Gene Simmons – Asshole (2004, Sanctuary)
- Sweet & Dirty Love
- Weapons Of Mass Destruction
- Waiting For The Morning Light
- Now That You’re Gone
- Whatever Turns You On
- Black Tongue
- Carnival Of Souls
- If I Had A Gun
- 1,000 Dreams
Gene Simmons (lead vocals; rhythm guitar on track 3; bass on track 1, 3, 7, 10, 11; background vocals on track 3, 4, 6, 7)
Bruce Kulick (guitars on track 1 and 3)
Eric Singer (drums on track 1 and 3)
Ritchie Kotzen (guitars on track 10 and 11)
Frank Zappa (spoken words and rhythm and solo guitars on track 10)
Dweezil Zappa (lead guitar and background vocals on on track 10)
Ahmet Zappa (background vocals on on track 10)
Moon Zappa (background vocals on on track 10)
Gayle Zappa (background vocals on on track 10)
Mark Addison (drums, bass, keyboards, guitar and background vocals on track 5)
Nina Singh (drums, vocals, guitar aand percussion track 5)
Frank Tolstrup (drums, bass, rhythm guitar, percussion on track 6)
Thomas Ruud (rhythm and lead guitars on track 6)
Dave Williams (background and harmony vocals on track 8)
Dan Cuprier (drums on track 8)
Holland McRae (lead guitar on track 8)
Brian Lebarton (piano on track 8)
Bag (guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, background vocals on track 9, 12 and 13)
Jeff Diehl (keyboards and drum recordings on track 7)
Shannon Tweed (background vocals on track 8)
Nick Tweed Simmons (background vocals on track 11)
Sophie Tweed Simmons (background vocals on track 7)
Louise Tweed (background vocals on track 8)
Zachary Grant (background vocals on track 7)
Kylie O’Brien (background vocals on track 7)
Michelle Casio (background vocals on track 8)
Nira Weiss (background vocals on track 8)
Steve Parrish (background vocals on track 11)
Chris Parrish (background vocals on track 11)
(*information coutesy of KISS Related Recordings)
Producer: Gene Simmons
Total Time = 44:45
KISS is my favorite band, so when a member of the band releases a solo album, I run out and buy the new record immeadiately. Back in 2004, KISS was touring the U.S. with Poison on the ROCK THE NATION tour and the only new product was Gene’s record…..released June 8th. Was I psyched for new material from a KISS member? You bet! I ran right out and bought it the day of release…..
The album starts off on a decent note with ‘Sweet & Dirty Love’ that features KISS drummer Eric Singer and former guitarist Bruce Kulick. It’s basically a KISS song that didn’t make an album and was considered for PSYCHO CIRCUS (1998), the reunion album. Typical Gene: big ’70s style guitar, lyrics about chicks, filled with innuendo…..the background vocals sound like KISS with Gene backing himself up. All the promise gets killed by ‘Firestarter’, a cover of the Prodigy track that was huge in Europe back in ’96. Gene doing dance/techno is just plain awful, so was the video!
‘Weapons Of Mass Destruction’ is another hard rock song featuring Eric Singer and Bruce Kulick and has a REVENGE-era style. Bruce really blazes on guitar but the lyrics are repetitive. Gene does his best re-make of ‘Mr. Make Believe’ from his 1978 solo album on ‘Waiting For The Morning Light’, at least that’s what it sounds like to me. The cool thing is that he co-wrote parts of this with Bob Dylan under a different title “Laughing When I Want To Cry”, which is a main line in the lyrics. Listening to this song now, it’s a decent ballad. ‘Beautiful’ is another cover, originally titled ‘Somebody Beautiful’ by the band Kitty Gordon and originally released in 1999. I’m all for Gene branching out and doing a ballad that sounds like alterna-pop but at least write your own material, don’t license a song from an unknown band. Gene does it again with the title track by getting the song from Norwegian band Shirley’s Temple, who released their original version in 2002. The song is supposed to be a celebration of being an “asshole”/individual going against the grain of society…..or maybe it was calling people out who followed like sheep…..well that’s what Gene said at the time and I’m still confused. Using this as the album’s title killed it right away in retail stores, not that it would have gone gpld or platinum anyway.
‘Now that You’re Gone’ is another ballad and is recycled from writing sessions with Bob Kulick back in the late ’70s, it would have fit decently on Gene’s solo album. ‘Whatever Turns You On’ is another song submitted to Gene via his website that was already released. Basically it was the band’s original music and Gene changing a few lyrics and singing it…..something that he did all over this record. This is basically cover #4 and the notable feature is Shannon Tweed, her mom, and the song’s creator Dave Williams on background vocals. ‘Dog’ is awful, it sounds like a mellow Beck track. Listen for the nursury rhyme “Little Red Riding Hood” based lyrics. I’m calling ‘Black Tongue’ a cover because it’s basis is an unreleased Frank Zappa song that Gene collaborates with Zappa’s kids (Dweezil, Ahmet, Gale, & Moon) on. Frank is in there with the guitar and some spoken word but it’s not really a Gene song except for the references to the black tongue. I admit I like this one though but if the best Gene can do is go to the deceased Zappa for ideas then you know he is tapped out of original ideas…..at least he went to a visionary for help!
‘Carnival Of Souls’ is another song that’s plain filler, thankfully this wasn’t used on the KISS album of the same name. There’s some decent guitar by Ritchie Kotzen (ex-Poison & Mr. Big) but that’s about it. ‘If I Had A Gun’ is more bad filler that is slow and ballad-ish…..press the SKIP button. ’1000 Dreams’ is a country song with a touch of steel guitar and also has this Disney style orchestration…..a waste of time.
Seriously, why release something that almost half the songs are covers and the other half are recycled ideas that hadn’t been good enough for Gene to release with KISS. I pull this out only when I’ve forgotten what it sounds like and I stumble on it when I’m looking for something to listen to in the S-section of my collection. Definitely only for diehards…..and even then it’s a terrible listen.
Favorite Songs: I like ‘Sweet & Dirty Love’ and ‘Weapons Of Mass Destruction’ because they are the most KISS-like, although the lyrics to ‘Weapons’ suck. ‘Black Tongue’ is cool only for the Frank Zappa connection and performance.