t want to do that. Instead, they are based on the Kiss characters each rock star is playing.
It is time for us to do our shout-out to Eric Singer and one of his projects. Before Kiss, Eric had played with Black Sabbath and he even had his own band Badlands that released a stellar release in 1989. Then he joined Kiss with the Revenge album and stayed with the band up until the reunion tour in 1996. He would later play with numerous artist, but most notably the great Alice Cooper. However, I wanted to highlight one with a big Kiss connection because that is what I like to do. His side project the Eric Singer Project was a supergroup that had Eric on drums and vocals, Chuck Garric on bass and vocals, John Corabi and guitar, bass and vocals and the big Kiss connection is who was also in the band. It was Eric’s former Kiss co-hort, Bruce Kulick on guitar.
The band was a side group that played covers. They played some live shows and put out an album called ‘ESP’…Eric Singer Project. The one I see most Kiss collectors trying to grab up is this album so I figured this is the perfect album to do for Eric. I know, I probably should’ve done Badlands since this is all covers, but this had too big a Kiss connection to pass up. Plus, I love Corabi so it was a chance for me to hear him as well even if he isn’t singing all the time.
The track listing is pretty good with some not so common covers and there are a few that a typical cover songs. Here are the songs and the original band…
Up next on the side projects is former Kiss guitarist, Mark St. John. Mark played on Animalize but didn’t last real long with the band. He developed a type of arthritic condition in his fingers that was very troublesome. When the band toured live for the album, Mark only played in 3 shows. The excuse was given that he was let go because he couldn’t play due to the condition with this hands, but I am not so sure that is true. I think his guitar fill-in on the tour who happened to be Bruce Kulick fit in with the band better than Mark so they let Mark go while on tour and stuck with Bruce who would stay in the band for over a decade. Probably a great move on their part.
Now that doesn’t take away from Mark’s ability as he was a hell of a shredder on the guitar. His playing was fast and frantic and he could rip out a solo. After he left Kiss, he actually did form a band and release an album independently with a band called White Tiger so technically I should’ve reviewed that album back when we were in the 1985/86 timeline, but if you have been paying attention to the review series, I have been picking the side projects with larger Kiss connections and other than Mark, there isn’t another Kiss connection I could make. Instead, I went all the way to 1999 and his Mark St. John Project and the E.P. they released. Why you may ask. Well that is because of the 5 songs on the E.P., three of those songs were co-written with a former Kiss alum, Peter Criss. That is right, the Catman. Mark had been working on a project prior to this with Peter around 1990. They shopped around a demo but the response was not so good.
Spring has sprung (not completely temperature wise, but calendar wise) and I couldn’t be happier to get past the gloomy winter months. To celebrate, let’s look over what purchases were made at 2 Loud 2 Old Music this month. And we cover the spectrum with Vinyl, CDs, 7″ Single and even Tour Books. Yes, I did not discriminate on a particular product this month. I spread the wealth.
I hadn’t been out to a record store in a long while, so I hit up two of my favorite haunts, Hardy Boy Records and Noble Records and like normal, I found some cool items. First up are a couple of Tour Books from the 1970’s. They are both for Alice Cooper and yes, we will go through them in detail in the next couple months. They are for the Welcome to My Nightmare Tour and the Guilty Tour.
I also find a 7″ Single from Cheap Trick for the Top Gun Song, “Mighty Wings”…love that song…
As we discussed back in the 1991 timeline, Eric Carr passed away on November 24, 1991 due to an aneurysm that probably stemmed from the numerous surgeries he had to remove tumors related to his heart cancer. Before his death, Eric was always writing songs as he was a very creative soul. He could write, he could sing and he could play more than just the drums. ‘Rockology’ is a collection of the songs he had been working on prior to his death. These are demos and not necessarily full fledge songs in some cases so keep that in mind. Think of this as his ‘Vault’ because it is very similar in the type of songs you get. You get some fully fleshed out songs, you get some where lyrics are being scatted because their aren’t any yet and you get some straight-up instrumentals.
The album was put together by one of Eric’s great friends and former Kiss bandmate, Bruce Kulick. With the help of Adam Mitchell (co-writer of numerous Kiss songs), they pieced together a collection of songs from old cassettes or where ever they could find them. They would clean them up the best they could, add some backing vocals where appropriate and even Bruce overdubbed some killer solos in a few songs to help complete them. Bruce produced the album and I think this was a wonderful tribute to his old friend and bandmate.
Only 2 months after Kiss released their reunion album, ‘Psycho Circus’, the band released another video. This one consisted of 2 VHS Tapes called ‘The Second Coming’. This isn’t a concert video, but instead what we get is a documentary that documents the band’s reunion with Ace and Peter and the subsequent Alive/Worldwide Tour from 96-97. The video was released on November 24, 1998 and the sales were really great as it went Platinum.
It starts off sounding like a VH1 Behind the Music TV show as they quickly go through the band’s make-up history and the first departure of Peter and Ace. This part takes only about 15 minutes and when I say it is high level, that is an understatement. This is an extremely short version of Cliffs Notes Kisstory. The good news is that leaves the remaining 2 hours left to discuss when Peter and Ace start getting back in the good graces of Gene and Paul starting with the Kiss Conventions and going through the end of the Alive/Worldwide Tour a few short years later.
Before we get in to some of the detail of the video, let’s first talk about a future Kiss connection with this video. The Director and Producer of the video is future Kiss’ own Tommy Thayer. That is right, before he became the Spaceman in Kiss, he was brought on board as basically a historian for the band.
After the very successful Reunion Tour from 1996-1997, it was time for the original band members to put other their first album in 20 years with the Gene, Paul, Ace and Peter. The last one they did together was 1979’s ‘Dynasty’. Let me tell you, I was super excited to get a new album with only the original 4 guys. I couldn’t wait. I would get to hear Ace rip solos and cool riffs on every song and Peter would bang those drums until the cows came home. Man, I am getting goosebumps just thinking about it. Now imagine my surprise when it wasn’t even close to the build up.
Yes, it was a new album that did feature all four original members. Their pictures are on the front, they each sing song, but it was far from only being the original four guys. Ace appears on only 2 of the 10 songs and Peter sings on 2 and only plays drums on 1. Nothing seems to have changed as ‘Dynasty’ was also an album Ace and Peter slightly appeared on as well. Gene and Paul still rule the roost and do things the way they want to do them. Ace does appear on the Japanese only track so on that release he is on 3 of the 11 tracks. The only song that features all four members is the Ace sung song “Into the Void” which we will discuss later. To be fair, the reason behind Ace and Peter not getting to play much as they were trying to renegotiate their contracts with Kiss and I don’t think that sit real well with Gene and Paul.
Shortly after the MTV Unplugged Show, the current line-up of the band, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer, went back in to the studio to record what would become the band’s 17th studio album. The album was recorded between November 1995 and February 1996, however, the album was scrapped and pushed aside. Why would they do such a thing, was it that bad? No, not exactly. The problem was that after the MTV Unplugged Show, the buzz about the Ace Frehley and Peter Criss playing with the band again was reaching a fever pitch. Would they get back together and do a reunion tour? Would they put the make-up back on? And the answer to both of those questions was a resounding, YES!!
The album was set aside for the time being. Somehow though, bootleg copies of the album got out and were being distributed around in certain circles (I wasn’t in that certain circle). As a result, the band decided to finally release the album and they called it ‘Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions’. It actually didn’t have all the same songs as the bootleg, but at least it was out.
The album was a complete departure for the band. It saw them go darker and more grunge because as usual, the band were followers and trying to follow the trend. They didn’t care in the least anymore to be trend setters and set the bar high. Nope, they pandered to what was big in music. There is a problem with that as Grunge was fading by this time. A lot of the sound was actually a result of Bruce Kulick’s doing as he helped co-write 9 of the 12 songs. I am not saying it is his fault, I am only saying that it was because of Bruce they were able to do that sound as he was versatile enough and technically savy enough to play anything.
Welcome to the 50th Review in the Kiss Review Series and we aren’t even close to being done. Sadly, the 50th review is this pile of crap. Kiss in 1997 was still touring the Alive / Worldwide Tour and to keep pushing out product for cash grabs, they dumped on us a total worthless pile of dung called ‘Greatest Kiss’. Yes, another greatest hits package. This one was released on April 6, 1997 and it only hit #77 on the Billboard Charts. I don’t think it was ever certified Gold or anything like that because let’s be honest, this is not a good greatest hits package.
The problem with it is that the U.S. version only covers the time frame of 1974-1980, the make-up years with the four original members. And there is only one previously unreleased track which is “Shout it Out Loud” that was recorded the prior year while on tour. It was recorded at Tiger Stadium in Detroit, MI on June 28, 1996 and was the show opener. It had a ton of explosions and fireworks and you hear every last pop. It’s not a bad recording.