Album ReviewsReviews

GENE SIMMONS – Gene Simmons Vault (Disc 6, Album Review)

*Past reviews*

Click here for Disc 1

Click here for Disc 2

Click here for Disc 3

Click here for Disc 4

Click here for Disc 5

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, I’m sharing the love).

*FAQ*

Question: Why are you doing these reviews?  Is Gene paying you?  Did you get a free Vault?

Answer:  Paying me?  Um… that’s a no.  I am doing the reviews just to share my opinions and experience.  I DID NOT get a free Vault, never asked (and never would).

Question: Do you have any advice regarding the meet & greet time with Gene?

Answer:  I think the following would enhance your experience:

-Be prepared.  Know what you want autographed, what color sharpie you want used, what you’ll say to Gene, how you will get some personal video, personal pictures, etc.  Most likely you’ll get about 5 minutes with Gene.  It’s goes quick.

-Open your secret compartment in front of Gene, if possible.  Maybe there is something cool in the compartment that you want autographed….

-Relax and have fun.  The preparation should help ease the anxiety of meeting an iconic figure.

Gene Simmons Vault (disc 6) 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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Waiting for the Morning Light” (A)

Bob Dylan, Simmons

Simmons, Bag

This is the final product of the Dylan/Simmons writing session.  Gene really wanted Bob to write the lyrics, but Bob didn’t seem to be interested in doing that.  All the instruments are played by an artist named Bag who was signed to Simmons/Sanctuary RecordsGene provides all lead and background vocals.  This is one of those songs that get better every time you hear it.

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Is It Real” (B)

Simmons

Simmons

Circa 2009, Gene gives you visibility to the inner workings of a solo songwriting session.  Just a quick 59 second track of him on an acoustic guitar trying to figure out chords and melody.

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Are You Real” (A)

Simmons

Simmons, Tommy Thayer, Eric Singer

A slight title change, call your friends to come help and you have a complete song.  Very Beatles influenced, this version has some great harmonies.  “Are you real or did I dream you up last night?”.  Tommy plays a great melodic guitar solo.

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Something Seems to Happen at Night” (B)

Adam Mitchell

Simmons, Adam Mitchell

This song was among many that Adam Mitchell shared during a writing session.  Gene only sings on this tune.  Adam was willing to rewrite the track, getting Gene involved, but Gene declined stating that the demo was great in its original form.  In my opinion, the song needs a hook.

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I Believe” (B)

Simmons

Simmons, Erich Lenning

Listening to the song for the first time, the lyrics make absolutely no sense.  Reading the liner notes, I realized that Gene is scatting (or “yabba dabba dooing” …see previous reviews for explanation) the lyrics because they were never completed.  He is literally just saying the first words that were popping into his head.  Lenning helped program the drums, Gene plays everything else.

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Beautiful” (C)

Mark Addison, Nina Singh

Simmons, Mark Addison, Nina Singh

During the search for songs for his Asshole album, Gene came across musician/songwriter Mark Addison who was looking to possibly sign with his record label.  Gene is only providing vocals and sounds great.  It still amazes me that this is the same guy who sings “Deuce” in the Demon outfit.  I would describe this song as “Beach Boys light”.  OMG…. he even whistles in the song….

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Guilty Pleasures” (B)

Simmons

Simmons, Tommy Thayer, Eric Singer

“My guilty pleasures come and go, and there are things that you should know.”  Due to the fuzzy guitar tone, the riff sounds very Jimi Hendrix, but the vocal melody is mid-tempo.  The song has promise but it’s missing something.  What’s missing?  I have no idea…. that’s why I’m an amateur song listener vs. professional songwriter.

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I Dream 1,000 Dreams” (F)

Simmons

Simmons, other players not specifically credited

Song sounds like it should be on a Disney soundtrack.  I was not a fan of the version that landed on the Asshole album either.  Gene is truly proud of this tune because it’s significantly different than what he typically writes.  I say stick with what you know…. sorry ☹

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I Am Yours #1” (B)

Simmons

Simmons, Silent Rage

Enter the Silent Rage guys to help with another demo.  The lyrics weren’t finished so Gene is just scatting to record the dynamics of the melody.  The song reminds me of “All the Young Dudes” by Mott The Hoople (Gene admits this in the liner notes).

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I Am Yours #2” (B)

Simmons

Simmons, other players not specifically credited

This version has a slightly different arrangement (then #1) and now sounds like a cross between “All the Young Dudes” and heavier version of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”.  It’s a good song just sounds nothing like Kiss.

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Love is Blind #1” (B)

Simmons

Simmons

Partially written at The Sheraton Inn-Abilene (Texas I’m assuming…I only know this because there is a copy of handwritten lyrics on stationary from that hotel on page 81 in the book, pretty cool right?), this tune is very Eagles-esque.  Beautiful melody.

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Love is Blind #2” (B)

Simmons

Simmons

Gene tries to change the guitar parts to make this version a little edgier.  Um…. sorry…didn’t work…still very Eagles-esque.

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Whatever Turns You On” (B)

Dave Williams, Simmons

Simmons, Shannon Tweed-Simmons, Tracey (Shannon’s sister), Louise (Shannon’s mom)

We go from The Beatles, to Mott The Hoople, to The Eagles, to Sugar Ray?  Not sure who all the musicians are but the background vocals are done by the family listed above.  It’s a fun song.  This demo was later re-recorded for the Asshole album.

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Hold On” (A)

Simmons

Simmons, Silent Rage

Is this Bruce Springsteen?  Written in the mid-90s, somewhere in Canada, this demo was completed by the Silent Rage guys through some “Prodding and editing (that) got them to do a decent demo.”  That doesn’t sound fun.  Song has a “Hungry Heart” feel.  Pretty good stuff!

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First Love” (C)

Simmons

Simmons

This quick 2-minute track doesn’t feel finished.  It needs another verse (or something).  However, Gene plays a great guitar solo.

GENE SIMMONS – Gene Simmons Vault – Disc 6 Final Thoughts

The most diverse disc by far.  Although most of the songs are mid-tempo, the songwriting is pretty good overall.  Gene could re-record some of these demos and release an acoustic solo album.

Thanks for reading.  Pooni out!

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