Friday, July 25, 2014

SIX DEGREES OF KISS: LENA

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Derek Francis I accept your challenge and will connect Lena to KISS in six steps or less.




Lena (full name Lena Meyer-Landrut) is a German pop star who set an all time chart record in Germany by debuting with three songs in the top five in the singles chart. How am I going to connect her to KISS in six steps or less? Like this: 


1. Lena won the Eurovision song contest for Germany in 2006 with the song "Satellite" which was written by American songwriter Julie Frost.



2. Julie Frost is one of nine YES NINE co-writers on the Beyonce single "Countdown" which "dropped" in October of 2011.




3. One of the I SHIT YOU NOT 22 producers YES THAT'S TWENTY-TWO PRODUCERS credited on Beyonce's 2008 album I Am Sasha Fierce is Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins.




4. Rodney Jerkins produced the Britney Spears version of "I Love Rock n' Roll" which appeared on her 2001 album Britney (Rodney was one of ONLY 10 yes only ten producers credited on that album).


When asked by Rolling Stone why she chose (yeah sure, she chose) to cover "I Love Rock n' Roll" Britney had this to say:

"I just love the song. I love Pat Benatar, and I just think she's amazing. It's like she's a rock 'n' roll chick and she's just having a good time and it's a very empowering song."

5. Of course "I Love Rock n' Roll" was never a Pat Benatar song. It was originally written and recorded in 1975 by the glam rock band Arrows. Only two people wrote it, Alan Merrill and Jake Hooker, and they were actually in the band, in other words they wrote and performed their own material. Imagine that.




Joan Jett had a number one hit with the song in the US in 1982 and before going solo Joan Jett was in an L.A. band called The Runaways who were managed by an "eccentric" named Kim Fowley.



6. Kim Fowley has co-writing credits on the songs "King of the Night Time World" and "Do You Love Me" from the KISS album Destroyer.



And there you have it.



Thursday, July 24, 2014

SIX DEGREES OF KISS: GENESIS

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Chris Leatherman I accept your challenge and will connect Genesis to KISS in six steps or less.



Genesis were at one time an innovative progressive rock band. They sure evolved over time! It's just a shame, that's all. How am I going to connect these non-dancing invisible touchers to KISS in six steps or less? Like this:


1. Peter and Phil sure were huge in the eighties but Genesis guitarist Mike Rutherford managed to ferret out some chart success for himself with his side project Mike + The Mechanics.



2. One member of Mike + The Mechanics was journeyman singer and musician Paul Carrack. Paul had a top ten hit in 1974 with his band Ace with a song called "How Long" and he also sang lead on the Squeeze hit "Tempted" in 1981. 



It has always annoyed the hell out of me that Squeeze's best known song in the US was the only Squeeze song Carrack sang (he was only in the band for that one album). Here are a couple far superior Squeeze songs:


3. In between having hits with Ace and Squeeze Paul Carrack played with legendary Scottish rocker Frankie Miller.


4. Frankie Miller's 1978 album Double Trouble, (from which Carrack co-wrote half the songs) was produced by THE Jack Douglas.



5. Jack Douglas produced the first two albums by a kick-ass New Jersey rock band called Starz.



6. In the seventies Starz were managed by Bill Aucoin, who also happened to be managing a band called KISS.



And there you have it.






Wednesday, July 23, 2014

SIX DEGREES OF KISS: THE DOORS

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Ken Mills I accept your challenge and will connect The Doors to KISS in six steps or less.



The Doors are, in my opinion, one of the most overrated bands in history. How will I connect them to KISS in six steps or less? Like this: 

1. After The Doors Ray Manzarek was in a band called Nite City. Nite City released two albums, Nite City in 1977 and Golden Days Diamond Nights in 1978.



2. The guitar player and singer in Nite City was a dude named Paul Warren.



3. After Nite City broke up Paul Warren formed a power pop band he called Paul Warren & Explorer. They were quite popular on the sunset strip and released an album on RSO Records in 1980 called One of the Kids which was produced by Peter Coleman.



Now here's the thing, Peter Coleman also produced records for Pat Benatar and Holly Knight's band Spider, both of which I have already used as links. So let's see where else Peter Coleman might take us.

4. In 1984 Peter Coleman produced the self-titled album by a Baltimore band called The Ravyns.


5. The Ravyns are best known for the song "Raised on the Radio" which appeared on the Fast Times at Ridgemont High soundtrack. That soundtrack also included a song called "The Look In Your Eyes" by Gerard McMahon.



6. Gerard McMahon wrote "Is That You," the first song on the 1980 KISS album Unmasked.



And there you have it.



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

SIX DEGREES OF KISS: HALL & OATES

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Patrick Johnson I accept your challenge and will connect Hall & Oates to KISS in six steps or less.



Daryl Hall and John Oates have been musical partners since 1970. They've changed styles (and facial hair) many times over the course of their 18 studio albums but 5 out of their 6 number one hits happened in the eighties. My favorite Hall & Oates song by far is...


How am I going to connect these dreamers to KISS in six steps or less? Like this:


1. The song "Every Time You Go Away," which was written by Daryl Hall and originally appeared on the 1980 Hall & Oates album Voices, was a number one hit for British singer Paul Young in 1985.



2. Paul Young's 1983 debut album No Parlez opens with a song called "Come Back and Stay" which was written by Jack Lee and originally performed by classic power pop band The Nerves who released a brilliant four song EP in 1976.



3. The first song on that Nerves EP was called "Hanging On The Telephone" and was also written by Jack Lee. The song was famously covered by Blondie on their top ten hit album Parallel Lines in 1979.



4. Blondie's 1980 number one hit single "Call Me" was written and produced by Italian pop impresario Giorgio Moroder.



5. Giorgio Moroder wrote and produced four songs for Bonnie Tyler's 1991 album Bitterblue.



6. Bonnie Tyler's 1988 album was called Hide Your Heart. The album's title track was written by Paul Stanley, Desmond Child and Holly Knight and would later turn up on the 1989 KISS album Hot In The Shade.



And there you have it.



Monday, July 21, 2014

SIX DEGREES OF KISS: CRASS

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Fistful of Dave I accept your challenge and will connect CRASS to KISS in six steps or less.



Crass were a politically active DIY peace-loving feminist environmentalist anarchist punk band. How on earth can I connect them to KISS in six steps or less? Like this:

1. Crass was a tough nut to crack! They didn't use producers or outside songwriters and they didn't do covers, but luckily for me NYC "antifolk" artist Jeffrey Lewis released an album in 2007 entitled 12 Crass Songs on which he covered, uh...yeah, duh: twelve Crass songs.


2. In 2005 Jeffrey Lewis recorded an album with his brother Jack entitled City and Eastern Songs which was produced by Kramer, full name Mark Kramer, founder of Shimmy Disc Records (he released the first Gwar album, Hell-O, along with albums by Daniel Johnston, Ween, and others). 



3. In addition to running Shimmy Disc and producing other artists Kramer was a founding member of underground indie psych band Bongwater.



4. Another founding member of Bongwater was actress and performance artist Ann Magnuson. She was in Desperately Seeking Susan.



5. The 1990 album Third Eye by California punks turned rockers Redd Kross featured a song called "Annie's Gone" which was written about Ann Magnuson and Ann Magnuson appeared in the video for the song.


6. Redd Kross opened their 1984 album (or is it an EP?) Teen Babes From Monsanto with a raucous cover of the song "Deuce" which originally appeared on the self-titled 1974 debut album by a band called KISS.



And there you have it.






Sunday, July 20, 2014

Top 10 KISS Guitar Solos - Ep146

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While Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons are the 2 constant mainstays in KISS, the lead guitar position has faced the most changes of their 40 year history.

This week Aaron and Chris dissect and spin their Top 10 favorite KISS guitar solos. Aaron takes the Ace Frehley route for his list and Chris pulls his 10 favorite from the combined tenure of Vinnie Vincent, Mark St. John, Bruce Kulick, and Tommy Thayer. There's some very interesting and unexpected picks. Let us know what YOUR top 10 KISS guitar solos are by commenting below or on the facebook fan page (www.facebook.com/decibelgeek).

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SIX DEGREES OF KISS: CROWDED HOUSE

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Matthew Joseph I accept your challenge and will connect Crowded House to KISS in six steps or less.



Crowded House are a wonderful Australian band fronted by a brilliant Kiwi songwriter named Neil Finn. How am I going to connect them to KISS in six steps or less? Like this:

1. "Locked Out" by Crowded House is on the Reality Bites soundtrack alongside a song called "Going Going Gone" by Seattle power poppers The Posies.



2. The Posies' 1993 album Frosting on the Beater was produced by Don Fleming.



3. Don Fleming was a member of indie rock supergroup Dim Stars with punk rock pioneer Richard Hell.



4. The drummer in Richard Hell's seminal punk rock band the Voidoids was a guy named Marc Bell (far left).



5. Marc Bell had previously been a member of early seventies NYC heavy rock band Dust with Richie Wise (so there's one link) and he would eventually replace late drummer Tommy Ramone and become Marky Ramone in the Ramones.



6. KISS recorded a version of the Ramones song "Do You Remember Rock n' Roll Radio" for the 2003 tribute album We're a Happy Family.



And there you have it.





Saturday, July 19, 2014

Thundermother is Anything But a Rock 'n' Roll Disaster

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         Get Adobe Flash player
                          Photo Gallery of Thundermother at Sweden Rock Festival 2014

 Rock 'n' Roll Disaster, the debut release from Sweden's Thundermother is anything but a disaster!  You may not be familiar with this band, and neither was I until one day I was watching a 
Filippa Nassil-photo by The Meister
concert recording of another awesome Swedish band, Sister Sin that they had posted on their Facebook page.  The next band on stage at the event was Thundermother.  With AC/DC comparisons abound they were captivating, exuding a stage presence and energy that drew me in right away with their original compositions.  I eagerly awaited the release of their debut album that my internet scouring had informed me was in the works and
Giorgia Carteri-by Meister
was stoked when their name appeared among the 80 plus groups that would be performing at 2014's Sweden Rock Festival.  Excellent, I would get to witness the actual live act as I voyage from Toronto, Canada to Solvesborg, Sweden for my second year of the festival event.  The ladies were absolutely incredible on stage that day fueled by periodic shots of "Fireball" and I was forced to skip another act that I been waiting to see since 1990 as I couldn't pull myself away from Thundermother! Day #3 at Sweden Rock 2014.  I had planned
Clare Cunningham-Meister
 to purchase the CD and also a t-shirt at the festival, but somehow failed to complete this mission.  I've now acquired the CD, but the t-shirt I have yet to secure.  The band consists of a quintet of ladies, guitarists Filippa Nassil and Giorgia Carteri being the original founders and after a long search involving several players are now joined by Tilda Stenqvist on drums, Linda Strom on bass and Irishwoman Clare Cunningham commanding the vocal position.  Their particular flavor of rock 'n' roll could probably best be described as what things might sound like if Australia's AC/DC underwent a sex change operation with a little Sex Pistols attitude thrown in for good measure.
Thundermother performing at Sweden Rock Festival on Friday June 6, 2014-photo by The Meister


Rock 'n' Roll Disaster album cover
The album opens up, as did the Sweden Rock show, with "Man With Blues", the longest running song contained on Rock 'n' Roll Disaster"Deranged" follows and both these first two tracks are solid straight forward hard rock songs featuring plenty of classic riffage.  From there things really ramp up with "The Dangerous Kind", a track that I was familiar with through my you-tube adventures prior to heading over to Sweden and likewise with the next in line title track.  The three punch to the gut combo of the best songs on Rock 'n' Roll Disaster come now in succession with the well named "Thunderous", the way too short "Please Me" and the lead single from the album "Shoot to Kill""One For the Road" could be my least favorite and while "Cheers" may be rather campy, it's insanely catching and comes off really well in a live setting with, of course, a guest appearance from the "Fireball".  "Saturday" closes the album on a high note with another fast paced in your face rocker.

The ladies haven't re-invented the wheel here, but the album is filled with good solid hard rock songs all possessing a heavy helping of cohones.  Check out what I mean through the official video for "Shoot to Kill" below.

Cheers,
The Meister

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SWEDEN ROCK FESTIVAL PHOTOS BY: The MEISTER 2014

SIX DEGREES OF KISS: D-A-D

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Matt Ashcraft I accept your challenge and will connect D*A*D to KISS in six steps or less.



D-A-D (which is an acronym for the band's original name: Disneyland After Dark) are a very cool Danish hard rock band. They have been quite successful in their homeland but are minimally known in the US even though they did have a brush with fame in the early nineties when MTV gave their videos for "Sleeping My Day Away" and "Girl Nation" a few spins. 



If you haven't figured it out by now there are usually a variety of routes I could take to connect these various artists to KISS but I have been trying to pick some of the more entertaining and/or enlightening ways to get where I need to go, and I've tried not to repeat links. So let's see where D-A-D might take us.

Luckily for me D-A-D's second album Draws a Circle contains a cover version of America's annoying number one hit from 1972 "A Horse With No Name."


So yeah, I could be done right here because Russ Ballard wrote a bunch of songs for America, including the band's big eighties hit "You Can Do Magic," but I've already used Russ Ballard as a link so that's no fun.

A little research and I discover that America's 1984 album Perspective includes a song called "Special Girl" which was written by Canadian singer-songwriter Eddie Schwarz. I know the song and I know that the same song also appeared on Meat Loaf's 1986 album Blind Before I Stop.


Again I could be done right here if I use the Meat Loaf connection since I know that brothers Bob and Bruce Kulick were both members of the Neverland Express, Meat Loaf's touring band after his Bat Out of Hell success. 



But let's see where else this Eddie Schwarz link can take us because I happen to know that Eddie Schwarz wrote the song "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" which was a big hit for Pat Benatar in 1980.



Pat Benatar came up in the very first installment of Six Degrees of KISS (ABBA) because I used her to connect Mike Chapman to Holly Knight since the pair co-wrote "Love Is a Battlefield." But let's see where else this Pat Benatar connection might lead.

Hmm, she did a John Cougar song, she did a Sweet song, she did a Kate Bush song. "We Belong" was written by Lowen and Navarro. Dave Navarro is Dan Navarro's cousin.



Wait a minute, I know that Pat's first album In the Heat of the Night includes her version of the song "Rated X" which originally appeared on Nick Gilder's killer 1977 solo debut You Know Who You Are. I know that Nick Gilder links back to Holly Knight since Gilder and Knight co-wrote the song "The Warrior" which was a top ten hit for Patty Smyth and Scandal in 1984, but I also know that Nick Gilder can be used as a link to Bryan Adams since I know that Bryan Adams replaced Nick Gilder as the singer in the Canadian seventies glam rock band Sweeney Todd.




So as you can see there are several routes I could have taken using America as the first link to D-A-D and going from there but I think this is the most fun and circuitous route:

1. D-A-D to America via "A Horse With No Name."



2. America to Eddie Schwarz via "Special Girl."



3. Eddie Schwarz to Pat Benatar via "Hit Me With Your Best Shot."



4. Pat Benatar to Nick Gilder via "Rated X."



5. Nick Gilder to Bryan Adams via Sweeney Todd.



6. Bryan Adams to KISS via "Rock and Roll Hell" and "War Machine," two songs he co-wrote with Jim Vallance and Gene Simmons for the 1982 KISS album Creatures of the Night.



And there you have it.




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