Pat and Kyle welcome us to one of the most anticipated, one of the most requested, and one of the most dreaded episodes in Rock Solid history! As foretold by a dying witch under the crimson eye of the Blood Moon, Jimmy Pardo, comedian of stage and screen, has returned to Rock Solid for part two of Kiss: Keepers & Clunkers. Jimmy hopes this one doesn't take as long as Part One (spoiler: it takes longer). Happy Thanksgiving everyone, that's when this episode drops. Jimmy isn't thrilled about competing with the holiday. "Why don't you drop a Murray episode, where nobody cares?" he insists. In true Pardo fashion, the conversation takes a weird turn to the 70s superhero Mighty Isis.
The conversation takes even more weird turns as Pat and Jimmy know discuss Shazam, TV's Michael Gray, Snoopy, and Beetle Bailey. We're not even ten minutes in, for Pete's sake. Some business to take care of is to remind people that Pardcasthon is being moved from the day after Thanksgiving to March 5. Jimmy, Pat, and Matt Belknap will actually be going down to Mexico as Smile Train ambassadors to meet the doctors and watch some surgeries get performed.
After talk of inoculations, somehow (somehow... like I should even ask) the TV sketch show Fridays gets brought up. Well, Kiss was on it and they did get to perform 3 whole songs! Pat then thanks some donators to the podcast. Your generous contributions are appreciated.
Before we hop aboard the Kiss Express for a fun-filled ride, let's do another
Here's the deal: Pat sometimes writes reviews for Pop Culture Beast and he'll get CDs from bands that he's never heard of. So we're gonna hear some songs with completely fresh ears. Today's album is Afterlife by Tokyo Rosenthal. Sounds like a Jewish samurai, but okay.
"Afterlife" --- The guys like it, it's pretty good folk.
"Back Stage Hotel" --- Again, not bad.
Tokyo probably isn't his real name, as Kyle does some digging and discovers it's probably Arnie. Jimmy is mad that he has ten times as many Twitter followers as Tokyo Rosenthal and he's still not verified. April isn't verified either, says Pat. "That makes sense," responds Jimmy.
"The Bunk House" --- Very nice, very nice.
If you want the CD, email Pat w/ your address and he'll get it to you lickity split.
Pat goes back into last week's setlist (Two Hit Blunder) to play something for Jimmy. Pat's gonna play the blunder first and he wants Jimmy to try to guess who it is. Pat plays the song "When She Dances."
Jimmy takes a swing at it and guesses Gerry Rafferty. Swing and a miss for Mr. Pardo, as it was Joey Scarbury. Pat plays "Believe It or Not," the man's only hit. Jimmy doesn't like the song. "Of course he didn't have another hit, he shouldn't have had this one!" No love for the Scarbury on Jimmy's front. After a brief debate on TV's greatest characters (Costanza, Archie Bunker, Barney Fife), Pat asks the Catman himself Peter Criss a question: Where are we recording tonight?
Well alright then.
Pat declares that Peter Criss sucks. Pat plays a song called "Tears" by John Waite. Criss recorded the song first and we hear that version next. Jimmy isn't convinced, he doesn't think it's as bad as Pat thinks it is. Steve Lukather plays on the album because the 80s. He's Pat's friend, you know. Jimmy smartly questions that one too.
After 35 minutes of absolute nonsense, we finally get into Kiss. When we last left off, we were just about to delve into the non-makeup years. We begin with the 1983 album Lick It Up. Kiss finally took the makeup off, even though it was only Paul and Gene that people really cared about. "No one cares what Vinnie Vincent looks like," points out Jimmy. Speaking of Vincent "Vinnie Vincent" Cusano, the man is wearing a pink shirt on the album cover. He's also wearing a fabulous wig.
Jimmy had bought a K-Tel best-of collection that had the title track "Lick It Up" on it. At this point, he was sick of Kiss. But for some reason, he kept going back to that song. It was a big comeback album for the boys. Jimmy's keeper is "A Million to One". Jimmy's Casey Kasem impression comes to light, which turns into his Dirty Johnny Carson impression. Johnny works blue, talking about interns and k.d. lang in a way that would make your mother blush.
Pat's keeper is the aforementioned "Lick It Up". You got a great hook, a great riff, all four guys are playing. Jimmy's clunker is the Gene song "Dance All Over Your Face". Jimmy notes that a problem for Kiss in the 80s was that they followed the trends and suffered for it. That song is an example of it. Pat's clunker is another Gene song "Fits Like a Glove", which is very much a GENE SONG.
Overall the album is a clunker for Pat. Jimmy gives it a 7, with "Lick It Up" doing the heavy lifting. Pat goes 4. Not the worst album, but not one for the win column. Side story, Jimmy and his brother used to call Polygram as kids and ask for Kiss. Adorable. We move next to 1984's Animalize. Jimmy hates the album cover, while Pat finds it appropriate due to the animal pelts on display. Vinnie Vincent has hit the bricks, Mark St. John is here (for the most part), as is eventual lead guitarist (and friend of the show) Bruce Kulick. Jean Beauvoir and Allan Schwartzberg help out on bass and drums respectfully. Eric Carr's hilarious sense of humor gets brought up, and Dirty Carson returns to "interview" Eric about his pranks. Paul Stanley is in the producer's chair, while Gene is beginning to drift away to Hollywood.
Jimmy wonders why Gene didn't just quit. Who knows. Pat hates the entire album except for one, the hit. Pat's keeper is said hit, "Heaven's on Fire". That's Desmond Child sharing the pen for this one, no surprise it was a hit. Jimmy's keeper is the song "Get All You Can Take". Pat and Jimmy share the same clunker, the Gene creation "Burn Bitch Burn". Awful, just awful.
Jimmy acknowledges that he can't write a single line of a song, so if he wrote "Burn Bitch Burn" he probably wouldn't shut up about it. Random guy: "Hey, aren't you the guy who wrote 'Burn Bi-'" Jimmy: "Yes! That's me, hello!" He doesn't want to be the asshole who says "That sucks," but he just doesn't like the song. It's not Gene at his best, but he and Pat agree that when Gene is at his best, he's great. Pat saw Kiss on the Animalize tour. Mark St. John wasn't even playing. Pat's favorite guitarist is Bruce Kulick because he could do Ace's stuff without being an Ace copycat, plus he writes great riffs. Then it's Ace because he's Ace. Then Vinny, then Tommy Thayer, and finally Mark St. John comes in last pushing the carrot cart.
Jimmy ultimately likes half of Animalize. While he isn't a fan of the Animalize cover, he does like the cover of 1985's Asylum. It's coproduced by Gene and Paul. Pat likes it a lot, while Jimmy has come around to it. Jimmy's keeper is the Paul song "Who Wants to Be Lonely". Beauvoir strums the bass on it.
Pat's keeper is the opening track "King of the Mountain". Jimmy's clunker is the song "Any Way You Slice It". The hit from the album was "Tears Are Falling."
"That's one of the songs you hear and you go, oh yeah, I know this one."
- Jimmy Pardo, Captain Obvious
Pat's clunker from Asylum is "Radar for Love". It's the kind of Kiss sound that Pat doesn't like.
We halt the Kiss talk to discuss some Thanksgiving plans. Jimmy is going to his wife's cousin's house. Pat and his family are going out to a restaurant. Jimmy loves going out to eat on Thanksgiving. Kyle is going to San Antonio with his girlfriend. This prompts the response "San Antonio, suck my bonio" from Jimmy and Pat. That is an actual Ted Nugent quote.
We're an hour and 20 minutes in, and we've only hit 3 albums. Strap in, folks, this journey is just getting started. The year is now 1987 and we get Crazy Nights. Ron Nevison arrives to produce, fresh off of the big Heart comeback albums. He's also produced Meat Loaf, The Babys, Ozzy Osbourne, Survivor, Chicago, and UFO. Jimmy and Pat both love the album, especially the Paul songs. The production sounds a little dated, but it's very slick and that was what was selling like hot cakes at the time. Jimmy's keeper is the song "I'll Fight Hell to Hold You". Pat's keeper channels Frank Sinatra (in title, at least), as it's called "My Way". Great vocal production.
Jimmy's clunker, "Turn on the Night" is not necessarily a clunker, but rather Jimmy's least favorite on the album. Pat calls an audible and first plays Kurt Nilsen's cover of "Crazy Crazy Nights" from the Norwegian Kiss tribute album. It's amazing. Pat's clunker is "Bang Bang You". "He's gonna kill her with his dick," Pat analyzes.
Kiss get very aggressive with their sex songs. And sometimes they include a sixteen-year-old. Hell, a lot of songs have sixteen and seventeen-year-olds. Discussion of Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight" and the subject of Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" ends with Jimmy muttering "Who gives a fuck," so it's best we return to the music.
Hot in the Shade was released in 1989. Paul and Gene are back in the producer's chair and proceeded to make 800 songs. It's more like 15, but in terms of Kiss albums, it might as well be 800. Pat likes four of the songs, the rest can go kick rocks. Jimmy's keeper by a long shot is "You Love Me to Hate It". The production sounds awful, especially in comparison to Crazy Nights. Pat's keeper is the opening track "Rise to It". Tommy Thayer, Holly Knight, and Michael Bolton all co-write songs on the album.
Jimmy's clunker is "Betrayed". The clunkers certainly leaned more towards Gene in this era. Pat's clunker is the song "Boomerang". Jimmy was gonna pick that one for his clunker, but he changed his mind because Bruce Kulick wrote the song and he was on the podcast. Pat thinks even Bruce might agree that it's not a good song. Jimmy and Pat agree that when Kiss is bad, they SUCK. S-U-C-K SUCK. The people who hate Kiss are suddenly the smartest people in the world. After Hot in the Shade, it would be three years before another Kiss album, the longest gap. Eric Carr got sick with cancer and died. The same day as Freddie Mercury too.
In 1992, Kiss returned with Revenge. Bob Ezrin was back as producer with something to prove after the disaster that was Music from "The Elder." This is Pat's favorite Kiss album. The band finally had a unified non-makeup look and these are the best Gene songs in years. Jimmy's keeper is "Spit". We hear five seconds of it before Jimmy stops the tape. Somehow, he points out, this sounds okay while the earlier Gene songs do not. This leads Pat to a Sylvester Stallone impression, followed by Jimmy and Pat debating if they saw Rocky V together or not. Thrilling conversation.
We hear more of "Spit." Then we get to Pat's keeper, "Unholy". Jimmy first heard this song in Dayton, Ohio alongside Paul Gilmartin, who took a giant steaming shit all over the song. Jimmy's clunker is "God Gave Rock 'N' Roll to You II". The song infuriates Jimmy because they keep playing it live while the band has better songs.
Pat's clunker is a song called "Paralyzed". Jimmy is ultimately not a fan of the album.
Pat does not even own the next album, 1997's Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions". Jimmy, funny enough, loves the album, so much so that he has more than one keeper. It's an album that doesn't sound like Kiss on purpose. Pat was hoping for Revenge Part 2, but this was very rough and very grunge. Jimmy's first keeper is the song "Childhood's End". For once, Gene is not singing about having sex.
Pat's keeper (which he had to have) is "Rain". Jimmy's second keeper is "Jungle". It just sounds so much different than a regular Kiss song. Jimmy's clunker is a song called "It Never Goes Away". Pat's clunker is a song called "I Confess". The album just doesn't resonate with Pat.
Thankfully, 1998 comes around, which means it's time to go to the Psycho Circus. The original members are back together, in makeup, and they're playing on the album!
Well.... um.... here's the thing. It is a reunion, they are in makeup, yet Peter only plays drums on ONE SONG! ONE! Kevin Valentine does the rest. Pat likes the album, even though he knows it's not good. There are such incredible titles as "I Pledge Allegiance to the State of Rock & Roll" and "Raise Your Glasses." Of yeah, Kiss is back. Jimmy's keeper is the title track "Psycho Circus". It's a great song. Pat's keeper is "We Are One".
Jimmy and Pat's clunker is "Journey of 1,000 Years". There's also a song on the album called "You Wanted the Best", which has all four members singing on it. We hear some of it. It's not good. In fact, it's so not good that Jimmy redacts the previous clunker and makes this song the clunker instead.
"They could have played this song live, people would have went crazy."
- Pat, talking about "You Wanted the Best"
"Yeah, for the exits."
- Jimmy, with the line of the episode
Pat spends an exorbitant amount of time trying to find a line in the song where Gene says "Come on Pete, testify." It's as bad as it sounds. "When do I put the gun in my mouth," asks Jimmy. Well, after Psycho Circus, there was a couple of final tours, a fourth Kiss Alive! album, and Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer joined the band. Then, in 2009, the band put out the album Sonic Boom. It was produced by Paul Stanley, who wanted to make another great Kiss album. Jimmy's keeper is the opening track "Modern Day Delilah".
Pat's keeper is the song "Never Enough". It has an old school Kiss sound. Pat liked the album on first listen, but now he would probably just appreciate a compilation of the best tracks from Psycho Circus and Sonic Boom. Jimmy's clunker is seriously called "Danger Us". Seriously.
Pat's clunker is the Gene song "Hot and Cold". It's like a high schooler writing poetry. Jimmy wants to know what Paul thinks when Gene comes in with those lyrics. How many members of Kiss have they met? Pat and Jimmy both met Ace to get his book signed.
Jimmy and his brother met Kiss backstage when Jimmy was in the record business. The band signed all of their stuff, and it was strange because Kiss walked in to the arena like it was just a job. Jimmy has met Eric Singer many times, he's met Bruce once, and he's never met Peter. Pat's met Ace, Peter, Eric, Paul, Bruce, and he saw Mark St. John from afar at a House of Blues show.
We've made it: the last album, 2012's Monster. We're gonna play the clunkers first. Jimmy likes the album, a solid 7.9. Pat doesn't like the album cover. For some godforsaken reason, Pat and Jimmy delay even more by talking about Batman '66, including Commissioner Gordon being an unsung hero, Chief O'Hara not being good, Frank Gorshin singing a Riddler song on a Dean Martin variety show, and Cesar Romero refusing to shave the mustache.
Plugs time. Jimmy's on Twitter @JimmyPardo, as is his podcast Never Not Funny @NeverNotFunny. The podcast's website is Pardcast.com. Both Never Not Funny and Rock Solid are gonna be at San Francisco Sketchfest in January, which you can find out about HERE. Rock Solid will feature Pat, Kyle, David Wild, and a mystery guest! They're going up against Doug Loves Movies, which should be fine. It's not like that's a wildly successful and highly popular podcast or anything.
We're ready to close it out. The next time Jimmy is here, we'll be doing ALL OF KISS'S LIVE ALBUMS! Oh no, oh Jesus no. I think Pat is kidding, but if he isn't, then I might retire because that podcast will certainly be four hours of drivel that I don't think I can handle. In any event, Pat and Jimmy also want to do a Meat Loaf retrospective, which sounds like fun. Jimmy's clunker from Monster is "Eat Your Heart Out".
Pat's clunker was written and sung by Tommy Thayer and it's about space. So not only did he steal Ace's makeup, he also stole Ace's songwriting skills! The song is "Outta This World". Pat's keeper is called "Back to the Stone Age", which he regrets picking because the song stinks. Finally, to end this madness at last, Jimmy plays his keeper "Wall of Sound".