Gene Simmons-Gene Simmons (1978)

 

Hey, Folks! Now that I’m back from holidays I thought what better way to fill the next two weeks of posts than with review’s of all four of the KISS Solo Albums that were all released on the same day back on September18th 1978!

Peter/Ace/Starchild and Money Bags thought they could sell anything and for a time they could. These solo albums also marked where the decline(in popularity) came in and perhaps that was due to overexposure.

Think about it for a second.  

In a span of 15 months between June 1977 and September 1978 KISS released 1 studio album( Love Gun)  1 Double Live Album (KISS ALIVE 2)  1 Double Greatest Hits Set(Double Platinum) and 4 Solo Albums!

That’s a ton of product!

Good on em I suppose, but man that is a crazy pace so I guess when KISS thought about the solo album idea you can bet your KISS Dolls that Gene and Paul probably believed that the two trainwrecks Ace and Peter would self destruct and make fools of themselves! Nothing could be further from the truth! Sort of!

So let me give you some thoughts and my kinda B.S on these solo records 41 years later!  Like my bunch of KISS reviews earlier this year, I will be doing a scoring system out of 10! Feel free to comment below whether I was a genius or a complete lunatic with this batch of albums via my scores!

First up…

Gene Simmons!

I had to go with Mean Gene as the first review! Why? Well back in 1978, this was the first of the 4 solo albums I had heard at a friends house! Right away, I was intrigued by that cover. Gene looking menacing with a drip of blood coming out of his mouth. I kinda wished they would have used his Alive 2 cover picture where Gene looks like he demolished a Heinz Ketchup Bottle at a Wiener Roast!

Still…

Simmons just as you would expect goes all over the map on this album. Something like over 20 guests are on this album. Joe Perry/Bob Seger/Donna Summer/Rick Nielsen/Cher are just a few of the artists on this album. Gene just had to prove to the world that he’s the best and everyone should know that!

Does it work on this album?

Kinda.

Side One!

I will say Radioactive as an opener sets Gene’s( sober) bar high. Everything works right with this track. The cool opener with catchy verses/chorus and a wicked solo! How about that one-minute opener with a bunch of violins swirling about that launch Radioactive with a sinsiter laugh! Bonus points on this track for that Christine 16 like piano playing during the chorus of Radioactive! I call this GOLD!

Burning Up With Fever is typical Gene. I kinda dig that lazy, hazy stomp of this track that has Donna Summer wailing around on backing vocals which kinda gives this track a relaxed vibe!

Nice acoustic driven Beatles like the tune that’s See You Tonight which has Gene taking a vast chill pill and laying down a pretty decent vocal. The drums drive this track forward not taking it down wussy avenue!

Next up!

‘Well if you’re lookin’ for the best, then baby be my guest I’m right before your eyes, and I’m tellin’ you no lies You wanted my disease, you’ll have to do as I please You’ll jump off the roof if I say, I won’t let you get away !’

Geezus Demon! Disease? Yikes but I guess in 78 anything went and Gene spreading the disease was one of those things. The track that I’m referring to is Tunnel of Love which kinda plods and stomps kinda like a Turtle trying to cross the Autobahn! Fair enough but after 3 opening good tracks this one kinda lags a bit!

True Confessions is a fun, happy tune. Gene going on about not being some chicks social security that has a brilliant jiving chorus. More female backing vocals and that neat dribble of the piano which for a few of these tracks is pretty apparent and give Simmons credit he went outside the box at times on this album!

Side Two!

I still remember from 1978 the first time I heard Radioactive. Living In Sin would have to be the second tune I ever heard as it features Cher doing that wacky, goofy phonecall in the middle of the song.  The song is repetitive at times with the Living in SIn ( at the Holiday Inn) yadda yadda. But Gene does what he wanted to do as back in 1978! Who was gonna tell him differently?

Always Near You/Nowhere To Hide is perhaps the most unlike Simmons tune on here if you were to compare his wham bam thank you mam philosophy on many of his KISS Tracks! Another track that has Gene going outside his comfort zone and no mention of putting a log into your fireplace at all around these songs!

Cool opening of guitar that leads into Man of a 1000 Faces with its orchestra like chorus which reminds me of late 70’s elements of Cheap Tricks Dream Police! Gene give him credit sings for his supper on this track which earns him some bonus points here as it’s not that typical ‘Oh Yeah Oh Yeah’ sis boom bah rah of Gene later on in the ’80s! You know what I’m talking about the ‘Burn Bitch Burn’ Genie tunes of the 80’s Demon. Ok ok I like that one!

Mr Make Believe is another one of those trippy like tunes that may have been a hit on your local am station when they played syrup rock in the 70’s/80’s. The demon even goes up an octave higher at times during the chorus which begs the question did Cher give him a hand(ahem) here?

I always read that Gene said he redid See You In The Dreams as he didn’t like the version that KISS cut on there Rock N Roll Over album from 1976! Gene’s solo version is good, but to my ears, KISS version rocks way better with the aid of Paul Stanley’s vocals during the chorus! Plus you had a boozed up Peter Criss and snapped up Ace Frehley contributing drums and guitars respectively which goes perfectly with the two Sober KISS dudes! Sorry Gene your solo verison lags comapred to your KISS version.

Gene ends his album with Wish You Upon A Star! which to me is silly, but Gene does what he wants to do! Great time to get up off the couch to go for a piss as Wish You Upon A Star plays out!

All these years later, Well 4 decades later I have to admit  Gene Simmons solo album here ended up being a pretty decent listen in July 2019! I have to give Gene credit as he went totally outside the KISS box at times, which was impressive as he showed a softer side at times to his onstage persona.

I didn’t understand what he was doing back in 1978 with this record. As a 11 yr old going on 12 at the time I wanted Gene songs like Ladies Room and Christine 16,

Simmons stayed the course and charted into some unknown waters on this album and his makeup didn’t smear because of it!

For that, I respect him. Kinda!

dekE’s 1978 Score-5/10

deKE’s 2019 Score-7/10

 

31 thoughts on “Gene Simmons-Gene Simmons (1978)”

  1. Here we go! I like the second side much better. Burning, Tunnel and True Confessions are a too bit lame. I like the weird ballad stuff… like you said, when he goes out of his comfort zone. I prefer See You In Your Dreams here actually… reckon Uncle Gene had a point there. And I ALWAYS stop this before the last song. Always!

    Great fun dude. Look forward to the rest. Bet I like Peter’s more than you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s awesome! Glad we don’t totally agree on Mean Gene’s album as that wouldn’t be much fun at all eh?
      It’s​ funny to listen to these albums (Gene/Stanley/Criss) all these years later and in some instances decades later and hear it way differently as an old geezer as opposed to the snot-nosed kid I was back in 78/79!
      Wait till​ the Criss review! That’s all I’m saying! haha

      Like

      1. He stuck his neck out and amazing how many guest artists were rolling through the studio on this album whereas​ it was Ace/Anton Fig/Eddie Kramer and a ton of blow and booze on the Frehley album haha

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  2. I’m with HMO, I really like the 2nd side except for “Wish”. The softer side suited his vocals nicely on this one. I tend to play that side more. I can’t wait to hear the rest of the reviews (or read). Great review and a great way to start off the week. Welcome back!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, John! Good to be back!
      Now there are two of you troublemakers (HMO) haha.
      Fair enough and I’m glad you guys dig the second side more than I do! haha.
      Someone has too! haha. But over time the Simmons album has aged somewhat gracefully. Up to a month ago I would have laughed at that comment!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Nice idea for a 2 week series Deke!
    Neat to read 2019 Deke is more in favour of this album than you were at the time.
    And good point about nobody really telling Gene what to do in 1978 – you want Cher to phone you mid-song, whatever you like Gene!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “For that, I respect him. Kinda!” LOL – yeah, the solo albums were where they lost me. And you nailed it, it was the beginning of the decline. Still, they were fun. Glad I got to see em when I did, on their first final tour ;-P

    Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A very fair assessment of a flawed but still enjoyable album. My grade would probably be somewhere in between your ’78 & ’19 appraisals. I still remember the look on my friend’s face (and he probably saw it on mine) the first time we heard “When You Wish Upon A Star.” The acronym WTF didn’t exist back then but that was pretty much our response. Now I enjoy the quaintness of it, a word I never thought I would associate with Kiss. Looking forward to the next review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting spin on Wish You Upon A Star!
      But that was Gene monkeying around with his Demon persona and going the exact opposite route of what people would expect of him.
      Good album holds up better than I thought it would as I had mentioned there is so mush KISS music that some stuff gets put on the backburner more than others.
      Thanks for stopping in. Stanleys album is posted for this Friday!

      Like

  6. Y’know I really like the ballds, like you say, when he’s out of his comfort zone. Always Near You/Nowhere to Hide gets pretty epic. So does Man of 1000 Faces! I really like the epic aspects of the album when it comes to ballads.

    Not so much his goofier stuff like True Confessions though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True Confessions = Great Expectations!
      HA!
      Cool comments all around as everyone kinda digs on the chill side of what the Demon was doing back in 78!

      Like

  7. “I kinda wished they would have used his Alive 2 cover picture where Gene looks like he demolished a Heinz Ketchup Bottle at a Wiener Roast!” **Immediately searches Google for Kiss Alive 2 cover**

    Cher, huh?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Enjoying the takes deKe but am not qualified to speak so i’ll just enjoy your eloquence. “Get up off the couch to go for a piss” is some good writing. Why I tune in. That could be a good review for whole albums and films I’ve watched. I might borrow it.

    Liked by 1 person

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