The year is 1986. With it came the first significant solo record from an ex KISS member (Ace would wait a further year till he released Frehley’s Comet in ’87 and did anybody actually like anything by Peter Criss?). Depending on who you believe KISS either fired Vinnie Vincent yet again or he walked. It seems likely the truth will never be known, but here in hard proof was the result of what someone from the KISS stable was capable of all on their own and in total freedom.
I remember practically salivating at the prospect of hearing it and armed with my pocket money I demanded my local record store order it and have it waiting for me. This being the middle of nowhere in the Highlands of Scotland was no small feat – but somehow some-when I got my hands on my new tape and I felt the urge to buy some hairspray – the cover was pretty interesting to say the least – KISS were men’s men and this was almost akin to Poison – many years later Fleishman the lead singer would be quoted as being ‘stood next to inflatable drag queens’. This strange assault on the senses was even before hearing the recording and already I was confused – having loved Vinnie in KISS and being gutted I was too young to see him live with them on their European lick it up tour this was my best bet to hearing what the guy could do.
The band were put together basing on Vinnie’s previous relationship with Robert Fleishman in pre KISS days and having met Dana Strum (dubious Ozzy / Randy connection) and finally Bobby Rock the recordings began. What came from these recording sessions resembled nothing that the artwork for the LP showed. Drag queens arguably they may have looked, but the music was like nothing I have ever heard before or since. The album happens to be one of the most intense recordings I have ever come across and revolutionized my approach to playing guitar. Hell, many years later I managed to buy an original Jackson Vincent model from ’89 and have the damn thing tattooed on my arm such was the influence of the guy.
It is no easy task to review the music from this album. From what I know it’s a love or hate thing. Personally I adored it and from the opening screaming feedback to Boyz Are Gonna Rock to the relentless screaming vocals and beyond crazy guitar solos – it’s not hard to see why Vinnie had to get out of KISS if he was capable of playing like this. Fleishman’s vocals are stratospheric and having never had my balls in a vice I can’t comment on the effectiveness, but there is no way many people could replicate what he laid down on that album. All in all it was an exercise in extremes, it sold very well and should have laid down the path for a long and illustrious career. VVI managed one more effort in 1988 and it was all over.
This album is their short-lived but crowning glory – it’s a bit like going for a dinner date with Ridley Scott’s Alien – never sure what the hell to expect other than some sort of painful sonic death – the cover stating no outboard gear was used in the recording and absolutely no keyboards were used. The almost mythical guitar sound was achieved by constructing 10 – 15 marshall / Laney /Messa etc stacks that apparently resembled Stonehenge and was utterly impossible to be in the same room during recording due to the volumes involved (nothing to do with the fact that Vinnie pissed on one of his own Jackson guitars due to tuning issues and the booth stank for days). Possibly the most Spinal Tap of many of the 80’s bands – the Vinnie Vincent Invasion to this day inspires a loyal fan-base and very few guitar players have been able to replicate the insanity of Mr Vincent – God knows I have tried ……..