GENE SIMMONS – Gene Simmons Vault (Disc 5, Album Review)

Gene Simmons Vault

*Past reviews*

Click here for Disc 1

Click here for Disc 2

Click here for Disc 3

Click here for Disc 4

An 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 have to share the love).

*Storytime*

Gene Simmons VaultAce, after being mobbed for pictures and autographs, finally makes it to the stage.  He is presented a vault. “I ain’t gonna lift it my back ain’t what it used to be…. this won’t fit in my Bentley. Ace grabs an acoustic guitar “I was watching Ferris Bueller on my laptop, remember the song on the street in Chicago…” and starts singing “Twist and Shout”.  It was awesome to see these two old friends on stage in such an intimate setting (click here for the video).  They start “Cold Gin” and Gene stops and notices that the guitar he brought with him is tuned back up to E vs D. “Who did that? What? Who told you to do that?”  This started the continuous ass kicking of the sound guy that lasted the entire night.  Later, Gene starts the bass line to “Torpedo girl” stops and asks Ace “What key do you do it in”. Ace, “What song is that?”  Gene, “You wrote it!” Crowd yells “Torpedo girl”. Ace“I don’t remember, I haven’t done it in 45 years”.  They start up and Gene looks to Ace to sing. Ace”Do you know the lyrics?”.  Gene, “You wrote it!”  Total comedy……

Gene Simmons Vault (disc 5) 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 songGene Simmons Vault

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

GENE SIMMONS – Gene Simmons Vault Review – Disc 5

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See You Tonite” (A+)

Simmons

Simmons, rest of players unknown

This Beatles inspired tune was written at Stephen Coronel‘s grandfather’s house within 30 minutes.  For the KISS freaks, Gene finally shares the mystery of what “It” means in the lyric.  Page 61 folks, get The Vault!  This demo sounds great!

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You’re My Reason #2” (B)

Simmons

Simmons

Circa 1976, this song didn’t have a chance to make it onto a KISS record.  With Gene’s writing being so diverse, he would sometimes hear “It just doesn’t sound like KISS.”  This song is the softer side of Gene but has a great melody.

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Gene Simmons SoloAlways Near You” (C)

Simmons

Simmons, Nancy Parkinson

Just keyboards, guitar and vocals on this track.  The instruments were all played by Gene and Parkinson (who worked at Playboy) helped with the backing vocals.  They are no other details about the “Playboy” employee in the book 😊 This song is okay, the other ballad type tracks are better.

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One More Chance” (B)

Simmons

Simmons

This track is part “Mr. Make Believe”.  Looks like this 1978 solo album tune was originally two songs that were combined (Frankenstein style) via a suggestion from Sean DelaneyGene plays all the instruments on this easy listening tune.

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Now That You’re Gone #2 Synth” (A)

Simmons, Bob Kulick

Simmons, Bob Kulick

The mighty Bob Kulick (who I have had the pleasure to interview recently, click here) plays guitar on this 1977 demo.  They lyrics were originally about his dad walking out on them, “Now that you’re gone, I’ll go on living….and I’ll carry on just the same.  Now that you’re gone, I’m just beginning to feel the pain….” but were later changed to be about a relationship breakup.  Subject matter alone, make this an “A” for me.

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You’re My Reason for Living Synth” (B)

Simmons

Simmons, Silent Rage

Gene Simmons

Silent Rage?  Who it that?  Check the prior reviews for that explanation.  Gene wanted to update the 70s track and had the Silent Rage guys help out.  You’ll hear hints of the Dave Clark 5’s “Because” and Marmalade’s “Reflections of My Life” in this version.  The Demon is definitely diverse and the synth adds a cool twist vs. the original.

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Dreamer” (C)

Simmons

Simmons

Written in 1975 on an acoustic 12-string, this song is a bit confusing.  Some parts feel like a coffee house singer-songwriter song and then the chorus goes into an up-tempo melody.  This Frankenstein style track does not transition well during the changes.

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Na, Na, Na, Na” (B)

Bob Dylan, Simmons

Simmons

Not the most imaginative of song titles, but it’s written by two iconic musicians.  The lyrics were not complete (so Gene is just scatting) but the vocal melody is good.  This song would later become “Everybody Wants Somebody”.  It is unclear if Bob Dylan plays on this demo.  You be the judge.

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Mr. Make Believe” (B)

Simmons

Simmons

This 4-track demo was recorded in 1977 during the Love Gun tour.  The song was inspired by Gene’s love of all things Disney.  The liner notes for this tune shares some stories of recording the 1978 solo album.  There were two famous musicians invited to sing backing vocals on the final recordings but were not “available”.  Who were they?

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Gene Simmons

Now That You’re Gone #3’” (D)

Simmons, Bob Kulick

Simmons, Kevin Valentine, Tommy Thayer

This version is an update to the 1977 demo.  The idea was to revisit the song and give it a different flavor.  Well, he succeeded…. It’s different.  Fuzzy, grunge sounding (it’s not a great recording sonically but still feel grunge) and just not good.  My vote is stick with the “#2 Synth” version.

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Now That You’re Gone #1” (C)

Simmons, Bob Kulick

Simmons, rest of players unknown

Another try to get it right happens in 2000.  There is a bridge added to help smooth out the melody.  Again, my vote is stick with the “#2 Synth” version.  Later this song would end up on the album Asshole with Sophie Simmons singing part of the backing vocals.

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You’re My Reason for Living 4 track” (B)

Simmons

Simmons

This version was recorded on a 4-track but the melody is similar to the other recordings.  Later, this music and melody would be used on several songs including “Journey of 1000 years”.

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We Are One” (A)

Simmons

Simmons, Silent Rage

Gene scats throughout the verses but the chorus melody and background vocals are almost exactly what ended up as the final recording on 1998’s Psycho CircusGene is only doing the vocal, Silent Rage takes care of the rest.  I have always loved this song.

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Gene Simmons Vault

Everybody Wants Somebody” (C)

Bob Dylan, Simmons

Simmons, Tommy Thayer

This track is a different version of “Na Na Na Na” with a slightly different melody and the lyrics are still unfinished.  Later, both songs would be morphed together to create a song called “Waiting for the Morning Light” which ended up on the Asshole album. The Asshole version is the best of the 3.

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Bob Dylan and Gene Simmons Writing Session” (A)

Bob Dylan, Simmons

Bob Dylan, Simmons

What’s not to like?  15 minutes of listening in on two legends talking through music history, playing off each other, talking through ideas, etc.  They are basically interviewing each other.  It ended up being a 6-hour session.  The songwriting process has always intrigued me.  Very interesting stuff!

GENE SIMMONS – Gene Simmons Vault – Disc 5 Final Thoughts

Although I’m a HUGE ballad fan, the 70s ballads were hit & miss for me.  If you are a fan of The Beatles or Gene’s 1978 solo album, you will LOVE this disc.

Thanks for reading.  Pooni out!

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

Facebook live videos, including Ace Frehley playing with Gene Simmons, available on my Facebook feed.

Follow me on Twitter.

Buy: Gene Simmons Vault Experience

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