PRESS RELEASE: Peter Criss – One For All (with artwork)

From PeterCriss.net:

Peter Criss - One For All (2007)

Release Date: July 24, 2007
Label: Silvercat Records

Best known to the entire world as The Catman, a founding member and original drummer of the legendary KISS, PETER CRISS has returned with his latest musical project, One For All, a collection showcasing his far-ranging talent as a skillful singer-songwriter and his vast range as a gifted vocalist.

Born Peter George John Criscuola in Brooklyn, New York on December 20, 1945, he took up drums inspired by jazz icon Gene Krupa as well as rock’n’roll heroes such as the Rolling Stones’ Charlie Watts. “I love bands like the Who and Zeppelin, but you could always dance to the Stones and that is so important,” says Criss. Launching his own career as a musician, Peter played in local bands around the New York area in the late ’60s and early ’70s, but his future fame truly began the day he placed a newspaper ad saying “drummer with 11 years experience, willing to do anything to make it.” That classified led to the formation one of rock’s greatest bands in history.

Peter sang the lead vocal and co-wrote what to this day remains KISS’ biggest Billboard hit, ‘Beth’, which went on to win a People’s Choice Award and became a highlight of every KISS concert, with lighters, then years later, cell phones raised high and waving in arenas and stadiums around the globe. In his Catman persona, he performed with the band through 1980, and then embarked on a solo career that resulted in four albums. In 1995, he reunited with his former band mates for a historic MTV Unplugged show that led to a 1996-97 reunion tour that encompassed the globe, followed by a new studio album. Turning to acting in 2002 with a part on the HBO prison drama Oz, Peter continued to play with KISS until 2004, and then again turned to other entertainment projects, while also crafting the songs that now appear on his new solo release, One For All.

Intensely personal and autobiographical, One For All, is a song cycle of variously styled, profoundly rich ballads that touch on all aspects of Peter’s life, looking back at his legendary music career while also turning within to reflect on family and friends. It’s the latest chapter in a life story that has given us one of rock’s greatest legacies.

For the recording of the CD, Peter worked in his home studio and New York studios with many longtime friends who are also top musicians, such as songwriting collaborator guitarist Mike McLaughlin, who goes back to Peter’s ’80s band, CRISS, and Late Night with David Letterman Grammy-award winners bandleader Paul Shaffer and bassist Will Lee. One For All also marks Peter’s debut as a producer. “I’ve co-produced KISS albums with all the greats” says Criss, “but I’d never sat in the captain’s chair until now.” He continues: “It was an amazing experience and big achievement for me. To be playing with guys I’ve always respected as musicians at my level — or even above it — I’m just so proud of that.”

With McLaughlin sending music from his home in Asia and then flying in for the actual sessions, Peter wrote all the lyrics and melodies, and also arranged the songs — many of which are textured with string passages overseen by Clifford Carter. Says Criss, “I’d be down there in the studio at two, three in the morning, playing as loud as I wanted to, and all I could think was how blessed I am in my life. Now that I’m an artist again, I’m really finally free to do what I want…and I’m not delusional about charts or hits, I know who I am, exactly what I am, and what I can do.”

Organic and elemental, drawing on Peter’s love of rock and R&B, One For All aims straight for the heart and soul. The album opens with the title track, written in the wake of an event forever burned in the mind of all Americans, especially New Yorkers like Peter: September 11th, 2001. “I went to Church that day and coming home, watching it on television, it was so surreal, but I knew I wanted to do something,” he recalls.

Peter took part in various 9/11 fundraisers, and also began working on a song to capture the feeling of a shattered world where we all find strength in each other — as One For All became an elegiac cry for unity over our diversity. For the first time, he also worked with children, who sing on the song, as hope for our future. Rather than use a well-known adult choral group, he recorded the Church of Transfiguration Boys Choir.

A searing blues-soul ballad, ‘Doesn’t Get Better Than This’, is a remarkable call-and-response duet between Peter and Jennifer Johnson, their vocals pushing each other to a climactic finish. The emotive cello for Wendy Sutter colors ‘Last Night’, a song about losses and transition, filled with aching sorrow, yet also renewal, as Peter says goodbye to past love, friends now gone, and his prior musical life — while also embracing new love, and his continuing journey as an exploring musician.

Peter pays special tribute to KISS fans that have stuck by him through thick and thin in two songs, Faces in the Crowd and Memories. “People put you on pedestal and can easily knock you off it. I’m so lucky to have the greatest fans in the world,” he says. “I would look out on the crowd at those smiling faces every night and I’m so proud to have those fans. I thank God and the fans every day for what they’ve given me; they’re the biggest stars, not me. And they’ve made a wonderful life for me.”

The album also features several cover songs, including a torchy rendition of ‘What A Difference A Day Makes’, which Peter always loved from a Dinah Washington record, and now dedicates to his mother. “There have been a lot of artists and musicians in my family; my great, great grandfather was a great painter, and my mother had a golden voice,” he says. “She sang morning, noon and night, and had the radio on 24/7 — she even took a portable radio with her when she left the house. I brought a picture of my mom and me into the studio, lowered the lights…and sang to this picture. I really went through a major emotional experience and got it on the third take, which is my lucky number.”

Another cover, a version of the classic Sondheim stage song ‘Send In The Clowns’, was the first piece Peter actually recorded for the project. “It was a very heavy time for me. KISS had finished work with the Melbourne Symphony and the song made sense,” he says. “I knew we wanted to do different things, and for me it was finally getting down to doing this album of my life.”

While ‘Heart Behind The Hands’ is from the hit Broadway musical Brooklyn, its revealing theme struck Peter to his core. “My guitarist Mike and I looked at it and it was good, but very Broadway, so we thought ‘let’s try to do this bluesy shuffle, a Zeppelin kind of thing,’” he says. “The song could be about a musician, the guy behind the hands that play, his soul. I talked to the writer and said ‘did you know me, are you clairvoyant?’”

The album closes with the atmospheric ‘Space Ace’, as Peter honors his longtime KISS bandmate and friend guitarist Ace Frehley. “He’s gone through a lot of changes, just like me and he’s happy,” Peter says.

For Peter Criss, One For All is a summation of all the places he’s been, all the wonder and tragedy he’s weathered to emerge a far more creative musician and perhaps most of all, a fulfilled human being. “I think the fans, the true KISS fans are going to get this and love it,” he says.

“The most important thing is that my fans and other people will get a whole new outlook on me,” Peter says. “I’m reinventing myself at my own pace. I’ve been to the mountain several times. I’ve been so high up in this business, I’d like to see other people, the artists-on-the-rise, get there now. For me, it’s now, more than ever, about being true. I’m old school man, I come from the heart and always will.”

Metal Trivia 3

Wicked Lester - s/t

This is the unreleased album by Wicked Lester, the pre-KISS band of Gene Simmons & Paul Stanley.

Name the band that released an album with the same album cover.

Shuffle Mode – KISS edition – 6/3/07

Tale Of The Tape:
Dell DJ 30 (1st gen)
3138 songs (265 full albums), including all KISS albums

KISS is my favorite band but I have a hard time listening to them sometimes. I know all the albums by heart and my live bootlegs are really just a re-hash of the same songs. Don’t get me wrong, I love the music but it’s hard to get excited when it’s all second nature to you, there’s nothing to shake it up, nothing new. Except Shuffle Mode. That’s how I listen to KISS usually…..on shuffle…..so I can get variety and deep tracks without searching. Here’s the first 25 played (band-song-album):

  1. ‘Danger’ – Creatures Of The Night (1982)
  2. ‘Two Sides Of The Coin’ – Unmasked (1980)
  3. ‘While The City Sleeps’ – Animalize (1984)
  4. ‘Speedin’ Back To My Baby’ – Ace Frehley (1978)
  5. ‘Mainline’ – Hotter Than Hell (1974)
  6. ‘X-Ray Eyes’ – Dynasty (1979)
  7. ‘Domino’ – Revenge (1992)
  8. ‘Only You’ – Music from The Elder (1981)
  9. ‘Sure Know Something’ – Dynasty (1979)
  10. ‘I Stole Your Love’ – Love Gun (1977)
  11. ‘All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose’ – Lick It Up (1983)
  12. ‘It’s Alright’ – Paul Stanley (1978)
  13. ‘In My Head’ – Carnival Of Souls: The Final Sessions (1997)
  14. ‘Into The Void’ – Psycho Circus (1998)
  15. ‘Murder In High-Heels’ – Animalize (1984)
  16. ‘Tunnel Of Love’ – Gene Simmons (1978)
  17. ‘Who Wants To Be Lonely’ – Asylum (1985)
  18. ‘Little Caesar’ – Hot In The Shade (1989)
  19. ‘Take Me’ – Rock’n Roll Over (1976)
  20. ‘Somewhere Between Heaven & Hell’ – Hot In The Shade (1989)
  21. ‘I Still Love You’ – Creatures Of The Night (1982)
  22. ‘Makin’ Love’ – Rock’n Roll Over (1976)
  23. ‘Let Me Know’ – KISS (1974)
  24. ‘Do You Love Me’ – Destroyer (1976)
  25. ‘Hell Or High Water’ – Crazy Nights (1987)

Bonus Track: ‘All the Way’ – Hotter Than Hell (1974)

Weekend playlist – KISS edition – 6/2 & 6/3/07

I’ve been in a major KISS mood this weekend. Lately, I listen to KISS shuffled on my Dell DJ but I also took the time to listen to some albums. Here’s the list in order:

Rock And Roll Over (1976) – My favorite KISS album of all-time, also my first at age five (1977). Favorite songs: ‘Mr. Speed’, ‘Baby Driver’, ‘Ladies’ Room’, ‘Love’em And Leave’em’. I get sick of ‘Calling Dr. Love’ so I usually skip it.

Creatures Of The Night (1982) – My second favorite KISS platter. This is one heavy album, a good slice of early ’80s Metal. Favorite tracks: ‘Keep Me Comin’, ‘Creatures Of The Night’, ‘Saint & Sinner’, ‘War Machine’. I have always said that KISS should have recorded this kind of album in ’81 instead of THE ELDER, they might have regained their popularity with the makeup on.

Unmasked (1980) – I know it’s light and Pop/Disco oriented but there are catchy tunes on this record. I like the songs Ace Frehley sings lead the best: ‘Torpedo Girl’, ‘Talk To Me’, ‘Two Sides Of The Coin’. I also dig ‘Shandi’, it’s Pop but it’s good. ‘Naked City’ blows!

Paul Stanley (1978) – In my opinion, the second best solo album (Ace is first) and the most KISS-like. Favorites: ‘Move On’, ‘Tonight You Belong To Me’, ‘Goodbye’, and ‘Love In Chains’. Paul came up with a solid record but it was too safe, it sounded just like a KISS album and took few chances.

Gene Simmons (1978) – I had to listen to this to see if it’s aged better. I listened to it a couple weeks back also and it’s still an OK record. The nice thing is that Gene had balls and took chances, he broke from the KISS mold. Favorites: ‘Radioactive’, ‘See You Tonite’, ‘Burning Up With Fever’. Worst song is ‘When You Wish Upon A Star’…..why?

Peter Criss (1978) – I figured I was on a roll so I might as well keep going with the solos. Peter’s album is different but good. Another member that broke from the KISS mold and took chances, I can respect that. Favorites: ‘You Matter To Me’, ‘Hooked On Rock’n Roll’, ‘Kiss The Girl Goodbye’. I like Peter’s voice a lot, this album ages well if your in the mood for something different.

(I didn’t bother to play the Ace Frehley (1978) solo album because that’s the solo platter I reach for the most.)

Carnival Of Souls: The Final Sessions (1997) – This is the closest thing to new music we’ve had from the band. I had the bootleg for this way before it was officially released and I was really looking forward to an official release, I’m glad they put it out. Favorite songs: ‘Childhood’s End’, ‘Rain’, ‘Master & Slave’, ‘Jungle’, and ‘Seduction Of The Innocent’.

KISS (1974) – I went to the end with CARNIVAL OF SOULS, so I went to the beginning. I’ve seen every song on this album live except for ‘Love Theme from KISS’, ‘Let Me Know’, and ‘Kissin’ Time’. Favorites: All of them, except ‘Kissin’ Time’.

Ozzy Osbourne – Black Rain (2007)

Ozzy Osbourne - Black Rain (2007)

Ozzy Osbourne – Black Rain (2007, Epic)

  1. Not Going Away
  2. I Don’t Wanna Stop
  3. Black Rain
  4. Lay Your World On Me
  5. The Almighty Dollar
  6. 11 Silver
  7. Civilize The Universe
  8. Here For You
  9. Countdown’s Begun
  10. Trap Door

Band Lineup:
Ozzy Osbourne – Vocals
Zakk Wylde – Guitars
Blasko – Bass
Mike Bordin – Drums

Total Time – 46:28

Ozzy Osbourne official website

I picked this album up hoping that Ozzy made a good album. I wasn’t overly impressed with his last album, 2001’s DOWN TO EARTH, I thought it was average. I’ve been a fan of Ozzy solo since the beginning. I was a young Metalhead that believed Ozzy to be the craziest man in the world and that his music would always be “dangerous”. Not on this record and I’m disappointed. It’s not that BLACK RAIN is a bad album, it’s just average, nothing special after six years. BLACK RAIN had been streaming online over a month before release but I never checked it out. I heard the first single, ‘I Don’t Wanna Stop’, on the radio but I thought it was just OK. Again, nothing special.

The artwork is not the same, neither is the packaging. It’s exactly like the picture above except that the design is raised. It’s a basic cardboard digipak. Nothing in the middle, no booklet, and the titles/credits on the back cover. There was a code inside for my two free Ozzfest tickets though. I’d gladly trade my two seats for full-color artwork and a booklet.

The record kicks off with ‘Not Going Away’, a mid-tempo rocker that sounds more like Black Label Society/Zakk Wylde than Ozzy. It’s heavy but it doesn’t catch me right away. I did notice the autobiographical lyrics and the vocal enhancements Ozzy is using. ‘I Don’t Wanna Stop’ comes in and I immeadiately like it better than ‘Not Going Away’. Maybe I’m wrong about this single? It’s catchy Black Label with more autobiographical lyrics and vocal enhancements. We all know that Ozzy’s voice is shot, that’s clear when he plays live, but did he need that much studio magic?

I like the opening to ‘Black Rain’ until the harmonica kicks in and I immeadiately think of Warrant’s ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’. Don’t ask me why, it just happens. This is a good tune, sounds a little like classic ’80s Ozzy and that ain’t bad. I like the words here, a little inspriation from the Iraq War and the current state of political affairs in the U.S. ‘Lay Your World On Me’ is a very good ’80s-style ballad. Starts with a mellow drum beat and some haunting guitar and keyboards. Ozzy always puts in a good vocal for the ballads and this is no exception. reminds me of Motley Crue’s ‘Glitter’ from GENERATION SWINE. Same tempo, same vibe. So far this is my favorite track on the disc.

I don’t like the funky bass on ‘The Almighty Dollar’, it spoils my enjoyment of the song. More political commentary and vocal enhancers. Halfway through the album and I’ve accepted the fact that the Oz needs help vocally. This is another mid-tempo cruise, like ‘Not Going Away’. It’s OK but I want to Rock! ’11 Silver’ starts faster but Ozzy’s failing voice kills me. Stop the vocal tricks already and sing!

I like the main Wylde riff running though ‘Civilize The Universe’, another catchy Oz tune. By this time, it sounds like I’ve already heard this song before. Catchy but not memorable, not a classic. A fine solo by Wylde stuck smack in the middle. ‘Here For You’ is Ballad #2 and it’s another solid Ozzy ballad. Again, Oz sounds better singing a slow song rather a fast rocker. I like the piano and strings, very nice.

‘Countdown’s Begun’ features another monster BLS-styled main riff by Mr. Wylde. Ozzy sounds good here even though it’s a chugger. Another song that’s sounds like classic Ozzy. Wylde really impresses come solo time. ‘Trap Door’ has good music but the vocals and lyrics kill it, I’d prefer it as an instrumental definitely.

Bottom Line:
BLACK RAIN is being billed as “the true follow-up to NO MORE TEARS (1991)” but it doesn’t come close, I think OZZMOSIS (1995) is much better than this record. BLACK RAIN stacks up closer to DOWN TO EARTH, it’s decent but it doesn’t blow me away. And I expect to be blown away by Ozzy. I’ve been giving this non-stop play since I picked it up and nothing really jumps out as memorable. There are some good solid songs but the overall album screams mediocrity. After six years, I expected better. Favorite songs here: ‘Black Rain’, ‘Lay Your World On Me’, ‘Here For You’ and ‘Countdown’s Begun’. I’m also starting to like ‘I Don’t Wanna Stop’, probably due to the constant bombardment of local radio. I’m not done with this album yet. I’m going to keep it in my rotation and hope that it’s a grower. Maybe I’ll change my mind on a few songs.