They say music is subjective, right? There is no right or wrong, just preferences. Don’t tell that to Kiss fans. With an obsessiveness rivaled only by Trekkies, soldiers of the Kiss Army have been known to spend countless hours arguing over the most minute of details. Old-school purists will sing the praises of 70’s staples like “Parasite” or “Shock Me”, while latter-day fans will strongly espouse the merits of “Hide Your Heart” or “Unholy”. Certainly there must be a way of once-and-for all settling the notion that not all Kiss songs are created equal?
That’s exactly what listeners of Pod of Thunder, the long-running Kiss related podcast are doing. For the next few months, diehard fans (affectionately known as “POTheads”) will be voting via Facebook on their favorite Kiss songs. They will be pitted against one another in a March Madness style single-elimination tournament until one song is crowned the all-time “Stone Kold Kiss Klassic” (SKKK).
Over the course of its 200-plus episode run, Pod of Thunder’s three hosts – Nick Jones, Andy Jones and Chris Lathrop – have hilariously critiqued and analyzed every song in the extensive Kiss catalog. Some have been declared real stinkers, but many have been elevated to the lofty status of SKKK. It’s these best-of-the-best songs that are competing against one another in a tournament dubbed “The SKKK Tournament of Champions”.
Mark Strigl | Talking Rock
On a recent episode of the 3 Sides of the Coin show, former Kiss producer Michael James Jackson was asked about Ace Frehely’s involvement on both the Killers and the Creatures of the Night albums. He said “Ace did play. I don’t remember; It was along time ago, I don’t remember what he played on. We recorded him in New York.”
When asked if this was for the Killers, Creatures of the Night or both? His response was “I honestly don’t remember. It was a very long time ago.”
He is then asked if it is possible that Ace’s guitar playing may be part of the basic rhythm guitar parts on the Creatures Of the Night album to which he responds “yeah, yeah., I remember we recorded him at Electric Lady. I don’t remember whether it was on a track or several tracks for Killers or on Creatures.”
In the 2003 official Kiss book Behind the Mask, Michael James Jackson is quoted as saying Ace was not on the Creatures of the Night record. In the same book, Vinnie Vincent talks about meeting Ace at this time. Could this meeting have taken place in the studio while they were recording Creatures? Ace Frehley, of course, went on to appear on the album cover, in the promotional music video for the track “I Love It Loud” and also did some press for the record. Around this time Ace claims that Kiss was encouraging him to go and do solo records but also to stay on as a member of the band.
Why has Michael James Jackson’s recollection of Ace’s involvement with a Kiss at this time in history changed? Again, in the 2003 book, he says Ace was not on the Creatures record and now in 2018 he claims he did record guitar sessions with him for either Killers or Creatures. Could his account had been altered for the “official” Kiss book in 2003 or is he now remembering things differently? Thoughts? Let us known the comment section.
This post was written by Mark Strigl Continue reading
Gary Graff | Billboard
We’re used to seeing Paul Stanley on the road playing new music. But this coming weekend he’s making a pair of Florida appearances for a different kind of art.
Stanley will be showing off his paintings and sculptures on Friday (Feb. 9) and Saturday (Feb. 10) at the Wentworth Gallery in Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton, respectively. He might not rock n’ roll all night at either locale, but Stanley feels like these events are their own kind of parties.
“I enjoy going to the galleries,” Stanley, who studied art as a youth and returned to active painting a decade ago, tells Billboard. “I enjoy meeting people. People acquire pieces and we get a chance to talk about those pieces and I’m interested in their take and what they’re getting out of the piece. I’m a big believer that people are intimidated by art and theater because critics have intimidated them. Nobody needs to be told what good art is; Good art is what you like and bad art is what you don’t like. I would love to get people to realize they don’t have to justify their opinions about anything and just find what makes them happy and embrace it. I hate when people preface what they’re going to say with, ‘Well, I don’t know anything about art.’ There’s nothing to know. You either like it or you don’t. End of story.”
Stanley’s Florida exhibitions will include a variety of works, ranging from paintings (including pieces of he and Kiss co-founder Gene Simmons on stage) to an acrylic guitar sculpture that represents some of his most recent artistic interests. “I like dealing with three dimensions,” explains Stanley. “You can only create what you’re capable of creating, as time goes on your skill level increases along with your ability to conceive. The better you are at your skill the more you can think further, beyond your comfort zone, so to be doing these plexiglass pieces is very, very interesting.”
Stanley, who also fronts a 13-piece R&B group called Soul Station, has more time for his visual art in what looks like a light year for Kiss. The group has a handful of festival and headlining dates during July in Spain and Portugal but will be spending most of the year off the road. And Stanley freely acknowledges that: “I don’t want to go leave home. I have a family and I have children and, honestly, I think my primary responsibility is to be a dad and I don’t want to miss out on that. And certainly as we got older we know that life is finite and I pick and choose what I want to do at this point.” That said, Stanley does expect that “there’s a world tour down the pike,” though he adds that he’s not sure how many more of those he’s up for.
Preorder the story of Big John Harte, protector of Rock Gods: Kiss, Iron Maiden, Billy Idol, Prince and more on Pledgemusic. Peter Criss, Kiss Original Drummer – Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame Inductee shared his thoughts about John, “Big John is a beloved character. I love him. He is a survivor, and the real deal. John just being there made a difference. We were only a few, but with John we were an Army!”
The now-classic images of this hulking wrestler-like mustachioed man with his giant hands shielding an unmasked Kiss member are indelibly etched into your brain. It’s symbolic of the important role Big John played throughout the years — from the heady, narcissistic 70s til today — creating a human barrier between the public and some of our favorite stars. It would be hard to think of the glory days of Rock and Heavy Metal without him.
You know the lore, now find out where and how it all began. Big John Harte decided to self-publish his autobiography so he could include all the stories he wanted and not be restricted by a publisher. Now you can be part of making this book happen. For this book release Big John Harte has partnered with PledgeMusic, the premiere platform for connecting with fans and making them part of the creative process. Throughout the pledge campaign Big John Harte will be sharing videos, photos and stories with everyone who pledges. You will get a early peek into the book.
All pledgers will get a EXCLUSIVE chapter NOT available in the book…. available only on PledgeMusic. Big John Harte has created some extremely cool and unique rewards for his campaign, including:
Signed Hand Written Passage
Signed “Rough Draft” of Big John Harte’s Book
Coffee Date with Big John Harte
Autographed Big John Harte RIAA Award
VIP Dinner Experience with Big John Harte
Original Ken Kelly Artwork for Book Cover, YES legendary artist Ken Kelly is designing the book cover and you can own the one of a kind artwork!
Gene Simmons has compared collaborating with Bob Dylan to winning the lottery.
The Kiss rocker and the legendary singer/songwriter penned the track ‘Waiting For The Morning Light’ in 1991, and it was later released on the ‘Crazy Nights’ hitmaker’s 2004 solo record ”A*****e’.
The 68-year-old shock rocker says that it was a matter of luck that he got to work with Dylan, 76, and recalled how after contacting his manager to ask to speak to the ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ hitmaker, he turned up outside his home two days later, and the rest is history.
Appearing on ‘The Pulse Of Radio’ recently, Simmons said: “Everybody buys lottery tickets.
“What are their chances of winning? Not much.
“So what? There is a chance you can win, and I’m like that. So I called his manager: ‘Can I speak with Bob?’ ‘What do you wanna talk to him about?’ ‘I … I wanna write a song with Bob.’
“[Laughs] And all of a sudden within two days, an unmarked van shows up at my house and Bob gets out with an acoustic guitar in his hand, and tells his driver, ‘I’ll see you at the end of the day,’ comes up and we start strumming. I mean it was just like that.”
Simmons released ‘Gene Simmons – The Vault Experience: 1966-2016’ last year, which includes a never-heard-before 15-minute clip of him in the studio with Dylan.
The ‘Lick It Up’ singer says getting to discuss how we writes music with the ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ star will forever be a career “highlight”.
Weezer and Foo Fighters have just finished an Australian tour together, and to celebrate the moment, they joined forces on stage in Melbourne to perform a cock-rock standard, Kiss’s “Detroit Rock City.” When I say “join forces,” I mean Rivers Cuomo came up to sing and shred a bit with the Foo Fighters, standing awkwardly in the middle of the stage as Grohl hopped, skipped, and jumped across it. “Are you ready, Rivers?” Grohl said in a joke Paul Stanley-esque voice at the beginning of the song. Rivers, deadpan and weaselly: “I’m ready to rock.” It sounds like what it is.
Call it a mini Kiss reunion in Wynwood as Gene Simmons, flogging his $2,000 boxed set “The Vault,” did an in-store at Walt Grace Vintage, a cars and guitars gallery, with Ace Frehley, his former band mate.
Like a divorced couple sharing old stories of their high profile marriage, the duo kept an audience — which included Barry Gibb’s musician son Stephen Gibb — rapt during a freewheeling Q&A session that touched on their time together in Kiss.
The pair, sitting in front of a wall of guitars that collector Frehley coveted, also strummed acoustic guitars. This led Simmons to quip how difficult it was to play a vintage tune like Kiss’ “She” unplugged.
The event, part of Simmons’ Vault Experience World Tour, was held last Saturday to give fans who bought the Kiss bassist’s 50-year time capsule of 150 unreleased demos and memorabilia, a chance to meet and greet the 68-year-old rocker.
But fans were surprised to see special guest Ace Frehley, Kiss’ original lead guitarist, sitting on a stool in tongue distance from Simmons — not that close, actually, given the size of Simmons’ famed tongue. But close enough to excite people who don’t expect to see Frehley on the same stage with Simmons given their tumultuous history.
Frehley, 66, hasn’t toured with Kiss since 2001. But there he was at the music store at 2450 NW Second Ave., in Miami, with Simmons — with whom he formed the hard rock band Kiss in late 1972 in New York City.
Si Live | Tom Wrobleski
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – He escaped the mean streets of the Bronx to help found one of the most iconic bands in rock-and-roll history.
And now former Kiss lead guitarist Ace Frehley brings his hard-rock groove to his hometown of New York City, appearing at the St. George Theatre on Feb. 2, with special guest Appice.
The “Space Ace” makeup that Frehley first donned in 1973 is a thing of the past, but Frehley remains one of rock’s top guitarists. His life has all the “Behind the Music” drama you’d expect: The rise to the top with Kiss bandmates Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons and Peter Criss; the bitter breakup; years of substance abuse, and the band reunion that eventually went off the rails.
But Frehley has endured. Clean and sober for more than a decade, he’s put out a string of successful solo albums and gained long-deserved recognition as one of the best hard-rock players ever, recognition that eluded him back in the Kiss heyday, when the makeup and concert pyrotechnics overshadowed all. He’s even had recent reconnections with Stanley and Simmons.
Frehley spoke to the Advance recently from his home in San Diego.
So what can fans expect when they see you at the St. George Theatre?
“We still do a core section of Ace tunes, old Kiss tunes. I want to start working in more material from my ’78 solo record this year, because it’s the 40th anniversary.”
What else from the solo album are you thinking about putting out there?
“I’m not sure what songs I’m going to do. Probably do ‘Snow Blind’ and ‘New York Groove’ and ‘Rip It Out,’ and hopefully one or two others. But, you know, we’ll also be throwing in ‘Cold Gin’ and ‘Shock Me,’ ‘Rocket Ride,’ some of the Kiss classics that I’ve written and always go over well.”
You’re also playing real deep-cut classic Kiss songs, like “Parasite” and “Strange Ways” [from 1974’s “Hotter Than Hell” LP]. Is it important to you to reclaim those songs that people may not know you wrote?
“I think the hard-core Kiss fans are aware that I wrote them. Casual Kiss fans may not be aware. Paul and Gene in a lot of cases try to take credit for being the geniuses behind Kiss. But I wrote a lot of hit songs over the years … After the success of my solo album I realized something very profound, in that I was more creative away from those guys than I was with them. And that was kind of the beginning of the end for me, and the writing on the wall about that. Eventually I’d be down my own path, following my own path.”
Are you going to do another “Origins” covers album?
(Gibson) KISS guitar legend Ace Frehley has been talking to Staten Island’s SILive.com about his long-standing relationship with Gibson Les Pauls and he was also asked whether he’ll ever play with KISS again, a question which never seems to go away:
He replied, “It’s been 15 years but over the last two years, I’ve kind of reconnected with Paul [Stanley] and Gene [Simmons]. I reconnected with Paul on the [Free cover] track ‘Fire and Water’ [on Frehley’s own album 2016’s Origins Vol. I]. He actually shot a video with me. So that was a lot of fun and it was good to reconnect with an old buddy.
“And then more recently, I did two songs with Gene for this new studio record that will be coming out. And then I did a [Hurricane Harvey] charity event with Gene in Minneapolis. That was a big success.
“And just a couple of weeks ago, I was with Gene, he invited me to come up to Los Angeles because he was doing an event for The Vault [Simmons’ mammoth box set], and he wanted me to come up and perform with him. And we exchanged some great stories. We had a lot of fun.” Read his comments about his go-to guitars here.
KISS bass mogul Gene Simmons was asked on the Meltdown show on how he feels about all the people online that clearly dislike him, to which he replied (transcribed by UG):
“Well, that’s okay! I get paid well enough for this. Not everybody likes Jesus, and that’s okay too.
“You can’t please everybody. What are you gonna do? The best thing you can do is run a race, look straight forward and be the best you can be.
“Take it from our military – don’t look over your shoulder and to the side and to the peanut gallery to find out if it’s okay to be you. Just hold your head proudly and say, ‘This is me, take it or leave it!'”
Asked on what his “key to success” is, Gene replied:
“I guess having a right thing at the right place and the right time. And then there’s just plain hard work. And we’re America’s No. 1 gold record award winning group of all time in all categories. TA-DA!
“But like anything else you gotta get up every day and work at it. Ask Mike Tyson, he’s a friend. You can become a world champion and when you sort of stop training and stop looking after yourself some chunk is gonna knock you out.
“So get up every day like it’s the only day you’ll ever have in life and be a champion!”