GENE SIMMONS – Gene Simmons Vault (Disc 9, Album Review)

Gene Simmons Vault

*Gene Simmons Vault Past reviews*

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The 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).

Gene Simmons Vault - Eric*Story Time*

So, 7:30pm rolls around (the timing that the L.A. Vault Experience was originally supposed to end) and Gene comes onto the stage.  He shared everything from music theory to stories about Bob Dylan.  As Gene is playing “My Uncle is a Raft”, “Eskimo Sun” and “Only You” on the acoustic guitar, the guy next to me spills his wine and gets Gene’s attention in the wrong way. Afterwards, Bruce, Eric and Ace join on stage.  Gene says, “Ace, play “Parasite!” and this starts a comedy routine where Eric and Gene are trying to get Ace to play “Parasite” but Ace wants to play the Rolling Stones but has no clue what the lyrics are. Ace is completely oblivious to the “Parasite” conversation.  I can totally imagine something similar happening between Paul, Gene and Ace in the mid-70s.  It must’ve been crazy back then.  The night ends with us grabbing a quick signature and picture with Eric.  During the quick chat Eric says, “Gene gave me a Vault and signed it…. “Eric, Blow Me”. You believe that!”

Gene Simmons Vault (disc 9) 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

Gene Simmons Vault

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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It’s Gonna Be Alright” (A)

Simmons, Mikel Japp

Simmons, Mikel Japp

Written in 1982 with Mikel Japp, this demo is a radio-friendly catchy tune.  With what KISS was trying to do with Creatures of the Night, there was no way this mid-tempo pop tune was going to make the album.  Also, on a completely different note, part of the liner notes for this track addresses Eddie Van Halen.  Did Eddie ask Gene if he could join KISS in 1982?  The answer is on page 109…

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It’s Gonna Be Alright #2” (A)

Simmons, Mikel Japp

Simmons, Bruce Kulick

The second version was demoed in the later 80s.  Bruce definitely adds some flavor vs. the original demo.  I’m surprised this version didn’t end up on Crazy Nights.  There is no doubt that The Demon understands the importance of melody.

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Everybody Knows #1” (A+)

Simmons

Simmons, Tommy Thayer

Bells of Freedom” (on disc 2) and “Everybody Knows” have some similarities.  The song starts off very similar to “Rock Bottom” but unlike the Dressed To Kill track, the riff continues throughout the song.  OMG…. How is this song not on a KISS album?

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Gene Simmons Vault

Everybody Knows #2” (B)

Simmons

Simmons, no other musicians credited

Exit the “Rock Bottom” feel and add the “grunge-lite” Carnival of Souls feel.  Dressed To Kill vs. Carnival of Souls?  Come on people… If you picked Carnival, your punishment is to listen to Dressed To Kill 13 times in a row because you’ve obviously done bumped your head!  The demo still has good melody but the 1st version is WAY better.

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

You’re All That I Want” (B)

Simmons

Simmons, Paul Stanley

Paul plays rhythm and lead guitar on this mid-70s demo that would eventually end up on Unmasked.  This version is a bit heavier than the final recording.  Paul also scats a bit because the lyrics were not 100% complete.  I personally like the Unmasked version better.  Gene disagrees.

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Kids with Painted Faces” (C)

Darren Leader, Simmons

Simmons, no other musicians credited

Darren Leader (Steel Panther) wrote the basic guitar track and the song morphed from there.  The lyrical theme is creative, but the melody falls a bit flat.  However, Gene does play a nice melodic guitar solo.

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I Wanna Rule the World” (C)

Simmons

Simmons

This demo is all Gene.  When you first hear the track, don’t react right away… the song picks up at about 40 seconds in.  It sounds like it was recorded in the 1960s but I’m not sure.

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Rule the World #2” (C)

Simmons, Scott Van Zen

Simmons, Scott Van Zen

Although a similar title to the previous song, this tune is completely different.   A lot of scatting lyrics and I would guess it was written in the mid-90s.  I like the riff, but the rest of the song needs some work.

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Damn, I’m Good” (B)

Simmons

Simmons, Eric Singer

The lyrics were not 100% complete but the melody is hummable and catchy.  The chorus needs a better hook, but this song has major potential.  I like it that My Demon is a bit brash, cocky and full of himself.  I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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Gene Simmons VaultDial L for Love” (A+)

Simmons, Adam Mitchell, Eric Carr

Simmons, Adam Mitchell, Bruce Kulick, Eric Carr

In 2011, I acquired an album (not sure if it was licensed by the family/estate, forgive me if it wasn’t) called Unfinished Business.  This collection of Eric Carr involved songs has an instrumental version of “Dial L for Love”.  The mid-80s Vault demo is more complete and was intended for Animalize or Asylum.  How in the hell did “Murder in High Heels” make a KISS album, but this didn’t?  UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

Just Like the Movies #1” (B)

Simmons, Stephen Bishop

Simmons

When I first heard this demo, I thought Eddie Money somehow snuck into my Gene playlist.  The song is pop-oriented and has great melody.  The entire idea sparked from a passing comment that Stephen Bishop said to Gene during a writing session “…. but just like the movies, I feel like a Romeo.”  Now I’m not sure how that comes up in a conversation, but I’m not a professional songwriter and these guys have written top 40 hits… so I’ll go with it.

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I Know Who You Are” (B)

Simmons

Simmons, Joe X. Dube

Joe X. Dube (Starz drummer) plays drums on the demo and Gene does everything else (including the piano).  This late 70s recording reminds me of the songs on the 1978 solo album.  I would’ve rather had this song than “When You Wish Upon a Star”.

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Sweet Temptation” (B)

Simmons

Simmons

Written for The Elder, Bob Ezrin liked pieces of the song and used them to finish off the final recording of “Only You”.  I like this demo but it’s too “happy” sounding for what became The Elder.

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Are You Always This Hot” (B)

Simmons, Adam Mitchell

Simmons, Bruce Kulick

The guitar work on this demo is OUTSTANDING!!!!!!  I just wish the chorus was lyrically better.  This up-tempo track has real potential and would sound great on a KISS record.  Bruce is da man!!!!!

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Gene Simmons Vault

Fourever” (C)

Simmons

Simmons, no other musicians were credited

Calm down, ‘cause this ain’t a version of the “Forever” that you’re thinking of.  Completely different song, lyrically, musically and stylistically.  The baritone sax is placed well throughout the song (yes, baritone sax… not a mistake).  Unfortunately, the bridge and chorus melodies are a bit boring.

GENE SIMMONS – Gene Simmons Vault – Disc 9 Final Thoughts

Wow, only two more reviews left.  This disc has some songs that need to be finished off and released to the masses.  I’ll give you more thoughts on that idea in my final review.

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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COMMENTS

  • Domboldbert

    Wheres 10th cd review heck alot of these songs give no hope to anyone
    gene simmons chaim witz stinks as a musician

  • Jan Laursen

    Oh boy, I almost don’t dare to admit it, but while I’m generally mostly a 70’s KISS fan, I actually prefer Carnival of Souls over Dressed To Kill – please don’t make me listen to that album 13 times in a row – my head might explode (like in the original, unused CoS covrpainting – which sucked, but not as much as the “finished” cover!).
    Great article…

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