Monday, January 28, 2013

KISS Follow Up to "MONSTER"

Metal Talk
Chris Dale

Chris Dale is a Heavy Metal bassist. He is currently the bass player in TANK whose recent album, WAR NATION is out now. He has previously played with lots of Metal bands and projects, most notably a two year stint in Bruce Dickinson's solo band. Chris fronts the pop-group Sack Trick, DJs on TotalRock radio (Thursdays 3-6pm UK time) and in his spare time works on tour as a roady for anyone going to a hot climate...

My wish for 2013 would be another Kiss album before the end of the year. 'Monster' was great, I'm looking forward to the European tour in the Summer and I'm sure they'll be touring the world well into Autumn but I still want more. They'd probably say they didn't have time to write one by Christmas 2013 with their busy schedule but that's the cunning point - they don't have to write one. It's already done. They just have to record it and that would take them a month at most..

Van Halen got a bit of flak from some fans on their recent album 'A Different Kind of Truth' because songs such as 'Tattoo' and 'She's The Woman' were not newly written songs but re-workings of demos the band had recorded back in the 70s.

Van Halen have particular form in that area. 'House Of Pain' was demoed back in 1976 (with Gene Simmons producing), a full eight years before it was finally recorded and released on their '1984' album.

You can hear all the original demos on YouTube. I don't see anything wrong with that. They're Van Halen songs, they wrote them and most importantly, they're great tracks. The only shame is that we had to wait so long to hear them done properly.

I reckon Kiss have got at least an album's worth of unused material lying around. The thing is as I started to compile this list for fun, I realised it's not just another Kiss album, it's actually one of their best. There's some excellent tracks out there that they demoed but did not make it onto the finished albums for one reason or another.

You should of course bear in mind that the demos you are about to hear are not all of the best sound quality. The very meaning of a demo is a recording of a song to demonstrate the idea of it. They were only ever intended to be heard by the inner circle of the other band members, the producer and possibly a few of the management and record company. They were certainly never supposed to be heard by the fans and the world in general. Thanks to YouTube.

These recordings are mostly third or fourth generation cassette copies of unfinished and roughly mixed songs. Some of them were recorded with what sounds like the cheapest toy drum machine money can buy these days but those things were high-tech state of the art back in the 70s.

Other songs are layered in unflattering keyboard sounds that were all the rage in 80s home recording. Try to ignore these downfalls and appreciate the songs for the potential they undoubtedly have.

I'd like you to imagine these songs with the live drums, big guitars and general attitude that Kiss recently put into the 'Monster' recordings. This is VERY IMPORTANT!

1. WHAT HAPPENS IN THE DARKNESS OK, let's start our dream Kiss album with a stomping Paul and Gene shared vocal song. It's a cover. They've got previous for opening with covers. 'Is That You?' was written by Gerard McMahon, a young British artist yet it still sounds like a great Kiss tune when the boys rock it up.

This one is called 'What Happens In The Darkness'. It was written by Tamy Lester Smith and was originally recorded by Infinity back in 1971. Gene and Paul recorded it in 1972 for their band Wicked Lester long before they met Ace and Peter. A couple of other Wicked Lester songs made it onto later Kiss releases. Both 'She' and 'Love Her All I Can' were recorded by Wicked Lester prior to their appearance on 'Dressed To Kill'. I think they should use this one as well.

2. KEEP YOUR TAIL BETWEEN YOUR LEGS Like so many Kiss albums, I'd like to hear a good Gene song in second place. 'Keep Your Tail Between Your Legs' was written by Gene and Howard Rice (who was also Gene's writing partner on 'Anyway You Slice It'). It was demoed in early 1984 for the 'Animalize' album. It's difficult to imagine why they eventually chose 'Burn Bitch Burn' over this one for the final album. I especially love the very cool double tempo middle section.

Check out the rest of Dale's selections HERE.

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