Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Farewell Tour


On February 14, 2000 KISS announced at a satellite press conference from Los Angeles that they would be embarking on a Farewell Tour, a final tour for the band. 

I still own the special edition magazine that Metal Edge put out at the time to commemorate the Farewell Tour. The first sentence in the magazine reads like this: 

"After nearly three decades as a performing entity, KISS is calling it quits, ending its legendary career with one last Farewell Tour."

Here is an interesting quote from Gene Simmons from that magazine: 

"I can't envision another incarnation of KISS with different members."

A quote from Paul Stanley from that magazine: 

"It's real important for us to quit in our prime. Some people don't understand it. They don't understand why we would stop now. But it's the perfect time to stop. I don't want anyone to come to a show and say 'Remember when they were great' or say 'Boy, they could lose a few pounds.'"

Question: Is this a real farewell tour? 

Answer from Peter Criss: "Absolutely. Without a shadow of a doubt. It's as real as a heart attack." 

I saw the Farewell Tour on June 13th in Milwaukee and it was a great show, although I wished Gene had gotten his way and had Cheap Trick opening instead of a Bachless Skid Row and certified imbecile Ted Nugent. 

The last show of the Farewell Tour took place on April 13, 2001 at Carrara Stadium in Australia. Less than two years later KISS launched the World Domination Tour, which they would co-headline with Aerosmith, with a warm-up gig in Melbourne, Australia. 

Did Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley ever really intend to quit? Was it ever actually a Farewell Tour, or just a clever ploy to lure more fans out to the shows?

Consider this quote from Paul Stanley at the time: "There couldn't be a rival to the Reunion Tour (Alive/Worldwide) but the Farewell Tour." 

So true. Especially in terms of putting asses in the seats.

But then Paul added to the statement: "The final farewell." 

He put a tag on it. Nothing open-ended about that statement. A tad redundant, actually, but it certainly conveys a clear, concise message. Final is final, is it not?

I still remember seeing KISS in their first post-Farewell Tour appearance, barely one year removed from the final farewell, on the American Bandstand 50th anniversary television special. I immediately recognized Tommy Thayer under the spaceman make-up and felt betrayed. Some would say I had no right to feel betrayed, but I don't understand that logic. I'd been a KISS fan since age five, bought every record, wore the band's shirts to school in the eighties and got made fun of for it, I cried real tears at the first reunion show I saw at the Bradley Center, and suddenly seeing Tommy Thayer up there impersonating Ace Frehley less than two years after I'd paid good money for a ticket to the Farewell Tour...the final farewell? I was angry.

I do not have a problem with the band replacing Ace or Peter, and I understand that neither Ace nor Peter were ever fired from the band, but dressing Tommy and Eric up as Ace and Peter...I take that as an insult...yes, an insult to me, a devoted KISS fan for most of my life. If Tommy and Eric had joined the band as new characters with new make-up designs more than ten years ago by now the casual fan wouldn't know the difference and the serious fan wouldn't have to make a compromise with reality in order to somehow accept a brazen charade.

I love KISS, I stand up in defiance to those who would cast aspersions on Unmasked or The Elder, Asylum or Crazy Nights, but Tommy Thayer singing "Shock Me?" Fuck that. I like Tommy Thayer, I'll slap a Black N Blue record on the turntable anytime, I don't even blame him for accepting a well-paying gig, but maybe back in 2002 if he'd come to Gene and Paul with his own make-up design and pleaded his case, if he'd respected the legacy of the band more than the band itself, well...shit. It just sucks. I don't blame Tommy and Eric, not very much at least, but I wish Gene Simmons had lived up to what he said in that magazine in 2000:

"I can't envision another incarnation of KISS with different members."

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

World Series of KISS - Round 3 - Destroyer Vs Hotter Than Hell


Rich: Again another fairly easy choice for me.  While neither of these are particular favorites of mine and I find Destroyer to be rather over rated.  I prefer the hunger that you can almost feel on Hotter Than Hell as they struggle to establish themselves.  For the cut Parasite alone Hotter Than Hell defeats anything found on Destroyer (with the possible exception of Do You Love Me).....begin hurling insults as you wish.  Hotter Than Hell for the win. Winner: Hotter than Hell

BJ:  Hotter Than Hell is an awesome collection of songs, straight forward and unpretentious. The production doesn't bother me, it's a fun seventies rock record, it captures a moment in time very well, and the songs are infectious and charming. When you listen to Hotter Than Hell you can hear the room the band is playing in, slip on the headphones and close your eyes and you're there with them, you're in the room, amps on the floor. Destroyer is bloated and detached from reality. All the studio bullshit on Destroyer is superfluous and impersonal. Hotter Than Hell is Paul, Gene, Ace and Peter's version of Kiss, while in too many ways Destroyer is Bob Ezrin's version of Kiss. There isn't a bad song on Hotter Than Hell, there are a couple of bad songs on Destroyer. Hotter than Hell rip, rip, rip and destroys. Winner: Hotter Than Hell

AAron: It’s a pretty common theory that Destroyer is the greatest of all the KISS albums. I believe that by what I’ve read over the years that even Gene and Paul consider Destroyer to be the gold standard that all KISS albums must live up too, and it’s an opinion that is hard to argue. To me, the hype that accompanies Destroyer has always been a little too much. The song, “Beth” is the biggest hit single KISS ever had, and arguably the reason that KISS became the phenomenon that they are, but to me it is their worst song. This is a really tough one to call because (with the exception of “Beth”) these are both stellar albums. If this was about the covers, Destroyer would win, but to me it’s about the songs. Because of the harder edge and grittier feel, I give the advantage to Hotter Than Hell. No sappy love ballads. I say no to “Beth”, and yes to “Let Me Go, Rock N Roll”! Winner: Hotter Than Hell

Chris: A very tough choice, and one that I hate to have to make. While Hotter than Hell has a fine slab of early KISS in its glory, the bad production hinders it from beating a milestone such as Destroyer. While I can’t stand some songs songs on Destroyer (Great Expectations and Do You Love Me), the pluses of Detroit Rock City, King of the Nighttime World, and God of Thunder combined with Ezrin’s quantum leap in production, give it the win. Winner: Destroyer

Wally: Once again I had to sit down with the headphones and sink my teeth into both albums before casting my vote. When I started, I figured my vote was pretty safely going to Destroyer but wow did I look at Hotter Than Hell in a different light. I am not sure why but that album kinda dropped off my radar as I always leaned towards the debut album when I ventured back into the first three records.

Hotter Than Hell flat out knocked me on my ass. Such a great album and not a single filler song. Sonically, Destroyer sounds amazing, has a few gems but doesn't kick my ass all the way through. They remastered Destroyer which really didn't need it, Hotter Than Hell should have gotten that treatment. Winner: Hotter Than Hell

Round 3 Game 3, Hotter Than Hell takes out Destroyer Score 4 -1

World Series Of Kiss - Round 3 - KISS VS Ace Frehley 78


Rich: While the self titled debut contains the most classic KISS songs ever recorded and was the start of the phenomenon as we know it, I have an unhealthy love of the 1978 solo albums (with the exception of the deplorable tragedy that is Gene's).  Ace's solo is a good solid album from start to finish and edges out any of the over played classics from the debut. Ace for the win. Winner: Ace Frehley

BJ:  The first Kiss album is near and dear to my heart, but if I'm honest there are a few songs on it that just aren't very good. I absolutely love Ace Frehley's solo album, it was such a stunning achievement on his part, obviously he'd impressed with Shock Me and Rocket Ride but really, who could have expected his solo album to be quite this freakin' solid? Ace was smart about it, he swung for the fences and actually had his shit together. And the album is all Ace. He kicked ass. Rip It Out is one of my favorite songs by anybody. Ace's album is a riot all the way through, a goddamn rock and roll milestone in my opinion. The first Kiss album is also a milestone of course, essential and historical, but fuck it, I vote Ace. Winner: Ace Frehley

AAron:  This whole thing has really got me looking introspectively as a KISS fan. The question that I have to look deep inside myself to answer is… am I a bigger fan of KISS or Ace Frehley. To me, this may be the battle of the two greatest albums of all-time. I love both of these albums so much. I argued that none of the solo albums could match a collective KISS album, but now that it’s come down to it I find myself questioning those feelings. I think that am a bigger Ace Frehley fan than I am a KISS fan, as crazy as that sounds. I would be heartbroken if I could never listen to either of these ever again. I believe that Ace ’78 is the greatest album of all time, but I think that the debut album is the best KISS album. See the conundrum that I am having? We shouldn’t have included the solo albums, because Ace just might win it all. Winner: Ace Frehley

Chris: Ace Frehley has pretty much sailed through all of these matchups with easy wins. If it were, pretty much, any other album in the catalog that trend would continue. Ace’s run ends here. The 1974 debut album is just too much of a powerhouse with its song lineup to be beatable in this contest. Hard to top the original. Winner: KISS

Wally: Ace is far and away the best of the solo albums no question at all, but c'mon I have said it in previous rounds the debut KISS album is pretty much a masterpiece. Deuce, Cold Gin, Strutter, Firehouse, Black Diamond. These songs are simple raw rock n roll at it's finest, played by hungry musicians that had everything to prove. Hope to see KISS in the final battle. Winner: KISS

In a surprising upset Ace Frehley advances past KISS. Score 3 - 2

World Series Of KISS - Round 3 - Dynasty VS Rock n Roll Over


Rich: Here's another great and easy choice for me as I vote with my heart again.  I am not afraid to cast the lone vote here for Dynasty which I'm totally surprised even made it this far.  It was an early addition to my collection and I love songs like Charisma and Hard Times, bash it for it's disco feel all you like, but there's some great rock to be found here.  Everything I need from Rock and Roll Over I can get through other compilations.  As it's my favorite album of those remaining in the competition - Dynasty to victory \m/ Winner: Dynasty

BJ: Well, when I employed my 1-10 scale in previous match-ups Dynasty averaged a 7 while Rock and Roll Over averaged a 6.7. That would seem to indicate that Dynasty wins this one. But wait! Screw that. I know I've argued that it all comes down to the quality of the songs, but I'm realizing I was wrong, that isn't always the case. I have great affection for the concept of an album, not just as a collection of songs, but an ALBUM as a singular work, a cohesive statement. That band at that moment, a sort of time capsule. Rock and Roll Over is just better, man. It has a better cover, better production, and it really flows, it's an album in every sense of the word. I am not a fan of Baby Driver, but it's way better than Dirty Livin'. Baby Driver doesn't interrupt the flow, I wanna put Rock and Roll Over on right now and listen to it all the way through, it's a solid piece of work. I would never want to listen to Dynasty all the way through because I would never want to listen to Dirty Livin'. The second side of Dynasty flows, but the first side has multiple personalities. 2000 Man doesn't fit, it transcends. I think Dynasty is a great record, but my heart is with Rock and Roll Over, at least at the moment I'm writing this. Eddie Kramer is the man! Winner: Rock N Roll Over

AAron:  This is harder than choosing between The Elder and Peter’s Solo Album! RNRO is so good. Easily one of the greatest albums of all time! Dynasty is easily one of the most underrated. They call it the disco album, but it’s packed full of rockin’ tunes that I love. Especially the Ace Frehley tracks, I just wish that he would’ve been a featured vocalist earlier in the career of KISS. As much as I love Dynasty, I’m starting to think that Rock N Roll Over may be the dark horse of this entire series. RNRO in a squeaker… before I change my mind. Winner: Rock n Roll Over

Okay, I’m probably going to be crucified for this but I’ve gotta go with Dynasty. This album has aged wonderfully and I really enjoy the diversity in the album. Of course, it’s recorded by a fractured KISS lineup but I think the songwriting is very strong, Ace’s added contributions help, and I, personally, like Vini Poncia’s production style on the album. Both amazing albums but I’ll go with the oddball choice here. Winner: Dynasty

Wally: Ok, so I spent a couple hours and did a full listen to both these wonderful albums, before I make my choice here I must say this. DAMN I LOVE KISS! With that out of the way I am simply going to give my vote to Rock n Roll Over. It had been a while since I listened to Rock n Roll Over and I have to say its a gritty fun rock n roll ride from top to bottom. KISS at possibly it's finest hour. Winner: Rock n Roll Over

Round 3 Game 1,  Rock n Roll Over wins. Score 3 -2

Yellow And Black Attack At The Rockpile

Once again it's off to The Rockpile Bar & Nightclub in Etobicoke, Toronto, Ontario for another great rock show.  Last night I was just there for Dio Disciples and the week before was Harem Scarem and with all the upcoming acts that this place is luring in to Toronto it looks as though maybe I should just move right in and take up residence!  The Rockpile have done an incredible job of bringing in some bigger name acts to their
Photo taken from Rockpile's Facebook page
relatively small venue and have done an awesome job of creating a local scene here.  The Rockpile is fast becoming a rock & roll destination, boasting such names as Faster Pussycat (many times), Helix, Kill Devil Hill, Drum Wars, Jack Russell's Great White, Stryper, Y&T, L.A. Guns, Dio Disciples, Brighton Rock and many more with a bright future ahead including UFO!  In October they will be opening the doors on another Rockpile, (Rockpile East) on the other side of the city.  Together with S&S Promotions they presented tonight's show with Stryper, who took the Rockpile by storm.


I arrived before the doors opened and joined the que waiting to enter.  What??  A que!  This was the first time I had ever seen a line-up waiting to get into the Rockpile and it was not just a little line, but stretched all the way across the front, down the side and around the back of the bar!  Toronto was hungry for the Christian rockers apparently.  I myself was a little anxious to catch the show.  Stryper had been booked on both of the Monsters of Rock Cruises that I've had the opportunity to sail on, but I completely missed them the first voyage and only managed to catch part of their set last year.  This was a great chance to partake in their full set.

As we waited in the drizzling rain and finally began to shuffle towards the entrance I felt a little out of place as many of the crowd were adorned in Stryper t-shirts or yellow and black in the form of something as simple as a tie to headbands to striped shirts to full on costumes.  I wasted no time, grabbing a cold beverage and made my way directly to my "reserved spot" at the front of the stage.  I was right to get up there quickly as the place packed in and the first band readied themselves to start their set.

They took the stage announcing their band name which I missed (but think it was Trove, as I later discovered to be correct) and that they would be releasing a CD on August 24th with the release party taking place right here at The Rockpile.  Their set was entertaining, filled with good power riffs and a little bit of a dirty rock feel to their original compositions.  By the second song the bassist jumped up onto her rather
 small and unsteady amp as I turned around and saw many heads bobbing in the crowd behind me as they got into the set.  Trove punched through their roster of songs taking no breaks (the way it should be in my opinion of an opening band) and at the end of their last song as the bassist tripped, laughing, she instigated a mini brawl as she tried to take down her singer and guitarist band mates as well.  This simple act showed their camaraderie, how energised they were and how much fun they were having just finished their set, the way rock & roll should be!  With a little practice and polish this band could definitely be great and I'll definitely be making the attempt to get out on August 24th!


Next on the roster was Revolution out of Brampton, Ontario and are all between the ages of 15 and 17 years.  I had seen these guys before and remember not being overly impressed.  This time I was in my "reserved spot" at stage front which usually means I'll enjoy the bands more than a lacklustre seat in the back and this time was no different.  Revolution were much, much better than I remembered and the guitarist had some "fingers" for sure.  The whole band seemed to be rather skilled with their instruments of destruction although I feel that the vocalist was a little weak.  They closed up their six song, half hour set with a cover of Black Sabbath's Loner from the freshly unleashed 13 album with Ozzy Osbourne back at the helm.

I was excited for the next band, J'nai.  I have had the extreme pleasure of catching them live many times now and right from the first time I saw and heard them, not knowing who they were at the time, liked them immediately.  For me J'nai is like that one local band that you discover and love and follow their career from the ground up as they rise in the business.  You want them to succeed and you're excited to introduce people to their music and live performance.  J'nai are comprised of front woman and vocalist Jeanette Ricasio, Richie Nguyen slinging the lead guitar, T-Bo (also known as Stephan Nakamura on rhythm guitar), Dave Alcordo's thumping bass lines and Rui Cimbron bashing the skins.  J'nai has opened for many bands such as Queensryche, Vince Neil, Michael Schenker and more, but tonight is more excellent exposure for them as I've never seen The Rockpile as busy as it is tonight and in overhearing several conversations I knew that there were many folks here that had never set foot in The Rockpile before this event.  The youngsters took their positions and I braced myself to hear their excellent cover version of Heart's Barracuda as their usual opening song.  J'nai announced the band as she stood on the elevated drum riser behind Rui's kit and as they launched into the song I realised immediately that this was a new opening choice and a new song for them as they rolled through it.  Their choice was a cover of Rainbow's Kill The King, an excellent selection given
Dio Disciples had just graced this very stage a mere 24 hours prior.  Rock and roll is still alive and well and the university age youngsters of J'nai are proudly carrying the torch.  I was once told that Jeanette loves a big audience and tonight she was in her glory, already displaying her patented wacky dance moves that would surely cause spinal injury to anyone else attempting to perform them!  Next came Away From You which was followed closely by In The Light.  The latter brought the signature unison bouncing of all four unseated members during the chorus and I swore that we were going to be witnessing Jeanette herself  taken out in traction before too long.  J'nai's next song, Accident, will be featured in a Christopher Walken film due out in 2014 if I'm not mistaken and it's obvious how much these guys practice in their tightness and choreography on stage.  Jeanette's intensity reached a high point as they ripped through my personal favourite song Skipping Stones which was filled with high energy and synchronised kicks by all members.  J'nai's roller coaster ride of ass kicking continued with their newest song Gone featuring Jeanette crashing on Rui's symbals.  The J'nai show is about watching just as much as listening and during the next song, Defeat Them All, guitarists Richie and T-Bo perform a move that I've seen them do at least ten times before.  During the song they toss their respective
guitars at each other, catch them and continue playing the song to complete the guitar switch.  This time however, something was amiss and the toss did not go off unhitched as Richie's axe did not cleanly make it into T-Bo's hands, clambering to the stage.  T-Bo scooped it up quickly and soldiered on with no immediate damage to the guitar apparent.  Closing out with their usual sign-off tune of Guns N' Roses Welcome To The Jungle, or maybe it's W"elcome to the Rockpile".  I loved seeing a bit of a set change for J'nai tonight, but I rather miss Barracuda as they do an excellent job with the Heart classic.  HMV Music stores are now selling the self titled release and I recommend you pick it up, but they're even better in the live setting, join me in the front row as they open for Slaughter August 3rd.


The reason for the evening was due up next and you could feel the excitement in the air, riding along on the wings of the humidity building in the Rockpile.  The "Yellow and Black Attack" stormed the stage opening with To Hell With The Devil complete with the Abyss prelude.  It was abundantly clear immediately what kind of a show we would be in for as the band sounded awesome and really tight, with Michael Sweet's vocals in top form, perhaps even better with age.  Stryper features all the original members with Tim Gaines thundering bass lines, Oz Fox's squealing guitar and brothers Robert and Michael Sweet pounding the skins and handling vocals and guitar respectively.  By the time they had completed Sing Along Song I was kicking myself for not giving these Christian rockers, probably the most well known of the kind, more attention on both the previous Monsters Of Rock cruises, but thanking myself for making the effort tonight.  Two songs in and Stryper was blowing me away already!  Watching Oz Fox handle his guitar brought me back to the magic moment on the first Monsters of Rock Cruise
that saw Oz among others (Helix's Brian Vollmer and Black N' Blue's Jamie St. James) join Keel on stage for their classic The Right To Rock.  Michael addressed the audience after Sing Along Song and tossed out five bibles to the delight of the crowd members who were lucky enough to snatch one up.  He also apologised for not getting up here too often with the restrictions and he thanked the fans that came from far around for tonight's show, citing the Maritime province of Newfoundland and also recognising one fan by name, Craig, all the way from New Zealand who'd been at every show on this leg of touring.   Loud & Clear and Reach Out were the next selections, the crowd singing along all the while as Stryper continued pounding out a string of their 80's era classics.  Michael took a moment again to talk about 1986 on the Sunset Strip with the men wearing spandex and more make up that the ladies before they charged into Calling On You.  Free and More Than A Man followed suit now
having played half of the 1986 record To Hell With The Devil.  Stryper has a new record due to drop on November 1st called No More Hell To Pay and Michael introduced Marching Into Battle from that forthcoming CD.  I was able to find a fan filmed video of the track on you-tube and posted the link below, so check out Stryper live at The Rockpile and their new material at the same time.  Rock That Makes Me Roll brought us to their cover of KISS' Shout It Out Loud, at which they did an excellent job as Michael's voice was in top form.  During All Of Me it suddenly struck me that perhaps hoisting my arm high into the air and displaying the "devil horns" was not the best thing to perform at this show and as I looked around I saw that there were many in the crowd making the horns with their fingers.  I became careful not to do that for the rest of the show and simply raised my fist or one finger, just out of respect.  Honestly was shown next on the set list, but it was heavily marked out, so we were not treated to that cut this evening.  Michael instead introduced the band, brother Robert Sweet coming out from
his drum assembly hidden behind a row of amplifiers, joining centre stage and each member tossed out another five Stryper bibles into the audience.  Another cover song with Black Sabbath's Heaven & Hell including an impromptu little snippet of The Kink's My Sharona as Michael interacted with the audience again briefly before they blasted through a charged up Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love serving as their third cover song of the set.  While they did a great job at Van Halen as well as the rest of the cover songs, I would have preferred that they cut one or two out in favour of some more of their original material as they certainly have the catalogue to do so.  The Way (had Honestly not been scratched off this would have made all but two of the songs from To Hell With The Devil) closed out what was to be the regular set, but they soldiered on remaining on stage instead of making the crowd go through the rigamarole of cheering and chanting to have a encore and finished up with Soldiers Under Command.  The whole band was all smiles and bassist Tim Gaines reached down to bump fists with me as Michael asked the crowd if they minded if he closed with a prayer.  The audience remained rooted to their spots, being quite respectful as he said his closing prayer and they then took the time to shake everyone's hand in the first row or so of the audience.  Wow and wow again is about all I have to say after that show.  They played amazingly, the whole band was so tight musically and sounded great with Michael's vocals in top form, leading the charge.
At first I was not bothered when Stryper had not been announced as a returning act on the 2014 Monsters of Rock Cruise, but now that's all I can think is how much I want them back aboard!


The Meister

Monday, July 29, 2013

World Series Of Kiss - ROUND 2 - Hotter Than Hell VS Lick It Up


Chris: The inner-Vinnie Vincent fan in me really wants to shake things up and go with Lick it Up. I absolutely adore that album and all of the swagger, attitude, and technical proficiency that it brings. To this day, it stands out as a ferocious product from KISS and truly builds on what they had started with Creatures.

But, I have to listen to my heart and my heart belongs to Hotter than Hell on this one. Horrible production be damned! The instinctual, primal songwriting of KISS is firmly in place and it’s one of the most honest that the band’s ever produced. How I’d love to get hold of the master tapes and remix this great slab of KISS in its heyday. Winner: Hotter than Hell

Rich: Well, I myself rather enjoy the non make-up era KISS, being as that's where I started my forray into KISSdom, but it appears that I'm outnumbered as Lick It Up is the last man standing so to speak.  Judging by what I listen to more often, it's hands down Lick It Up.  The only thing from Hotter Than Hell that ever makes one of my playlists is Parasite, whereas the heavier stylings of All Hell's Breakin' Loose, Young & Wasted, Exciter and Not For The Innocent do find their way through my speakers from time to time.  Both albums represent different eras and facets of the band and Hotter Than Hell opened up some doors for the future, but I have to declare Lick It Up as the winner here (I fear I will be it's only supporter however). Winner: Lick It Up

AAron: I know that it's a reoccurring theme with me, but as awesome as Lick It Up is, the non-make up era never truly matches up to the original four. Great songwriting and vocals from the band, and better than solid performances by all members. A nice heavy album! Remember, this is KISS proving that they didn't need the make-up to kick our asses and they proved that they didn't, but in 1974 they were fighting to prove they had the right just to exist. Nothing is better than those early KISS albums, even as excellent as they were for most of the early 80's. Winner: Hotter Than Hell

BJ: Hotter Than Hell is a great collection of songs, nary a stinker in the bunch, and Lick It Up contains a couple real duds, i.e. Hotter Than Hell dances all over Lick It Up’s face. Winner: Hotter Than Hell

Wally: Ok, this sucks. I know who is moving on to the third round but it doesn't mean I have to be happy about it! Hotter Than Hell is filled with some classic songs no doubt but I loved Lick It Up. It breaks my heart that this album is hanging up the jacket in Hell's Kitchen today.

Lick It Up was so much a part of my youth, I remember a friend of mine and I scripting out a movie we were going to make to the songs of Lick It Up. "Not For The Innocent" had this army marching through the cemetary of my home town, it was a very powerful scene from a movie that was never made. Live, I loved these songs "Fits Like A Glove", "Young and Wasted"!. I also think "A Million To One is one of Paul's absolute best songs! Brain says Hotter Than Hell, my heart SCREAMS LICK IT UP! Oh Hell I am voting with my heart for all the good it's going to do here Lick It Up for the win. Winner: Lick It Up

Round 2 Game 6: Hotter Than Hell takes it. Score 3 - 2


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Episode 95 - KISS Road Stories with Peter Moose Oreckinto Volume II


Last week's conversation with original KISS road crew member, Peter "Moose" Oreckinto, was the fastest downloaded episode in Decibel Geek history. On top of that, it's elicited some of the best feedback we've ever had. This week we're proud to bring you another long-form discussion with Moose!

In this week's episode, Moose returns to share more road stories from the early days of KISS as well as some memories of his return to the band in a management capacity on the Destroyer tour.

First, some business to attend to:

The interview clip that you hear at the beginning of the show of Peter Criss speaking of Moose  is courtesy of Annika Sonic from The Sonic Boom LIVE show on 95.3 DNH in Honesdale, PA. Check out the show HERE

Around the 30 minute mark in the show, we hear from longtime KISS writer/collaborator Adam Mitchell. Adam, known in KISS fan circles for his work on Killers, Creatures of the Night, and Crazy Night is launching two brand new sites that promise to be very interesting for songwriters and KISS fans alike. Check them out at:

As some of you may know, the original intention of this week's episode was to have an in-person discussion between Moose and Aaron Camaro. The conversation did take place, at The Rainbow Bar & Grill no less, but technical gremlins got hold of the file and the audio was lost. Luckily, Moose was nice enough to do part 2 through Skype.
Moose showing Aaron where
KISS roadies were harassed
in front of The Rainbow
While at the legendary Rainbow, Aaron and Moose received some first class service and food from their waitress Julie and the staff there. So, this week's Geek(s) of the Week are the staff at The Rainbow Bar and Grill. Check out the Rainbow online HERE.

We dive into the conversation discussing KISS' rehearsals and showcase at the famous Fillmore East in late December 1973 into early 1974. With Paul wearing the short-lived bandit makeup and the band using a short-lived spiderweb backdrop, it's an interesting moment in KISStory. We get Moose's memories of this time including a heated exchange between him and a Casablanca Records executive.

In this discussion, you'll also get Moose's recollections of KISS' first trip out west to provide the entertainment for the Casablanca Records launch party at the Century Plaza Hotel as well as their television debut a few days later at the Aquarius Theater for Dick Clark's In Concert program. Speaking of television, we also get Moose's memories of the band's wild appearance on the Mike Douglas Show and how the low ceilings in the studio presented some problems for the band's pyrotechnics.
Mike Douglas & Gene Simmons

KISS' first appearance on June 1st, 1974 was a big moment on the band's climb up the ladder but money problems were plaguing the band and, especially, the crew. Moose shares his memories of the crew being stranded in San Francisco with no money for food or gas to get to the next show 1800 miles away in Minot, North Dakota.

We also hear Moose's memories of returning to KISS after his injury to be the assistant road manager on the Destroyer tour and how it differed from his previous job working with the special effects. Some interesting takes on Ace and Peter from the road.
1976-77 Destroyer Tour Stage Set

Other subjects touched on in this in-depth discussion include KISS' strange appearance at Eielson Air Force Base in Fairbanks, Alaska in front of a very shocked group of soldiers and their families, Moose's memories of Joyce Biawitz/Bogart, his time after KISS working with artists such as Angel and Alice Cooper, and how he met his wife (there IS a KISS connection).

The book that has been referenced in this episode, and last week's, is the upcoming 'Nothin' to Lose: The Making of KISS (1972-1975)' in which Moose is quoted as well as 200 others that worked with/for the band during those formative years. This book was put together by the band and author Ken Sharp and is expected to be one of, if not the, best KISS-related book to be released. Pre-Order Nothin' to Lose HERE.
Aaron Camaro & Moose
posing with the upcoming
Nothin' to Lose book.
The Decibel Geek podcast thanks Peter "Moose" Oreckinto for his time and amazing stories on the early days of KISS. This will, no doubt, lead to more appearances in the future as we've really become close with Moose and look forward to more in the future. We wish him all the best in his personal ventures as well as for the success of the upcoming book.
Peter "Moose" Oreckinto (far left)
photo courtesy Lydia Criss

The Decibel Geek podcast also wants to thank Lydia Criss for providing this great photograph of some of the road crew including Moose (far left), Sean Delaney, and JR Smalling. Pick up Lydia's amazing 'Sealed with a KISS' book HERE

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

World Series Of Kiss - ROUND 2 - Rock n Roll Over VS Paul Stanley 78


Chris: I caught hell last time for elevating Paul Stanley above Dressed to Kill. After much introspective contemplation (and other big words like “gymnasium”)……I still stand by that decision.

As I said before, Paul Stanley (1978) is an awesome piece of work put together by an artist that was out to prove he was about more than makeup and bombs. There are a lot of dynamics to this album and that works in its favor.

Rock and Roll Over is KISS going back to the meat and potatoes SOUND but I sometimes think people overlook the maturation they had gone through as songwriters from Destroyer. This was more rudimentary in sound but there’s no way Paul could have written something like ‘I Want You’ or ‘Hard Luck Woman’ during the Dressed to Kill sessions. Paul may like to call Eddie Kramer a glorified engineer but he can’t deny that he was able to pull that original chemistry out of them which was no easy task by that point. Winner: Rock and Roll Over

Rich: Once again I know that I’ll get flak from my Decibel Geek cohorts among others for my choices here in this round two of The World Series of KISS, but I like the Paul Stanley Solo album and I’m not afraid to admit it (please don’t kick me off the staff Chris & Aaron!).  While I make this statement and indeed voted as such, I am surprised that Paul Stanley made it through the first round over Dressed to Kill.  I recently saw some clever hubbub on the Decibel Geek staff forum as one of my esteemed colleagues expressed his displeasure that this Paul Stanley Solo had beaten out Dressed to Kill in the first round of match-ups.  He cleverly used the song titles to express his displeasure and I got chuckle from the word play.  Rock and Roll Over for me is one of the least listened to in my collection, hell even Music From…The Elder gets more rotation that it does.  With the good songs all appearing on other compilations I have no burning need for the actual album (a similar situation with many of the early KISS recordings).  For me, if you balance out the high points with the low ones of Rock And Roll Over, Paul Stanley’s more consistent, even, average compositions make for a more enjoyable listen cover to cover.  Paul hits another homerun with The Meister. Winner: Paul Stanley

AAron: I'm pretty shocked to see that Paul '78 beat Dressed to Kill. I just can't understand how that is even possible. Round 2 finds Paul Stanley in another seemingly unwinnable situation, but this is Paul Stanley we're talking about, he beat Dressed to Kill to get here. My defense is the same as the first round. Paul Stanley is a very close second best of the '78 solo albums, and a stellar album on it's own, but none of the guys could ever do alone what they were doing together in the early 70's. It could have been Clive Burr, Dave Murray, Steve Harris and Paul... Stanley. In the end Rock N Roll Over trumps anything that any KISS member has ever done or could ever do solo... just like Dressed to Kill! There are KISS albums that I like less than Paul '78, but Rock N Roll Over ain't one of 'em. Winner: Rock N Roll Over

BJ: First off, I feel I must express my outrage at Dressed To Kill being knocked out in the first round. As stated previously, I have great affection for Paul’s solo album but in all honestly half the album kinda sucks, whereas every song on Dressed To Kill is great. An album is the sum of its parts, and while Paul Stanley’s solo album might contain a couple of my favorite KISS songs it also contains a few real clunkers. Dressed To Kill contains zero clunkers. Therein lies the injustice of it all! Here’s how I feel about Paul Stanley beating out Dressed To Kill: it ain’t quite right, but I’ll move on. Rock and Roll Over vs. Paul Stanley is a much fairer contest. I’m going to have to employ the dreaded 1-10 scale on this one.

Rock and Roll Over

I Want You 10
Take Me 7
Calling Dr. Love 6
Ladies Room 8
Baby Driver 1
Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em 7
Mr. Speed 10
See You In Your Dreams 8
Hard Luck Woman 6
Makin’ Love 4
67/10=6.7 average

Paul Stanley

Tonight You Belong To Me 8
Move On 3
Ain’t Quite Right 2
Wouldn’t You Like To Know Me 10
Take Me Away (Together As One) 4
It’s Alright 10
Hold Me Touch Me 6
Love In Chains 8
Goodbye 8

And there you have it, judging Paul Stanley’s album by the sum of its parts and not just by how much I love Wouldn’t You Like To Know Me and It’s Alright I come to the LOGICAL conclusion that the sub-par quality of a few of the songs drag Paul’s album down and even though Baby Driver is my least favorite song of the entire bunch it does not drag the quality of Rock and Roll Over down enough to make the match up competitive, Rock and Roll Over wins 6.7 to 6.5. Winner: Rock N Roll Over

Wally: Now I too will stand by my decision in round one, Paul Stanley's 78 solo record is still a great rock n roll record but now it sits up against Rock N Roll Over. I actually went back and played them both back to back to make sure I could live with my decision here. 
I have to say, Rock n Roll Over might just be Kiss's strongest album from the classic lineup. Raw, gritty rock n roll tunes played straight up, no nonsense. This isn't just a great Kiss record it's simply a great rock record. If Shock Me was on this album it might just be perfect. So I am sad to say that it's probably the end of the road for Paul Stanley's solo album. Winner: Rock N Roll Over

Round 2, Game 5 Rock N Roll Over takes it. Score 4 - 1

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