KISS: The Songs 1974-2012

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by GodShifter, Feb 7, 2017.

  1. Haggis Wampovich

    Haggis Wampovich Forum Resident

    Location:
    Burning River, USA
    Oh man, I forgot about the solo in Makin Love. I always picture Jimmy Page playing his dragon telecaster when I hear that solo.

    The phrasing is fantastic.
     
  2. bartels76

    bartels76 Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    CT
    No, they get to see the packaging and meet with Gene but they aren't getting shipped until 2018 for these early meet and greets.
     
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  3. GodShifter

    GodShifter Starless and Bible Black Sabbath® Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dallas, TX, USA
    [​IMG]
    WICKED LESTER Wicked Lester (Epic, 1972)

    The Wicked Lester album which features future KISS members Gene Simmons (then Gene Klein) and Paul Stanley (then Stanley Eisen) was recorded at the newly built Electric Ladyland Studios in Greenwich Village, New York. The recording was done when studio time was available so it took multiple sessions to get the album finished. It was produced by engineer, Ron Johnsen, who then took the record around to several labels to gauge if there was any interest in releasing it. Ultimately, Epic Records decided to purchase the masters and fund the recording of a true studio album. Their condition was that the band fire guitarist, Stephen Coronel, and replace him with a better player. Session musician, Ron Leejack, was hired and the band started to record the album (some of the material was changed from its original format to suit Leejack’s style). The other musicians that appear on the album are drummer, Tony Zarrella, and keyboardist Brooke Ostrander.

    Wicked Lester, as most KISS fans know, actually contains two future KISS songs in “Love Her All I Can” and “She” both of which are featured on 1975’s Dressed to Kill. “Love Her All I Can” is pretty similar to the Wicked Lester version whereas “She” is drastically different than the plodding, stomper that KISS fans know and love. Incorporating congas and flute for the version, “She” sounds more like a hippy/dippy Jethro Tull song than anything remotely related to KISS. That being said, the Wicked Lester version is actually pretty good. Both Paul and Gene sing in unison as they do on the KISS version, but the vibe is totally different. A cover of The Hollies “We Want to Shout It Out Loud” is included on the album as well (which served as inspiration for Destroyer’s “Shout It Out Loud” but there’s no similarity between the songs besides the title). The rest of the album is an assortment of covers and originals written by Simmons and Stanley.

    The album took about a year to complete due to various reasons, but when it finally was done it was presented to Epic’s A&R director, Don Ellis, was stated he hated the record and would not release it. Wicked Lester was dropped from Epic the next day.

    CBS, ultimately, wound up owing the rights to the record and decided to release it in 1976 on the wave of KISS’s break out as a popular outfit. Neil Bogart of Casablanca decided that would be a bad move for the band for several reasons (one namely being that it featured pictures of Stanley and Simmons without make up and the music so different than what KISS was doing). Bogart wound up paying CBS 137,000 for the rights to the recordings and shelved them.

    Interestingly, the cover art of Wicked Lester was used for the band The Laughing Dogs in 1979 who were on Columbia Records (owned by CBS).

    The Original Wicked Lester Sessions
    was released in later years and Stanley and Simmons decided to include the songs “She”, “Keep Me Waiting” (reportedly an inspiration for Revenge’s “Unholy”), and “Love Her All I Can” for the KISS compilation The Box Set which was released in 2001.

    Final note: Wicked Lester, as a band, only performed twice live. The band’s equipment was stolen shortly after the second performance which, obviously, put a halt on things. It was soon after this incident, however, that the band was approached by Johnsen to record the demos for the album.


    Here's "Keep Me Waiting" from the album:

     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  4. Combination

    Combination Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Orleans
    Starting with the cover, it really kind of does resemble Gene as a youth at that age!

    And would we really feel that bad if we found out the dog bit him during the photo shoot?!? :p
     
  5. GodShifter

    GodShifter Starless and Bible Black Sabbath® Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dallas, TX, USA


    Here's the full album.
     
  6. GodShifter

    GodShifter Starless and Bible Black Sabbath® Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dallas, TX, USA
    Okay, so that's it for me for this thread. That said, if someone like @bartels76, @Curveboy, @Musicman1998 or whomever wants to continue to posting demos for the songs I didn't cover, please do. I'll check back in from time to time and add something if I feel it's pertinent. But for now, good bye. Enjoyed it, fellas. Now, there's another great American hard rock band with two notable brothers originally from Holland that need my attention.

    Almost a full year for this bad boy. Not too bad, guys! :cheers:
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  7. Curveboy

    Curveboy Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    "you need to give yourself a round of applause lets go!"

    @GodShifter thanks for guiding one of the most successful threats on the SHF.
     
  8. Cheevyjames

    Cheevyjames Forum Resident

    Location:
    Durham, NC
    Bad Bad Lovin'

    Let's call out for doctah love! I'm so glad they decided to stick a different chorus for Dr. Love, because this original chorus isn't that great. Since I've heard Dr. Love so much in my life, it's impossible to hear this and not think it just sounds wrong by going into a different chorus. Still, it shows to the arranging skills that the guys can say, no, let's swap out that chorus and then make a new song. This is an interesting curiosity, but not essential listening. Glad it exists.
     
  9. Cheevyjames

    Cheevyjames Forum Resident

    Location:
    Durham, NC
    The first time I heard his '78 solo album.

    Since the Tom Snyder awesomeness was already mentioned, I'll go with the video clip introducing Eric Carr. "Look, it's rock and roll!"
     
  10. Curveboy

    Curveboy Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    I think...as a kid...back on December 14th, 1977 at Madison Square Garden...Ace during his lead leaves a guitar on stage and comes back with another one strapped on...and he points to the first guitar sitting there and it blows up...it was like a superhero come to life.
    Blew my mind.
     
  11. Sandinista

    Sandinista Formerly hightower68

    God Of Thunder (demo)

    Thank the gods of thunder that Paul gave this to Gene.
    Still a good song in Paul's hands... but... it's not the otherworldly masterpiece of shtick, plodding, thumping horror that is the Demon's tour de force.
     
  12. Combination

    Combination Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Orleans

    We'll see you at the Van Halen thread - while I'm sure that's going to be informative, I just can't imagine it having the same type of fun as this one. Thanks again, Jason.
     
  13. Curveboy

    Curveboy Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    WICKED LESTER

    OK...I'm not going to get deep into this...but why has this not been officially released? I do believe Gene said when the KISS box set came out that Wicked Lester would soon follow. I love what we have bootleg wise, but better quality is always welcome.
     
  14. Combination

    Combination Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Orleans

    It is a little strange that they would abstain from a cash grab, that's for sure.
     
  15. YardByrd

    YardByrd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Helsinki
    I love VH but agree... how in the world can it be as much fun as this? This was a hoot and turned me onto LPs I never bothered with before... I have owned all the VH LPs for decades already... kudos @GodShifter - my favorite internet thread of all time and I have been on the net for over 20 years...
     
  16. GodShifter

    GodShifter Starless and Bible Black Sabbath® Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dallas, TX, USA
    I’m not sure many bands have the mystique, history, and overall intrigue of KISS. Even The Beatles don’t in my opinion. Few bands are as fun to discuss as KISS. They were a hard act to follow live and in print, too.
     
  17. GodShifter

    GodShifter Starless and Bible Black Sabbath® Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dallas, TX, USA
    Thank you. That means a lot. Sincerely.
     
  18. Cheevyjames

    Cheevyjames Forum Resident

    Location:
    Durham, NC
    Wicked Lester

    Simple Type - Right off the bat we get the dual-lead vocals of Gene and Paul. Great soul feel on Paul's choruses.

    She - I love this version of the song. It's not dirty (at all) like the DTK version is, but a great song is a great song and this one definitely is. They really went production-crazy on this one: flute, bongos, horns.

    Too Many Mondays - Such a strange song to hear from Paul Stanley. It's so sensitive! I love the lazy Sunday vibe on here. Definitely wasn't out of place musically in the early 70's.

    When the Bell Rings - I don't know if this was originally intended to follow Too Many Mondays in the album sequence, but starting off the song with "too many people" right after hearing refrains of "too many Mondays" is a bad choice. This song is looking for a groove, but it's not there. Peter would knock this one out of the park. It's ok. I like the screams from Gene.

    Molly - strong mid-60's vibe on this. Doesn't really work as a composition, it's too unsure esp. in Paul's vocal.

    Love Her All I Can - Hendrix-influenced guitar brings another level of the crazy eclecticism of this album. Nice and funky version that's more produced than the DTK version. It's calling out for Ace's solo though and Peter's even better groove. Love this song, but the KISS version blows it out of the water.

    Sweet Ophelia - This one has a fun mix between light funk, Beatles & soul influences. I like this song and Paul sounds great on here. Wouldn't work as a KISS song, but I really dig it here.

    Keep Me Waiting - Love this song, the best of the non-DTK songs on here. Paul's voice is great here. This could've been a good tune for KISS. It's got a really good chorus and I love that change going into the solo.

    What Happens in the Darkness - a blues/disco workout. This album is all over the place. This is an interesting attempt by the guys, but it really falls short.

    We Want to Shout it Out Loud - pleasant, but boring.

    Long Long Road - Oooh, an outtake! Again, pleasant, but boring. Very boring.

    Overall, an enjoyable listen. It's always fun to hear where musicians come from and what they did before they were famous. If it was a proper KISS album I'd be a lot more critical since it would be held to a higher standard. I like a good number of the songs, but my biggest problem with the album is that it's all over the place. I love eclectic groups & albums (that's how I am as a musician), but there still needs to be some semblance of cohesion that's not present on Wicked Lester's Greatest Hits.

    @GodShifter I can't thank you enough for the fun in this thread. More than anything, I came out really appreciating The Elder. I love that album so much now. Can't wait for the VH thread. I own all the Roth albums, but I'm not terribly familiar with the ones between the S/T and 1984. It'll be a good education for me.
    :cheers:
     
  19. antonkk

    antonkk Forum Resident

    Location:
    moscow
    I'd take Wicked Lester over at least half of KISS albums.
     
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  20. bartels76

    bartels76 Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    CT
    They should have included Wicked Lester as a Bonus disc in the Kiss Box Set. It was a wasted opportunity.
     
  21. Musicman1998

    Musicman1998 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Georgia
    Wicked Lester:
    1. Simple Type: Not a terrible song, good vocals and performances, but not really great.
    2. She: Okay, I love this version, even the flute manages to be kickass.
    3. Too Many Mondays: Really good song, but I prefer Gene on this.
    4. When the Bell Rings: Cool rock tune, I like it. Not too bad.
    5. Molly: Reminds me a little of Simon and Garfunkel, but not as good. But I do like it, however.
    6. Love Her All I Can: This is a good song, but give me the DTK version any day of the week.
    7. Keep Me Waiting: Hold on, hold on <fart> There's my review of this song.
    8. What Happens In the Darkness: This is kind of cool, but not really essential.
    9. We Want To Shout It Out Loud: Meh.
    10. Sweet Ophelia: Eh.
    11. Long Long Road: Eh.
    Overall, it's better than Crazy Nights, Hot In the Shade, Sonic Boom, and Gene's solo album. It's tolerable, but I cannot say Paul and Gene weren't wise to kick this **** to the curb.
     
  22. Sandinista

    Sandinista Formerly hightower68

    Love Is Blind

    I would bet there is a very good, possibly great, song lurking in there. As it is, the basic core melody is strong and sweet and Gene does a nice vocal. Too bad they didn't flesh this out - or at least put it on his 78 solo. Absolutely could have replaced at least 5 of the songs that made the cut.
     
  23. Combination

    Combination Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Orleans

    I want to say that the name of Pete & Lydia's cat in the 70's was Mateus!
     
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  24. Combination

    Combination Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Orleans


    Whenever I hear this version start up, I always picture some street corner in NYC like this one - call me crazy, but I never picture the band! Guess it sounds street funky to me or something. :p


    [​IMG]
     
  25. MagneticNorthpaw

    MagneticNorthpaw Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL USA
    @GodShifter and so many, many amazing posters - pace of work/life events have prevented me from keeping up as much as I
    A long & loud standing O, @GodShifter - this has been BY FAR the most entertaining thread I've participated in during my 10 years visiting this site. I only wish I had gotten onboard earlier. So many great folks and a true diversity of opinion delivered with a maximum of respect and a lot of interesting tangents.

    I'm really looking forward to the VH album-by-album - it will be in great hands under your stewardship!
     

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