Eddie Trunk recently released a cool list of his top twenty KISS songs. But just before that moment, Pencilstorm held a fantasy draft of songs from the KISS Unmasked era. Click here for the full results of the draft . Below is the album selected by Scott Carr.. More albums from other owners coming soon. Enjoy!
KISS Turn On The Night - My Kiss Record by Scott Carr
Produced by Scott Carr with permission of the Pencilstorm Unmasked KISS Fantasy Draft. Number next to song indicates the round it was taken.
Take It Off
Who Wants To Be Lonely
Not For The Innocent
King Of Hearts
Turn On The Night
A Million To One
While The City Sleeps
(You Make Me) Rock Hard
Get All You Can Take
Carr Jam 1981
Thoughts on Side A:
Take It Off (Revenge) - I decided to start my record off with a Paul song from Revenge. It's always a good idea to start your record with a Paul Stanley song. Great uptempo rocker from the starchild. Classic Kiss vibe on this one complete with solid guitar licks from Bruce Kulick and plenty of cowbell. Speaking of cowbell , this is the only track on Revenge that newly seated drummer Eric Singer did not play on. Producer Bob Ezrin thought Singer wasn't quite locking into the groove and Eric had to leave the studio to go on tour with Alice Cooper, so Ezrin brought in Kevin Valentine to play drums on this track. Valentine would later provide drum tracks for the Psycho Circus album in 1996.
Paul claimed he was trying to write a strip club anthem in the vein of Lick It Up. I think "Take It Off" is the better of the two songs.
I was happy to get "Take It Off" in the third round. I knew the Revenge tracks would go quick and this was one I really wanted. "Take It Off" was almost the title track for my fantasy album but I figured it would have made for a better album title in 1983 when the band officially unmasked.
Who Wants To Be Lonely (Asylum) - A round #2 pick for me. Sadly my only pick from 1985's often overlooked Asylum album. I always thought Asylum was a much stronger album than the previous years Animalize and rocked a lot more than it's follow up Crazy Nights. "Who Wants To Be Lonely" is an 80's classic from Paul....great vocal and catchy chorus. Asylum had a lot of other contenders for me but these tracks got snatched up almost as quickly as the Revenge tracks,
Not For The Innocent (Lick It Up) - Gene's first appearance on what ended up being my very Paul oriented Kiss fantasy album. Gene had a very strong set of songs for 1983's Lick It Up and "Not For The Innocent" is one of my favorites from that record. Gene co-wrote this song with guitarist Vinnie Vincent who had joined the band during the recording session for the previous years Creatures of the Night album. I actually prefer the demo version of this song were Paul sings the chorus sections...I always enjoy hearing Paul and Gene sing together.
Spit (Revenge) - Cringe-worthy Spinal Tap lyrics aside, "Spit" is a great Gene track from Revenge. Not sure why I picked this one for my record other than I love all the cool guitar riffing throughout the track. Again Bruce Kulick shines on this track. Bruce really came into his own on Revenge, I just wish I had been awake enough during the draft picks to capture another Revenge track or two. I think at one point I was trying to sneak in a Carnival Of Souls track or two but the other guys weren't having any of that.
Some sections of "Spit" date back to a 1977 demo that Gene recorded with Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry called "Mongoloid Man".
Kiss having fun during the MTV Unplugged sessions playing "Spit".
King Of Hearts (Hot In The Shade) - Side A of my fantasy Kiss record ends with a Paul track from 1989's Hot In The Shade. Oddly enough this was the first track I ever heard from Hot In The Shade. I remember it well, I was playing a gig with a band I was in at the time and the local rock radio station said they would be debuting a new Kiss track at a certain time that evening and the time happened to fall right when we were on a break. I tuned on the radio and this is the song they played, not sure why they chose this song over the albums first single "Hide Your Heart" but radio was a different animal back Then.
I always liked this song, kinda the same vibe as "Hide Your Heart". Paul claims he was trying to write a Bon Jovi type song but felt like he fell flat with this one.
Thoughts On Side B
Turn On The Night (Crazy Nights) - I always like when the band uses a song from the album as the title for the album. Kiss has had many title track songs that have went on to be classics including Hotter Than Hell, Love Gun, Creatures of the Night, Lick It Up etc. I thought I would use that as a template for my Kiss Fantasy album and call it Turn On The Night. I would make this my albums lead single because of it's catchy sing along chorus. "Turn On The Night" was actually the third single from Kiss' 1987 album Crazy Nights and it was a complete flop on the charts. I think it deserves another chance.
A Million To One (Lick It Up) - I will admit that going into the Kiss Unmasked Fantasy draft I had no real game plan in mind. The draft was held on a very early Sunday morning and I had played a gig the night before and had only a few hours of sleep when it was time to start the draft. I had all my notes in front of me but in my foggy sleep deprived state they made no sense. The one thing that was clear tho was that I had to have "A Million To One" on my album. I took it in the first round and was very happy with this pick.
I think "A Million To One" may be Paul's best song of the entire non makeup era. In fact I would place it in his Top 10 all time best.
Paul co-wrote all his songs for the Lick It Up album with new guitarist Vinnie Vincent and "A Million To One" is the best of the lot. In recent years it's been asked if Vinnie Vincent saved Kiss and the general response has been "YES!". With songs like "A Million To One", how could you argue this point.
While The City Sleeps (Animalize) - The weakest of the Gene songs to make it onto my album. I have no real defense for this except that it's not "Burn Bitch Burn" or "Murder In High Heels".
(You Make Me) Rock Hard (Smashes, Thrashes and Hits) - By the late rounds in the draft I will admit that my record kind of went off the rails. When I got this one my thought was at least it's not "Read My Body". Musically this one is pretty cool but those lyrics. Even Paul has suggested that it wasn't one of their finer moments and he didn't like it at all.
For some reason Paul decided to ditch his guitar for the videos from Smashes,Thrashes and Hits and just prance around in front of the camera. He seems almost as uncomfortable as Gene does playing his bass without a pick in all those Kiss videos over the years.
Get All You Can Take (Animalize) - I always thought this was a bit of a sleeper track on Animalize and never really got much attention. Has a cool Zeppelin-esque guitar groove with Paul doing a Robert Plant inspired vocal.
Carr Jam 1981 (Revenge) - My album wraps up with the instrumental "Carr Jam 1981". This song was included on Revenge in 1992 as a tribute to drummer Eric Carr who had passed away the year before.
"Carr Jam 1981" is a studio outtake from the (Music From) The Elder sessions and features a drum solo from Eric Carr in the middle of the track. Ace Frehely would eventually turn the track into a song called "Breakout" for his first Frehely's Comet record after leaving Kiss.
I like having "Carr Jam 1981" on my Kiss Fantasy album because it has a link to the makeup era and to one of my all time favorite Kiss albums The Elder. More importantly it has my las name in the title. No one else in the fantasy draft was gonna touch this one.
So there you have Turn On The Night, my Unmasked Fantasy Kiss album. It didn't quite turn out as expected but it's a fun listen. It's pretty unbalanced and all over the place but when you look at the unmasked era for Kiss that's a pretty accurate description. With that said I loved every minute of being a Kiss fan during the unmasked years and would defend them at every turn. For awhile I turned away from the unmasked records but in recent years I've been revisiting them and probably enjoy them more now than ever.
This was a fun way to look back at these records.
And, for the record, here is my ranking of the unmasked era Kiss albums. For fun I have included the live albums and Carnival Of Souls.
1. Lick It Up
4. Kiss MTV Unplugged (actually one of my favorite Kiss records period)
5. Kiss Alive III
7. Crazy Nights (could have been higher with better production)
8. Hot In The Shade (could have been higher with fewer songs)
9. Carnival Of Souls (not a grunge record and I don't hate it as much as most people do)
10. Smashes, Thrashes and Hits (should be smashed)
Scott Carr is a guitarist who plays in the Columbus, OH bands Radio Tramps andReturning April. Scott is also an avid collector of vinyl records and works at Lost Weekend Records. So...if you are looking for Scott....you'll either find him in a dimly lit bar playing his guitar or in a record store digging for the holy grail.