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 thinks Eric Carr saved KISS

cropped-scan0027-3.jpgMany KISStorians argue that Vinnie Vincent saved KISS but, any you way you slice it, it was ERIC CARR who saved KISS. The ride he took manning the drum fort on behalf of The KISS ARMY proves Carr was a true ‘Rock Soldier’ and, as The Elder would no doubt agree,  indeed ‘worthy of the fellowship’.

And as much as he gave it his all for KISS and their fans when playing live, Carr’s studio work is what makes him “King Of The Mountain” as savior of the band. Shit, take any track off Creatures Of The Night —  It’s Bonham meets the Demon & The Starchild and it sounds invincible! Even when KISS went soft rock on Crazy Nights, Carr remained heavy. He also wrote, sang, played bass, and made arrangement contributions on KISS material throughout his tenure with the band.

Even when the KISS experience soured for Carr personally, he never let it affect his level of devotion to the fans. He never, ever sucked. He was a pros pro and, by all accounts, one of the nicest guys on the planet.  His only fault may have been that his heart was a big as his bass drum and he wore it on his sleeve. So be it, amen Eric.

Anyway, I moved recently and found this:  my angry letter to Rolling Stone for ignoring his career.  I  share it with you on the Anniversary of his passing to give thanks to Eric for hanging tough when everyone else was jumping ship, Vincent included.

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KISStorian ranks KISS’s ‘unmasked’ studio albums

KISS_LickItUp-costumes2Helmets tight KISS Army …I sat and looked at the album covers, accessing the part of my brain that governs KISS related decisions to figure out which album I really wanted to listen to most, and 2nd most, and so on and so forth. A short blog piece on a Herculean task. Please forgive me.

LICK IT UP > back on the streets  …hey, hey have you read the news? this album is as good as Creatures of The Night and is the make-over that saved the KISS brand.

ASYLUM > alive n’ kickin’ …guh-guh, guh-guh, guh-guh, guh-guh get the message sugar: Asylum is Kulick/Carr KISS hitting their best 80’s stride.

ANIMALIZE > once bitten, twice shy …Stanley’s triumph in fret-frenzied St. Johns wood; had Simmons given a damn, or Vincent remained on-board, Animalize might have been as good as LIU.

REVENGE > cult of personality …KISS was cool again but I’de give the album higher marks were it not for Stanleys somewhat labored contributions under the rose w/ Ezrin.

HOT IN THE SHADE > these happy days are yours and mine …KISS lighten up to become almost human with “Forever” and a fun album.

CRAZY NIGHTS > desperate, but not serious …KISS buffed to 80’s money-shot oblivion by the grace of Nevison’s hand. 

CARNIVAL OF SOULS > return to sender …unmasked KISS fade to black with a grungy dirge.

 

 

 

 

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” > 

 

LIU promo shot from England

I bought this in some record store in London, England in ’85. It’s an ANABAS (Magazine) promo shot that looks like it was taken pre-show at one of KISS’s October dates in England in 1983 when they kicked off the LIU tour overseas as a KISStorically smart ‘hedged bet’. Gene & Paul were determined to not repeat the disaster state-side that the Creatures of The Night / 10th Anniversary Tour was for the lads. Starting in Europe gave them time to not only get comfortable in their own skin live but to wait for LIU to take hold at MTV and on radio in the US. On what must have seemed a lot like The 8th Day or worse, KISS was rising from the rock & roll dead.LIUpromo