GENE SIMMONS – Gene Simmons Vault (Disc 7, Album Review)

Gene Simmons Vault*Past reviews*

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Click here for Disc 5

Click here for Disc 6

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, wanted to share the love).

*KISS Fans Celebrate*

Gene Simmons Vault

Check out all the events going on:

*Paul is touring with Soul Station

*Gene is doing Vault Experiences

*KISS announced some tour dates

*40th anniversary of the 1978 solo albums

*Vinnie is doing the Atlanta KISS Expo

*Ace is on tour

*and today……WOW!!!!!  The KISS Kruise VIII announces that Ace Frehley, Bruce Kulick and Bob Kulick will be on the cruise in 2018.

Exciting time to be a KISS fan.

Gene Simmons Vault (disc 7) 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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No Conscience” (A+)

Simmons, Vinnie Poncia

Simmons, no other musicians were mentioned

Producer of 2 of my favorite albums, Dynasty and Unmasked, Vini Poncia helped pen this track. Poncia has been blamed for making KISS disco but I think that he has a great ear for melody and hooks. Timing of this recording is not clear but sounds like this song could’ve easily been on Crazy Nights or Hot in the Shade. Awesome! Oh yeah, almost forgot…. wanna take a guess who introduced Desmond Child to Jon Bon Jovi? It’s in the book, and it’s not who you think it is 🙂

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

Suspicious” (A+)

Tommy Thayer, Jaime St. James, Pat Regan

Simmons, no other musicians were mentioned

Recorded in 1988, during the production of Black n Blue’s album In Heat, this song has 80s radio hit written all over it. The book doesn’t clarify the players, but you can distinctly hear Jaime St. James singing background vocals. Black ‘n Blue did release “Suspicious” on In Heat but the album didn’t do very well.

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

Everybody Wants” (B)

Simmons, Jesse Damon

Simmons, Jesse Damon, Matt Hawkins

Written by Silent Rage member Jesse Damon and Gene collaborating during a writing session, “Everybody Wants” has a great hooky chorus melody. The lyrics weren’t complete, so you hear Gene scatting throughout. This song should be dusted off and finished for release on the next KISS record.

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

Promise the Moon” (A+)

Simmons, Bob Kulick, Tommy Thayer, Jaime St. James

Simmons, no other musicians were mentioned

Originally written in the 70s as a song called “Sentimental Fool”, Gene wanted to update the song to a fresh 80s sound. He asked St. James and Thayer to get involved, hoping Black n Blue would record and release it. Jaime and Tommy update the track keeping the same riff, writing new lyrics and refining the melody a bit. This slower tempo track should’ve been an 80s Billboard Top 200 hit.

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

All You Want’s a Piece of my Heart” (B)

Adam Mitchell

Simmons, Tommy Thayer

Another collaboration with Adam Mitchell. The chorus lyrics/melody were complete, but the rest of the song was never finished. It has that late 80s feel that I love. Would be great to hear this song 100% done. Tommy is the MVP of this tune.

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

Pride” (A)

Matt McCormack, Simmons

Simmons, no other musicians were mentioned

Podcast Rock City had the pleasure of interviewing Matt McCormack (click here) and he was gracious enough to share his personal Gene story. “Pride” is a great song that has a pop/gospel (new genre “poppel”?) feel to it, but the track would’ve never made it onto a KISS album. Matt also has a version on iTunes. Both are excellent.

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

Mirage” (A)

Simmons

Simmons, Tommy Thayer, Pat Regan

This 90s demo was born from several other demos from the 70s. Regan laid down the drum track, Tommy on guitar and Gene everything else. The lyrics are about a radio DJ that Gene was infatuated with. This song is more Crazy Nights/Hot in the Shade vs Revenge/Carnival of Souls.

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

Dog” (C)

Alex Chuaqui, Simmons

Simmons,Alex Chuaqui (aka Bag)

Bag was the 1st artist that Gene signed to Simmons/Sanctuary Records.  Being a “jack of all trades”, Bag is playing all the instruments on this demo.  The song reminded me of “Werewolves of London” + “Little Red Riding Hood”.  The subject matter oozes Gene’s personality but the music and the vocal are disjointed at times.

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If I Had a Gun” (B-)

Alex Chuaqui

Simmons, Alex Chuaqui (aka Bag)

“If I had a gun, I’d have me some fun, I’d shoot everyone who pisses me off today.”  Gene supplies the vocal and Bag plays everything else.  Not sure who is doing the cool background vocals.  The music and melody are great, but the depressing lyrics just doesn’t fit Gene’s persona.  I like my Demon singing about sex and rock ‘n roll (since he doesn’t do drugs).

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

I Walk Alone” (C)

Simmons, Bruce Kulick

Simmons, Bruce Kulick

This is the demo version of what ended up on Carnival of SoulsBruce sang the KISS version but Gene sings on this demo.  The music is great, but the melody and vibe has never connected with me.

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

Seduction of the Innocent” (D)

Simmons, Scott Van Zen

Simmons, Scott Van Zen

The guitar riff dates to the early 60s crafted when Gene acquired his first guitar.  The story connected to this song is awesome (honestly a must read), but I just can’t get into the song at all.  It’s just a bit too dreary for me.

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Lonely is the Hunter” (A)

Simmons

Simmons, no other musicians were mentioned

Gene states that he doesn’t like the version on Animalize but also admits that he wasn’t there when it was recorded in the studio.  The final recording is definitely less slimy, but I believe it had to be.  It was 1984 and greasy/slimy demos weren’t being played on the radio.  I like both versions.

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

Never Gonna Leave You #1” (A)

Simmons

Simmons

Circa 1977, this demo was recorded in the closet of Gene’s apartment on a 4-track Tascam.  The track has a R&B feel with a hummable melody.  It’s basically a dance track.  KISS fans will hate this.  I absolutely love it!

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

I Ain’t Comin’ Back” (A)

Simmons

Simmons

Similar music and melody as “Never Gonna Leave You #1” with different arrangement.  The lyrics are also a bit different.  If sold to someone else (i.e. Diana Ross) these types of songs would’ve been all over 70s radio.

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Never Gonna Leave You #2” (C)

Simmons

Simmons, Bruce Kulick, Eric Singer

So…. add some different instruments, plug in a distortion pedal and demo a more rock version on a 16-track.  Not every R&B song converts to rock well. I like the 1977 versions much better.

GENE SIMMONS – Gene Simmons Vault – Disc 7 Final Thoughts

A couple of true gems on this disc.  The Carnival of Souls stuff is not great…. But…. I don’t particularly like that album, so my opinion may be a bit jaded.

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.

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Buy: Gene Simmons Vault Experience

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