To Be Proud or: The Saturday Event

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Salutations™!!

I said that I was “working” the Pride Winston-Salem event last weekend as an MC or emcee. It turns out that I MCed Friday night’s Kick-Off Party for the event, was downtown at 8:30am on Saturday and MCed all day long, until about 6pm, went to Willows Bistro that night and then went to the Pride After-Party at the Hawthorne Inn and ended up MCing that. Let’s just say that by the time Sunday came around, I could barely speak. It took a lot to push out any noise.

But, I have to say, that while I have always enjoyed attending the Pride events, I got a whole new perspective actually “working” with the organizers, whom I have become pretty good friends with. I got to work with some really cool and sweet drag queens. They’re hilarious and all-around good gals. They made this straight guy comfortable to be there. The whole community did. I’ve never felt uncomfortable but I felt part of the family.

I spent a good bit of time with Bella Jade on Friday and some of Saturday. I spent time with Paisley Parque on Saturday, as well. We bantered back and forth on the Main Stage and I was happy to find out that I was indeed “a bear.” More specifically, a “polar bear” (because of the white beard). That was confirmed by several other performers.

The highlight, though, was The Kinsey Sicks which was the headliner. They are “America’s Favorite Dragapella Beauty Shop Quartet!” They were funny, talented and sang songs that fit the times. They did a song called “Everybody Wants To Be a Drag Queen” and they brought someone up on the stage and dressed them in drag. I think he had a great time. Just look at the pic and tell me.

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©Kandi Vallano

Anyway, I will say that I felt part of the community but I am proud to say that I’m officially an “Ally” and will do all I can to support it. I recommend you do the same. Even if you don’t agree with the community, at least support its choice to be itself and we should all be able to do what we want in life. Besides, chances are it doesn’t affect you anyway.

Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
Scorp out!


“Here’s a little song I wrote, I’m probably gonna get a frog in my throat. Don’t be happy… Worry.” – “Don’t Be Happy, Worry” (McFerrin/Kinsey Sicks)

Hot in the What? or: Yeah…

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Salutations™!!

In recent posts about KISS albums, you will have noticed that I always talk smack about one album in particular. And, today happens to be that album’s 29th anniversary.

Of course, I’m talking about Hot in the Shade (HITS).

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©Mercury

Until Sonic Boom came along, this was my least favorite KISS album. I have two immediate (and probably several subsequent) reasons for this. One, the song “Boomerang,” and two, the lyrics to “Cadillac Dreams.”

I remember buying this album. In the days before the internet’s popularity, you had to read the music rags to know when things were coming out. I hadn’t read one in a while and didn’t know when the album was coming out. I was a freshman in college and hated every minute of it. I had the morning off, which I believe was a Tuesday. I went by Peaches Records and Tapes on Peters Creek and looked at the new release section and saw the cover to this album on cassette. Other than the “postmark” there was no indication that it was a KISS album. My eyes grew wide when I saw it was KISS. Heck yeah!

I bought it, ran straight to my car and put it in the cassette player. Hey… what’s Cinderella’s “Bad Seamstress Blues” doing on this tape? Are they covering it? No. It was a ripoff, though, I still think. The rest of the song (“Rise to It”) isn’t bad, but I get tired of “cheerleading” songs.

Fast forward a few songs and you hear Paul attempt to rap. “Read My Body” is one of the most ridiculous songs I think I’ve ever heard him do. Now, that being said, I don’t really mind it, I just understand it’s not at all good.

Let’s talk “Cadillac Dreams” a second. I hadn’t heard the song yet (it’s the first song on the second side of the cassette), but I took the cassette cover into class with me and I remember sitting in the communications building at WSSU waiting for class and reading the lyrics. What in the wide world of sports is this!? “When I was seventeen, found out just what it means. If you can get it free, it just ain’t worth a damn. When I heard the preacher say, don’t throw your life away. I got that message, and I wrote it on the wall.” I think I was just worn out on that same song mentality over and over. I had lived it since I was seven. Perhaps I was maturing? Perhaps I just needed something new? I don’t know. Then I heard it and it was not better than I had imagined it to be.

I know Paul had stated in an interview about the album (I did read that) that “there won’t be any hammer-ons on this album.” I know they were trying to get back to basics-ish and scale things back. But, most of the songs seem uninspired to me. They lack any real feeling and depth. Yes, I know I’m talking about KISS here but, to me, they were innovative (if but to and from themselves) and always put out things that I liked. As I have stated, this is the first time I was able to see through my KISS “fog” and see that they weren’t infallible. With the exception of a few tunes, I really did not and still do not like this album.

It does seem that Gene was present for this album. The production credits are given to him and Paul. They did use outside writers for most of this album. Both “Rise to It” and “Read My Body” were co-written by Bob Halligan, Jr., who is probably best known for his writing with Judas Priest and Kix (he co-wrote “Don’t Close Your Eyes). Five of the tunes were co-written by former KISS producer/songwriter Vini Poncia including “Love’s a Slap in the Face,”  “Cadillac Dreams,”  “Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell” (with Gene), “Silver Spoon” and  “King of Hearts” (both with Paul). Some of those are good some are bad.

Bruce Kulick co-wrote a few songs on the album including “Prisoner of Love” and “Boomerang.” Let’s talk the latter, now. This song makes no sense to me. Not, lyrically, but musically. It seems disjointed and sounds like it’s about to go off the rail. It’s KISS’ attempt at speed metal. It’s a good showcase for what Eric could do, but the rest of it just seems like a blur of noise. And, Paul’s assessment about pull-offs and hammer-ons is total BS on this song. I really, really, really dislike this song.

Future Spaceman Tommy Thayer co-wrote two songs with Gene, “Betrayed” and  “The Street Giveth and the Street Taketh Away.” Eric finally gets to sing lead on an original tune, that he co-wrote with Gene and long-time KISS collaborator, Adam Mitchell. The song was called “Ain’t That Peculiar” but they reworked it to become “Little Caesar” which was what Gene playfully called Eric when he was being a badarse. It’s okay, not great, but at least he got to do something that wasn’t (and doing a better job of) covering  Peter’s vox on “Beth.”

Pop music songwriting superstars Desmond Child and Holly Knight collaborated with Paul on “Hide Your Heart” which was on not only this album, not only two different albums but FIVE different albums in 1989. My fave is the KISS version but it was also covered, and probably most successfully, by Bonnie Tyler on her album of the same name, Robin Beck on her album Trouble or Nothin’, Molly Hatchet on Lightning Strikes Twice and oddly enough, Ace on his Trouble Walkin’ album. Ace’s wasn’t bad. Bonnie Tyler’s sounded like “Total Eclipse of Hiding Your Heart” and Robin Beck’s version is Bonnie Tyler Lite. I don’t like anything Molly Hatchet does and this is no exception.

But, the most eyebrow-raising collaboration has to be the album’s biggest hit and the band’s second-highest charting single ever, “Forever” which was co-written by Michael Bolton. Yes, that Michael Bolton and NO, not Michael Bolton from Office Space. “Forever” was a ballad and it was a very well-written song. It reached #8 on the Billboard Top 100 chart (only “Beth” did better on the charts). The video was great. Simplistic. To the point. Bruce’s solo was magnificently done.

The tour that followed this album was my first concert ever. I finally got to see them live. I finally got to see anything live. I had to put my foot down to my mother who wouldn’t let me go to concerts. So, on July 27, 1990, I saw Danger Danger (who I loved), Slaughter (who I liked a lot) and KISS. It was the only time I would see Eric Carr play as he passed away just two years later. But, the band came out of “LEON” the Sphinx’s (get it?) mouth followed by lasers and smoke. Eric’s drum solo with the Simmons pads was great to watch, too. I was in awe!

But, back to the album. This was their longest and longest-running studio album. It was barely shy of an hour and it had 15 songs. I think they could have left off “Boomerang,” “Cadillac Dreams,” “Read My Body,” “Prisoner of Love” and “Silver Spoon” and made it a reasonably-tracked ten-song album and it would have been better for me. I felt they just tried too much filler. I know that the minimalist approach of the album and worrying about budget had them overdubbing on demos instead of rerecording them. That could be part of my problem with the album, too. Not enough production, cutting corners, fluffing the album with filler crap. All that just made for a bad experience overall, even with some shining moments. For me that is. It sat at the bottom of the barrel (15 to that point) until the clunkers Sonic Boom and Monster came out. One day I’ll do a countdown of my own of KISS studio albums. A few people have asked about that.

This was the last KISS album I bought on cassette, as I got my first CD player in December 1989.

Happy anniversary HITS, meh…

Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
Scorp out!


“Would you want to know what I’m thinking about? Do you wonder do I wanna make you scream and shout – shout it out. Would you like to see what’s in my brain? Does your curiosity make you insane – insane? Baby, you’re just wastin’ precious time, if you want to know what’s on my mind. Read my body, are the letters big enough? Read my body, do you like the book of my love? Read my body, turn the page, get to the good stuff, read my body.” – “Read My Body” (Stanley/Halligan)

Still Waiting or: A Preview

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Salutations™!!Homemade Organic Vegetarian Chili with Beans and Cheese

I’m still waiting on the info I was talking about yesterday, but I will talk a little about what it is. The weather is already starting to cool off a bit, so that means it’s time for some fall/winter staples, right? In my family, it always meant three things, two of which were kind of together. That’s chili (or as we called them chili beans), veggie-beef soup and pimento cheese, which we called “cheese salad.”

There’s a neighborhood that will be holding a chili cookoff and they will need cooks. There will be prizes, but I don’t know what they are, yet. As soon as I know, I’ll be passing along the info and then will have instructions if you’d like to participate. So, I hope that warms the cockles of your heart and makes your stomach growl. Stay tuned, I hope we get the info in the next day or so.

Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
Scorp out!


“I am the kind of person who really will drive hours for a bowl of chili. I’m not a three-star restaurant kind of a person; I’m just a food person.” – Nora Ephron

While We Wait or: More of That Please

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Salutations™!!

I was waiting on some info to create today’s post but it never came, so I saved it and had to resort to a backup plan. We didn’t do Fan Interference, The Man Who Ate the Town or The Beer Dads today and there will be no Apartment 5B this week (off week), so that leaves The Less Desirables this week. Actually, I should have a The Beer Dads in the can that I should have played today. Been a weird one, getting caught up from Pride Winston-Salem this past weekend.

Anywhat! While I await the info I talked about, I decided to play another video from Ami Kim that wowed me for this past “Sounds Like Saturday.” She seems to be a big Iron Maiden fan and I thought of one of those, but playing on the same theme from Saturday, here she is doing another song from Creatures of the Night. Enjoy!

Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
Scorp out!


“Take the reins of power and seize them, draw the battle lines. Armageddon’s just a matter of time. Tear down the voice of reason, let the arrows fly. Your freedom’s just a state of mind, yeah. Better watch out ’cause I’m a war machine.” -“War Machine” (Simmons/Adams/Vallance)

Creatures Alive, Too? or: Many KISSes

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Salutations™!!

My Saturday was awesomely fun, but it didn’t include Underdog Records, so instead of a haul for today, we’re going to talk about (as promised yesterday) two major KISS records that have anniversaries this weekend.

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©Casablanca Records

Yesterday was the 36th anniversary of the “comeback” album from KISS, Creatures of the Night. After the publicly-admonished “disaster” that was Music from ‘The Elder,’ KISS realized that had a lot to atone for.

The guise was that Ace was still part of the group. He took pictures for the cover, did a video for “I Love It Loud,” and did some appearances, but the truth was, he was nowhere near the album, at all. He had had enough with being outvoted and really, he absolutely knew that The Elder was a mistake. Take those factors with the fact that he was a slave to substances (just listen to “Rock Soldiers” from the debut Frehley’s Comet album) and he was either done on his own or done from Gene’s and Paul’s perspective.

Also, removed from the mix was long-time manager Bill Aucoin. Bill had basically hyped Gene and Paul to make The Elder and really, the Unmasked album, too. Paul, in his book, has called them both “disasters.” I disagree, but, I can see where they alienated the fan base or “KISS Army.” Bill was dismissed.

Here they were, three main components of their history, their success, all gone. First Peter, then Ace, then Bill. So, what next? Paul says he wanted to take the makeup off and Gene wouldn’t have it. Paul suggests that he wanted to make a clean sweep, a whole new beginning. Truth be told, while I don’t believe everything Paul wrote in his book, I have to agree with him that it was probably time to remove the disguise at that point. However, if they had, we’d not have one of the most iconic album covers in KISStory (or to me, even ever – across all albums).

So, here they were in search of yet another replacement member. They held auditions in the industry but the public didn’t know. Again, Ace was still “officially” in the band. So, in essence, the auditions for a new guitarist was executed by the players actually playing on the album.

With that, they got Steve Farris, who went on to found and play with Mr. Mister. He did the solo on the title track, “Creatures of the Night.” They got Robben Ford, a well-known blues guitarist doing the solos on “Rock and Roll Hell” and “I Still Love You.” Adam Mitchell, who was best known for writing poppier songs and who ended up co-writing “Creatures,” “Keep Me Comin'” and “Danger” with Paul on the album doing some guitar work on “Creatures.” Bob Kulick, from Paul’s solo album, did guitar overdubs across the album, which I figure includes a good bit of rhythm guitar. And, the one that got most of the solo work on the album was a mostly-unknown smoker on the axe, Vincent Cusano. He played the solos on “Saint and Sinner,” “Keep Me Comin’,” “Danger,” “I Love It Loud,” “Killer” and “War Machine.” At one time, was the staff writer for both Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi.

Cusano also got the gig with the band. As Mick Fury! No, not really. That’s what he wanted to go by but Paul nixed that idea (according to him). They decided on Vinnie Vincent and Paul designed the Ankh Warrior makeup. No one knew what the Ankh was all about. Not Vinnie, not the fans, not even Paul who designed it. That should have been more an indicator to the band that the makeup needed to go.

The songs, though, they were really fantastic. They made it heavy; the heaviest they had done to that point. They needed to let the fans know that they were back! They were ready to rock and rock. They were ready to rock and roll hard! They were ready! THEY WERE READY!

The problem was, the fans didn’t care. They weren’t ready. They weren’t ready to let KISS back in. They had a hard time letting go or forgiving KISS for the DynastyUnmasked and especially The Elder. I wasn’t one of those, though. I still loved it. I didn’t realize (I was 11) that Ace wasn’t there. I did, however, know that this was a heavy album. It was booming, even on my crapola cabinet record player (but I wish I still had that).

At the time, there were a few songs that I didn’t like. I didn’t care for “Danger,” “Keep Me Comin’,” or “War Machine.” I loved the title track, “Saint and Sinner,” “Rock and Roll Hell,” “I Love It Loud” and “I Still Love You.” “Rock and Roll Hell” and “War Machine” were written by Gene along with Jim Vallance and Bryan Adams. The album was produced by Michael James Jackson who had done some poppier things and co-produced by Gene and Paul.

More indicative of the fact that the fans had given up was the tour that followed. The same stadiums and arenas that KISS had been selling out, ones that held 18,000 people or more, were now only selling 1,000 tickets or so. Paul said in his book you could tell by how loud the opening bands were or the announcements were how empty the arenas were. Also, Paul would flick his pick and it would sail over the heads of the audience and land on the floor. Sad, really. They canceled the rest of their North American tour.

That was in North America. In South America, they played to record (for them) crowds. They played at Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with over 250,000 people in the audience. Still, they knew their home fans (US) were giving up. They had to change something and that something was the makeup. Get back to music. It worked.

Mercury Records, who had bought out Casablanca Records, had some weird notion that they wanted to upgrade the awesome Creatures cover to something more “indicative” of current KISS in 1985. They changed it to a group photo of the 85 lineup with Bruce Kulick. So, both covers featured members that weren’t on the album. At least Ace was still technically part of the band. The closest Bruce was to being in the band was his brother Bob’s overdubs.

Now, I love this album and think it’s one of their best of the 80s. One of the best of the catalog, really. And, the tables turned. I went from not liking the songs mentioned earlier to really liking them and, now, “I Love It Loud” is one of the “big three” that I wish I never had to hear again (along with “Detroit Rock City” and “Rock and Roll All Nite” even though DRC has re-grown on me). The album was just a victim of circumstance, I think.

Today, however, is the 41st anniversary of my favorite of the “Alive” albums, KISS Alive II. Do I think it’s the best of them? Not really. I just love that era. The costumes, the feel, etc. The songs from Alive II were all from Destroyer, Rock and Roll Over and Love Gun.

As far as live albums go, it’s hard to even call it a “live” album. A lot of it was live, recorded at the Los Angeles Forum. Then a few of the songs were recorded from soundchecks at those shows. Notably, “Hard Luck Woman” and “Tomorrow and Tonight” were both soundcheck recordings and weren’t actually played on that tour. But, also, “I Stole Your Love,” which was the opener of the shows. Eddie Kramer just went in afterward and put in canned crowd noise.

The energy was up but it seems they weren’t as hungry as they had been on Ailve! The sound on the album wasn’t as full. It seemed a little thinner. I’m still confused as to why they started the album with “Detroit Rock City” when it was “I Stole Your Love” that started them actual shows. I know it was “Detroit Rock City” that went into “King of the Nighttime World” on Destroyer and perhaps they wanted to recreate that. That’s all I can figure.

Another odd thing to me was the fourth side of the album. It was five studio songs, including a cover of the Dave Clark Five tune, “Any Way You Want It.” It was claimed that it was all the original members, but in reality, it was Bob Kulick playing Ace’s parts except for “Rocket Ride,” which he played all guitars and bass. That was the beginning of the end for Ace. I love “Larger Than Life” which I just think sounds bad arse. I also dig “Rockin’ in the U.S.A.” that I kind of “borrowed” from to write “She’s Got What It Takes” on Heavens Sake’s debut album. “All American Man” is also a good song.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually like the side four songs but why not give us more live songs? Perhaps they could have done some more in soundcheck? With that, though, three songs (that I know of) were soundcheck songs, the five studio songs, if they knew they didn’t have enough to do a full live album, why not strategize the setlists better?

Couldn’t they have done “Do You Love Me?” or left “Take Me” in there? If they were going to do soundcheck recordings anyway, why not “Mr. Speed” or “Almost Human?” “Hooligan” was in the set for the “Love Gun Tour,” they could have left that in. I don’t know. There seemed to be more options that they didn’t take advantage of. Then again, when I was 8-years old, I loved the album. I really didn’t listen to the fourth side much but as I got older, I appreciated it more and more.

So, happy anniversary to Creatures of the Night and KISS Alive II. I love ya both.

Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
Scorp out!


“Wanna bite the hand that feeds me, wanna turn the tides. Set the demons free and watch ’em fly. Strike down the one who leads me, I’m gonna take his place. Gonna vindicate the human race. Better watch out ’cause I’m a war machine.” – “War Machine” (Simmons/Adams/Vallance)

Sounds Like Saturday or: Ami Kim

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Salutations™!!

I am actually writing this on Friday and scheduling it because I will be out all day today emceeing Pride. However, I had planned to write a big long blog post today about two KISS albums that are very important to me. Today, October 13 is the 36th Anniversary of Creatures of the Night and KISS Alive II is 41 tomorrow, so I’ll write about them tomorrow since we won’t have a chance to get by Underdog Records. Until then let’s play a cover (ish) of the title track of Creatures. I love drummers and I love chick drummers. This lady is playing this song, hit for hit with Eric Carr, including double bass and she’s doing it in a skirt and high heels! Enjoy!

Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
Scorp out!


“Breathing in the madness, spitting out the lies. Searching for an answer, keep your alibis. Don’t know where we’re going, just know where we’ve been. Remember when the clock strikes twelve, the losers always win. Ooh, we’re creatures of the night.” – “Creatures of the Night” (Mitchell/Stanley)

Taking Pride or: A Festival Like None Other

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Salutations™!!

Tonight is the kickoff party for Pride Winston-Salem, the LGBTQ festival that celebrates not only that community but really the entire WSNC community. The acceptance of everyone how they are, for who they are and because we’re all one race, the human race. That’s cliche but it’s true. I love my friends in that community. I hang around with people that are squarely in the community and others that are like-minded of me that support people being with whoever they love. It’s a festival of hope and of peace and of acceptance. The kickoff gala is going to be grand but the real show is tomorrow. topnew

The Pride festival will be happening from 10am – 5:30pm and it is building community. It’s not just a festival, it’s also a parade and food truck rodeo! The parade will start along Fourth Street. Come to watch it and then come to the festival afterward. Why am I pushing it so hard? Well, firstly because I believe in it and I have a load of fun if nothing else just people watching. But, the drag queens and street performers and the grand time everyone has. But, also, because I’m one of the emcees for the event. I’ll be passing between the stages, mostly the main and community stage.

So, come have some fun, eat great food, watch the peeps, and see me up on stage running my mouth.

Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
Scorp out!


Our mission is to celebrate our culture, honor diversity, inspire engagement, promote inclusion, provide community outreach, and educate our friends, allies, and supporters on equal rights for all.” – Pride Winston-Salem

A Heck of a Sis or: One of the Good Ones

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Salutations™!!

Here’s your annual reminder that today is my sister’s birthday. As the title suggests, she is one of the good ones. While being a thorn in my side as we were growing up, she’s turned out to be one of my biggest fans… and one of my biggest critics, however, that’s brother/sister privilege, right? She gives me flack and no slack but she’s loving about it. I know that sounds like I’m pulling negatives, but I’m not. It’s actually things that make her extra endearing because she does it out of love. I guess I’ve always needed that.

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I meant to mention her on The Less Desirables last night, as I know she listens to that show. But, it was hectic. I did get to mention it on both The Man Who Ate the Town (I’m not sure if she listens to that one or not) and The Beer Dads (she does listen to that one).

I won’t say which birthday it is, but if you look back one year… you’ll be able to figure it out. Let’s just say there’s a “4” in it. She’s a good woman. A good mom. A good wife. Here’s to her. Happy solar circumnavigational anniversary day, sis!!

Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
Scorp out!


“Named by her brother for two girls he had crushes on in 1st grade she has wreaked havoc on his life for (XX) years. In all honesty, she’s been one of my biggest fans and I do love her so…” – Me on The Man Who Ate the Town

The Next One or: Not So Bad

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Salutations™!!

So, whilst doing the social media for The Less Desirables, and on the recommendation of Superfan Damien, I decided to watch Heavy Metal 2000. He was right to a point, The storyline is more linear and makes a little more sense, but it’s really just one story and not pieces. It’s not about the Loc Nar as the first one was. I mean, the Loc Nar is insinuated but, it’s not the focus.

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© CinéGroupe, Artisan Filmworks and The Montecito Picture Company

Another thing that’s missing is the cool soundtrack. Yeah, there are songs and yeah, they’re more actual “metal,” but it’s just not got the same feel. Instead of Cheap Trick, Journey, Grand Funk, BOC, Black Sabbath, Sammy Hagar, Devo and Stevie Nicks, we get less memorable songs from Pantera, System of a Down, Voivod, Monster Magnet, Bauhaus, Queens of the Stone Age and Billy Idol, who actually lends his voice to Odin, the guardian of the ancient fountain that gives the bad guy his powers and such. The fountain guardians aren’t the bad guys, by the way. But, is Odin one of them, really? Hmmm… I’m not getting into the plot and all that. The saddest part, though, is that Percy Rodrigues isn’t voiced in this film (he was alive then, couldn’t he have done something?).

The whole thing is kind of disjointed and like I said makes a little more sense, it just isn’t any better. It also is not and was never the cult classic the first one was. The movie rating site, Rotten Tomatoes rates the first one at 61% Fresh (67% Audience Score). This one, however, is a dismal 10% Rotten (36% Audience). Yeah, the more I think about it, it really did suck, pretty much.

The main female character, Julie, is actually modeled after, drawn in the likeness of and voiced by softcore porn actress and 1993 Penthouse Pet of the Year, Julie Strain. Michael Ironside plays the main villain, Tyler.

It’s really a crappy film, but it’s somewhat entertaining when you have to have something going on while you’re doing social media, you know?  Yeah… I guess so.

Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
Scorp out!


“What does it take to get laid around here?” – Tyler

Monsterous Sonic Collections or: Missteps

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Salutations™!!

Just like September, October has a lot of KISS album releases. Some of them Klassic and some of them… pure crap. Yeah, I have finally come to grips with the reality that not everything that KISS did was awesome. Most of it, yes, but not all.

We’ll go first with one that actually has its 12th anniversary tomorrow as it’s not really that important, just a compilation album. It’s called The Best of Kiss, Volume 3: The Millennium Collection, which actually marks the first time there has been a KISS album that features 90s-era KISS only. It has songs from 1992’s Revenge, KISS Alive III, the “throw-away” Carnival of Souls (I don’t believe it was a throw-away), MTV Unplugged: KISSPsycho Circus and one from the Detroit Rock City film soundtrack. Interesting mix, but it’s a compilation album of stuff that I already have.

Okay, let’s get to the crap, or is that Krap?

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©KISS/Roadrunner

In 2009, KISS wanted to “get back to basics” with their stuff, they had Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer donning the “Spaceman” and “Catman” personas so they wanted to try to do what they didn’t do with Psycho Circus nine years prior, they wanted to produce a “Klassic KISS” album. I actually feel they got closer with Psycho Circus. What they came up with was Sonic Boom on October 6.

There are a couple of songs on this album that I can listen to, like “Modern Day Delilah” (which was the lead single). Even with that song, though, Paul tried way too hard to bring back the early 80s magic by hitting high notes he no longer has any business hitting and pitting it against the grungier, more mid-90s Carnival of Souls. Tommy tries to capitalize on his taking over of “Spaceman” and co-writes and sings “When Lightning Strikes” to what I feel is a nod or knock on “Shock Me” from Ace. I can’t really tell. Eric gets a turn at lead vox on “All for the Glory.”

“Russian Roulette” by Gene isn’t too bad. It shows how done Gene is with singing, as well. He basically talks through it. Musically, it’s probably one of the best on the album. I think there are a couple of things that bother me about this album the most. One: It’s touted as Klassic and it’s not. It’s subpar in that realm and is even further down from any run-of-the-mill rock band. Two: 60s-aged KISS singing about things they would have sung about as 20-somethings is just creepy and sad. I claim this as my least favorite KISS album and with Hot in the Shade in the mix, that’s saying something. Three: It was distributed exclusively (and still is) by Wal-Mart in the US and Canada. I can see doing individual store exclusives so that they could sell more, but perhaps the worst part is that I had to go to Wal-Mart to get it. At least all the songs were written in-house for the main album and with no outside writers.

The one great thing – or is it two – about this album I can say is that they included the KISS Klassics album which was a re-recording of 15 KISS songs from most of the KISS albums from KISS to Hot in the Shade. That was released a year prior in Japan under the name Jigoku-Retsuden which translates to “Intense Transmission from Hell.” That was great. Somehow Paul and Gene don’t sound spent on those, at least as much. Another thing was a DVD from April 2009 in Argentina with all two songs each from the first three KISS albums (KISS, Hotter Than Hell, Dressed to Kill). So, there was some consolation here. But, man, this album, as a whole, isn’t that great. It had three singles, “Modern Day Delilah,” “Never Enough” and “Say Yeah.”

KissMonsterAlbum2

©Universal

That brings us to today, which is the sixth anniversary of Monster. I remember getting that album and totally thinking the album cover seemed unoriginal and “thrown together.” It was produced by Paul Stanley and Greg Collins (who incidentally produced Sonic Boom as well).

The thing that stands out to me about this album is that it reminds me more of Creatures of the Night or Lick It Up than Klassic KISS and I’m okay with that. Gene belts out his stuff on this one. They just took a break on Sonic Boom, it seems. Lyrically, a good bit of it is kind of K-R-A-F-Tworthy. But, not too bad. I just enjoy listening to this one more than Sonic Boom. Once again, Tommy has a song that is “Ace-related.” This one is called “Outta This World.” I still wonder if it’s a nod or a knock. I can’t figure it out. And, for the second album in a row, Eric has a song that starts with “All for the…” in “All for the Love of Rock & Roll.” It is his trademark, eh? Not really.

I just think that this KISS works better with the 80s/90s sound than trying to rekindle the feeling and sound of the Klassic years. Another factor in this albums fullness is the fact that they went analog with tape and tape machines than doing it digitally. It makes it a little more full and lush, I feel. There are several “good” songs on this album. I think the two best are the two singles, “Hell or Hallelujah” and “Long Way Down.”

This is also not anywhere near my favorite KISS album and ranks just barely above Sonic Boom. Again, with HITS out there, that’s saying something. I give Hot in the Shade a lot of crap, but it gets its day in the sun next week.

It’s still a “wait and see” if Sonic Boom and Monster are the last KISS studio albums, especially with them about to embark on a true “farewell” tour. Paul said in regards to Psycho Circus that he didn’t want to go out with that experience, so they carried on without Peter and Ace. I still think, as I mentioned earlier, that PC is much better than these two. Anyway, happy anniversary to all three of those albums this week.

We have three more this weekend/next week coming.

Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
Scorp out!


“I ran from temptation. I prayed for salvation (yeah). I screamed at God, ‘Save me from my own damnation’ (yeah). My eyes were cold and blinded. I held the page I could not read. Drew up my blood inside him. I woke up in a sweat and heard the Lord’s decree. The Devil is me. The Devil is me. I fought myself to be set free ’cause the Devil is me.” – “The Devil is Me” (Simmons/Stanley/Thayer)