Category Archives: Eric Carr

My thoughts on KISS getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and album reviews coming

If you follow the world of rock/metal online, you’d be hard pressed not to know that KISS is finally getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 10, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. You’d also have to be living under a rock to not be aware of the controversy surrounding which members are (and are not) getting inducted. It’s become quite a mess. Gene & Paul are having it out in the press with Ace & Peter, Gene & Paul are having it out with the HOF’s induction process, the fans are having it out with Gene & Paul, etc. It goes on and on.

Here’s what we know: the Hall of Fame is inducting only Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. The original four members of KISS and that’s it. They aren’t inducting anyone else and they don’t want anyone else (such as Tommy Thayer & Eric Singer) performing at the induction ceremony. Frankly, that’s silly, but look — KISS has been eligible for induction for a long time and for the Hall of Fame execs to put this restriction on the band is just their way to make the induction as painful as possible for KISS. It’s like they couldn’t put off leaving KISS out of the Hall any longer because the public was becoming too vocal about their exclusion but at the same time the Hall of Fame didn’t want to make it a fun/easy process for the band.

No one is arguing the founders shouldn’t be in but I think all members should be inducted and that they should be allowed to perform with Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer (which the Hall does not want). My dream scenario is that everyone who has ever been in KISS gets inducted and then the classic line-up plays and then the modern line-up plays and/or they have all six of those guys (plus Bruce Kulick) jam together.

It’s not a big deal to induct every single member of KISS, so I don’t see why the Hall is resisting it:

  • No question, Eric Carr definitely deserves to be in. Great drummer and he contributed to the band for 11 years on many successful albums.
  • Bruce Kulick — same situation. He was there for 8 years and played on a number of KISS albums that went gold/platinum.
  • Vinnie Vincent. Not sure if anyone could even find this guy and he didn’t have the best relationship with Gene & Paul but even they would admit his guitar work and songwriting skills played a big hand in freshening up the band’s sound and giving them some of the best albums they’ve ever produced.
  • Eric Singer first joined KISS in 1991 after Eric Carr’s death, had a short stint in the early 2000s filling in for Peter Criss and has been their drummer since 2004 when Peter Criss once again left and has sung lead vocals on a handful of KISS tracks.
  • Tommy Thayer is a big force in the modern band. Great guitar player and he’s been playing with them since 2002 and has songwriting credits/vocal duties on the last two KISS albums. I could see someone maybe arguing against Tommy though given the time frame he joined, but I think he’s contributed enough to warrant the induction.
  • Given his very short tenure, Mark St. John is probably the only KISS member you could question for HOF status and say that he didn’t contribute much to the band… provided you consider playing on a platinum-selling album as not contributing much.

It’s nice that the band is getting inducted into something called the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when you consider the people who run the Hall and the list of people who have already been inducted, it’s anything but a legit rock hall. No one in their right mind would argue that if there is such a hall that KISS deserves to be there, but it’s sad that the RNR Hall of Fame is refusing to acknowledge the entire career of the band and wants to focus only on the 1970s.

It’s a tough pill to swallow for some KISS fans but I actually applaud Gene & Paul for refusing to give in and play strictly with Ace & Peter. They want all eras of KISS to be recognized and they think Eric & Tommy deserve to stand on stage. I agree. I know there is the whole Gene & Paul vs. Ace & Peter thing, and that’s sad, but I don’t have a problem with Gene & Paul’s “all or nothing” stance.

Now, I recently noticed there’s a surprising amount of KISS albums I haven’t yet reviewed. I could’ve sworn I reviewed them all! Well, with all the buzz regarding KISS these days thanks to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the fact that this year is the band’s 40th anniversary, there’s no better time than now to finish reviewing the band’s catalog! Be on the look out for those reviews in the coming weeks.

Eric Carr – Unfinished Business

Eric Carr – Unfinished Business (2011, Auto Rock Records)

1. Eric speaks to the fans
2. “Just Can’t Wait”
3. “Troubles Inside You”
4. Eric talks about his music
5. “No One’s Messin’ With You”
6. “Carr Jam 1981”
7. Eric talks about audition
8. “Shandi”
9. “All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose”
10. “Dial L For Love”
11. “Elephant Man”
12. Eric Talks about Mark St. John
13. “Midnite Stranger”
14. “Eyes Of Love”
15. Bill Aucoin talks about Eric
16. “Through The Years”
17. “I Cry at Night”
18. Eric kidding around at a Kiss album rehearsal

Producer: Linda Caravello & Beth Jordan

On the 20 year anniversary of Eric Carr’s death, the Caravello (Carr) family decided to honor Eric by releasing Unfinished Business, an album featuring a number of  Eric’s demos that were recently fleshed out and re-recorded with the aid of a number of musicians. Also featured are voice clips of Eric Carr. A similar project called Rockology was released by the family in 1999 but that album was nothing but demos & rough mixes with the only tampering being done by former KISS band mate Bruce Kulick who tried to re-mix the tracks and improve production as best he could.

Notes about the songs:

– “Just Can’t Wait” (1987) was originally released on Rockology as an instrumental but this time around there are lyrics & vocals for it and there’s a good reason this new version comes off like Danger Danger — Ted Poley sings on it. I think it was one of the better songs from Rockology. It’s nice to hear it with a vocal track but I think it still stands as a great instrumental as well.

– “Troubles Inside You” (1987) features KISS collaborator Mitch Weissman on vocals. Sound quality isn’t that great given that it’s a demo but it’s a cool rocker.

– “No One’s Messin’ With You” (1989) is an early demo of what would morph into “Little Caesar” from Hot in the Shade.

– “Carr Jam 1981” (which originally appeared on KISS’ Revenge album) & “All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose” (originally appeared on KISS’ Lick It Up album) are covers by the band ZO2.

– “Shandi” features Eric on vocals and comes from his 1980 KISS audition. These demo tapes remained lost until 2006 when they were rediscovered by Eric Carr’s family. The entire four-song audition was produced on CD in extremely limited quantities and released as The 1980 KISS Audition EP and sold through http://www.EricCarr.com. This particular version lifts Eric’s vocals from the audition tape and adds new music performances and arrangement.

– “Dial L for Love” is a near complete demo track (no vocals) from 1987. Could’ve been a really good rocker.

– “Elephant Man” never got past the lyrics stage in 1991 when Eric passed away. Music was composed for this song from scratch by Bob Gilmartin (who provides vocals & guitar) and Nick Clements. Eric’s sister and niece sing backing vocals, Twisted Sister’s A.J. Pero plays drums and Europe’s Kee Marcello provided lead guitar on the intro.

– “Midnite Stranger” comes from a demo that Eric had given ex-KISS lead guitarist Mark St. John back in 1986. Mark had contacted the Carr family in 2006 and gave them the tape and the plan was for St. John to add more guitar parts but the project was never completed due to Mark’s passing away in 2007.

– “Eyes of Love” is another song that was originally on Rockology. This version is considerably better with newly recorded music. All of Eric’s vocals remain while Seether’s John Humphrey plays the drums and Benny Doro plays everything else.

– “Through The Years” is a compilation recordings of Eric on drums from his teenage years up to live performances with KISS. Very cool thing to hear.

– “I Cry At Night” is a song from 1967. It was written by Eric and recorded by The Cellarmen, which was his very first band. Very much inspired by the Beatles and general rock/pop sound of bands at the time.

The rest of the tracks are short sound clips from interviews either with Eric or about Eric.

Overall, this is a great disc for KISS fans to add to their collection. Carr is one of the most loved members the band has ever had and this is another great trip back in time to see what a cool guy and great talent he was. Hopefully the Carr family has more demos and outtakes ready to go because I’d love for third album to come along. Hopefully we’ll get some new kick-ass versions of “Somebody’s Waiting”, “Nightmare” and “Can You Feel It” if that ever comes about!

Highlights: “Just Can’t Wait”, “Troubles Inside You”, “Shandi”, “All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose”, “Eyes of Love”, “Through The Years”

www.EricCarr.com
www.facebook.com/pages/Eric-Carr-Official/146128105398320

Buy this album at Amazon.com

ERIC CARR – Rockology

Eric Carr – Rockology (2000, EMI/Spitfire Records – Canada Import)
Original Release: 1999, Spitfire Records

1. “Eyes of Love” … 3:29
2. “Somebody’s Waiting” … 3:48
3. “Heavy Metal Baby” … 4:34
4 .”Just Can’t Wait” … 3:56
5 .”Mad Dog” … 3:16
6. “You Make Me Crazy” … 4:04
7. “Nightmare” … 4:22
8. “Nightmare” (live demo) … 3:42
9. “Too Cool For School” … 3:59
10. “Tiara” … 4:26
11. “Can You Feel It” … 4:02
12. “Nasty Boys” … 3:27

Musicians:
Eric Carr – Lead Vocals, Drums, Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Bruce Kulick – Guitar
Adam Mitchell – Keyboards, Backing Vocals

Producer: Bruce Kulick, Adam Mitchell and Eric Carr

Yet another album in a long line of them that I’ve been “familiar” with for many, many years and thus I delayed ever purchasing a copy. $3 for a new, sealed copy on Amazon was too good to pass up! Turns out I got the Canadian release that came out a year after Spitfire originally released it in the United States but it’s the same exact track listing.

When I first heard this album, that’s when I started to become a huge Eric Carr fan. From everything I’ve read and have heard about him, he was a great guy and this collection of demos just proves how great of a musician and songwriter he was (to be fair, Bruce Kulick and Adam Mitchell also wrote/played on these songs). Too bad Gene and Paul didn’t allow him more of a creative hand in KISS.

Actually, a few of these songs were written with KISS in mind though “Nasty Boys” and “Too Cool For School” were intended for his animation project The Rockheads. “Eyes of Love” and “Mad Dog” definitely sound they could’ve been KISS songs. It almost sounds like Eric is trying to emulate Gene, though whether he was writing these songs for himself or Gene I don’t know. Most of the songs just seem to be songs Eric was kicking around on his own time for his own amusement or maybe even a solo disc. I believe all of these songs were recorded from 1987-1989 but in 1999 with some additional production Bruce Kulick overdubbed a few solos with the blessing of Eric Carr’s family.

For what is basically a collection of demos, many of them are in pretty good quality, especially considering that according to Bruce’s liner notes many of these songs have only survived in cassette form. A couple of songs don’t even have complete lyrics and feature Eric scat singing in order to get a feel for the song. It’s a pretty interesting listen and “Nightmare” is set up this way but you can just imagine (or I can, at least) what the lyrics might have been. “Nightmare” is a pretty epic ballad, I love it. Again, I could hear this being a KISS song, with Paul singing.

Speaking of ballads, Eric seems to excel at writing these. They aren’t the typically sappy power ballads but haunting ballads. “Nightmare”, “Somebody’s Waiting”, “Tiara” (quite a bit dated with the keyboards) and “Just Can’t Wait” (which never had vocals put down) are excellent.

“Eyes of Love” and “Mad Dog” are just a few of the great rockers found here. “Can You Feel It” is another hot rocker full of positive energy. Far from complete, “You Make Me Crazy” is really good too which Bruce notes was actually being referred to as “Van Halen” for a time because of its sound.

This is an amazing collection of demos that gives the world a glimpse of Eric Carr — beyond the make up. Maybe none of these songs are 100% complete (though some come close) but there are a number of great songs here that would have been considered classics were they ever finished. Unfortunately Eric never got the chance.

Essential album for any fans of Eric Carr’s time in KISS.

Highlights: “Eyes of Love”, “Somebody’s Waiting”, “Just Can’t Wait”, “Mad Dog”, “Nightmare”, “Tiara”, “Can You Feel It”

http://www.ericcarr.com/

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