KISStorians, I appeared on Easter on COLLECTORS CALL starring Lisa Whelchel, which airs Sunday nights at 9pm Central on MeTV nationwide, please check your local listings. I played an expert at KISS fanatic Zach & Melanie Vege’s home to help evaluate the total value of his hard-core KISS collection, a real treat for any KISStorian! WATCH KISSTORIAN / COLLECTORS CALL EPISODE

Zach had just about everything I don’t, I was transfixed by the scope of the presentation; a full basement dedicated to the history of the band. My favorite part of the day was when Zach unveiled his custom made KISS road case in which he cherishes all of KISS’s albums, on vinyl. Though not a fan per se, Lisa was struck by the fact that the guys had done 4 solo albums at the zenith of their true heyday in 1978, remarking “wow … so that had to have caused some friction in the band … whose sold best? Ahh… from the mouths of babes. Zach was quick to explain the situation.

I really hope the show is a huge success because Lisa and everyone involved in the production are awesome, please share with your friends!

KISStorian takes Milwaukee Magical Mystery Tour

A splendid time was guaranteed for all …always has been KISSs charge: to deliver the ‘Greatest Show On Earth’ and bang for the buck, even when it wasn’t in the budget you know?

Step right up to KISS’s ongoing 40-year, often magical mystery tour of mother earth, circa 2016. Yes,  roll up for the Freedom To Rock Tour, it’s an invitation.  KISS are a visual treat but they have now also become, like it or not, a downright heartwarming rock & roll celebration and they gave a lot of renewed love to the presentation of this show, on every level.

Beyond the amazing lighting, lasers, screen graphics, smoke & bombs, it was the best sound I have ever heard at an in-door KISS show, but we were directly next to the sound board (on purpose).  They were not as loud as usual, and that worked as far as I’m concerned. Everything was distinct, damn right warm in fact. It was a rich sound.

A quick, but needed, tip of the Firehouse hat to MVP Tommy Thayer for having now settled in so nicely in to his Spaceman boots. I thought he really brought more of his own feel than ever before to the signature Ace solos and let it all hang out for the majesty of rock. His tone, timing and vibe were really nice and, along with Eric Singer, the two have become the bedrock of KISS in ways that Ace & Peter once were. To me, after last night, they are KISS, not impostors as once feared. I guess I’m back in the New York Groove after all?

Anyway, I’m still digesting some of the cool new wrinkles and the many magic KISStoric moments from last nights show but here are some pix from The Bradley Center in Milwaukee !

The amplifiers start to hum …the carnival has just begun …you’re in the Psycho Circus!


KMIL_showbizKMIL_mellowyellow KMIL_creatures KMIL_bluedemon KMIL_army KIML_lovegun KMIL_smoke



KISStorian’s ‘SONIC MONSTER’ a rock & roll party!

kissWhat a life it is KISStorians to have time free on a Saturday afternoon to contemplate the finer things in life, like combining KISS’s Sonic Boom & Monster discs into arguable one of the best KISS albums of all time, a playlist I refer to as ‘Sonic Monster’. Try this at home and get it the car stereo pronto hombre because listen up, and listen good … Sonic Boom and Monster are pretty damn good rock & roll records so, yeah, old school gripes aside people, a tip of the proverbial ‘Firehouse’ helmets to Tommy Thayer & Eric Singer for manning the barricades …all for the glory of the KISS Army. This would be a cool KISS delux release remixed by a special guest like Phil Spector (via web)  or Bob ‘The Elder’ Ezrin himself? Maybe the boys would have fun turning it in to a live album with Eddie Kramer? ūüôā Don’t be afraid to dream.

SONIC MONSTER(2016) Modern Day Delilah – Wall Of Sound  – Outta This World – I’m An Animal – Say Yeah – Hell Or Hallelujah – Yes I Know (Nobody’s Perfect) – Shout Mercy – When Lightning Strikes – Long Way Down – Danger Us – Stand – All For The Love Of Rock & Roll – Back To The Stone Age  – Last Chance 

KISStorian’s 10 worst KISS songs

Behold,¬†the ying ‘n yang of KISS; the clunkers that have become the¬†KISS Army’s¬†crosses to bear.¬†Sure, there are others that deserve mention but these each have enduring cringe-worthy moments that are hard to shake. I spared the boyz their solo efforts out of respect for all that is humane. What are your ten worst?

“LONELY IS THE HUNTER” (Animailze)¬†¬†I too get a cold KISS reading (ha-ha, ooh-yeah!). So you’re my one and only AND lonely is the hunter?

“NO, NO, NO” (Crazy Nights) ¬†‘Nuff KISS stuff said …please stand down, Demon.

“BANG BANG YOU” (Crazy Nights)¬† Paul plays the KISS villain where loves a crime, like this KISS chorus.

“MY WAY” (Crazy Nights)¬†¬†See, again, in the KISS danger zone (IE with Nevison behind the board) it’s a fucking jagged edge we climb people.

“CADILLAC DREAMS” (Hot In The Shade)¬† A cool KISS concept¬†but a lousy KISS ride.

“KING OF HEARTS ” (Hot In The Shade)¬† I do get KISS happy feet in the verses like with most Stanley numbers but this chorus¬†is a bridge to far.

“TOUGH LOVE” (Revenge)¬†“KISS hot-line, hello? I’m sorry …you were calling Dr. Strangelove or Dr. Feelgood?”

“EVERY TIME I LOOK AT YOU” (Revenge)¬† To me this is¬†KISS Kryptonite and with it, no powers.

“YOU WANTED THE BEST” (Psycho Circus) ¬†An Ill-conceived farce of a KISS song only just¬†saved by Ace’s guitar.

“NEVER ENOUGH” (Sonic Boom)¬†¬†A¬†very good KISS album without this damning¬†ode to, of all posers, Poison.



KISS top US charts “All For The Love of Rock & Roll”

singerUpon further review I have come to the conclusion that KISS‘s “All For The Love of Rock & Roll” should have gone straight to number #1. It was, and still is, the new old school KISS rock & roll song that might have hit pay dirt on radio, or at least had a shot. Wouldn’t it have been ironic if a song by the (new) drummer in the band would have again propelled KISS on radio like back in 70’s when the boys broke. Who-da-thunk?

“Hell or hallelujah”, the single from Monster, was heavy and cool and yeah a return to form on some levels but a bit heavy and rugged for mainstream radio. Not that anyone in radio would throw their arms open to a new KISS single. KISStorians know better. I can’t help but wonder if Eric Singers rock & roll semi-masterpiece wouldn’t have caught a few ears off guard, like the band was able to do with “Hard Luck Woman” and “Beth” for that matter. Slight of hand, twist of fate….the grand illusion. Is that Rod Stewart dude? Our the chameleon heroes KISS, ever-courting the main stream, really may have a fairly obvious sharp play here.

“I hitched a ride on a train going nowhere, got 50 bucks in the bank, ain’t a lot of dough, but when you know the feeling, ….well it feels allright” – ERIC SINGER

Don’t get me wrong, I know that classic rock radio, or classic rock stations, have a playlist with little room for newbies, regardless the band. Sure, when they make the rounds on tour or with record release promo ‘phoners’ the stations will offer up a  few spins of ‘the new single’ but little else. I am not saying there aren’t great stations playing great new music but the double edge sword of being a house hold name relegates one to the highly cherished label of classic and, unfortunately, its a grave yard out there.  Ask ACDC, the Stones, Sting, ZZ Top, Metallica …new offerings will find no quarter on radio.

This track may have broken the mold though because A – it’s a dynamite chorus, B – Eric’s a dynamite singer and C – it sounds immediately familiar without being a rip-off.

The track also has, in my opinion, Eric Singer’s best rock & roll drum track to date. Sure, he’s killed shit on heavier, more metal based stuff with the band but I always felt he lacked that “swing” Gene talks about when speaking of Peter Criss. Here Eric sounds like a looser, more sympathetic Carmine Appice.

Want to do an easy test to find out what songs is really ‘rock & roll’ or not? Grab a couple toddlers and pop on Bill Haley’s “Rock & Around The Clock” or Elvis’s “Hound Dog” or the Stones’ “It’s Only Rock & Roll” or Rod’s “Hot Legs” or Led Zeps’ “Rock & Roll” or any Chuck Berry song —- they will dance. This tune has a similar quality, like my childhood fave “What’s Your Name?” by Skynyrd.

Back to Singer: I was at a KISS convention in Chicago once and Eric Singer was there. I got to ask him a question from the perspective of a drummer and it was: “Eric, what staple KISS live tune was the most difficult for you to play, or get down?” He paused briefly, tilted his head looking skyward and laughed: “you know what, I’ve never really thought about it ……and it’s weird because I wouldn’t have thought so going in since I’ve heard the song a million times, even before joining the band ……but the hardest one was “Rock & Roll All Night”. He didn’t elaborate and I was like (in me ‘ed) “jeez, that’s not good”.

If “All For The Love of Rock & Roll” is any indication, Eric is definitely officially in the NY groove. Some of the bass-snare-tom triplets and subtle snare work on this song show a side of Eric we haven’t heard much of since his world-class performances on MTV Unplugged.  Maybe laying back, as he had to then, and does on “All For The Love…” suits him better than the harder edge, double-bass acrobatics that got his name out there in the 80’s?

After Eric Carr passed away KISS would need a real pounder and Eric fit the bill because he drives the beat.  When you play drums in one of mother earths loudest band, subtle snare taps and rolls get lost in the din but as todays KISS devolves ever closer to its original vibe, Singer’s true rock & roll leanings appear to be finally coming out “Mommy Big-time” as Gene would say. Metal is more linear while rock & roll is more flow and I now realize how well Singer bridges between Peter Criss and Eric Carr. He’s more versatile than either and that well-honed skill is why he’s played and recorded with so many artists. In KISS, he combines the best of the chippy veteran Criss and the bombastic late great Carr to put his own stamp on the KISS music brand.

I know it’s too late but I see a really cool intentionally sepia-scaled video for the tune all about Eric growing up:  imagine grainy 30 millimeter clips of a kid with his first kit smiling back at the camera then shifting to bar scenes of a younger Singer “draggin’ home his drums”….basically a highly 70’s-stylized documentary feel. Heck, maybe even include a ‘re-enactment’ of him at that famed show in Cleveland as a kid when he climbed up into one of the ‘opera booths’ during a KISS show and got tossed from the venue… and then, at the end, I see Eric walking to the stage, twirling his sticks and singing the chorus to the camera, in full Catman gear.  As a PR masterstroke they could even intersperse classic clips of Peter, the original ‘Catman’, because it’s a cool story that might find ‘feel-good’ traction. Like Tommy Thayer, Eric Singer is ‘rock soldier’ who made damn sure he was ready when the KISS Army came calling, “All For The Love of Rock & Roll”.


Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction glorious day for KISStorians

Bk8ivA5CAAIEyhNWhat a relief huh? It could not have gone better. Gene was classy and set the tone nicely, Peter was heartfelt but held it together, Ace was at ease, lucid and funny, and Paul laid down the rock & roll law with final defiant words on behalf of the band and the fans.

Remarkably, even without their instruments, make-up, or a show, it was classic KISS because, as nature would have it, the four personalities remain intact. In fact, standing there together again, the undeniable force of their dynamic tension and unique chemistry was in clear evidence.

Paul was right: this was” vindication for our fans” and, were not a fluke. They had the talent, a vision, drive, attitude and belief. Funny thing is though, for all their keen planning over the years, you create four divergent characters by design and then expect them to assume the roles and get along? Eventually you have the runaway rock & roll roller coaster that was KISS circa ’79. That engine had proven to need a lot of fuel and the track a lot of grease(paint). And so it goes …..two of the pistons got fried, and all for the love of rock & roll I might add.

29th-annual-rock-and-roll-hall-of-fame-induction-ceremony-press-room-1Unlike other bands that fell by the wayside in the 40 year span that is KISSTory, KISS learned to evolve like any successful enterprise, outsourcing to plug and play. If they hadn’t, the glory that was this induction may never have happened. Maybe the Rock Hall gave up waiting for them to quit but, as KISS fans have known all along, the word is not in Gene or Paul’s vocabulary. They stood tall to make us proud, our intrepid champions  ….the Hottest Band in The World, then and now: KISS!



we won’t get fooled again

KISScreemHere we are, on the night before the KISS Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction, and I must admit I am feeling almost unhinged about KISS finally taking a long overdue bow for the new revolution. It feels like the night before KISSmas frankly.

In true KISS form, intentional or not, the lead-up to this has been one of¬†the most riveting rock & roll dramas of all-time and juicy, sheer entertainment to fans and haters alike. Fitting it is (thanks Yoda!) that KISS’s motto is essentially ‘bang-for-the-buck’ because, no matter how you want it to play out, we’ve¬†already¬†gotten more than our money’s worth in the past month or two.

You gotta admit, they’ve got a knack for gravitas and this is the KISStory bonus round people.¬†Like when¬†Evil Knievel tried to jump the Grand Canyon, (or when KISS¬†took their audiences and headliners by surprise early on), no-one really knows what’s going to happen.

inner1The only thing that is for sure is that each of the original four band-mates will have a chance at the mic tomorrow night. They’ll also be in the same room, and then on stage together presumably, for the first time in a decade or more if my fragile KISStory memory serves. Who cares if they’re gonna play or not at this point. As a guilty pleasure for a life long fan, I admit, beyond the respect, I¬†want to to see the dynamic between the four under the mainstream hot lights. Everyone does.

I presume Gene & Paul will play nice but I do worry that Ace¬†may (still) angle for an opportunity to re-ignite the KISS Army’s¬†hopes for one last junket, regardless of the less than subtle hints ¬†advising otherwise¬†by both the Starchild and Demon.

My only wish is that they all take the moment for what it is: an honor to be in the room and the final capitulation of the establishment. (I imagine the beards will have grown longer overnight?)

With Paul & Gene at the helm, KISS have done here, and all along, just as The Who had suggested and treated the new boss same as the old boss. I tip my hat to the new constitution.




KISStory incomplete without Blazefest ’94

KISS BlazefestI hope you aren’t too jealous when I tell you this was one of the hottest shows ever performed by the band in any line-up configuration because, if you missed it, your KISStory timeline lacks a key ingredient. Thank god for Youtube — we can go back!!

It was April of ’94, the Revenge Tour was over, MTV Unplugged would be in August, and soon there after KISS would re-unite with Ace & Peter to conquer earth a second time. Of course, we had no clue then.

See, KISS always finds a way to stay in front of their audience. This was just another example of them being creative in coming up with cost effective solutions to do so while biding there time for, as always, what’s coming next.

The band had decided to do a couple of radio-sponsored one-off’s as it were to help promote the new venture / album, KISS MY ASS, in which a host of music legends would be performing & recording their favorite KISS songs at Gene’s behest including Toad The Wet Sprocket, Anthrax, The Gin Blossoms, Lenny Kravitz, Garth Brooks and even (yup) Stevie Wonder! Only KISS sets up their own tribute album. Well, at least then anyway; the duets may be coming soon.

Little did we know, and let me know if I am wrong, but this show may be the very last time Bruce Kulick performed live in concert with the band ‘plugged’ as it were and the very last performance of the Kulick/Singer/Stanley/Simmons roster.

scan0007Maybe that’s why they gave it so much love but it makes me  wonder (yes, it makes me wonder)  if they knew this might be the case. Or, maybe they were just rarin’ to play, having been off the road a bit and now performing without, as Nigel Tufnel of Spinal Tap once said, “all the mucky-muck” of a full blown tour scenario.

Another cool thing was that the boyz performed a set list picked entirely by fan voting that unearthed GOIN’ BLIND, I STOLE YOUR LOVE, STRUTTER, and, a major highlight, a hot version of GOT TO CHOOSE. As I recall, and listen back now, Bruce played his very best and seemed way more comfortable in this setting, on a small stage with encroaching amps and an audience he could reach out and touch. Eric Singer, who is always solid anyway, played seemingly inspired getting to play some of the cuts that he and Bruce had perhaps never played live with the band.

Want more gravitas? The band performed on a completely stark stage with no effects whatsoever: no KISS sign, no smoke, no blood, Only the banner of the now-defunct Chicago station The Blaze that stood behind them. For us Chicagoans it was refreshingly blue collar and natural, like seeing Cheap Trick @ Cubby Bear or something. This was like a gym with a stage on one wall, no seating, no stands. A mid-western barn-burner of sorts.

At the time, it was the best I had ever heard them. And so was the sound itself. Given the fact that they just flew in with guitars, the less robust PA resulted in a way warmer sound  than the typical KISS concert.  But what really struck me as a KISSTorrian was seeing and hearing the living breathing proof that KISS, with no frills, in an intimate setting, were simply a top flight rock & roll band firing on all cylinders. That night it felt to me like they had finally become as close to classic KISS as possible with the new line-up.  They had seasoned as a group. Even KISStory has it’s irony.

KERRANG! Revenge in the UK

Another stellar ‘state-of-the-KISS-union’ by our friends over the pond at¬†Kerrang Magazine¬† on the release of Revenge and the unveiling of KISS’s 3rd drummer (and first blond (sorry Gene)),¬†Eric Singer,¬†as replacement for the late great Eric Carr. ¬†¬† ¬† ¬†