Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

1982 – Part 1: Saints And Sinners, Priests And Thieves and The Creatures Of The Night

Ahh, 1982, Slash was only 17 years old, Blackie Lawless (still an unknown outside of LA), started to experiment with hurling raw meat at the audience, Nikki Sixx decided to chase a heckler called Lars Ulrich down Santa Monica Blvd and the main house bands at Gazzarri’s were RATT and ROXX REGIME. Roxx Regime would of course go on to become Stryper. 1982 was also the year that metal and rock music started to become a force to be reckoned with. MTV’s launch on August 1, 1981, would change the industry in a big way.

KISS – Creatures Of The Night
It’s a who’s who of outside songwriters.

Paul Stanley hooked up with Adam Mitchell to write “Creatures Of The Night” and “Danger”. The winner of that hook up is by far “Creatures Of The Night”. The metal heaviness, the pedal point riff and that major key riff change before the lead break is just brilliant.

Victims of the moment
Future deep in doubt
Living in a whisper
Till we start to shout
We’re creatures of the night

The rock n roll children, the heavy metal followers, could all relate to being creatures of the night. We would be up to the small hours of the night, listening to our favourite cuts. Rock and Roll Children listening to the “devils” music”.

Vinnie Vincent is all over this album.

“I Love It Loud” is a Gene Simmons, Vincent composition. The drum groove, the chants.

Perfect.

In 1982, it was exactly what the youth wanted to hear. “Killers” is another Simmons, Vincent composition, however the stupid lyrics on the song take away from the power of the music. Regardless, we still have “I Love It Loud”.

Guilty, till I’m proven innocent
Whiplash, heavy metal accident
Rock on, I wanna be president
‘Cause I love it

It’s a brilliant play on words and a mission statement for all rockers.

People born in the Nineties would not understand how the religious groups and certain politicians reacted to hard rock and heavy metal in the Eighties. As far as these organisations were concerned, heavy metal music promoted anti-social behaviour, drug taking and basically nothing good was expected from the youth that listened to it. So as the lyrics state, we are all guilty until we are proven innocent.

Loud, I wanna hear it loud
Right between the eyes

Anthems about cranking it up started to become the norm in the Eighties. Slade wrote “Cum On Feel The Noize” in the Seventies, however a lot of people will associate the song with Quiet Riot and their 1983 take on it. Twisted Sister took it up a notch with “I Wanna Rock”. Motley Crue wanted it “Louder Than Hell”. Bon Jovi wanted to “Let It Rock”. Metallica formed a “Metal Militia” and so on.

Turn it up, hungry for the medicine
Two fisted till the very end
No more treated like aliens
We’re not gonna take it

That’s right. The war cry from the youth of the Eighties.

We’re not gonna take it.

With our devil horns and our black t-shirts patched in with our favourite bands, we were not aliens anymore. We belonged. And the unifying force was our love of heavy metal and hard rock.

“I Still Love You” is a Paul Stanley and Vinnie Vincent composition and to this day it is one of my favourite power ballads. The Emadd9 to Cadd9 chord progression is mournful and perfect for the song.

People tell me
I should win at any cost
But now I see as the smoke clears away
The battle has been lost

Great lyrics. Even though the song is a love song, the four lines above can be used for any situation. If you are a rocker and the audience deserts you, what do you have left? Sort of like the song “When The Crowds Are Gone” from Savatage. If you haven’t heard, call it up on Spotify or YouTube and let it fill your head space.

There was another interesting song writing committee on hand. Gene Simmons, worked with Bryan Adams and his songwriting partner Jim Vallance. The result is the excellent “War Machine” and the not so excellent “Rock N Roll Hell”.

How heavy is “War Machine”?

Better watch out
‘Cause I’m a war machine

Another common theme from the Eighties was that rock heads and metal heads were meant to be mean muthas, typified by songs that promoted macho like behaviour. Sort of like how the rappers preached “don’t mess with us, we got guns and we use them”, the metal heads preached the same message with their fists and bravado.

“Watch out, we are here to seek and destroy.”

Next to “Unholy” and “God Of Thunder”, “War Machine” rounds off a trilogy of groove metal anthems from The Demon.

And to put it into context, the legend of The Demon owes a lot to Vinnie Vincent who was on hand to write the super-charged demonic riff for “Unholy”, Bryan Adams/Jim Vallance wrote “War Machine” and “God Of Thunder” was penned by Stanley and given to Gene to sing, who would then go on to become the “God Of Thunder”.

With Vinnie Vincent in the band, Kiss was ready for the Eighties. “Lick It Up” that followed the following year would give the band enough life and momentum to move forward until “Revenge” gave them another victory lap.

Whitesnake – Saints And Sinners
This album is gold. As with everything Whitesnake, the recording process began in 1981, just after the end of the “Come an’ Get It” tour. Since Whitesnake was formed, it had been album and tour, so it was expected that tensions would start to appear, especially when the debt was piling up. The band couldn’t understand why, as they played to sold out places and had album certifications on the walls.

We all know that this album gave birth to “Here I Go Again” and “Crying In The Rain” and to be honest, I really enjoy the Adrian Vanbenberg and John Sykes guitar playing on those songs many years later as well as the original versions.

But going back to the some of the other songs, there is no way you can’t tell me when you listen to “Young Blood”, you don’t get the urge to tap your foot and nod your head at the groove. It’s infectious.

Then you have the major key Led Zep inspired “Victim Of Love” plus the funky groove from “Saints and Sinners” and the great lead break.

I mentioned previously that in 1980, “Ready An’ Willing” was the album that started the rise of Whitesnake. Think about the quality of songs released on the trilogy of albums. You can sequence songs from “Ready An’ Willing”, “Come And Get It” and “Saints An’ Sinners” into a perfect album.

1. Young Blood
2. Don’t Break My Heart Again
3. Fool For Your Loving
4. Blindman
5. Crying In The Rain
6. Here I Go Again
7. Aint Gonna Cry No More
8. Victim Of Love
9. Lonely Days, Lonely Nights
10. Ready And Willing
11. Saints And Sinners

I didn’t get the full album until the late Nineties. As with all things commercial, once Whitesnake’s 1987 album started selling by the truckloads, Geffen Records re-issued the earlier stuff in 1988. So David Coverdale in a roundabout way should thank John Sykes for assisting him in getting richer from back catalogue sales.

Like a lamb to the slaughter,
Another sacrifice,
For giving love to woman
With a heart stone cold as ice….. from “Victim Of Love”

Brilliant lyrics from David Coverdale. Instead of the rocker being the one with a heart of stone and a “love em and leave em attitude”, the woman he is sleeping with is the one doing the loving and the leaving.

A woman goes crazy with the thoughts of retribution
Then a man starts weeping when he’s sick and tired of life ….. from “Crying In The Rain”

Hell has no fury like a woman scorned. In a break up, thoughts of retribution are high on the cards.

Like a drifter I was born to walk alone ….. from “Here I Go Again”

A lot of people forget that Bernie Marsden is a co-writer on this track.

It’s a brilliant line.

In the end, all of us musical fans are loners. We listen to music in our own time, with our headphones on, in our bedrooms or on the train to work. And we drift from job to job, house to house, relationship to relationship and year to year.

This lyric connected “Here I Go Again” to every man, woman and child. It is a universal line. And the result is Whitesnake’s biggest single. It took 5 years later for it to happen, which goes to show how way ahead “Here I Go Again” was for it’s time.

Saints an’ sinners, priests an’ thieves ….. from “Saints An’ Sinners”

A brilliant play on words.

I stand guilty of a thousand crimes,
An’ I suffer temptation still,
Show me a man who won’t give it to his woman
An’ I’ll show you somebody who will ….. from “Saints An’ Sinners”

Trust David Coverdale to deliver a brilliant tongue and cheek line. To all of those guys in relationships that cant stop looking at other woman. Well, guess what, there are thousands of men looking at your woman. Brilliant.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music

The KISS that rocks

Revenge made Kiss relevant again.  1982’s Creatures of The Night and 1983’s Lick It Up, re-established Kiss as a force to be reckoned with in the Eighties.

MTV was the outlet, and every time Lick it Up came on, it made me stop and watch.  This was all about the music.  The band had removed their make-up and they needed to make a statement.  Lick It Up was that statement.   That crunchy and distorted guitar from Vinnie Vincent is what makes the song roll.  Of course, it wouldn’t be long before Vincent was shifted. It’s like Gene Simmons can’t handle having talented people around me for a long period of time. Gene likes to rewrite history that Vinnie Vincent’s contribution to KISS was as a salary paid employee, however the music doesn’t lie.

Life’s such a treat and it’s time you taste it
There ain’t a reason on earth to waste it

We all know what Paul is saying in the lyrics to the women in the world.  Make sure that no mess is left ladies.

By the time the keyboard heavy Crazy Nights (1987) and the pop metal Hot In The Shade (1989) came out, fans started to accuse the band of following whatever MTV trend was popular at the time. 

Crazy Crazy Nights to me was so hooky and it was as good as anything else that was in the Charts at that time. I personally love the song, and this is in the era, post the Slippery When Wet explosion.  It just reminds me of good times and crazy days, sort of like how Tesla’s Lazy Days and Crazy Nights song does.  Listening to the Crazy Crazy Nights song today (I did an Eighties’ CD for my wife and this song was one of the songs I put on it) it just reminds me of how busy my life has come to be, where most of the time I am running on empty or caffeine.  It would good to be able to kick back and relax. 

They try to tell us we don’t belong,
That’s alright, we’re millions strong
This is my music, it makes me proud,
These are my people and this is my crowd

A song for the rock show, making the people believe that they belong here. Crazy Crazy Nights was co-written by Paul Stanley and Adam Mitchell who he used on the Creatures of the Night album as well.  Going back to the well that gave birth to quality previously, is a good thing.   

Going back to the Revenge album. The Nineties had a massive paradigm shift in the music business.  Kiss, now had to compete with bands that released game changing albums.  Nirvana released Nevermind and Pearl Jam released Ten bringing Grunge and Alternative Rock to the masses.  U2 released Achtung Baby, Red Hot Chilli Peppers released Blood Sugar Sex Magik, Metallica released the Black album, The Cult release Ceremony, Guns N Roses released the Use Your Illusion I and II albums, Ozzy Osbourne released No More Tears, Skid Row released Slave To The Grind, Pantera released A Vulgar Display of Power and Van Halen released For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge.  The majority of the albums had a heavy rock feel and in the case of Van Halen it was return to the brown sound. 

Coming into the recording process of Revenge, Kiss already had some momentum going with God Gave Rock N Roll To You, which appeared in the movie, Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey in 1991. The song is an Russ Ballard composition for the band Argent, however additional credit is given to Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and Bob Ezrin.  Argent at that time was trying to follow up their mega hit, Hold Your head Up, so when God Gave Rock And Roll To You came out, it bombed.  However the song is a great song, and it is a good thing that Kiss rescued it and turned it into a hit.

For Kiss to be relevant in the Nineties, they had to do something different, so they hired a marketing consultant firm to find out what the fans wanted. The answers came back.  The fans wanted more Demon, more heaviness, more rock and an album to rival 1976’s Destroyer. It was time to get the team together.  Bob Ezrin who produced the epic Destroyer and the terrible Music From The Elder was hired to produce.

The biggest decision made was to use the fantastic, talented and egotistical Vinnie Vincent as a songwriter.  Simmons and Stanley realised that Vincent’s contributions to the Creatures of The Night and Lick It Up albums, had produced songs that have become some of the best and well known Kiss songs in recent memory.  The sinister single opener Unholy was written by Simmons and Vincent.  It is heavy, it is evil and it fit perfectly in the current music climate at the time. 

You send your children to war
To serve bastards and whores

It’s a tough lyric line.  There is that devilish theme throughout the song.   

Other classic Vincent penned songs that appear on Revenge are Heart of Chrome is written by Paul Stanley, Vinnie Vincent and Bob Ezrin, while I Just Wanna is written by Paul Stanley and Vinnie Vincent.

It is a shame that this song writing partnership went sour so quickly again, and they haven’t collaborated since. 

Revenge is Kiss being themselves and by doing that, they made a record that satisfied the hard core fan bases and somehow also fitted in with the times,

Of course, the album is also in memory to drummer Eric Carr, who passed away due to cancer, before the recording process started.  Eric Singer took his place in the band and he has been with Kiss, since then.  How good was the Badlands project that Eric Singer was in, with Jake E.Lee, Ray Gillen and Greg Chaisson?  However that is for another day.

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Music, My Stories

Motley Crue and Kiss at the Allphones Arena, Sydney 9th March 2013 – Part 2 – Kiss’s Set

Getting late
I just can’t wait
Ten o’clock and I know I gotta hit the road
First I drink, then I smoke
Start up the car, and I try to make the midnight show

Get up
Everybody’s gonna move their feet
Get down
Everybody’s gonna leave their seat

Its all about the show.  A lot of bands just write songs and then you have Paul Stanley who wrote songs for the show.   The intro is built for explosions, pyro and fire.  The story behind Detroit Rock City is legend by now and from tragedy you get a song stands the test of time.  37 years later it is still relevant and the Kiss fan that got killed on his way to the concert will never be forgotten.  Credit must be given to Bob Ezrin as well.  Apart from being the producer, he also was a co songwriter on this song, and the task master on Destroyer.  Coming into the Destroyer album of 1976, Bob Ezrin was coming off his recent successes with Alice Cooper and Lou Reed.  Of course Ezrin would go on to greater fame with Pink Floyd’s The Wall. 

It doesn’t matter what you do or say
Just forget the things that you’ve been told
We can’t do it any other way
Everybody’s got to rock and roll, whoo, oh, oh

Shout It Out Loud is one of those songs that just endure.  Rock N Roll was all about doing things that the conservatives wouldn’t do.  The history of rock music is littered with the same themes.  It doesn’t matter what the people in power say, we will try to do it in our own way.  This song was penned by Paul, Gene and Bob.  All the big songs from Destroyer had an Ezrin co-write.  These themes popped up again in I Wanna Rock and You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll from Twisted Sister. 

You know your man is workin’ hard
He’s worth a deuce

As described by Gene Simmons Deuce was a popular street term in the early 1970s meaning fellatio and full sex afterwards. This song is penned by Gene Simmons only.  It has also endured through the 40 odd years.  Will a song be written like Deuce these days?  Probably not.  Everyone wants to be liked these days and they do stuff that is politically correct.  Music is never about toeing the line.  There are artists out there that do it their own way but these are outliers.  They could rise amongst all the others or they could be forgotten or they could change and be part of the masses. 

She can move you and improve you
With her love and her devotion
And she’ll thrill you and she’ll chill you
But you’re headed for commotion

And you’ll need her so you’ll feed her
With your endless dedication
And the quicker you get sicker
She’ll remove your medication

Get the firehouse
‘Cause she sets my soul afire
Get the firehouse
And the flames keep gettin’ higher

The usual concert staple where Gene Simmons ‘spits’ fire and sings about the slaves men have become to women, relationships and sex.  It’s so true, we are so addicted to being loved or to having a sexual relationship, we will change and bend who we and then we get burned.  You can even see we think a lot with our penises.  Another Kiss classic penned by Paul Stanley, who to me is an underrated songwriter when he goes it alone. 

I rode the highway to heartache
I took a trip on the ship of fools, woah yeah!
And I paid the price to have my way
‘Cause money makes the rules, yeah!

Hell or Hallelujah is probably the best song Kiss has written since the Revenge album.  Psycho Circus is a close second.   It’s good to see Paul Stanley going alone again with the writing, instead of a list of outside writers, like he has done for a long time.  Life is about paying your dues, it’s about accumulating experiences.  What price are we prepared to pay to have it our own way?

How true is the last lyric line?  Money makes the rules.  There is a story at the Wall Street Journal stating that “nine executives at private-equity firms together will take home more than $1 billion in dividends and compensation from last year”.  Money buys rules.  How many of the architects of the GFC got punished.  Instead they got bailouts, generous severance payments and are doing College tours of the US.  On the other side of the coin, you had people lose their houses, their families, their lives and their sanity.     

So if you please get on your knees
There are no bills, there are no fees
Baby, I know what your problem is
The first step of the cure is a kiss

So call me (Dr. Love)
They call me Dr. Love (calling Dr. Love)

Calling Dr. Love is rock n roll all the way through. With its Cold Ethyl borrowed riff and the usual subject matter about sex, this Gene Simmons penned tune follows all the rhyming clichés. This was on the Eddie Kramer produced Rock N Roll Over.  That album didn’t stand a chance as a follow up to Destroyer. 

I was born to the human race
Livin’ life feelin’ out of place
People said I was wasting my time
Looking to find my kind

Outta This World is a song that sounds forced and fake.  This Tommy Thayer penned tune is a sad imitation to the real Space Man.  As much as Gene and Paul spin it, there is only one space man and that is Ace Frehley. It is a shame that Ace doesn’t recognise his value to the Kiss Army.  Even the banks are foreclosing on his home.  So you have an ex member of one of the biggest bands in the land, that sell everything that they can think off, and his home is getting foreclosed.  Are Gene and Paul doing creative accounting in this or is Ace just silly with his money.   

Get up!
Now it’s time for me to take my place
The make-up runnin’ down my face
We’re exiled from the human race.

You’re in the psy
You’re in the psycho circus
I say welcome to the show.

Step up!
No one leaves ’til the night is done
The amplifier starts to hum
The carnival has just begun.

Psycho Circus is about the rock experience.  It’s about the rock heads.  It’s about how the establishments treated us as exiles from the human race, before the bankers all wanted a piece of it and made it mainstream.  Then our rock idols also wanted to become bankers.  The rock show was a circus, it was a place to let our hair down and be as one.  This was penned by Paul Stanley and Curtis Cuomo.  Cuomo also co wrote a lot of songs on the Carnival of Souls album that didn’t get any attention due to all the hoopla of the original band reunion.  Psycho Circus was produced by Bruce Fairbairn and in the end he couldn’t save it either.  As much as it was hyped as a reunion Ace was more or less absent again from most of the recordings with Tommy Thayer doing most of the leads.  I didn’t mind Psycho Circus but as with every follow up album to a mega successful one it has a lot to live up too.  The intention of Psycho Circus was never to sell truckloads of albums.  It was all about putting the make up on again and being KISS.     

I love it loud, I wanna hear it loud, right between the eyes
Loud, I wanna hear it loud, I don’t want to compromise

Turn it up, hungry for the medicine
Two fisted to the very end
No more treated like aliens, we’re not gonna take it ‘cos

I Love It Loud, I Wanna Rock, We’re Not Gonna Take It and many other songs shared similar themes.   Kiss need to really credit Vinnie Vincent for their resurrection in the early 80’s.  I Love It Loud was penned by Gene Simmons and Vinnie Vincent.  This song is from Creatures of The Night.  Even though Ace is credited on album sleeves it was Vinnie Vincent that brought the guns and had Kiss firing on all cylinders again.

They try to tell us we don’t belong,
That’s alright, we’re millions strong
This is my music, it makes me proud,
These are my people and this is my crowd

These are crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy nights

Again another song for the rock show, making the people believe that they belong here.  Crazy Nights was co written by Paul Stanley and Adam Mitchell who he used on the Creatures of the Night album as well.  Live this song didn’t go down to good.  They key they where doing the song in was all wrong, Paul even had a capo on his guitar (which isn’t very ROCK N ROLL) and everything was just out of key.  You can tell that the band was put off. 

Better watch out ’cause I’m a war machine

That is how the rockers and metal heads felt.  Indestructible war machines.  It was an elite club once, and when the bankers and others wanted a piece of it, we didn’t like it.  Our heroes took the bankers in and they started to treat the real fans like cattle.  There is no other way to describe it.  Just look back to our record collection of the mid 80’s onwards and what you have is an album with 2 to 4 good songs and the rest is pure filler.  Of course there where always albums that rose above this, like Slippery When Wet, New Jersey, Dr Feelgood, Hysteria, Appetite for Destruction, Master of Puppets and many others.  Thank god the internet came and levelled the playing field once again.  War Machine is one of the most heaviest songs in the Kiss arsenal, up there with Unholy, yet it was co-written by Gene Simmons, Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance.  The heaviest song Kiss has was written by a pop duo. 

You pull the trigger of my
Love gun, (love gun), love gun

Another Paul Stanley classic, penned on his own.  It’s part of pop culture now.  You pull the trigger of my love gun.  Growing up in the 80’s I cant recall how many times I used this line on the opposite sex, only to get laughs instead of the actual deed. 

You show us everything you’ve got
You keep on dancing and the room gets hot
You drive us wild, we’ll drive you crazy

You keep on shouting, you keep on shouting
I wanna rock and roll all night and party every day

Rock and Roll All Nite was co-written by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley.  These two guys need to do more co-writing together. This is what we wanted to do.  No one wanted to work nine to five jobs.  We all wanted to be musicians.  Kiss wrote the anthem for it.  To me the Rock n Roll all night isn’t about rocking per se, it is about getting down and having dirty sex. 

Lick It Up – kneel at the altar of Vinnie Vincent.  Gene likes to rewrite history that Vinnie Vincent’s contribution to KISS was as a salary paid employee, however the music doesn’t lie.  The songs that have Vincent’s involvement are a step above the other songs Kiss released in the 80’s and the 90’s.  Paul Stanley and Vinnie Vincent wrote this song.  The good thing about the Lick It Up album is that it was all written within the band.  That is why it works.   Lick It Up was their big album in the 80’s.  The best songs on Creatures of the Night were also co – written by Vincent and the best songs on Revenge where also co- written by Vincent.  Of course Revenge was their big album of the 90’s. 

Don’t wanna wait ’til you know me better
Let’s just be glad for the time together
Life’s such a treat and it’s time you taste it
There ain’t a reason on earth to waste it

We all know what Paul is saying in the lyrics to the women in the world.  Make sure that no mess is left ladies.  This song killed it when it got started. 

Black Diamond is another Paul Stanley penned tune.  In the concert Eric Singer sang the song, and I must say I was impressed with his vocal abilities. 

Out on the streets for a living
Picture’s only begun
Your day is sorrow and madness
Got you under their thumb

I must say Eric Singer played the part of Catman perfectly.  If Peter Criss was there or not, I don’t think it matters, however for some reason, Tommy Thayer pretending to be the Spaceman, matters.  I am still trying to work this one out.

And the show comes to an end.  I looked over at my boys and they had Joker style grins from ear to ear.  They were tired at midnight, but pumped.  For an eight and seven year old, they are just starting out.  To me, it was great to experience the concert with them.  Kiss and Motley have the biggest arena shows and it was a perfect first concert for my boys.  Kiss where far superior on the night, more professional and tighter.

To me, one of the best concerts i went to was a Black Crowes gig at the Wollongong Entertainment Center where about 1000 tickets where sold in a venue that holds about 10,000.  The band went on and they played and they jammed, extending their songs and just having fun.  They played all of their hits, but they didn’t play them the same as the album.  The band had fun doing their extended jams and the audience had fun along with them.  This is an important fact that seems to be missing from concerts these days.  Kiss might as well have lip synced as they didn’t really do anything different with the material.

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