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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KISS – Heaven, Hell or Houston?

Who better than KISS to round out a 40-year catalog with no less than 5 songs with HELL in the title.  Indeed with KISS, even “Heaven’s On Fire”.  Like a lotta rock, KISS bleeds biblical references, consider offerings like “‘Thou Shalt Not”,  “On The 8th Day”, “Unholy” and “God Gave Rock & Roll To You”.  KISStorian ranks KISS’s journey ‘Runnin’ With The Devil’.

HOTTER THAN HELL — Street-wise Stanley burns ya like the mid-day sun … KISS’s industrially murky “Cross Town Traffic” has one of the best outros in rock history with the duel-panned Frehley solos wailing out on the fade … Yes, HTH is as close to KISS HEAVEN as HELL gets, rivaling ACDC’s “Highway To Hell” as the best rock cut with HELL in the title, all-time. The groove on the live version on Alive is KISS at it’s very best …rip rip, rip & destroy!!!

ROCK & ROLL HELL — Gene seems to think it’s his destiny, whether he wrote it or not, and sings RR HELL like he owns it,  perhaps because he really did want out of the KISS biz circa ’82. Certainly Ace left to save his soul, leaving Dr. Love to contemplate who was Saint and who the Sinner. One could argue that Creatures of The Night marks the Demon’s final serious salvo …soon he would wander the wastelands, no longer Lord.

I’LL FIGHT HELL TO HOLD YOU — Pure 80’s super-Paul travels to the brink to be bye your side in this diabolically good Crazy Nights cut…There was never a video made for HELL TO HOLD YOU, but one can easily visualize it’s cinematic MTV potential appeal …I see Paul braving heavy terrain, high winds, torrential rains, eventually reaching the mountain top, searching for the lost Xanadu. The Starchild has our backs.

HELL OR HIGH WATER — Gene’s best cut off Crazy Nights and my favorite Bruce Kulick rock hunt, HELL OR HIGH WATER may be the only Simmons song in which he admits having his feelings hurt. But nobody puts Gene in the corner, he let’s you know in the festive, feel good doo-wop bridge ….”Baby don’t doubt it, ain’t no doubt about it” …considering he’s willing to brave HIGH WATER potentially, I find it down right heart-warming that the ‘Man of 1,000 Faces’ considers facing HELL to boot if need be.

SOMEWHERE BETWEEN HEAVEN & HELL — Gene’s put you in purgatory, and he’s so hungry… ‘SOMEWHERE’ somehow worked on Hot In The Shade but the lyrics are so cheap novel cliche Simmons, and the hook so KISS sleepy, that it made us all long for days of yore when Gene was a Demon, not the ‘Albatross’.

 

KISStorian sees ACE FREHLEY’s true ‘Origins’ @ HOB Chicago

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Since the dawn of civilization people have made pilgrimages to pay homage to their Gods and gather with the tribe. That is the feeling before, during and after an Ace Frehley concert. You’re back in the ‘New York Groove’ and in your rock & roll happy place (space) with Ace at the controls.

Such was the case a couple of weeks back when Ace made an earthly appearance at House of Blues here in Chicago. Night orbits with Ace over the years in the Chi have been bumpy rides at times (Avalon, Cubby Bear, China Club, Dome Room) but I am happy to report that Ace’s head, band, and space are in a great trajectory at present, no matter how semi-dazed & confused the captain may be from the excesses of rock & roll.

What struck me about this show is that Ace really did take a deep dive into his true ‘Origins’ by choosing to do the stuff I think he is most comfortable playing, perhaps enjoys most. It was basically a few key Frehley solo cuts, a couple covers off the newbie ‘Origins’, several non-Ace KISS tunes and then of course the core Frehley-penned KISS classics delivered with renewed zest & love. A set of KISStoric Ace ‘feel goods’.

ace_hob52016’s stellar incarnation of ‘the Ace Frehley Band’ may in fact be Ace’s best live line-up ever. The addition of rock cosmonaut Chris Wyse on bass is nothing short of an Ace masterstroke. (Great bass solo Chris!) With Wyse’s well-honed hammer, drummer Scot Coogan‘s old school pocket, guitarist Richie Scarlet‘s razor rhythm attack and Frehley running the Les Paul warp drive, the band delivered cool grooves, cosmically faithful renderings and good vibrations all the way from Jendell!

A Tip of the Chicago Firehouse hats to hometown boy Coogan for kicking ass on every level required to do Ace proud. I get the sense now several years in that Scot may be the band leader in a sense. If  he’s not, he’s certainly the a heart & soul Rock Soldier that the KISS Army  need thank for his considerable tour of duty.

ace_hob2There were some fun moments during the show too. A couple of times we caught Ace watching co-guitarist Scarlet and being amused by the ‘Emperor of Rock’s’ mega antics stage left. For one thing, Scarlet has discovered a new move in which he whips his guitar with his scarf instead of picking it LOL.. During “Rock Soldiers”, Ace noticed ironically that his “old buddy Richie” was now rocking out stage right at the perfect time for Frehley to point at Scarlet when he sang the song’s lyric “and Satan on my right” laughing after he did so. Richie also took the liberty, while visiting the ‘windy city’, of dedicating “Bad Boys Are Comings” off Trouble Walkin’ to “Mr. Alfonso Capone”.

img_4857Early in the show, like four songs in, Ace wandered back to the kit between songs and was talking to drummer Scot Coogan when people starting yelling “ACE!! ACE!! ACE!!”. Eventually Frehley returned to the mic and said calmly “hey …I didn’t go anywhere?”

img_4821For the intro to “Shock Me” Ace inquired “Who do you thinks gonna win? ….Hillary or Trump?”  He paused for comic effect and then said ‘”Who Fucking Cares!!! … nothing would SHOCK ME!!!”

At one point Ace asked us, very subdued, “Is it loud enough? …. yeah? … why not make it louder?” He then brought us all on back home, back to ’74, when he shared a revelation of sorts before going in to “Parasite”. Oh what a cool moment it was when Ace informed us that he had written the song about “this girl that used to follow KISS around from city to city” and oh to meet that girl with the ‘Parasite Eyes’.

Ace is one of the few rock icon who has never changed his true stripes or sold out. Masked, unmasked, loaded, sober or otherwise, Frehley is a ‘National Treasure’. To me Ace is the American personification of Jimmy Page meets Keith Richards. When it comes to KISStory, you can never count Ace out, no matter what hand he’s holding.

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Purple Ace

I took this pic at HOB Chicago on the ‘Anomaly’ tour and it’s yet another Frehley ‘anomaly’. I believe Ace’s guitar started smoking during either the “Shock Me” extended outro solo or “Cold Gin” ….while the whole band was still on stage!! Everyone in the crowd went ape shit and so did the band, as is witnessed in the pic with bassist Anthony Esposito rockin’ out behind the Ace. I am not aware of another instance when Ace’s guitar smoked when he wasn’t alone on stage. To outsiders this may all sound rather trivial, if not down right Spinal Tapish, but to KISStorians, it’s KISStory. Trippy purple haze, the 2000 Man is like the headless horseman of rock & roll in this shot – AWK!

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KISStorian issues demands

Until all the following demands are met, darkness will consume the land and silence will persist…..

KISS is required to re-mix both Unmasked & Crazy Nights, removing all keyboards.

KISS must immediately issue a live DVD from the Asylum tour.

KISS is implored to perform The Elder live on a pay-per-view.

KISS must engage Bob Ezrin or Eddie Kramer to record one more album with the band.

The Demon’s hand must be forced to release of the oft-threatened  ‘Gene Simmons 100’