BK Celebrates the 25th Anniversary of Crazy Nights

BK Celebrates the 25th Anniversary of Crazy Nights

My recent track-by-track feature celebrating the 20th anniversary of Revenge was so incredibly well received I've decided to do the same thing to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Crazy Nights, which was released in September of 1987.

Crazy Nights was produced by Ron Nevison, who at the time was the hottest producer around, and the album had several hit singles and videos, was certified Platinum by the RIAA, and reached #18 on the Billboard 200 and #4 on the UK Albums Chart.

Considering the number of Crazy Nights albums I have signed over the years, I know there are many KISS fans who really love Crazy Nights. So, let's take a track-by-track look back at what I remember about making the album that really defined the mid to late 80s period of KISS.

This feature is İBruce Kulick. It may not be reproduced - in whole or in part - without express written permission.
 
Crazy, Crazy Nights | I'll Fight Hell to Hold You | Bang, Bang You | No, No, No | Hell or High Water | My Way | When Your Walls Come Down | Reason To Live | Good Girl Gone Bad | Turn on the Night | Thief in the Night | Gear | The Band's Look | The Videos | The Tour | Unreleased Songs | Adam Mitchell on Crazy, Crazy Nights

 
Crazy, Crazy Nights

Bruce KulickWhat a great way to start an album! With Paul's great vocals and a catchy rhythm part, this song catches your interest immediately, and the huge chorus is instantly memorable. The lyrics represent some of KISS's best, classic themes like standing up for yourself and turning your life "up to ten." Those themes clearly resonate with people, and the song has been covered more than a few times. From metal to acoustic and even a Gregorian chant version! The singer Sun for Moon did a ballad version that was very popular and was used in an international commercial for Smirnoff. It's a demonstration of what a great song "Crazy, Crazy Nights" is that it works no matter how it is covered.

Adam Mitchell, a dear friend of mine, co-wrote this with Paul and it is clearly one of the most important songs for KISS from the non-make up era. Producer Ron Nevison always went for a clean sound, not a lot of bottom end. Years later working with him at the Rock N Roll Fantasy Camp he shared with me that he regretted that. No matter, as it was important to compete with the new pop rock hair metal stuff that was all over MTV and radio at the time. Paul really understood this music and Ron was thrilled with many of the songs he presented, while it was clear that Gene was not really impressing Ron. Accordingly, Paul's songs were dominant on this album.

One of my favorite production techniques Ron used was to have the lead guitar featured like a lead vocal. We spent a lot of time with the solos making sure the parts were melodic but fierce in their approach. It was obviously not the type of solo work that would appear later on Revenge, but I have to admit I really like a lot of the guitars on Crazy Nights. The Floyd Rose whammy bar type ESP guitars were VERY popular then, and naturally most of the solos were done with that approach. There are even some hammer-ons from BK!

The rhythm guitars used were most likely my old Les Paul and other guitars not so glammy. Gene does play bass here and Eric Carr's drum work is certainly featured well, although not in the heavy manner as was present on previous KISS albums. Again, a great start for the album, and with the modulations in the chorus and the undeniable hook that just plain works the second you hear it we have classic KISS music.

 
I'll Fight Hell to Hold You

Bruce KulickWritten by Adam Mitchell, Paul, and myself, "I'll FIght Hell to Hold You" is the first of my 4 co-writes on Crazy Nights. What a great title, and Paul's soaring vocals on this track give the song a grandiose feeling. His passion comes through in the lyrics and delivery...he wants to hold this girl!

Again the production is clean and tight, and the guitars have lots of character with some nifty riffs from me. I remember contributing the ascending triplet line that appears at the end of the pre-chorus, and I love the solo work, although for this song it was more about flash than melody.

Cool Eric Carr drum fills are all over the song, and that Led Zeppelinesque beat is a good contrast from the pop feel of the opening song. There were some keyboards as "pads" on this track if I remember correctly, a technique Ron brought to the table which was new for KISS. Accordingly, our Crazy Nights tour had an off stage keyboard to help the band with some of this new texture.

 
Bang, Bang You

Cool tune with a cool groove. Once again Paul's delivering tongue-in-cheek lyrics about what he's gonna do to the object of his desire with his "love gun!" Very cool that he was able to revisit a song he made famous from the makeup days. My solo has some sexy twists, and of course the standard flash that was required in those days.

The keyboards are quite apparent on this song, which for better or worse was the direction of Nevison. I think maybe Gene was cringing a bit, but to be honest Ron's track record was strong so none of us fought too hard. So, off to a three in a row start for Paul, all of them different styles and grooves, and all strong tunes for the album.

 
No, No, No

There's a lot to talk about on this song I co-wrote with Gene and Eric. Eddie Van Halen was THE guitar hero in those years. (Still is a monster axeman in my book). So, I presume the intro was suggested as "let Bruce rip loose and then we can get the song started." With the first three songs leaning mostly to the pop side of things, it was a good left turn in the way the album was sequenced to put "No, No, No" in here.

Those fancy hammer-on intro riffs were done on my guitar with a chorus effect, but I remember reading a review saying it was a synthesizer! Well, thank you! I also introduced my wah wah pedal, which obviously hadn't been used until this song. Classic sexual lyrics from Gene, with the usual will she or won't she? vibe. Naturally the solo spot had to be fast and furious, like cheap sex in a car! Given Nevison's love for pop, I was happy he let us "let loose" on this track.

Always a challenge live, it was important to show the world that this version of KISS could still do supercharged rock. Given its intro, this song was perfect for live performances, especially after the creative Carr drum solo that the fans were treated to during this era of the band. Classic Gene lyrics and delivery, some exciting double bass drumming from the late Eric Carr, and my aggressive, speedy guitar licks give this song many elements unique to KISS and the album. Love it or hate it, this song has balls.

 
Hell or High Water

Bruce KulickHere's a song close to me, as all the chord changes were from a demo I made alone on a 4 track recorder the year before we made Crazy Nights. My ex-wife inadvertently named the song when she was talking about coming to visit me in a particular city on the band's upcoming tour...she was gonna get there come hell or high water! I sang the chorus right then! I worked out the chords and the slinky progression and verses in my practice room during the Asylum tour, and during some down time between gigs I made a crude demo of this song.

I felt it could be a Gene co-write, and Gene loved the progression and jumped into writing it with me leading up to the recording of the album. He actually felt the chorus vocals in a different spot, but I convinced him of what I heard in my head. Gene wrote the verses, bridge lyrics and melody, and a feisty solo from yours truly rounded out the track. Add some cool gang vocals from the guys and there was no question the song was a classic, meat and potatoes KISS track.

Sadly we didn't get to play it live much, but like "Crazy, Crazy Nights" I do it often in my BK band performances. All in all a strong track for the album, and I was very proud to be creatively involved with the writing.

 
My Way

Bruce KulickPaul back at the mic, and unlike the Frank Sinatra song with the same title this "My Way" is a rock song with guts in which the frontman of KISS makes his stand telling the world how Paul does it his way.

The keyboards are very much a part of the production but somehow it works on this track, maybe better than others. The solo section gives me a chance to be a bit dark before my flashy playing starts, with hammer-on tricks and other techniques employed. And honestly it all just fits the song, no matter how pop it sounds.

There are a lot of elements from this song that reminds me of tunes from Asylum, but that's common.


 
When Your Walls Come Down

Bruce KulickSide two begins with some plucking muted guitars, Eric counting it off, and then... BAM! Kick in the riffage, a cool groove, and we're off and running. This is another track I co-wrote with Paul and Adam Mitchell. I came up with the pre-chorus chord movement, though it didn't end up sounding very guitar-like given the overdubs Nevison chose. Still, my solo was flashy and very much in that fancy Floyd Rose, EVH style of playing, and with all its twists and turns the song has a very catchy KISS attitude.

Once again Paul is singing his heart out, speaking to some misguided woman who gets her advice from Cosmopolitan magazine. And believe me, Paul knew plenty of women from that era who gave life to his cynicism. Lyrically the song is clever with its nursery rhyme references, and I love the "come here kitty" vocal ad-lib at the end! Classic Paul, and a fitting track for Crazy Nights.


 
Reason To Live

The big ballad of the album and a great melodic song. Right up Nevison's alley production wise, though obviously he couldn't hide the keyboard pads and synth string lines supporting the guitar power chords. Paul is passionate and concise about his desire for that "reason to live." Classic KISS style lyrics, even in a pop song. Just a great slow tune sung with tremendous conviction by Paul.

Eric's drumming is restrained, but powerful at the same time. My solo was sweet, and even with a little flash it was still melodic, which is always the goal. I do some interesting hammer-on playing, but end in a flurry with my signature climatic note. I also love the answer riffs in the last chorus. I think it should have been a bigger radio hit, but it did get lots of MTV exposure.

I can still see the light show we had when we played this ballad live, and I will be discussing the Crazy Nights videos and tour in some later blogs so stay tuned for that!

 
Good Girl Gone Bad

What a great title from Gene! In classic Gene lyrical fashion the woman is "out of control" and he's "gotta have her, she's so hot to hold!" I love that I have another song with riffs in the beginning to the set the pace. The groove is kind of Judas Priest-like, chugging along in a sexy manner, and the song features some of my favorite bass playing from Gene.

A modulation before the solo section sets up the verse chords for me to jam over. The solo's flashy but not without melody, featuring some fancy stuff that's very fitting for the song. Probably the only song on the album with a "break down," but it presents another feel for the album. Gene really found his pop rock groove on this track. Nice ending riffs from yours truly go strong into the fade.

 
Turn on the Night

Here's a song I have been performing live, and it goes over amazing. One of the catchiest on the album, with a great anthem chorus, Paul co-wrote this one with the legendary Diane Warren. The keys are used as pads, and Eric does some great drumming with big "Tears Are Falling" style fills throughout the song. This track has one of my favorite solos, in which I accomplished my goal having the guitar being a memorable part of the song.

It's great fun playing live with its "call and response" style presentation of one riff asking something and the next one answering it. (For you non guitarists out there, listen to the solo and think about what I am saying and you'll get it). Paul has some great pings on the rhythm guitar part in the verses, and the song is just full of all the things that make KISS, KISS... Ron couldn't water it all down! A real winner here from Paul, and one of my favorite tracks on the album.

 
Thief in the Night

Bruce KulickThe closing song is from Gene, and the funny story on this one is that Gene had already given this song to Wendy O. Williams for her album W.O.W. in 1984. I think I might of known that, but I am sure Paul did not. When he found out, well, let's just say I don't think he was very happy. But let's face it, no one does a Gene song better than Gene and the song was great for the album. You can hear Paul very clearly in the chorus, and the track has a catchy guitar riff in those sing along parts.

The verses are very slinky, including some trick backward effects, and it doesn't sound like something from the year we recorded it. More like something leftover from Creatures of the Night. I love the telegraph note in the pre-chorus section, as well as my moaning guitar at the end of the solo. No keys on this song for sure! So Gene leaves his mark, ending the album with this dark tune straight out of something like "I Spy!"

******

So now that I have given you all the track by track details of the songs of Crazy Nights, I did want to share a funny story about a very stressful moment I had with the recording of a solo in one of these songs. The method in those days (although not that different on Pro-Tools, etc. these days) was to do three or four takes of the solo section and then "comp" them together. What that means is you take the best bits from each and make one final solo. Obviously you need to know where to make the track switches, and we were working on those $200,000 24 track Studer tape machines in those days. But even with the latest SSL board of those times you had to know how to anticipate the switches to make it work (unlike ProTools).

Bruce KulickRon and I were looking at the four solo takes (it was probably for a fast tune like "When Your Walls Come Down") and I had a good instinct about where one of the switches should be. He tried it for me but didn't really understand where I heard the guitar parts changing channels. Remember we had three other tracks and the switching had to make sense. We tried it again. Nope, still not right. At this point he got PISSED at me and in an "I am the big dog producer here!" manner said, "YOU DO IT!"

Okay, I love gear and I have had my hands on the board and machine in some ways, but not like Ron or the engineer. Ron recorded freakin Led Zeppelin! So big gulp from me, and I had to say to myself, "Do not blow this! Get it right!" So the part comes, I punch it in... and it is PERFECT! Exactly what I wanted. So Ron turns to me and says, "Why didn't you say that in the first place!?!" YIKES! I was clearly telling him that, but you know how it goes.

Paul was in the room watching this all go down, and later in the hallway he expressed his appreciation that it was handled well by me not taking Ron seriously when he got a bit frustrated. Ron respected me for it as well, as I know he told Gene and Paul how talented I was. They not only told me he said that, they started to pay me more for my work in the band. So, hard work ALWAYS pays off. Remember that. But also don't forget the pecking order in life. Ron was in charge, so I didn't show him disrespect. It was clearly just a miscommunication. It was a session I will never forget.

Soon I will discuss artwork, photo shoots, videos, gear and the tour that followed this release. And remember, "We Love It Loud!!"

 
Gear

Bruce KulickFor the recording of Crazy Nights, I know my yellow ESP was working great for solos and I think it did most of the work solo wise. I'm sure my old 1953 Les Paul was there, and my blue Charvel hadn't been stolen yet so it probably was too (my silver and gold ones might have been around as well). Since my collection was not that large yet, there were probably some of the road guitars from Asylum in the studio too. Ron got me a strong tone, and the solos did their job.

Since we could, I always liked trying out new guitars for each tour and seeing what new designs and styles would work. For Crazy Nights, the ESP Horizons had just been released and I loved them. I had a nice red one, as well as a few Sunburst versions that sounded great. I also asked ESP to make me a bolt-on Strat style guitar with NO finish on the ash body, and I used that one on tour as well. All in all, both live and in the videos the Horizon ESP was my most used instrument.

I was still using Marshall amps, and most of them were modded as we didn't yet have the 900 series from Marshall that I grew to love so much. (I still use them!). The rest of the gear is a bit fuzzy to me 25 years on, but the playing wasn't as "effected" as on later discs like Revenge. My tech usually manually added some gain for me during solos.

At some point I was also using a Rockman in the rack of gear mixed into the signal of the amp, I just don't remember if that was for Crazy Nights or later on HITS. One of those tours I also had a small practice amp in a box that had a microphone on it which was blended into the big amp. Tricks of the trade!

 
The Band's Look

Bruce KulickCrazy Nights signaled the start of a much different look for the band. The Asylum artwork was received with mixed feelings from the fans, so we were certainly going to be much more "rock" in our approach with Crazy Nights. The cover art's broken glass design over our four faces gave the package an edge that was an indicator of this tougher look. It was simple, yet very strong, and I thought it was a cool idea especially since Paul has that infamous cracked mirror finish Ibanez guitar. I do miss the days of holding a vinyl cover, as the size really made the artwork pop.

The back cover with photos of each member looking their role was a perfect compliment. Paul, shirtless with all that chest hair and in perfect physical health, certainly represented what Stanley does best for KISS... a sex symbol. Gene, finally getting out of the horrible glam clothes from the Asylum era, is back in black with that white bass sticking up like a phallic symbol! My look was "I am my guitar, and I love playing it!" I'm holding one of my fave ESP guitars, which I still have. It's a great recording guitar, and I love that yellow ESP so much I did NOT take it on the road. I also love the red vest and all the jewelry I was wearing, and I actually still have some of those pieces. Eric looked confident and cocky, and believe me that wasn't easy for him. He was always sweet, and usually not really sure about what a great musician he was. The cover photo was done by Walter Wick, and those back photos were by Glen La Ferman and Mark Weiss, hot rock photographers of the time. We really captured some magic that day.

Bruce KulickBeyond just the album artwork, we were very determined to update our image clothes wise as well. I remember a clothing designer, Nancy Grossi I think, who was helping design some of my outfits. She had worked with Van Halen and others from that era, and she saw a vision for me of those "suits" made from interesting designs, and certainly you all remember my "radioactive" suit! There was another one with red and black checkers that I didn't really care for, but that radioactive one was kind of cool. I even had some guitars later on that featured the design, which to me looked a bit like reels of tape from a recording machine. Nancy's help was important so that all of us had an objective, outside opinion about what worked.

Paul has always been a natural shopper, but Gene hates it. I don't really remember if Eric liked shopping, but he loved clothes, especially the clothes of that era. Adding patches, military and otherwise, that looked cool to clothing was how the almost title "Who Dares Wins" for the album came about. I seem to remember Paul having leather gloves with that patch on the back of them, which Eric Carr thought was a cool catch phrase. Just shows how you never know where you could get inspiration from.

Melrose Avenue in LA was a great place to shop, though obviously many things were custom made because of the uniqueness we required. After all, we're KISS! I had a jacket made with a green oil slick design, and also found various black leather and fake leather looking ones. I added some shirts with BK letters that I put some rhinestones on, and you probably all remember that "BK" really stood for British Knights, a popular sports shoes and clothes company at the time. Over time I kept developing what I felt was comfortable for me to wear for the videos and touring that supported the Crazy Nights release. Naturally most of those clothes are not with me anymore... and they wouldn't fit anyway!

 
The Videos

Bruce Kulick CRAZY CRAZY NIGHTS - "Crazy Crazy Nights" was filmed in a large auditorium in Los Angeles, with the idea being to capture the vibe of a concert style show as if we were on tour. In the typical MTV fashion of the day, the video is colorful, exciting, and filled with fast cuts. Since I was wearing my radioactive suit, it made sense for me to play the red BC Rich Gunslinger that I had recently gotten and added radioactive graphics to. It had a Floyd Rose, so I could do the tricks of the solo in a realistic fashion. Incidentally, that BC Rich is the same guitar I gave to Eric Carr a year later.

Gene played a rather unusual bass that was evil looking (I think I remember something about Mick Jagger's brother making these instruments, and it weighed next to nothing so it was easy for him to fling it around like a toy!), and Paul switched out several guitars during the filming, including an "army motif" BC Rich and some of his Asylum models. Changing guitars during takes was not unusual, although I chose to keep my guitar consistent throughout each of the trio of Crazy Nights videos.

I love the shot of me jumping off the back ramps to the stage, and how intense Eric Carr was drumming and singing along in the huge chorus of this song. Plenty of Gene tongue wagging and Paul dancing his ass off, as usual! Truly a party song, presented in typical KISS fashion. Paul walking on the outstretched hands of the fans at the end is totally wild. Overall it really did reenact the excitement I remember from the live shows with KISS on the Crazy Nights tour. I'd give it a 9 out of 10.

REASON TO LIVE - "Reason To Live" was filmed in a large hanger somewhere near San Bernardino, California. Marty Callner, who was very hot in the day of MTV video madness, directed. Being a love song there was a romantic interest, who was played by a Playboy centerfold from the day. Naturally I didn't see any of that being filmed. No, for me it was just a very long day playing keyboards and guitar for the camera.

Bruce KulickI used my ESP Horizon, the red one I played so much on the coming tour. Because the song used keyboards and we weren't gonna not show someone in the band playing them I handled the chore, and later on in concert I did the same. Like Eddie Van Halen (think "Jump"), my guitar was slung behind me so I could bring it forward for the solo. I have to admit, I think I pulled it off. And since Eddie was a modern guitar hero of mine, it was fun for me to imitate him.

Gene used one of his custom painted Pedulla basses that he used to record with. That was a great bass, and the song being a ballad it wasn't necessary for him to throw around, which is a good thing because I remember playing it back in the day and it was heavy! Paul again used his BC Rich army graphic guitar, and unlike in the "Crazy Crazy Nights" he didn't keep switching guitars or clothes in the different takes. He did, however, sing his heart out for the camera.

Eric's drums were decorated with chikara symbols. I didn't point them out earlier talking about the album graphics, but it should be noted that it was around this time the chikara symbol was embraced by Eric, and he would forever be associated with it in the minds of most KISS fans. What fan of this era could forget the amazing drum solos he performed with that huge chrome kit adorned with the symbols on every drum! Classic Carr!

My oil slick jacket looked great under the lights, but was a material you would hate off stage. Warm and very reflective, it give me a really strong vibe on stage. Gene was all in leather (or pleather - fake leather), and his brooding stares at the camera are kind of intense. But here he was finally evolving from being totally lost in the Asylum era clothes. I thought we had a great rock star look that was believable. This video, apart from the fake car that is burned (who had the $$$ to burn up a real Porsche?!), represented a confident and powerful KISS, especially considering it was filmed to accompany a power ballad. My score, 8. If we blew up a real car, a 10!

Bruce Kulick TURN ON THE NIGHT - The last video from Crazy Nights is another live performance, though this time we really were on tour. Worcester, MA was the stop, and we asked the crowd to be patient and let us do the song a few times with Marty Callner again directing. I did enjoy this, as we were already on tour, and the East Coast KISS fans are always very passionate about the band. The theme of the video involves an attractive blonde who is digging the band... and creating havoc with an axe. She hits the mixing board after she "turns on" the master electricity box, and some wild CGI effect kicks in where we are all on top of a massive building with helicopters around us from above. Pretty cool for 1987-1988.

For this song I had another ESP Horizon, in black, again decorated with the radioactive symbols. My black jacket was cool, and I had some wild red pants which were as tight as possible, naturally. Paul had a very cool BC Rich with a distressed American Flag drawing design. He was into relic guitars way before they became so fashionable, and ironically I currently play a relic Strat with an American Flag design in my Grand Funk shows when we do our last song, "We're An American Band." I'm really impressed that Paul commissioned those custom finishes on his BC Rich guitars. Proof he was designer at heart way before he became successful as a painter. And naturally his clothes were pretty flamboyant.

Gene used one of his tour basses, his black dragon Pedulla which is another favorite of mine. There are some shots where his AXE bass also appears. Eric's chrome kit with the chikara symbols was used of course, and I got a laugh when he was sticking his tongue out at the camera. Overall a great song captured live with our fans that certainly represented what we were about on the US tour... though I can't rate it more than an 8 as we had already done two other live videos.

Later on in 1988 we would be off to Japan, and the touring continued with huge shows in Europe for Monsters of Rock. More about those shows when I talk specifically about the tour in support of the Crazy Nights release.

 
The Tour

Bruce Kulick The Crazy Nights tour started in the US in Jackson, Mississippi on November 15, 1987. I actually found my 1988 calendar book and was surprised to see that Eric Carr even wrote dates in it! The tour was quite intense, and we certainly covered much of the US. I think the set list was strong, including some songs from the new album which is always a challenge for KISS given the size of the band's catalog. When the crowd doesn't go crazy for a new song, Gene and Paul feel it isn't a good live song. I remember doing "Hell Or High Water," which I think is a great live song, but it didn't survive long in the set. "Bang Bang You" had a cool live ending, and songs like "Fits Like A Glove" were always fun for me to play. I used the usual array of guitars, and Gene actually used that lightweight Jagger Bass quite a bit. I loved my ESP Horizons, as well as that natural finish ESP Strat, while Paul was dancing wild with his BC Rich models.

One standout part of this tour for me was the "No No No" section. Eric and I certainly got a chance to showboat, and it allowed me to really get creative with my solo work. I really tried to work the stage, running from side to side getting the crowd excited with my loud rock guitar. I actually borrowed from Eddie Van Halen at one point with that hammer-on / pull off style in classic EVH fashion. I admit he was a modern day guitar hero of mine for sure. I also used some Hendrix style riffs from a live bootleg I created in May 1969 when he played in Madison Square Garden on that revolving stage. In that show Jimi played a particular solo and did some modal-like riffs with picking chord parts... I totally borrowed from it! My bootleg recording of that show is on YouTube (I borrowed riffs around the 33 minute mark of this concert, if you care to listen), as I gave it to the Hendrix people many years ago. I had a reel-to-reel tape recorder with me, and that was the result. Really was an amazing performance, and Hendrix is my total guitar hero! I am not afraid to mention my influences and the players who have always inspired me, and why not borrow from the best!

Eric's huge drum kit was great to hear, and what a sight! You can barely see him behind that massive kit. I noticed on a bootleg from 1987 in Philly that on "Crazy Crazy Nights" I used a sparkle finish ESP. I was shocked when I saw it, as I didn't remember if I ever got to play it live. I have a photo somewhere of that, but it didn't last in the rotation on the tour. "Reason To Live" found me playing along with our off stage keyboard player, and when the solo came up I did the switch with my guitar slung over my back to front. Another thing I confirmed was that I used some KISS Marshall heads that were modified for better gain, as well as some Rockman Sustainer rack mount gear. I do know I combined the signal, and the sound man had a choice of what he wanted and some options. I still have one of those Rockman racks and took out it out last week to see what was up. Classic Tom Sholz!

Bruce KulickThe dates in the US carried on until April 2nd, and we even did some Canadian dates in March of 1988. Next up was Japan, where one of my favorite performances of the band was filmed for Japanese TV, an excerpt of which is on one of the bonus discs from Kissology II. Our trip to Japan was exciting, and it was my first visit to a country which is unique in its culture and geography. I remember we got jean jackets to commemorate our trip to Japan. Playing Budokan was really a dream come true, as hearing all the famous concerts from bands I loved who had performed there over the years was very impressive to me. The sound of this concert is excellent, which is no surprise to me as the Japanese know how to film, record and edit concerts so well. I really love how it represents our gig and how everyone was featured almost equally, unlike in the official videos.

Eric's syn drums, triggered pads that would create a sound from a keyboard sample, were new in that era. It really surprised me revisiting the opening song, "Love Gun," as it was very cool even now to hear the effect it created. The band was tight, and I was happy to remember how much fun Eric Carr was having with his huge drum kit. My red Horizon ESP was obviously heavily used, and the natural ESP and black ESP Horizon with the custom graphic design also appear. Gene used his Pedulla and Axe basses, and Paul rocked those custom graphic BC Rich Gunslinger guitars and older Eagle models. Notice the capo on Paul's guitar for "Crazy Crazy Nights." It was nice to look back and see that I was able to recreate my solo live for that song.

The clothes looked exactly like our videos, me in my signature "radioactive" suit, and the stage had banks of Marshall amps and large bass cabinets behind us along with Eric's huge Ludwig "Chikara kit." It was a tight, clean look which was actually quite simple by KISS standards. Musically, "Detroit Rock City" had an interesting breakdown where Paul did some crazy stuff with his microphone and I tease the beginning riff of the solo. That really was great to hear as I didn't remember that! On a personal note, I found out after I came home from Japan my Grandfather, whom I was very close with, had passed away. He was 88. I missed the funeral, and although I was very upset about never seeing him again I knew my parents did the right thing by not sharing the sad news until I returned. My time in Japan was so special, and that obviously would have really put a damper on it. I am forever grateful to the Japanese fans, and every subsequent visit to that country I've made has always been wonderful.

Bruce KulickAfter Japan my datebook says I worked with Eric on the Rockheads music! Interesting to look back and see how we took advantage of days off between our tours to do our thing, and by mid June we had the songs mixed and finished. After rehearsing in June in NYC at SIR, KISS was off to a show in New Hampshire on July 4th, after which I headed home for a bit. On July 22nd it was back to NY to rehearse and record what would be those two new songs for "Smashes Thrashes and Hits." More on those songs another time! We rehearsed a bit more, and then it was off to London for the "Monsters Of Rock" tour where we played in Donington for over 100K people before hitting some other European countries as well.

It was summer and KISS didn't get to Europe too often, so the shows were fun and exciting. There was that Eric Carr incident in Amsterdam, but that's for another time! We even played in Iceland, and I remember that was a really interesting stop for us back then. I have great memories of some of those festival shows, though I did prefer the arena stage setup where we could control the gig better. Those festival type shows were crazy, and with "Crazy Crazy Nights" currently a big hit in the UK we went over quite well. There was also a hot new band, Guns N' Roses, performing. It was early in their career, but after Donington they took off like a rocket.

I know that as much as the new album didn't have the sales Gene and Paul hoped for, it was a busy and productive time for the band. It took me to many new places playing for huge crowds, and looking back at some of the videos and concerts of this era makes me very proud. We were confident and in fine fighting shape. I know many of you were turned on to KISS from this album, not necessarily before, and I can't begin to tell you how many Crazy Nights vinyls I have signed through the years. All in all, for me it was nearly a year of many "Crazy Crazy Nights!"

 
Unreleased Songs

"Dial 'L' For Love" - I did like this song, which Eric worked on with Gene and Adam Mitchell. I think I played on the demo, but sadly I don't remember much else about it. I didn't include it on Rockology because of Gene's co-write on that song, but now you can hear it featured without vocals on the Eric Carr release called Unfinished Business.

"Are You Always This Hot" - This one went somewhat deep into the process, so much so that there was even some press about this song being included. Adam Mitchell brought it to Gene, and you know Gene loves that kind of title! To be honest, I didn't love the song. Gene was a bit light on songs, so it might have been started but then abandoned when he came in with something more finished. I just know I wasn't a fan of it.

"Time Traveler" - My copy of this song is on a cassette from when we did this track and "Sword And Stone" at Electric Lady, and it actually has a really good sound. I thought the song had potential, but it was producer Ron Nevison who chose what was to be recorded on Crazy Nights. I felt like Paul was really expanding his writing skills around this time, and this song proves it. I'm happy it was included in the KISS Box Set.

"Sword And Stone" - Great song, and to this day I don't know why it didn't wind up on Crazy Nights. I was very sad when I learned that Nevison didn't think it belonged on the album. It starts with a cool rhythm part, which I remember coming up with during my warm ups in the "tuning room" on tour for Asylum. I showed it to Paul, who brought in Desmond Child to help round things out, and before you knew it we had "Sword And Stone."

The song has been covered by a few bands, including Loverboy, and Bonfire's version ended up on the soundtrack to the Wes Craven film Shocker. Though never officially released, even my copy is on a cassette, there are bootlegs of KISS's demo out there. Eric Carr played drums, and Paul and I did the rest.




 
Adam Mitchell On "Crazy, Crazy Nights"

Bruce Kulick Adam's been kind enough to share his memories of writing "Crazy Crazy Nights," and be sure to watch for his new website (coming soon), on which he'll be sharing more stories about KISS, Mick Jagger, Jimi Hendrix and others, as well as songwriting tips. - BK

AM: Paul had this idea and I thought it was pretty good, so we sat down and wrote a song really trying to capture that whole feel of being at the show, having a great time, and believing in your music no matter what others say. When we finished we were pretty excited, because we thought we'd nailed it.

We immediately did the demo, on which Bruce did his usual amazing thing, and it turned out just fantastic. Huge crowd, sounded like the whole thing really was an arena rockin' big time. It had exactly the feel and sound we wanted. We turned in the demo, it was recorded, and the song went on to be a huge hit worldwide.

But to be honest, neither Paul nor I liked the final version nearly as much as our demo! That's the way it goes...demos are sometimes better. We cried all the way to the bank! - Adam Mitchell
 
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