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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Billy Idol – ‘Don’t Stop E.P.’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

After the demise of Generation X and Gen X, Billy would follow Bill Aucoin, his manager and Kiss’ former manager, to New York City to start a solo career.  When Billy signed on with Gen X as their manager, he quickly learned that the star of this band was not the band, but its lead singer, Billy Idol.

When Billy got to New York, he met a lot of interesting people and really loved the club scene…and of course, the drug scene was something he enjoyed as well.  If you read his book, “Dancing With Myself you can find out all about it so I won’t spoil the details here.

Billy was introduced to a guitarists at this time that would become just as big a part of Billy’s solo career as he was.  He met Steve Stevens.  There is no Billy Idol sound without Steve and his guitar playing is what makes Idol’s solo songs that much better.

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With Steve Stevens in tow along with Phil Feit on bass and Gregg Gerson on drums, the band set out to record Billy’s first solo album.  As a teaser and build up to his career, it was decided an E.P. would be put out, I guess to whet everyone’s whistle and draw up buzz on the singer.  ‘Don’t Stop’ was the result.  It was more of a dance album than the former punk sound Billy had and you could see the magic being developed on what would become an amazing run of albums in the 80’s.

Continue reading “Billy Idol – ‘Don’t Stop E.P.’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)”

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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Friday New Releases – January 25th

Now we are in to full swing in the new year.  The albums are starting to come out and today we have a long list of releases. There will hopefully be something for everyone.  There are bunch I am interested in, but might not necessarily buy right now.  They will be streamed to start with and I will pick up the ones I like the best.  My choices are highlighted in Blue.  Let me know what you like or are interested in.  Thanks and have a great musical weekend.

  • 41XHjCPQ-aL._AC_US436_QL65_  Starbreaker – Dysphoria – (Frontiers Records):  Tony Harnell and Magnus Karlsson team up again with the band’s third album and first in over 11 years…damn…way too long.  It is metal, it is hard rock and it is usually great.  Can’t wait to hear this one.

  • 61MGNjF1EfL._SS500  Rival Sons – Feral Roots – (Atlantic Records):  Rival Sons are one of those bands you just fall in love with immediately when you hear them. Now on their 6th studio album they just keep getting better.  They are straight up rock & roll with a heavy blues influence and worth a listen.  Give them a try.

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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!!).

Continue reading “Ace Frehley – The Albums Ranked Worst to First”

Kiss in Concert – The First Time to The Last Time

Back in October, Kiss announced their final tour called “End of the Road” World Tour.  The tour would last three years according to them and that is one helluva a long tour.  But it has made me sad for many reasons.  One, all the rockers I grew up idolizing and following are getting old and are not going to be touring for too much longer.  As a result, I need to catch as many shows now as I can before they are all gone.  Two, It means I am getting Old.

But this is Kiss.  One of the very first concerts I ever saw was Kiss. I think it was the 2nd concert I had ever been to see.  This a different sadness.  Thanks to the influence of my big brother, I became a huge fan of the band.  I have seen them only 7 times so far, but next to Def Leppard, that is the most I have seen any band.  I thought I would go through my Kiss journey in form of all the concerts of theirs I have seen.

It all started in 1983. Christmas morning to be exact.  I was turning 15 years old. I think it was a Birthday present and not a Christmas present (as they are the same day).  My older brother, Gary, gave me a ticket to see Kiss for my birthday.  That was a big surprise.  The other surprise was, the show was the very next day on December 26th.

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Kiss was touring in support of their album ‘Lick It Up’.  It was the first time they were performing without makeup.  It was a big deal…well it was to me!!  I never had seen them before so I was just happy to finally see them live in all their glory.

The opening acts were Pat Travers and the band Axe and the show was at the Omni which has since been torn down and became Phillips Arena (which I think just changed it’s name to State Farm Arena or something like that).  The stage was still the Tank stage from the Creatures of the Night Tour and was completely badass to this 15 year old.  It was pretty cool.  The lead guitarist at the time was Vinnie Vincent and Eric Carr was on drums. I am glad I got to see that  line up of the band.  Vinnie was fired after this tour.

Setlist:

  1. Creatures of the Night
  2. Detroit Rock City
  3. Cold Gin
  4. Fits Like a Glove
  5. Firehouse
  6. Guitar Solo (Paul)
  7. Exciter
  8. War Machine
  9. Gimme More
  10. Guitar Solo (Vinnie)
  11. Bass Solo (Gene, duh)
  12. I Love It Loud
  13. I Still Love You
  14. Drum Solo (Eric)
  15. Young & Wasted
  16. Love Gun
  17. Black Diamond
  18. Lick It Up (Encore)
  19. Rock And Roll All Nite (Encore)

That was a damn fine setlist. Songs on here they will never play on their final tour.

On January 9th, 1985, brought me to my 2nd Kiss concert and back at the Omni.  The opening act was Krokus and they were great.  The tour was for the Animalize Tour and the lead guitarist on this one was supposed to be Mark St. John, but he was fired in December.  Bruce Kulick took over duties for the remainder of the tour and for years later. I hate I didn’t get to see Mark. He is the only Kiss guitarist I have not seen live.

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This time I bought a souvenir as I would have had a job.  I bought one of their big ass programs.  I still have the Tour Program from that show and it still had Mark St. John throughout since they didn’t have time to change them up.

The setlist for this show was similar to the last with some minor tweaks.

  1. Detroit Rock City
  2. Cold Gin
  3. Creatures of the Night
  4. Fits Like a Glove
  5. Heaven’s On Fire
  6. Guitar Solo
  7. Under the Gun
  8. War Machine
  9. Drum Solo
  10. Young & Wasted (Eric now on vocals)
  11. Bass Solo
  12. I Love it Loud
  13. I Still Love You
  14. Love Gun
  15. Black Diamond
  16. Oh! Susanna (Encore)
  17. Lick It Up (Encore)
  18. Rock and Roll All Nite (Encore)

I started 1985 with a Kiss concert so I had to end it with a Kiss concert.  This one was on December 31, 1985 and where else, but at the Omni.  This show was for the Asylum Tour this time. The opening act for this show was Black n Blue.  Gene had produced their album so no wonder they opened. Same line-up as the earlier show so nothing really new.  I had to get another program…of course.

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This setlist was different in the sense that Rock and Roll All Nite was not the encore.  This encore was a big jam session with a lot of covers

  1. Detroit Rock City
  2. Fits Like a Glove
  3. Guitar Solo (Paul)
  4. Uh! All Night
  5. Cold Gin
  6. Under the Gun
  7. Guitar Solo (Bruce)
  8. I Still Love You
  9. Bass Solo
  10. I Love it Loud
  11. Tears Are Falling
  12. Drum Solo
  13. War Machine
  14. Love Gun
  15. Rock and Roll All Nite
  16. La Bamba (Encore)
  17. Whole Lotta Love (Encore)
  18. Heaven’s On Fire (Encore)
  19. Oh! Susanna (Encore)
  20. Won’t Get Fooled Again (Encore)
  21. Lick It Up (Encore)

The 80’s still weren’t done.  Time for another show.  We are now in February 1988.  February 10th to be exact.  They were now touring for the Crazy Nights album.  The show was less pyrotechnics and more of a rock show.  Gene did spit fire though.  The opening act, if I remember correctly, was the one and only Ted Nugent.  For me, this was a dream come true as I hadn’t seen him before and I was a huge “Cat Scratch Fever” fan.  I was not disappointed.  He is a mad man.

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No tour book this time as I had been to so many concerts over the past 12 months and ticket prices were now up to $17.50 up from the $11.50 that cost for my first show.  Since it had been about 3 years since the last show I had seen, had the setlist changed much?  Let’s see

  1. Love Gun
  2. Cold Gin
  3. Bang Bang You
  4. Fits Like a Glove
  5. Crazy Crazy Nights
  6. Shout it out Loud
  7. Guitar Solo
  8. Drum Solo
  9. War Machine
  10. Reason To Live
  11. Heaven’s on Fire
  12. Bass Solo
  13. I Love it Loud
  14. Lick It Up
  15. Rock and Roll All Nite
  16. Detroit Rock City (Encore)

This was a shorter set and a much shorter encore.  They must have been bored or something.  But some cool songs that they don’t play now like Bang Bang You.

Now we jump to the 90’s. The first show for me of this new decade was none other than…KISS!!  It was July 20, 1990 and this time it was at the Coca-Cola Lakewood Amphitheater.  This was a great show.  The opening acts were Danger Danger for sure and the other act was possibly Slaughter. This show got me hooked on Danger Danger so that is why I remember it.  I was already a fan of Slaughter, but Danger Danger was better live. The tour was for the album Hot in the Shade and had a huge Sphinx for the stage setup.  Ticket prices were now over $20 at $24 after fees.

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This one is probably my favorite setlist so far.  They played mostly old songs and some new and just a great mix of songs.  Plus a lot I hadn’t seen live yet.

  1. I Stole Your Love
  2. Deuce
  3. Heaven’t on Fire
  4. Crazy Crazy Nights
  5. Black Diamond
  6. Shout it Out Loud
  7. Strutter
  8. Calling Dr. Love
  9. I Was Made For Lovin’ You
  10. Rise To It
  11. Fits Like a Glove
  12. Hide Your Heart
  13. Lick it Up
  14. God of Thunder
  15. Forever
  16. Cold Gin
  17. Tears are Falling
  18. I Love It Loud
  19. Love Gun
  20. Detroit Rock City
  21. I Want You (Encore)
  22. Rock and Roll All Nite (Encore)

The next time I saw the band was the big Reunion Tour in 1996.  Kiss reunited with Ace Frehley and Peter Criss.  The make-up came back on and they did a massive tour.  I am glad to say that on October 1st, I got to see them finally in their make-up. I never thought I would get to see that and I never thought I would get to see Ace & Peter.  My dreams were fulfilled.  The opening act was the Verve Pipe.  Yeah, don’t remember their set at all.  The ticket price was $42 with fees, but I paid nothing  as my sister-in-law worked for the company that built the Omni so we were in their box.

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It was such an amazing show and my favorite so far. I got to see them do what they do best.  Gene looked so much more comfortable back in the make-up and the blood and fire spitting were back in full force.  I remember it was the best Kiss show I had seen because it was them in Make-up.  Ace doing his guitar solo with the smoking guitar and shooting fireworks.  It was what I wanted to see when I was a little kid, but I was too young.  I was in my late 20’s at this point so no longer too young!

The setlist was nothing but classic 70’s Kiss. No 80’s crap here (not really crap, I like the 80’s music too) since Ace & Peter were’t really there in the 80’s.  It was fan’freakin’tastic.

  1. Deuce
  2. King of the Night Time World
  3. Do You Love Me
  4. Calling Dr. Love
  5. Cold Gin
  6. Watchin’ You
  7. Firehouse
  8. I Stole Your Love
  9. Shock Me
  10. Guitar Solo
  11. Let Me Go, Rock ‘N’ Roll
  12. Shout It Out Loud
  13. Strutter
  14. Bass Solo
  15. God of Thunder
  16. Drum Solo
  17. New York Groove
  18. Love Gun
  19. 100,000 Years
  20. Black Diamond
  21. Detroit Rock City (Encore)
  22. Beth (Encore)
  23. Rock and Roll All Nite (Encore)

Damn!!!

Now, there was a long, long stretch before I saw them again.  In fact, it was 16 years.  The next show I remember was on July 19th, 2014 after we had moved to Charlotte.  It was Kiss’ 40th Anniversary Tour and the opening act was Def Leppard!!  That is right.  The 2 bands I have seen in concert the most were playing together in the same show.  Wow!!

My brother, my sister and her husband drove up to Charlotte to see them with me.  If I am being honest, Def Leppard was absolutely amazing.  Probably the best show I have ever seen them do.  They blew the doors off Kiss that night. Kiss has become a well organized, choreographed Las Vegas show and it felt forced.  It did not have the excitement as did Def Leppard’s.  However, it was still an awesome time and I am so glad my family came up to see it with me.  That meant a lot.  I can’t find a stub, but I have a shirt and some pictures!!

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And what about the setlist?  A little shorter as they are older and it was a double headlining show so both acts put on full sets.

  1. Psycho Circus
  2. Deuce
  3. Shout it Out Loud
  4. War Machine
  5. Hotter than Hell (Gene breathes fire)
  6. I Love it Loud
  7. Lick it Up (with Won’t Get Fooled Again)
  8. Bass Solo (Gene spits blood and flies to rafters)
  9. God of Thunder
  10. Hide Your Heart
  11. Cold Gin
  12. Love Gun (Paul flies out to audience)
  13. Black Diamond
  14. Detroit Rock City
  15. Rock and Roll All Nite

I thought this would be my last time seeing the band since I was a little disappointed (only a little).  But when Kiss announced their End of the Road Tour, I changed my mind.  I decided to take one more final ride.  This time I am taking my wife and two daughters whether they like it or not.  I want them to see, just one time, the band that has been a part of my life for so long and has meant so much to me.  I took my wife and oldest daughter to see my other favorite band Def Leppard just last year.

We have our tickets.  Four of them.  For August 10th, 2019 at PNC Pavilion here in Charlotte, NC.  It will be a sad and joyous day for me.  But one I am eagerly anticipating.  I know it is a long way away, but I can’t wait.  Once the show is over, I will definitely write about it, but until then I hope you enjoyed this walk back through my Kiss Experiences.  It has been a fun ride.

I haven’t seen them near as many times as those diehard fans, but I have had my fair share.  As my final sign-off for this post…here are the ticket stubs for my first time and what will be my last time!!! Prices have gone up a little.

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Turntables & Vinyl #16 – The Kiss Kollection

If you follow this blog at all, you will know I am a Kiss fan.  I am not the crazy fan that collects everything although I am starting to have those tendencies and might be there soon.  I am a fan that wants their music whether it is vinyl, CD or DVD, I want it.  I have been working really hard on doing just that.  I have a long way to go, a very long way to go, but I feel I am off to a good start.  I am not missing much on the vinyl set; however I still need a few.

This post is just to document where I am with the collection.  The Turntable & Vinyl series is basically a diary of sorts of my vinyl adventures and this adventure needs a good update, so here we go.

I have broken it apart into sub-eras.  The first era is of course the debut up to Kiss Alive I.  When I started this blog, it talked about a box of vinyl I had, well in that box were Alive and Hotter than Hell.  I have since found Dressed to Kill and just recently bought Kiss (the debut).  I bought a new copy as I wasn’t having much luck finding a decent used copy, plus the new was only $12 which is what I probably would have paid (if not more) for a used original.

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Tuesday’s Memes – Kiss (Part 2)

I have been posting these collections for over a year now and now it is time to do a Part 2 for the Hottest Band in the Land…KISS!!  Also, because there are a lot of good memes for them I couldn’t resist doing another…and because I am running out of bands that have at least 10 good memes.  I will come up with more, somehow…maybe I will have to makeup my own…scary thought!!

So, here is Part 2 and be warned…the very last one is one of the most crude and disgusting memes I have ever posted and I hope you aren’t too offended because I am actually a little.  I about lost my lunch when I found that one that I had to post it…Enjoy!!

I think I ignored Peter the last time around, but not this time…

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1995 – The Greatest Year in Music?

If you are new to the site, I started this series with the year 1987 and then noticed that 1991 and 1983 were also a couple of the greatest years in music.  I got to thinking, was there a pattern that every 4 years we have another great year in music.  Well, I am not sure the theory held up for me with 1979, but now I am exploring the year 1995. If you want to explore the other years, click on the link below…

1979 – The Greatest Year in Music?

1983 – The Greatest Year in Music?

1987 – The Greatest Year in Music?

1991 – The Greatest Year in Music?

Will 1995 be another great year or is my theory fully debunked with this year.  Let us explore and see and then decide a the end.  But first we have to ask What were the top albums of the year?, What were the debut albums from some of the great rock bands? and What was going on in the world of music that year?

NEWS:

1995 didn’t have any major news story that changed music like 1979 with the Sony Walkman and 1983 with the release of the CD, but a couple big stories did happen.

KISS_UnpluggedOn August 9th, a major even happened in the history of Kiss.  Kiss performed on MTV’s Unplugged series.  That in and of itself was nothing special, but some special guests were invited up on the stage and out walked Ace & Peter.  It was the first time in 16 years the original members of Kiss (Gene, Paul, Peter & Ace) had played together.  It was so well received that the following year, Kiss put their make-up back on and the first reunion tour was kicked off and the Kiss Unplugged album was finally released.  This event started it off.

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My Sunday Song – “Burn” by Deep Purple

For My Sunday Song #90, I am going with “Burn” by the band Deep Purple.  The song was the first single off the album of the same name and the first with new lead singer David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes.  The song wasn’t a big chart buster on its release in 1974, but it did chart  at #45 on the UK Charts in 1978, but that was four years after its release.  Not sure why the time difference.

The song at 6:40 in length features a blistering guitar solo by Richie Blackmore and a finger licking good organ solo by Jon Lord. The song has everything.  The vocals are shared between David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes.  A pretty awesome duo to have in your band.  In fact, the whole band for this song & album were pretty amazing.

  • David Coverdale – vocals
  • Glenn Hughes – bass, vocals
  • Richie Blackmore – guitar
  • Jon Lord – Hammond Organ
  • Ian Paice – drums

It doesn’t get much better than that.  After this version of Deep Purple broke up (the Mark III version), Coverdale would go on to form Whitesnake and at one time or another, Ian and Jon both played in the band with David.

Continue reading “My Sunday Song – “Burn” by Deep Purple”