KISS End of The Road Tour ‘one toke over the line’

Letter to the ‘Boyz’:

Guys, hey, sorry about this. You gotta be high if you think what’s being hailed by some as ‘Fake KISS 2019’ is going to sell tickets stateside. Enuffs been said already about why by everyone else in KISSdom, instead I offer here my heartfelt thoughts on possible solutions in hopes I can do something to make THE END OF THE ROAD less bumpy and something us KISS fans can be super amped about.

1 > HIRE BACKGROUND SINGERS / MUSICIANS FOR THE TOUR: Come clean, shoot us straight, like the Rolling Stones ultimately decided to do. You wanna sound great? Add some other musicians to help you deliver the goods! Give each tune the treatment it needs, try and deliver the record version. Add a tambourine!? Get a choir from each city to sing on “Great Expectations”? That kinda shit!

2 > HIRE ACE TO OPEN UP: Even if he’s said he won’t open, you and I know that’s bullshit so please figure out what it will take. Rather than giving him an option to ‘appear’ as all your press statements indicate you’ll do, notably the comment that (paraphrasing you Paul) ‘If they aren’t there, it’s not because they weren’t invited’. Gimme a break, not too cool. Just do it, for us, for KISStory! 

3 >  FIGURE OUT A FALL BACK POSITION: With the way ticket sales are going, I’ll be shocked if you guys aren’t already considering options here because, in my opinion, this should have been a BIG CITIES ONLY TOUR stateside with options for a 2nd (or 3rd date) in each market, at least initially anyway. Like how you would have done the DYNASTY TOUR with the benefit of hindsight, though I understand your hands may have been tied on that call this time around.  Reality aside, in a perfect world, I’d seriously consider finding a way to CANCEL ANY SOFT TICKET SALES DATES WITH ‘VIP REFUNDS’ as it were and start adding THE PERFECT LOCAL ACT / LUMINARY IN EACH KEY MARKET as special guests or openers to the remaining ‘big’ dates. Make these shows pilgrimages. Bands who are fans. Fans who are fans. Pull up the trucks for KISSworld!! 

4 > WRITE A NEW SONG FOR THE TOUR: If you’re not gonna put out a record because it’s ‘pointless’ fiscally, at least GIVE THE  FANS WHAT THEY WANT, and what we want is NEW KISS MUSIC!  Take a chance, take a stand, put a deafening rock coda on this fucker we call KISStory!? MAKE A VIDEO then GO TO RADIO. You get a hit somehow and wow, KISS saves RADIO? Kisstoric twist to history? One more great song! A single. I think the timing may work for the right tune, and I’m here to help with that as a Knight In Stanley & Simmons Service since ’76 with riffs to burn! Fuck, if not me, have a FAN CONTEST TO WRITE YOUR SWAN SONG, again breaking new ground with KISS 🙂 

Here are a few titles, gratis …. End Of The Road … My Way Is The High Way … Have My Cake (Eat It Too) … Amps, Ramps & Tramps ….KISS Off … You Can Bring The Roof Down ….We’re KISS Creatures ….Ace’s High ….Fly Like A Demon ….Insufficient Data Starchild …. You Created A Monster …..Drive Me Home …. One Nite At A Time ….. High Time For Rock & Roll ….Rock, Scissors, KISS ….Fine Time For Rock & Roll ….Kiss & Tell …. Damsels In Distress … (heck, Destroyer, Rock & Roll Over, Dressed To Kill?)….Mirror On The Ceiling …Love Is Ours …Stars & Stripes ….Down For Rock … Flashback City … Off With Your Head ….. I could go on.

Paul, Gene, Doc ….text me.

 

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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!

IMG_4573KMIL_gtrinwaiting

KMIL_showbizKMIL_mellowyellow KMIL_creatures KMIL_bluedemon KMIL_army KIML_lovegun KMIL_smoke

KMIL_starchildKMIL_smashing

 

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? 🙂 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!