Saturday, August 20, 2016

Episode 266: Kiss Keepers & Clunkers: The Solo Projects

Episode 266: Kiss Keepers & Clunkers: The Solo Projects
Podcasts collide as Pat and Kyle are joined by Chris Czynszak from the Decibel Geek Podcast to discuss KISS "Solo" Keepers & Clunkers.
From August 18, 2016

With your host:

Pat Francis

00:00:00 No. No no no. We were done. We were finished. Two whole parts, over FOUR HOURS of audio all devoted to Kiss. I survived it, to Mordor and back. I just.... you can't make me go through this again. It's too much. It's barbaric. I refuse! No more. That's what I say. No more. No one else should have to feel this pain! Hey, what are you doing?! Get off me! HELP! HEEEEEELP! PLE- *conk* *muffled cry* *van speeds away*

Pat and Kyle welcome us to the show. Today in the co-host seat is another music podcast aficionado. From the Decibel Geek Podcast, it's Chris Czynszak! Chris brought along his brother Eric and his friend Greg. Everyone in the room is a fan of Kiss. The Decibel Geek Podcast is a weekly music podcast that Chris hosts with his buddy Aaron. They've been going strong for over five years.
00:05:00 Decibel Geek is focused on hard rock and metal, especially classic rock and metal, but they also focus on newer bands that have the similar sounds. One of those classic bands, obviously, is Kiss, which is Chris' favorite band. Today, the epic saga of Kiss Keepers & Clunkers reaches its third stage with SOLO PROJECTS!!! The members of Kiss have many solo projects, which will be featured today for our listening pleasure. Pat briefly recaps his Kiss fandom, with first concert (The Dynasty Tour) and first album (Love Gun).
00:10:00 Some more Kiss discussion early on: Tommy Thayer's good looks, putting on the makeup is hard, Chris's first Kiss concert during the Hot in the Shade Tour, the non-makeup years, and "Maude of Thunder." Eventually we get to the meat of the podcast: the music. Such as in Parts 1 and 2, Pat and Chris will each pick a keeper (a good song) and a clunker (a bad song) on the given album. Pat notes that sometimes there are no "bad" songs, so it's the song he likes the least. We kick things off with arguably the best Kiss solo effort ever, Ace Frehley and his '78 self-titled solo album. Pat, Chris, and Kyle agree that Ace's is the best of the '78 solos, with Paul coming in at a close second.
00:15:00 Pat and Chris discuss the four '78 solos and how they could have combined those songs to make a great Kiss album. They also wonder if Ace ever presented his solo songs to the band at any point. Chris' keeper is "What's on Your Mind". That song was also Pat's keeper. Chris' "clunker" which is actually a song he likes is "Snow Blind". Chris can't even call it a clunker. Pat can't call his clunker a clunker either, but he chose the instrumental "Fractured Mirror".
00:20:00 Chris compliments Ace's composition work and wonders why he didn't do any scoring. "He's a mess," says Pat. Point taken. We're sticking with Ace. Ace left the band in 1982 and formed Frehley's Comet in 1984. In 1987, they released their self-titled debut album. Chris' keeper is "Rock Soldiers". Ace name checks himself twice in the song, naturally. His clunker is a song called "Dolls".
00:25:00 A creepy song that Ace doesn't fit singing. Save the creepy for Alice Cooper, Ace is the rocker. Chris talks about his daughters not being fans of Kiss. Pat knows it all too well. We cruise back to 1978 for the self-titled solo album from Peter Criss. Most agree, including Pat, that this is the worst of the four '78 solos. Pat's keeper is "I Can't Stop the Rain". Pat clarifies that he likes Peter's singing voice, but not the songs.
00:30:00 Pat's clunker is called "You Matter to Me". Yeeeeeeeeesh. "Do you think he recorded it in a leisure suit?" asks Chris. His keeper was also "I Can't Stop the Rain." His clunker is "That's the Kind of Sugar Papa Likes". The title alone is clunktastic.
Going back to Ace Frehley and Frehley's Comet, it's the second FC album Second Sighting. Pat and Chris concur that the album stinks. Ace was such a mess at the time they had to slap it together. Chris' keeper is the song "Insane". Chris did not pick a clunker for this album, he just wanted to showcase that song.
00:35:00 Pat's next album that he puts on display is the third of the '78 solos, this one belonging to Gene Simmons. Pat's keeper is "Radioactive".
00:40:00 Pat likes some of the songs on the album, but he laughs... LAUGHS... at Gene turning his nose up at Peter's solo work, all the while Gene does a version of "When You Wish Upon a Star". "It's such crap," spits Pat. Chris is reminded of an Eric Carr story. Chris and his brother Eric went to that show for Hot in the Shade, but had to leave early because of their curfew. The car doesn't start because Eric left the lights on and the battery died. No one would give them a jump. Eric called their dad to pick them up. Their parents drive AN HOUR to pick them up, but then en route the dead car starts up! The parents show up at the wrong entrance and mom shouts out for Eric. The production people thought she was shouting for Eric Carr, so they direct her to the hotel. The mixup was cleared and they all went home. Needless to say dad was not happy.
00:45:00 Chris is not a big fan of Gene's solo album either. The keeper he picks is "Man of a Thousand Faces". He likes the orchestration on it and wishes they had played the song for the Kiss Symphony live album.
We take a step forward and speak about the posthumous Eric Carr album Unfinished Business. Pat's keeper is "Just Can't Wait". Ted Poley from Danger Danger handles the vocals. Eric does sing lead on Pat's clunker, Eric's version of "Shandi" from his Kiss audition tape.
00:50:00 There are some spoken word tracks on the album, where Pat discovered that Eric has a bit of a lisp. Who is Chris' favorite Kiss drummer? Pat's favorite is Eric Singer. Chris' favorite is either Eric Singer during the Revenge era or Peter around '75. Pat found Eric Carr's drumming too thunderous for Kiss, while Chris notes how live Carr's drums sound too processed. Discussion of Eric and Tommy singing Peter and Ace songs is brought up. Chris feels like the band should let "Shock Me" be Ace's song, "Beth" be Peter's song, and let Tommy and Eric sing their own songs.
00:55:00 Chris' keeper from Unfinished Business is called "Eyes of Love". The song was actually rejected by Kiss. His clunker is a song called "Somebody's Waiting" from Eric's other posthumous album Rockology. "You don't hate it, do you?" Kyle asks Pat. "How dare you," answers Pat. He likes it.
01:00:00 The final '78 solo album on display is the Starchild himself Paul Stanley. Pat's keeper is "Wouldn't You Like to Know Me". Great song, maybe the best that will be played on the episode. But it wasn't the single! The single was "Hold Me, Touch Me." Paul makes a brief appearance to explain. Pat's clunker is the song he likes least, "Ain't Quite Right". Which members of Kiss has Chris met? Peter, Ace, Bruce, Mark St. John, and Eric Singer. Pat's met Paul, Eric, Bruce, and Peter. Chris' keeper from Paul's '78 solo is "Tonight You Belong to Me".
01:05:00 Going back to the Cat ("Do we have to?" Chris asks), Pat highlights the second solo album from Peter, Out of Control. "It sucks," says Pat. Plain and simple. Pat's keeper (if you can call it that) is Peter's version of "You Better Run". The clunkiest of the clunkers for Pat is "There's Nothing Better". Chris describes it as a beer commercial in disguise, which is perfect.
01:10:00 There are some albums that you hate, but then listen to later on and try to come up with a different opinion. Pat tried it with Out of Control and it just stinks. Chris does the same with Music from "The Elder" and Cheap Trick's The Doctor and he cannot get into either of them. His clunker from Out of Control is the sweet, tender "By Myself". Chris' OTHER clunker is the title track "Out of Control". Oh Catman, you've done it again.
01:15:00 Chris has a big interest in Vinnie Vincent. He became fascinated in the mystery that is Vinnie and had planned on writing a book about him, but his hard drive crashed 100 pages through. Chris eventually used his research to transition into the podcast. Chris calls Vinnie an enigmatic guy; he's very difficult, but he brought a lot to Kiss. And where is he? Nobody knows. Vinnie's band, Vinnie Vincent Invasion, released their self-titled debut album in 1986. Pat's keeper is "No Substitute". Robert Fleischman sings on the album, but he's gone before the first video. He was replaced by Mark Slaughter.
01:20:00 Pat's clunker is "Do You Wanna Make Love". Funny enough Chris picked both of Pat's songs. Fleischman sings his balls off, too much for Pat's liking. What is Chris' least favorite Kiss album? Psycho Circus. Pat's least favorite is Animalize.
In 2004, Gene Simmons puts out the solo album Asshole. Pat's keeper is Gene's cover of The Prodigy's "Firestarter". "It sounds like someone's uncle doing a rave song," moans Chris. Pat's clunker is the song "Beautiful".
"I was afraid if I put it on the shelf, the other albums would start to decay."
- Pat, on "Asshole"
01:25:00 Chris' keeper from the album was co-written by Frank Zappa. The whole Zappa family debacle is brought up for a brief tangent. The song is called "Black Tongue". Gene honoring the Zappa groove there.
01:30:00 Keeping things relatively contemporary, we move on to Ace's solo album Anomaly. Pat's keeper is "Outer Space". His clunker is "A Little Below the Angels" and it features a very familiar phrase:
Chris' keeper from the album is Ace's cover of Sweet's "Fox on the Run".
01:35:00 Sticking with Ace, his most recent release is a covers album Origins, Vol. 1. It's not a strong effort, Ace made some weak choices with his covers. Pat's clunker is Ace doing "Wild Thing" with Lita Ford. His keeper is Thin Lizzy's "Emerald". Once again, Pat and Chris picked the same songs. Chris very much prefers Ace's original material. Of all the Kiss guys, Ace is the one you root for the most. You just want him to win.
01:40:00 We're on an Ace kick. Chris plays some songs from 1989's Trouble Walkin'. His keeper is the title track "Trouble Walkin'". The clunker features some of Skid Row on background vocals, a song called "Back to School". Much like Brian May or Dave Knopfler, Ace has that distinct guitar sound.
Speaking of distinct sounds, Peter Criss put out an album called Let Me Rock You. Pat's keeper is the Vinnie Vincent-penned "Tears". Pat's clunker is the track "Let Me Rock You". Peter Criss, doo-wop legend.
01:45:00 Pat's clunker is the track "Let Me Rock You". Peter Criss, doo-wop legend. Chris' first song is "Feel Like Heaven". The song was written by Gene, so Chris surmises that Gene was trying to sabotage Peter's album. We then hear the Kiss demo version of it and Gene says something so awful that I smashed a hammer into my brain to remove it from my memory. Meanwhile an earlier Stallone reference makes Pat play "Drinkenstein" from Rhinstone and OH MY GOD WHAT DID WE DO TO DESERVE THIS?!?!?!
01:50:00 Let's give Paul some love and hear his solo album Live to Win. Pat calls it a great album, while Chris is not so hot on it. Pat's keeper is "Bulletproof". Pat tried to get Paul to sign this album at the House of Blues, but no dice. Are there artists that Chris likes that people wouldn't expect? Jewel, Joan Osborne. Some 90s country. Living in Nashville, Chris has access to a lot of Sunset Strip guys that moved out there. He also got to peak into Tom Petersson's apartment once.
01:55:00 Pat's clunker from Live to Win is a song called "Lift". Pat's issue with that song, which Chris feels reflects why he doesn't like the whole album, is that it's trying too hard to be modern rock. Chris' keeper is a song called "Where Angels Dare". Chris' clunker is "All About You".
02:00:00 Will Paul do another solo album? His voice is not sounding too good these days. Chris thinks there may be another Kiss album with a mixed amount of voices on lead, but not another Paul solo album with just him singing. Pat and Chris discuss Paul as a frontman, comparing him to DLR and others.
02:05:00 Back once more to Peter Criss. The gang discuss Peter's attitude. He was a real jerk back in the day, but Chris believes him to be a changed man because of his cancer scare. The album is Cat #1. Pat isn't a fan of Peter's band here. He feels the same way about them as he does the guys in Skid Row. A conversation arises around Skid Row and Sebastian because Chris is friends with Rachel Bolan.
02:10:00 Chris' keeper from Cat #1 is "Blue Moon over Brooklyn". As for the clunker, Chris picks "Bad People Burn in Hell".
02:10:00 We've only got a little more to go, so let's hear Ace's last album of originals Space Invader. Pat's and Chris' keeper is "I Wanna Hold You". Pat's clunker is "Past the Milky Way".
02:15:00 Chris' clunker is a song called "Toys". Oh boy. "I can already see myself going to the bathroom during this song," says Kyle.
Vinnie Vincent Invasion's second and final album is All Systems Go. Pat's keeper is called "Love Kills". Fleischman left the band because Vinnie gave him a huge contract to sign without reading it. He refused, left, and Slaughter came in.
02:20:00 Pat's clunker is a high-pitched rocker called "Heavy Petting". Chris' keeper is called "That Time of Year". That's it for Vinnie Vincent Invasion. Chris notes that Vinnie Vincent, for all his neuroses and faults, did contribute some great stuff for Kiss.
02:25:00 Plugs time. You can find The Decibel Geek Podcast and all 250+ of their episodes on their website Their Twitter is @DecibelGeekPod and their Facebook is Decibel Geek Podcast. Chris and Aaron are knowledgeable, funny, and passionate about all matters of rock and metal, as you can no doubt tell from this episode. They also have great guests. Pat asks Chris who was their biggest "Oh my god this is actually happening" guest? Desmond Child.
Peter Criss. Here we go, one more time, once more with feeling. The album is 2007's One for All. Pat's keeper is the ironically-titled "Doesn't Get Better Than This". And now, for Pat's clunker, Peter sings a version of "Send in the Clowns". Peter Criss singing Stephen Sondheim. What a time to be alive.
02:30:00 We don't want to end on that. Not on THAT. Pat thanks Chris for coming on the show, and for Eric and Greg for hanging out in the background. Chris is gonna take us out, but first we're gonna highlight Bruce Kulick and his solo album BK3. Chris plays "Dirty Girl" which features the late Doug Fieger. Rock in Peace Doug Fieger.
02:35:00 There are other Kiss solo projects that were not mentioned, but Chris is going to focus on one specific member: Mark St. John, the oft-forgotten Kiss member. Chris focuses on a band called The Mark St. John Project. Off the self-titled EP, the song is "No, I'm Not Afraid".
Time Song Album Artist Who
00:15:00 What's on Your Mind Ace Frehley Ace Frehley Chris
00:15:00 Snow Blind Ace Frehley Ace Frehley Chris
00:15:00 Fractured Mirror Ace Frehley Ace Frehley Pat
00:20:00 Rock Soldiers Frehley's Comet Frehley's Comet Chris
00:20:00 Dolls Frehley's Comet Frehley's Comet Chris
00:25:00 I Can't Stop the Rain Peter Criss Peter Criss Pat
00:30:00 You Matter to Me Peter Criss Peter Criss Pat
00:30:00 That's the Kind of Sugar Papa Likes Peter Criss Peter Criss Chris
00:30:00 Insane Second Sighting Frehley's Comet Chris
00:35:00 Radioactive Gene Simmons Gene Simmons Pat
00:40:00 When You Wish Upon a Star Gene Simmons Gene Simmons Pat
00:45:00 Man of a Thousand Faces Gene Simmons Gene Simmons Chris
00:45:00 Just Can't Wait Unfinished Business Eric Carr Pat
00:45:00 Shandi Unfinished Business Eric Carr Pat
00:55:00 Eyes of Love Unfinished Business Eric Carr Chris
00:55:00 Somebody's Waiting Rockology Eric Carr Chris
01:00:00 Wouldn't You Like to Know Me Paul Stanley Paul Stanley Pat
01:00:00 Ain't Quite Right Paul Stanley Paul Stanley Pat
01:00:00 Tonight You Belong to Me Paul Stanley Paul Stanley Chris
01:05:00 You Better Run Out of Control Peter Criss Pat
01:05:00 There's Nothing Better Out of Control Peter Criss Pat
01:10:00 By Myself Out of Control Peter Criss Chris
01:10:00 Out of Control Out of Control Peter Criss Chris
01:15:00 No Substitute Vinnie Vincent Invasion Vinnie Vincent Invasion Pat
01:20:00 Do You Wanna Make Love Vinnie Vincent Invasion Vinnie Vincent Invasion Pat
01:20:00 Firestarter Asshole Gene Simmons Pat
01:20:00 Beautiful Asshole Gene Simmons Pat
01:25:00 Black Tongue Asshole Gene Simmons Chris
01:30:00 Outer Space Anomaly Ace Frehley Pat
01:30:00 A Little Below the Angels Anomaly Ace Frehley Pat
01:30:00 Fox on the Run Anomaly Ace Frehley Chris
01:35:00 Wild Thing Origins, Vol. 1 Ace Frehley Pat
01:35:00 Emerald Origins, Vol. 1 Ace Frehley Pat
01:40:00 Trouble Walkin' Trouble Walkin' Ace Frehley Chris
01:40:00 Back to School Trouble Walkin' Ace Frehley Chris
01:40:00 Tears Let Me Rock You Peter Criss Pat
01:45:00 Let Me Rock You Let Me Rock You Peter Criss Pat
01:45:00 Feel Like Heaven Let Me Rock You Peter Criss Chris
01:50:00 Bulletproof Live to Win Paul Stanley Pat
01:55:00 Lift Live to Win Paul Stanley Pat
01:55:00 Where Angels Dare Live to Win Paul Stanley Chris
01:55:00 All About You Live to Win Paul Stanley Chris
02:10:00 Blue Moon over Brooklyn Cat #1 Peter Criss Chris
02:10:00 Bad People Burn in Hell Cat #1 Peter Criss Chris
02:10:00 I Wanna Hold You Space Invader Ace Frehley Pat
02:10:00 Past the Milky Way Space Invader Ace Frehley Pat
02:15:00 Toys Space Invader Ace Frehley Chris
02:15:00 Love Kills All Systems Go Vinnie Vincent Invasion Pat
02:20:00 Heavy Petting All Systems Go Vinnie Vincent Invasion Pat
02:20:00 That Time of Year All Systems Go Vinnie Vincent Invasion Chris
02:25:00 Doesn't Get Better Than This One for All Peter Criss Pat
02:25:00 Send in the Clowns One for All Peter Criss Pat
02:30:00 Dirty Girl BK3 Bruce Kulick Chris
02:35:00 No, I'm Not Afraid The Mark St. John Project The Mark St. John Project Chris

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