Category Archives: ROCK 101

Books that Rock…nothin more,nuthin less!

Is This Live?/ Christopher Ward (Book Review)

Being a teen in the 1980s.  MuchMusic was a big deal in my world as it was  Canada’s 24 Hour Music Video Cable Channel that at the time played well Music Video’s before all these channels delved into reality like programming and blah blah blah and well to be honest  I got older which is the biggest problem of all! Ha!

Christopher Ward who wrote this book was also one of the original MuchMusic Video Jockeys as well. Chris goes into great detail about the origins of MuchMusic with the two fella’s that started it. One being Moses Zanier and John Martin

These two guys couldn’t get along but they somehow managed to work together and make MuchMusic a household name in Canada back in 1984 and  hitting the 1 Million subscriber mark in 1987!

First ever video played at MuchMusic? That would be The Enemy Within by Rush!

Ward does a nice job of interviewing for  this book all the VJ’s that we would always see everyday on the telly. Steve Anthony/JD Roberts/Erica Ehm/Laurie Brown/Master T/Michael Williams/Denise Donlon/Terry David Mulligan/Theresa Roncon and many others. They are all present and accounted for in this book!

Actually one of the funniest interviews I had ever seen on Much was when Ed The Sock interviewed Hugh Dillion from the Headstones. I posted the clip of Hugh VS Ed below…(Interview is after the song) The best is when Hugh says he can’t believe he’s having a “serious discussion with a sock!”

Tons of pics are included with visits of RockStars like Duran Duran/Boy George/Motley Crue/Alice Cooper/Platinum Blonde/Robert Plant. Basically if you were selling records in the 80’s you were on MuchMusic!

Christopher also asks the Vj’s the worst interviews that the VJ’s had and to no one’s surprise Gene and Paul(KISS) make a cameo!/Chris Issak/Mariah Carey/Ramones  to name  a few others are mentioned  among others  but it did not surprise me to see KISS here as they always did the sexual innuendo’s especially with the lady VJ’s! The Best interviews? Well, buy the book folks!

TV shows on Much are talked about like Rap City/Electric Circus /Electric Circus/Mike & Mike’s X-Cellent Cross Canada Adventure The Wedge/Big Ticket and my personal fav The Power Hour which ran from 1984-1991 ( I would always have my VCR set from 4-5 pm every Thursday!)and then was reduced from the power hour to a half hour show. Than again the musical climate was shifting in the early 90’s….watch the clip for a good two  minute flashback below!

Tons of Canadian acts of course are featured with Ward asking them how the impact of video helped them along with their careers! Northern Pikes/Sloan/Honeymoon Suite/Gowan/The Pursuit OF Happiness are just a few of the acts that are covered.

Ward himself talks at detail how his career as Alannah Myles songwriter had taken off in 1990 and how a decision had to be made as to whether to stay on TV or quit and move to Los Angeles to break Myles career in the U.S! It’s a great inside look at the music business on how a new artist can hit it big.

I will add this is a great read almost like a huge 329 page scrap-book of a time we will never ever see again…. But Ward captures it brilliantly!

For us Canucks, MuchMusic was a big part of growing up in the 80’s and Christopher Ward takes us all on journey though the inner workings of the Nations Music Station MuchMusic!

Must own folks!

 

No Sleep Til Sudbury/Brent Jensen (2014)

 

Not to often I can say I have read the same book 3 times over cover to cover. But when it comes to Brent Jensen’s spin on his life growing up in Sudbury as a teen in the 80’s listening to Metal this book resonated with me on a whole other level and I will tell you all why its been read that many times!

For followers of this Blog(I thank you) you may be asking why now are you reviewing this book as you have already reviewed Brents other two fabulous novels in Leftover People that chronicles and documents Brent’s U.S.A Book promo tour for No Sleep with an American Writer Named Chris Long(Knock Knock) and Brent’s latest book All My Favourite People Are Broken which Brent journeys into the forest(literally) to a cabin with a buddy named Garvey and they put the iPod on random and dissect all kinds of music between them. Both Leftover and Fav People are highly recommended and have both have been reviewed here!

I first came across No Sleep via the Bravewords website and once i read about the fact that some dude basically wrote about the whole genre I grew up to and worshipping all things Metal, I clicked quicker than you can say Dogs D’Amour and No Sleep was delivered straight to my mailbox.

Once I opened the book and seen the Contents and Titles of Chapter 1 – A Shout Out to the Devil as well as Chapter 5- Metallica,Slayer,Raven,and…Dokken? Chapter  6-Living on a Thrash Metal Prayer I knew I would be immersed in this book and it’s safe to say I read it within 2 days. I was hooked never being a junkie this 295 Page Book blew me out of the water and became my needed fix. It wasn’t before too long that I sent Brent an email telling him what I thought of his book and how it basically summed up my musical habits here in Thunder Bay within the same decade that Brent wrote about.

Brent emailed back and Like I have said previously I probably came across as some blabbering lunatic or a fruit loop to be honest  going on how great of a read this book was. I also didn’t want to come across as some ass kisser. (Ha…maybe I did?!) but the damage had been done as Brent had emailed back.( Thanks Brent for not putting a restraining order out on me!)

In the book Brent you can see how music is the foundation of one growing up. You read all about Mr Jensens first concert which was Iron Maiden/Twisted Sister back in December 1984 at the Sudbury Arena. Brent delves into everything about the show on how it wasn’t even marked on their tour program. How Lead Singer Bruce Dickinson said Maiden would come back.(Maiden never did) and you can sense the reason how this show would come full circle for Brent. More on that later!

It’s cool that Brent talks about the next two concerts he seen which was Metallica/Metal Church & Kick Axe? in December of 1986 and Alice Cooper/Sword in 1987 all in Sudbury.

Kerrang the British Metal Magazine had a huge impact on both of us as it was basically written by a bunch of Hooligans who had a real flair on capturing Metal at the time in the roaring 80’s unlike the American Magazines like Circus & Hit Parader which as Brent describes them as ‘Handlers for the Record Company’s”  in other words they just gave hand jobs to get the bands as the articles were bullshit! (ask Axl Rose) Kerrang was real deal  the only knock it was always on import for $5 every two weeks yet the real plus was what you were reading was pretty current.

A ton of bands are reviewed from Brent own cassette collection. You name any band and Brent gives a paragraph or three to them.  Cinderella/Keel/Krokus/Saxon/Tesla/Van Hagar/Danger Danger/Vain/Sleez Beez many more acts are written and explained in detail and how they resonated in Sudbury. Tesla is one band that is written about and you see how it was a long process on how they finally won over Brent.

Must also mention that there is a Top 5 list of song’s Brent never ever wants to hear again. Ha…I can’t divulge all the sordid details now can I?

One of my favourite chapters of the book is titled So Much For Hollywood where it is reviewed when the Blaze Bailey fronted version of Iron Maiden played Hamilton. I won’t say wether its a good review or a bad review but its friggin hilarious! Also in this chapter Brent discusses when old members return to their bands after splitting. One of the best analyzations of this is Aerosmith where Brent writes and I quote him..

“There is Old Aerosmith and there is New Aerosmith. Old Aerosmith is that slutty Jezebel  that would take you upstairs to deliver the groceries at the end of a sloppy late night boozefest. New Aerosmith was the beautiful prom queen with great smelling hair you were proud to bring home to Mom. Both got your rocks off but one cut through the artifice and did it on a much more primal level.”

That paragraph sums up Aero verbatim! Pure Brilliance!  Wish I wrote that!

No Sleep comes Full Circle when Maiden announce there Powerslave 2006 Tour! Once you read this book you will know what I’m talking about here!

Don’t let the title of this book fool ya friends, You can be from anywhere in the world and relate as we are all fans of the genre of music.

Geez,how many dudes from Sudbury can actually say they had the personal emails of Tommy Lee and Wolf Hoffman at one point?

Such a Great Read is No Sleep Easily one of my all time fav’s Get it!

(I must also mention that Brent is now doing a No Sleep Til Sudbury Podcast that you can download on iTunes for free and it’s a great listen as Brent Interviews people in the music industry and just plain music fans on the songs that make there skin vibrate! )

Sebastian Bach/ 18 & Life On Skid Row(2016)

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Book Review Time……

Sebastian Bach joins the long line of Rock Dude’s writing their tale of Excess/Mayhem/Craziness. Well you get the Drift.

The one thing I can say is Bach grew up in Ontario so there’s my connection and he writes about a ton of Canadiana in his Book. More on that later…

Baz opens the  book with the incident in 1990 when Skid Row was opening for Aerosmith and someone  in the crowd tossed a bottle hit Bach in the melon and cut him open.  Baz did what he does best and that is go berserk(wouldn’t you?). He basically picked up the broken bottle seen the guy who had thrown it  as the dude in the crowd was flipping him off and tossed the bottle at him and leapt  into the crowd. Bach broke the guys jaw who had tossed the bottle but Sebastian also broke the nose of a young girl in the crowd who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Just like an Old School Western Skid Rows Managers after there set told them “Get on the bus and over the State Line” They didn’t make it and Bach was arrested by the police.

Sebastian says this was the first real clink in the armour of Skid Row and problems would soon arise.

The Book shifts back to his early years growing up first in the Bahama’s than onto California and finally Peterborough Ontario as David Bierk(Sebastian’s Father) took a Fulltime job at an Art Gallery.

Bach goes into good detail about growing up as a child in Southern Ontario. His fascination with Comics and KISS in the mid to late 70’s and I will say that Bach has a passion for this.

Bach’s world came crashing down when his parents got Divorced in 1979 and it was Sebastian who writes in the book that his first time seeing KISS in Toronto back in 1979 was the last time that his Family ever did anything  together as a family unit as  his father had left already.

Great detail is also written about when Baz started playing the Toronto Bar circuit in the early to mid 80’s and meeting in Toronto Nikki Sixx and giving him a demo tape that weaved its way to New Jersey and lo and behold  Bach joined Skid Row.

Of course myself  being a Hard Rocker this is really where the Book takes off. Tales of Excess are detailed and no one is safe! Ask Lars Ulrich! Bach though keeps it cool with what he writes about and it will probably give those people more street cred if anything!

So to not give away too much I ‘m going break it down to a few Stories or as I would call them Whut??  Many more but here’s a 3 Pack Sample…

1- First night of Skid Row opening for Guns N Roses at  Alpine Valley  (May of 1991.) An unruly person backstage makes derogatory remarks about Sebastian. So what does he do? Well he punched the guy out. Turned out it was Gun’s Guitarist Izzy  Stradlin’s  brother! Whut?

2-Backstage at an Los Angeles Aerosmith show(1990) Bach is joined by David Lee Roth and Axl Rose. As Roth downs shots of Jack Daniels he looks at Sebastian  and Axl and  Roth says ” I here there’s a couple of pretenders to Mah Throne!” Bach quotes Roth as saying “Mah” LOL. I won’t tell you what happened next but it’s worth the read  with an end to this tale that you won’t believe!  Double Whut??

3- One of the biggest shock a roo’s for me  was the guys that he partied with in Bon Jovi. Bach writes about Richie Sambora’s diet of choice in the late 80’s that doesn’t surprise me. What did was Jovi Keyboardist David Bryan  snorting speedball’s! Triple Whut??  HA!

Bach goes into detail about the Music Business as well.

After 1992’s Slave To The Grind Tour. Bach thinking  he was going to have a  business meeting with his managers to receive a huge cheque after the success of the tour.

Wrong!

Bach writes that  they had to pay off everything meaning all the managers/accountants/crew/food/booze and the fact that their manager told them that since they wanted to be like KISS and shoot off pyro it was costing them $3000 a blast! Bach also writes he  learned that day  what the term “Shortfall” is…

(Side note…. when Skid Row played here in 92 the Fire Marshall would not allow their pyro to be used. So they saved dough in Thunder Bay for one night anyways..)

Of course the whole fallout of Skid Row is written about and as Bach  is kicked out he eventually moves on and becomes the solo act/hits up Broadway for a part in Phantom Of The Opera/ ends up doing Tv on the Gilmore Girls and The Trailer Park Boys/renews his friendship with Axl Rose. (great story also when Axl/Baz bump into Jon Bon Jovi)

The book ends up with his personal life getting on track and moving on.

For myself this was a great read! As it has Ontario roots that Bach speaks from so I get it. Bach does name drop a bunch of people and he could have really hammered on the Skid Row guy’s but he doesn’t air anybody’s  dirt just the problems that he had on a personal level. That surprised me as he could  have torched I’m sure Rachel Bolan but give Bach credit he gave a lot of people a pass….

Book is worth the Dough $$$…!

Worth a Reread!

Bruce Springsteen/ Born To Run (Book Review)

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Born To Run was a Christmas Gift from my daughter Lauren! 

I am nowhere near a Springsteen Diehard. But I have always liked Bruce’s music as he always came across as a Hard Working Blue Collar Rock Guy. Listen to Downbound Train from 1984’s Born In The USA album for a reference point in the lyrics of the song as Bruce sings about losing your job/losing the girl and hearing that whistle whine on the Downbound Train! Many of his songs are just about Life and for that I can totally can relate to Bruce as he writes about any one of us…

So when it was announced that he was putting out his own memoir I was intrigued right off the hop! When Bruce was mega popular especially in 1984-85 I was 17 going on 18 and you had to hand it to the guy as he kept his nose clean. Sure there he was in the Tabloids at one point(more on that later) but he wasn’t ever the Meathead who was drunk driving or starting brawls he was just Bruce!

This 528 page read(outside of that cool throwback front cover pic of Bruce the pics are at the back of the book)) is right from Bruce’s own mouth. As you read it has not been smooth sailing for Bruce as he admits freely how is and was dealing with depression and medication to help through which started when he was teased in school with name “Blinky” due to a fluttering  eyelid. His depression lasted right up before the release of Born In The USA album as him told his lifelong manager Jon Landu about what was going on.

His father was a heavy drinker and Bruce never felt appreciated by him as he just wanted acceptance from his Dad. So in regards to the book Bruce is human but a lot of us see it as  since he’s played hundreds of shows(pushing anywhere from 3-4 hour performances)sold millions of records,graced a ton of magazine covers. You would think all is well right? Well wrong….Bruce is Human! Perhaps his 1992 album Human Survival had more to do than just being a simple name of an album.

Born To Run deals a lot with relationships especially with members of his E Street Band. You read on what went down between Bruce and Miami Steve on why Steve left during the recording of Born In The USA. Bruce describes in full why he canned the E Street Band after the Tunnel of Love Tour back in 1988. How he has dealt with the passing of two key components of his E Street band. ( Danny Federici and Clarence Clemons or ‘C’ as Bruce calls him). Bruce discusses when he was plastered in the Tabloids when he married and divorced Julianne Phillips due to his involvement with an E Street member Patti Scialfa. 

Bruce always kept a lid on it for the most part! Private is Private! So you gotta hand it to him. Bruce though pulls no punches that he is indeed running the show in regards to the E Street’s. His moniker “The Boss” is not mentioned once in the 500 plus pages. He’s not a big fan of that so-called nick name as well from what I gather.

A great story is when Bruce describes Jake Clemons (Clarence’s Nephew) audition and the Young Jake shows up unrehearsed! Let’s just say ‘Don’t ever do that!” Haha…I am of course putting it mildly. 

I could go on of course with many stories from this book.

As I had mentioned at the start of this review I am not the biggest Springsteen Fanboy out there(If you’re wondering Tunnel of Love is my favourite Bruce album) but it was a Fantastic read as this Book was stuffed with ton’s of fact’s. It’s like Bruce is talking to you.

Get This…..

 

 

Metal Heart: Aiming High With Accept

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Book Review…….

If you read my recent book review on Martin Popoff’s excellent Riot book(Swords And Tequila/ Riot’s Classic  First Decade) you will recall that I had stated  that Martin writes on bands that normally would not get books written about them.

Accept is one of those bands that Martin has tackled and I will be totally honest with you all. I am not a huge Accept fan! Sure back in the mid 1980s I owned Restless And Wild/Balls To The Wall/Metal Heart but when I heard Russian Roulette for some reason it did not register with me. I just could not get into it for some crazy reason. Even so I still  bought Eat The Heat as well!(more on that one later)

When I seen on Martins website that he had written a book about Accept I was Intrigued as they did not get much press back in day sure Hit Parader would feature them maybe Circus but my curiosity factor was raised so I ordered it at http://www.martinpopoff.com

I should mention in regards to my other reviews of Martins Books is that he writes as a fan and it totally comes across in his book’s by the first 7-8 pages has Martin explaining the actual dates  when he purchased each Accept album(date,prices with whom he was hanging out with at the time ) If that doesn’t constitute a Fan what does?

Like The Riot book Martin pulls out all the stops. Talks to all the main guys in Accept. Udo Dirkschneider/Wolf Hoffman/Peter Baltes/Stefan Schwarzmann/Jorg Fisher/Mark Tornillo.

Another interesting person in the Accept story is Gaby Hoffman (Wolf’s Wife) was Accept’s Manager since 1981 and contributed lyrical idea’s and cover concepts for a ton of years but she went under the pseudonym as Deaffey which I recall seeing that name on the Accept albums back than. Never would have known that it was a woman running the show and naming albums Balls To The Wall and contributing lyrics to songs like Fast As A Shark/London Leatherboys/Midnight Mover.

Martin also has once again added a ton of add’s for various albums and even a section of coloured pics from Accept’s 1984 tour when Udo was decked out in his camouflage gear. Even the cover of this book reminds me of Judas Priest with the Flying V’s as I guess they took a page from Priest in the dual lead guitars/stage presence 101 when they opened for JP back in 1981!

Each album goes under Martins Metal Microscope as his diagnosis each album with commentary which makes for a total worthy read. Basically once I dug into the book I could not put it down.

The success of the Balls To The Wall album in 1983-84 is interesting as they toured with all the heavyweights backs than.(KISS & Iron Maiden) They were kept on the straight and narrow by Deaffey and management not to get messed up in the Party Treats of the day. Tight Leash the Boys were kept on I guess you could say!

Martin also goes into detail how even though we both consider Metal Heart (1985) a top-notch Accept record. For some reason though it never really caught on which was surprising as it featured some great tracks like Midnight Mover(Accept didn’t care for it!) Too High To Get It Right / Screaming For A Love Bite/Metal Heart.

Course like so many bands the wheels start coming off of Accept after the release of Russian Roulette(1986) and as the album didn’t catch on here in North America internal strife was brewing and out goes Lead Singer Udo.

Now here’s where I really got into the book for that matter as it’s always fascinated me on how a Lead Singer change can either propel a band to the next level or disintegrate a band into a huge mess of dysfunction and chaos.

Unfortunately  Accept slammed head first into dysfunction( record company politics wanting to Americanize there sound with a new singer) and chaos (keep reading)with the release in 1989 of  the Eat The Heat album with a New  American Lead Singer  named David Reece.

I  bought Eat The Heat at the time of its release on cassette tape and it was a massive change in direction. Songs were  Melodic Lite Metal. The production by Dieter Dierks ( who manned a few other albums by Accept and made his name by producing a ton of Scorpions albums in the 80s) was weak. Had a few good things but generally was a sub par release to put it nicely! Even with this album being the Sore Thumb in the catalogue of Accept music Martin still gives it a bunch of pages just like the bigger albums in Accept’s career!( he doesn’t play favourites!)

Martin talks to Reece and the rest of the guys on what went down on the Eat The Heat album and the backstage fight(hello chaos) between Peter Baltes and Reece which led to the singer  getting fired as well as the tour getting canned.  Accept folded up shop for a few years!

Of course like so many bands they can only simmer for so long and back comes Udo for a few albums and tours( two reunions with Udo) before issues once again rise and Accept once again goes into hiatus that is until they come across another American Singer named Mark Tornillo  and have released some recent works (Blood OF Nations/Stalingrad/Blind Rage)  as Martin champions  their cause as great albums and another fact that Martin points out is that Tornillo handles all the lyrics pretty much now.

Aiming High is another fine read from Martin! For a casual Accept fan like myself it was a real interesting read and every section had a ton of written stuff that I had no idea what went on in the inner sanctums of Accept(Well researched!)

To be quite frank I was about to order Martin’s Book on Ted Nugent but for some reason I clicked and ordered the Accept book but fret not Friends I will get the Nuge book and like I always say…

Do support our local Canadian Writers and click Martin’s link above.

Swords And Tequila/ RIOT’S Classic First Decade

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BOOK REVIEW ……

Martin Popoff is a great writer who has written a ton of books about bands that normally would not have books written about them.(U.F.O/Accept & Max Webster) are three that come to mind)

Brooklyn’s  Riot would be one of these bands who came Oh so close but due to record company/management issues and a great Lead Singer Guy Speranza quitting(just as they were about to go mega) fell a little short in making it to the Big Time! Shame really as Riot had a real good run of about 4 Albums and a Ep! (1979s Narita 1981’s Fire Down Under, 1983’s Restless Breed thru 1984’s Born In America)

Say what ya want but that’s a better run of albums than many an act you do know about! Hello Poison……!

Martin always does  his due diligence on talking to pretty much members of Riot especially Riot guitarist Mark Reale  who provides all kinds of real cool stories about recording (each classic album is reviewed with track by track commentary) with other interviews with former members like Rick Ventura,Kip Lemming and Manager Steve Loeb. 

Some heat is put on Loeb in this book by the other Riot member’s for making them sign deals that were lopsided and by having missed opportunities. Loeb himself explain’s his side of the story to Martin. Even today Drummer Sandy Slavin has posted remarks about the dealings of Loeb and assistant manager Billy Arnell on  his Facebook page not necessarily by name mind you but by “Management”.

1981’s Fire Down Under should have made these guys superstars.

Riot had all the Big League Managers at the time salivating to work with them! Managers from bands like Sabbath and Q Prime(Metallica/Def Leppard) but for reasons it always fell apart for these guys amongst record label turnover and Riot themselves switching labels they just could not gather up any real momentum and when they did finally  get momentum Singer Guy Speranza got married/found God and packed it in with Rock N Roll! Also for all the accolades Riot received they were making no money this as well could wear and tear on you mentally  as well.

Riot were in a lurch but they scored in the singer search and hired Rhett Forrester and released 1983’s Restless Breed (which back than was my first Riot Purchase) but once again Riot were dropped by their record company but it didn’t deter these fella’s as by 1984 out came the Real Good Born In America and touring the arenas with KISS but the fact that Riot was on a  Canadian Disco Label didn’t do them any favours in the marketing regions of Hard Rock!

Eventually like all bands that struggle they break up and Riot did and kudos to them for struggling to survive for as long as  they did!

1988 Riot was reborn with just guitarist Reale remaining and he put out the Thundersteel album which I  had bought on Cassette tape but it did not catch on with me as I was looking for the Fire Down Under/Restless Breed/Born In America Riot and for me it wasn’t there! Full props though to Mark for never stopping…..

Riot to this day is still going and Martin does champion there cause.

I should also mention that Martin steps up with the book with pictures of the bands/record and tour adds. Stuff I have never seen before even back in the mid 80s when I was listening to these guys the first time around!  The Book also has the whole Discography of the band which is very detailed and there’s a section of submitted Riot Fan Email’s explaining the passion they have for these guy’s music! Martin even talks to the guy that played with Rhett in a band from Calgary back in the late 80s when Rhett relocated there.

Remember what I said earlier about Martin doing his due diligence in regards to this book….

Riot is one of the few bands that have had its share to tragedy as well. Rhett Forester was murdered in an attempted Car Jacking back in 1994(Atlanta) and the case was never really solved while original singer Guy Speranza passed away from cancer in 2003. Mark Reale passed away from complications from Crohns disease in 2012.

Riot though are one of those Gems of a band that may have never hit the big time but for many out there they did!

Props to Martin for writing this book! Thanks Man! Also Thanks Martin for securing and sending me a copy of this Book!

Folks do yourselves a favour and support our local Canadian Homeboy’s Martin Popoff and Brent Jensen as they are fantastic writers! Search em out and tell them Deke’s sent ya!

Shout It Out Loud/The Story Of KISS’s Destroyer

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Picked up this book in Vancouver at the Indigo Book Store and I was surprised  to see this  as I didn’t even know it existed!(released in 2015) Amazing that author James Campion could write in a detailed amount 330 pages of one album being a Kiss album to boot and to keep me interested!

Just like another great book that I recently read and reviewed which was Greg Renoffs Van Halen  Rising book chronicling only VH’s early years up to 1978 which you can check out here….https://superdekes.wordpress.com/2016/02/05/rock-101van-halen-rising-by-greg-renoff/ Shows me that you can write a book detailing a band and even though that bands main guys may not be involved in the book you do your homework and seek out those around that had a hand in the beginnings of a band(Renoffs Book) or the Destroyer book that chronicles the making of what many consider the best recorded Kiss album(Destroyer)

Campion in his book details the Destroyer album from the origins pre Destroyer when Kiss was selling out theatre’s (pre Kiss Alive) but hardly selling any albums. Kiss and their 3 studio albums before Alive(self titled,Hotter Than Hell and Dressed To Kill) failed to make any kind of dent on the charts. Kiss and Neil Bogart(Boss man at KISS’s label Casablanca Records ) decided to release the double live Alive as Casablanca Records was in huge financial dire itself.

Of course Alive saves the day. Kiss hits huge pay dirt and wants to make a serious album. So the search begins!

Campion quotes resources and past interviews but the Ace(no pun) In The Hole here is he did direct interviews with Jay Messina,Corky Stasiak and Bob Ezrin. Those three are responsible for the Production end of things on Destroyer as they give excellent inside to the recording of the album from the beginning of the sessions to the end note of Do You Love Me.

I always knew that Frehley didn’t show up for Sweet Pain but how about 4 (maybe 5  tracks as they all have a hard time remembering if Wagner played on Flaming Youth)tracks that are on Destroyer that supposedly Ace didn’t play on!?

Which ones you ask?  Other than Sweet Pain. How about Great Expectations?  Mmmm Beth ?! The biggest shocker though is God Of Thunder? WHUT?!….No Ace….by the sounds of it!

Ezrin brought in Dick Wagner(RIP)! Who’s  Dick you ask? Well other than playing a ton of lead guitar for Alice Cooper Wagner supposed did a ton of uncredited lead guitar work on Aerosmith’s Get Your Wings album.  Another Ezrin produced album. If you weren’t cutting the mustard in the studio Bob would call Dick!

What might even be more shocking is that Peter Criss played drums on the whole album! Criss does add that Ezrin tortured him take after take to up Pete’s game!

Beth like all the songs on Destroyer  are detailed in the book with very in-depth info from Ezrin and Crew. What kind of guitars were used. What kind of Amps. The book even mentions that Ezrin had to toss Gene and  Paul out of the studio so Criss could get his lead vocal done on Beth as Demon And Starchild were smirking and making fun of Criss!

Back to the  God Of Thunder mystery.  Did Ace or didn’t Ace play on the track. Campion when writing the book sat down with Ezrin and they listened to the  solo in God Of Thunder! Ezrin couldn’t exactly remember if Ace had played it or didn’t but Ezrin added that if Dick Wagner says he did,than as Ezrin adds Wagner did!

Of course no one back than knew this and good on everyone involved on keeping a lid on it! Course Simmons probably had a lawyer drop in a few times to make sure everyone knew their place in regards as keeping Kiss as how we know them.  Imagine back than if everyone knew Ace didn’t play on certain Destroyer tracks…..

Ken Kelly who did the awesome painting of Kiss on the cover is even interviewed! No stone is left unturned here folks!

Campion as well updates on currently what ever one involved with the making of Destroyer is currently up to.

Also what was real interesting is towards the end of the book Campion puts in his detective hat and if you recall on the Destroyer studio  version of Detroit Rock City of the dude getting into his car and hearing on the radio that a person was killed and of course by the end of the song the car skids out and  you hear the car crash.

Interviews at the time (1976) had Stanley saying that a Kiss fan had died on their way to a show. So Campion started digging around through various archived media to see if Stanley’s claim actually happened or didn’t! Give this dude credit man he did his homework and well I’m not telling you what the outcome was! Was it a true story or was Stanley hyping the KISS P.R Hype Machine Circa 76!

Not saying….

Hey! I can’t tell everyone everything.

Ok here’s a little food for thought!

Well how about I leave you with one more little detail! When Destroyer was first released it shot up the charts and shot down the charts real quick! Kiss freaked out. They were wondering did they over do it with too much bombastic flair that went over their fans heads? At one point there was talk of the whole album after its release being Destroyed and yanked off the market!

Beth being out as a 45 single believe it or not saved this albums ass!  You can also see why Kiss returned to producer Eddie Kramer and released the fantastic yet straight forward Rock N Roll Over! Don’t know how true all of this is but you know how some of those Kiss guys roll. I tend to believe it that at one point Destroyer could have been Destroyed! (Imagine how much those copies would be going for in 2016!)

If you come across this book pick it up or track it down on the Amazons of the world. Well researched  and it was cool to read a whole book on just one album!