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GENE SIMMONS – Gene Simmons Vault (Disc 10, Album Review)

*Past reviews*

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Unbelievable opportunity of a lifetime presented itself and I had the honor of meeting the powerful and attractive…. The Demon himself…. Gene Simmons during the Los Angeles Gene Simmons Vault Experience.  Over several installments, I will be sharing parts of my incredible story and reviewing all 11 discs from the newly released Gene Simmons Vault.  Some reviews will be on Decibelgeek.com and some on GrowinUpRock.com (since I am a staff writer for both, wanted to share the love).

*Story Time*

The time has come.  Customer service rep says, “You are on deck!”  My nervousness hits a new level.  Keep your shit together Sonny.  You don’t want to throw up on Gene’s boots.  Ok Sonny, think it thru… Get stuff signed, get some podcast show bumpers, 2 phones (just in case one dies), etc.  Danny, of course, is fine.  Cool as can be.  231pm comes, “You’re up”.  First thing, fist bumps.  Then Gene presents a vault to me and explains the inner workings.  Danny hands him the stuff to sign: Lynn Goldsmith book, Gene solo picture disc, Creatures of the Night picture disc, Revenge album cover, Killers German print album cover, Unplugged yellow marble edition cover and Psycho Circus green vinyl edition cover. Gene was very gracious and signed everything.  While signing I say, “How’s it going?”. Gene, “I’m having a great day. Every day above ground is a good day.  My mother has always said that and as I get older I understand that better.  By the way, you are a big and attractive guy”. I say, “As you are, sir”. I gave him (and his team) compliments on the handling of the entire experience.  I thanked him for being in my life for the last 35 years.  Asked him to do some bumpers, “No problem what do you want me to say?”  I had already written it out on my phone but encouraged him to make it his own.  31 secs later, bumpers are done.  We are about to walk out.  Gene says (to Danny), “Make sure to get some food”.  Danny says, “I got some, did you?” Gene says, “They don’t let me eat around here”.  Danny says, “Well, that’s how you stay sexy!”  My brother is more of an introvert but can be extremely funny at times.  What an incredible experience!

Gene Simmons Vault (disc 10) by Gene Simmons (Released Jan 2018, Rhino Records)

Executive producers: Gene Simmons, Gino Gargiulo, and Sienna Hernandez

*Template*

To have some consistency in all 11 reviews, I will be reviewing each song per the following template:

Grades

A: Should be on a Kiss album

B: One change and it could be a great song

C: Could be used as album filler

D: Needs serious help.  Call Desmond Child, Ron Nevison, Adam Mitchell, Bryan Adams, Vinnie Vincent

F: Belongs in an actual vault.  Lock it up and throw away the key.

Each track will be set up as:

Song Title (Grade)

Songwriters

Players

Comments

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Take it Like a Man #2” (B)

Simmons

Simmons, Bruce Kulick, Eric Singer

Recorded during the Psycho Circus writing sessions, Gene scats through most of song to create a guide track.  The intent was for all 4 members to share the lead vocal duties.  Gene provides exactly where each member would sing during the scat.  Only the chorus is fully complete.

********************************************************************************************************************************************

Take it Like a Man #1” (B)

Simmons

Simmons Although it has the same title as the previous track, this song is completely different.  The riff was originally written on the bass guitar, like “Deuce” and “Watchin’ You” which were written the same way.  I’m not sure you hear of too many songwriters writing songs on bass guitar.

********************************************************************************************************************************************

Bruce & Gene

Have Mercy, Baby” (B)

Simmons, Bruce Kulick

Simmons, Bruce Kulick

Written in the late 80s, this song sounds like it could’ve easily been on Crazy Nights.  It’s a good song but it’s missing something.  I think it needs gospel type background vocals…. Yeah, that’s it! 😊

********************************************************************************************************************************************

Gene & Eric

We Won’t Take It Anymore” (B)

Simmons, Eric Carr

Simmons, Eric Carr

Eric is handling the guitar duties on this 1983 demo.  What?  I thought Eric was the drummer?  Actually, Eric was a man of many talents.  He also played acoustic guitar on The Elder’s “Under the Rose”.  The day Eric Carr died, I cried like a baby.  I so miss that dude……

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My Babe” (C)

Simmons, Eric Carr

Simmons, Eric Carr

From the same 1983 writing session, Eric also plays guitar on this demo.  The homer in me wants to really like this song, but the chorus needs to be redone.

********************************************************************************************************************************************

Eat Your Heart Out” (B)

Simmons

Simmons, Joe X. Dube

This is not the “Eat Your Heart Out” from Monster.  Written in the late 70s, this version has a Doobie Brothers type feel.  Joe X. Dube handles the drumming duties.  “Eat your heart out, revenge is sweet, eat your heart out, my revenge is complete…”  I would’ve chosen this song over “When You Wish Upon a Star” for the 1978 solo album.  Since I’ve mentioned the Disney classic several times in past reviews, I obviously don’t like that song.

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Nine Lives” (C)

Simmons, Davitt Siguerson

Simmons, Bruce Kulick

Bruce plays lead guitar, Gene handles the rest.  I don’t like the chorus melody at all.  If it wasn’t for the great guitar solo, I would’ve graded this song a “D”.  If you are wondering who Davitt Siguerson is, he was the president of Mercury Records.

********************************************************************************************************************************************

Howling for your Love” (A)

Simmons

Simmons, Binky Phillips, Katey Sagal, Fran Segall, Carolyn Ray

I must assume that this song was written in the 1978 timeframe because it would’ve been a perfect fit for the 1978 solo album. Binky Phillips (The Planets) played the guitar solo.  The 3 ladies are doing the background vocals.  Do you want me to mention the Disney classic again?  You know the rest….

********************************************************************************************************************************************

I Ain’t Coming Back” (A)

Simmons

Simmons

Motown inspired track, Gene is playing all the instruments.  There is a slightly different version on one of the prior discs.  I absolutely LOVE the melody, especially the chorus…. But understand, I like Motown music (The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, The Spinners, Marvin Gaye, etc.) … so my opinion is a bit skewed.

********************************************************************************************************************************************

Granny Takes a Trip” (D)

Simmons

Simmons

Really Gene?  First the title is weird, but then in the liner notes you use the word Androgyny.  That’s a big word like gymnasium.  I had to Google it!  Sounds like “Granny Takes a Trip” was an apparel store in New York City.  The song needs a lot of work.

********************************************************************************************************************************************

“Piece of the Rock” (B)

Simmons, Robert Fleischman

Simmons, Robert Fleischman

I am not a conspiracy theory type person, but Vinnie Vincent just did a Kiss expo… Robert Fleischman was also at the expo… both Vinnie and Robert played together live for possibly the first time ever… both have a song in The VaultVinnie has been invited to the Nashville Vault Experience… and Robert lives in Nashville also?  Umm… that’s a LOT of coincidence.  If you have been on the fence about buying the Nashville Vault Experience, I’d take the chance (hopefully it isn’t sold out by the time you read this).  By the way, Robert plays guitar and sings harmonies on this demo.

********************************************************************************************************************************************

Rock It” (B)

Simmons

Simmons, no other musicians credited

Inspired by the Fine Young Cannibals (WTF?), this demo was recorded in the early 80s.  When Gene performs a talking style vocal, it always sounds so natural.  This pop style tune has distorted guitar that doesn’t really fit the track.  It would be interesting to hear this song with a clean guitar instead.

********************************************************************************************************************************************

Sticky Goo” (B)

Simmons

Simmons

Gotta love the title!  This song is all Gene, and has no lyrics written.  It’s just instruments plus a melody.  This demo deserves to be finished.

********************************************************************************************************************************************

Love Came to Me” (B+)

Simmons

Simmons

Circa 1979, this demo was pitched for Dynasty but didn’t make the cut.  This is Gene’s version of “I Was Made for Lovin’ You” and has major potential.  It needs a Desmond Child touch.

********************************************************************************************************************************************

Roar of the Greasepaint” (C)

Simmons

Simmons, Tommy Thayer, Eric Singer

This demo is the 1st attempt at what would later become “Journey of 1,000 Years” on Psycho Circus.  I was never a fan of the final recording and this version doesn’t land with me either.  Just filler to me.

GENE SIMMONS – Gene Simmons Vault – Disc 10 Final Thoughts

Another great disc with 1 left to review.  I was going to wait until the last review to say this, but I cannot wait any longer.  In my opinion, Keith Valcourt is the f***ing MVP of this entire process.  From handing out waters to the folks waiting in line to ensuring that everyone was well informed throughout the day, Keith did a OUTSTANDING job managing the experience. If you buy a Vault Experience, buy Keith a donut (or something).  He deserves it.  Kudos to the Rhino Customer Service team too.

Thanks for reading.  Pooni out!

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For the entire amazing Gene Simmons Vault Experience story, check out Podcast Rock City: Episode 185.

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