KISStorian w/ LISA WHELCHEL on COLLECTORS CALL

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!

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KISStorian talks VINNIE VINCENT — KISS Army defector?

vinnie_83_01_lgIn fact, he was never even in the band (save performances, recordings and songs), let alone a ‘fan’ if you get my drift. Through years of futile legal wrangling with his masters (KISS) for alleged royalties due, we had long known that Vinnie Vincent never signed his contract with KISS. But, in a recent episode of the perennial KISS-podcast ‘Three Sides of The Coin’, former New England drummer Hirsh Garner added some long-needed color to the murky period in KISStory by dropping a bomb shell: Gene Simmons & Vincent were still talking after the Lick It Up Tour and that, if his memory serves him, Simmons was negotiating to keep Vinnie in the line-up?! OMG!!

I am not alone in KISS country when I say that we had always been led to believe that Vincent was fired (or since he wasn’t actually on the books, “let go”) immediately after the Lick It Up tour. It had been, to hear KISS co-founders Gene & Paul Stanley tell it, a unanimous decision, he had to go …but apparently that was not the case, not initially anyway. In KISStoric terms, this is nothing short of revelation for, on the 8th day, it appears Vinnie still had at least one of the two KISS leaders ears in the Demon; Gene Simmons.

Who knows if Stanley was even in on this conversation? Knowing what we do about the cunning head-strong Simmons, it’s entirely possible he sought to right the ship mono-e-mono, get Vinnie on board, and then reach out to Sir Paul with the (tempered) good news that the shrew had in fact been tamed. But, of course, it’s entirely possible also that Paul was in on the convo and told Gene something along the lines of “if you can get him in line, have him sign the deal, and I don’t have to deal with him moving forward ….I’ll give him a final chance with the new record and see how that goes, otherwise I am done with Vinnie”.

GeneVVEither way, it’s now clear Vincent must have put quite a strain on the already flagging relationship sans make-up between the Starchild and Demon. Chances are Gene & Paul were not on the same page because, after Vincent left, Gene went semi-MIA for Animilizeleaving Paul to teach guitarist Mark St. John how to hit a mark and then cobble together the album on his own while Gene chased dragons in LA and beyond.

And who knows where Gene’s head was as he sat on the phone with a now AWOL Vincent who was cutting new songs with members of New England? It’s possible Gene was considering cashing in his chips on KISS entirely if he couldn’t get Vinnie to stay. It would of course have been a betrayal of KISStoric proportions that would have weighed heavy on his mind at the time. Sure, LIU had been a success on several levels, but another change at lead guitar? when they had just re-invented the band and brand and saved their (the) Elder worn hides by finally unmasking?  The fact is half the KISS Army had already defected long ago, and new, more fickle MTV generation fans wouldn’t actually care who was on lead in KISS on Animailize. Still, must have been a serious concern ….. jeez, how we gonna spin this one?

VinnieVincent065It’s also possible that Gene just wanted a few of Vinnie’s tunes for the next record, as a compromise deal if Vincent was in fact leaving. Vinnie had significantly updated their sound and Gene may have come to believe they really needed him. For all we know Gene threatened him with his royalties as the ante? In any event, both he and Stanley had leaned on Vinnie hard for tunes on Creatures of The Night as well as Lick It Up. Heck, they would even bring him back in to the fold again to co-write on the bounce back Revenge in ’92. See, Vinnie wasn’t in KISS but, for all intents and purposes, strangely was KISS in 1983. It must have been a scary time. I believe Gene feared the worst; that losing VV would be their death knell.

Almost unbelievable to learn now that Vincent wasn’t so much involuntarily discharged from the KISS Army as he was a defector. He had had a choice and what fascinates me most is where his head was at the time, or all along. Thanks to Gardners’ inadvertent revelation, it now seems to me that from the very start Vincent simply saw KISS as his ticket. When he got involved with the band circa-Creatures he saw a sinking ship. He would use what wind was left in their sales to gain personal notoriety and, once he had destroyed the Simmons / Stanley alliance from within, leave KISS in smouldering ruins as the sole survivor to launch the insane vision that would become the Vinnie Vincent Invasion, a telling moniker in hindsight. He probably felt he had saved the band and, my best guess is, may have pushed for equal partnership and it backfired? In any event, he thought he could play Gene & Paul off against each other and ultimately hold them for ransom, and it almost worked. Were it not for cooler heads, KISS might literally have been KISStory because, with Vincent, it seems Armageddon was just a matter of time …plus, everyone knows, three’s a crowd. But don’t listen to me, Vinnie gives us the finer points in this interview from ’86 …”the common denominator” > 

 

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 !)

Three Sides Of The Coin re-unites KISS Army

three sides of the coin Oh, the power of the world-wide web. Three Sides Of The Coin, a 3-person hosted, low-fi, webcam podcast available on iTunes, their Youtube channel et al just celebrated their 50th episode and are hands down the definitive KISS podcast. If you live under a rock or just discovered Kiss, then take a deep breath and start working your way through their archive and CHOOSE ONE!  In a fractured ranks divided into many camps, Three Sides Of The Coin bridges the gaps and goes into the void, fists up, mending fences and finding common ground in understanding KISStory.

Since starting their three-sided fanatical volleys have been shared lovingly by KissAsylum.com, the Kiss fans long-standing stand-bye. Each show is just over an hour or so and they also have had some amazing ‘well-in-the-kno’ exclusive guests and, in a very short time, have managed to provide a one-stop-shop for the real deal in a no spin zone the descerning fan can appreciate.

The 3-Kissketeers, which includes the increasingly giddy renown rock critic Mitch Lafon, former Kissonline.com founder with the actual band KISS / marketing guru Michael Brandvold and, for no reason immediately apparent, Tommy Sommers, a regular guy real estate agent from Minnesota who brings it all down to earth here and there with the occasionally necessary “what a minute, can you explain?”

largeIt all just works very well. They get along but also aren’t afraid to disagree and each has a unique perspective that works great in the simple three-window format which, to their credit, they could have done online without the visual. But instead, they bring us into their worlds in a format that makes it pretty hard to hide your feelings once you have watched someone for a bit. But, in their defense, there is so much to argue about!! And they do it for no other reason than that they are fans and what we get (for free it should be noted) is a glorious weekly intrusion into the psyche of three Kiss fans beyond help on the eve of what looks like Kiss’s induction finally into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and a possible re-union of the four original cats no less!

I imagine mega-fans of other mega-bands would do well to take note of the simple formula as a solid template. Our undaunted brethren have covered a lot of ground already but I am hopeful they can keep it rolling as long as they can stand because it’s helping LOL!!!  Not to diminish some of the great stuff that folks like KISSfaq.com, DecibelGeeks.com and podKISSd.com and others have done, but for me Three Sides Of The Coin has managed to capture what it is to be a card-carrying KissArmy member and deliver hot content week after week, especially with the enthralling guest segments like epsiode #50 with That Metal Show host on VH1Classic Eddie Truck.

Or watch this episode in which the boys “sit down” as it were with the first KISS (former) member Bruce Kulick to recognize the show for what is: perhaps the best place to talk Kiss and reach the real fans. My guess is it won’t long before each band member is coming on the show and my guess is the next man up will be either Ace himself or the new ‘Spaceman’, Tommy Thayer, who recently sent in a note to the guys that they read on the show. How would be cool to hear Tommy actually talk and see him interact so we can get to know him a bit more, or Eric Singer for that matter?