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”.

 

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KISS bad boys wont play at Rock Hall ceremony

transmission:  “KISS Army Member to Home Base:  I read the news today, oh boy …..it hit me like the car crash at the end of Detroit Rock City….tension in the ranks”

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I should probably reserve comment until I have digested the slightly bitter pill, especially as I should have seen it coming! It’s weird as hell too because earlier today, before I got the news that Ace Frehley & Peter Criss apparently won’t be performing with KISS at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, I enjoyed listening to two recent Ace interviews with Eddie Trunk on SiriusXM.  In hindsight, only a few hours later, they speak volumes in this latest strange twist of KISStory. 

The first one was In November of 2013, a few days after Ace performed a few tunes with Peter at the celebration of Eddie Trunks 30 years on the radio event in NYC.  In it Ace is quite frank at being nonplussed by Paul Stanley‘s recent comments that two of them were “never really friends” countering that the two used to exchange Christmas presents.  He then responds to Gene Simmons‘s then recent snipe that he won’t play with Ace ever again by countering that “Gene has no friends”, that he “isn’t respected by his peers” and then laughs “he doesn’t wanna play with me anymore Ed…. AAAHHHHHWWWW”.  At one point he basically dares Gene wondering aloud “I mean, what’s he gonna do …. to put a lid on it” in regard to the impending Rock Hall induction ceremony as if to say that Gene had now been painted into a corner.

Ace then went on with Trunk in December when the induction news broke and mentioned that Paul called him earlier in the day to offer congratulations and sounded chuffed about it.  But Ace likes to play poker and this may have been a bluff: either Ace misread the tea leaves caught up in the excitement of the day or was using Eddie’s show to lobby his case and wasn’t being entirely forthright about what transpired between he and the Starchild. Ace insinuated that Paul told him that the Rock Hall wanted the original four to perform in make-up, period. I believe Ace may have been negotiating, that’s my read on it. (Maybe the guys at Three Sides Of The Coin  will set us all straight on their next episode, I imagine they are in a frenzy like all good KISStorians this evening.)

It may be telling also that Ace said he did not speak with Gene as he was “somewhere else”. In any event, it appears the out of recent character loose talk by Ace may have backfired and, given the recent history between Trunk and the official KISS  camp, I shouldn’t be as shocked as I am.  Go ahead and add the ever looming specter of he and Peter’s recent autobiographies and you have a glimpse of what a cold day in Jendell is like; cold gin and no milk for the kitty.

Talk about a blessing and a curse: if it weren’t for the make-up KISS would never have made it and we wouldn’t be in this predicament with the performance segment of the induction. I mean really, two Spaceman? two Catmen? Ace already addressed it saying “that’s not gonna happen” as if he would not do it and may have in fact (grease) painted himself into a corner.  I wish former manager and guiding light Bill Aucoin were still alive to break the deadlock by convincing Gene & Paul to go open kimono, unmasked and appear as human beings with the whole gang in tow.

To be fair, as much as I wanted to see the originals play once last time, I do understand Gene & Paul’s position: this is KISS today and the hell if we are gonna stand up there and go 50/50 with Ace & Peter as far as taking credit for KISStory, especially when there is a 40 year track record of Gene & Paul calling the shots, come hell or high water.  They have earned the right to have it their way and I need to remind myself to respect home command  but, while my is hat is off to Gene & Paul, my heart goes out to Peter & Ace just the same. Somewhere Sean Delaney is driving needles through KISS dolls and the ever-exasperated Trunk is looking for that rope and stool Ace joked about. A day in the life…

transmission: “Kiss Army Member to Home Base: mutiny in the air ….the clones have risen ….the Elders have spoken …..crossing malevolent border”  

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(Editors note; my only remaining hope is that this is all a part of a larger, super savvy media play by the boys, colluding with Ace & Peter to bring us the biggest shock in KISStory !)