All posts by KJ

Uriah Heep – The Case for Conquest

Perhaps the most controversial and debated album amongst Heep fans is 1980’s Conquest. It came at the time of more changes and feuds in the band’s personnel and with management – gone was singer John Lawton, as well as longtime drummer Lee Kerslake. In was Manfred Mann Earthband drummer Chris Slade (also on Bronze Records, under Bron management), and a young singer named John Sloman. Sloman had fronted the Welsh band Lone Star, singing on the classic “Firing On All Six” album. Sloman could also write, play guitar and keyboards, and with tall height, long blond hair and almost Robert Plant like looks and poses showed that Sloman could be a strong frontman with plenty of talent, but many would (and still do) debate if this all suited Uriah Heep (!?)
Regardless, the new-look Heep went about finishing Conquest in the fall of ’79. The new album would be a big step from the more laid back American influenced pop-rock of “Fallen Angel”; it’d be much bolder in the use of modern keyboards [and plenty], and a more polished production, making for a brighter sounding record.
The album featured 2 outstanding tracks penned by Trevor Bolder – “Fools” and “It Ain’t Easy”. Fools had been recorded for the 4th (and unfinished) album with John Lawton. It Ain’t Easy is a Heep classic ballad, starting soft and building up into a powerful song. This one was recorded with Trevor’s lead vocal originally, but before it’s release Sloman re-recorded the vocals and it is Sloman’s vocal that was used on the album version – despite the credits on the back cover. But heck, Conquest may be Bolder’s finest record [certainly up until this point] – not just for the 2 classics he contributed, but also for his bass playing, which really jumps out on this album.

John Sloman also brought in 2 tracks – “No Return” and “Won’t Have To Wait Too Long”. These had been written while Sloman was in the short-lived band Pulsar, in Canada – which also consisted of Pino Palladino, Dixie Lee [ex Lone Star], and Canadians David Cooper and Gregg Dechert. Pulsar recorded a few demos of these and others [I believe ‘Inside Out’ was another]. These demos were at one point [along with a number of photos] available at David Venton Cooper’s website. Sadly, the guitarist [known here for his work with the Ian Thomas Band] passed away in 2013, and his website has since been taken down.

“No Return” is one of my favorites on this album, a fine pop-rocker that comes in quietly, leading off the album, then kicks in with a cool fast paced chorus, Sloman sounds just swell on this song, and it would’ve made for a better choice as lead-off single. [it was also considered as an album title]. Also, a shame that over the years the credits to these tracks have not been corrected on the subsequent re-issues of the Conquest album. “Won’t Have To Wait To Long” was a very different, swingier song for Heep, but I like it.
Ken Hensley contributed 4 tracks on Conquest – the upbeat single “Carry On”, as well as “Feelings” – a solid 2 guitar pop-rocker, with a cool riff / intro and plenty of harmonies on the chorus. There’s also the laid back, atmospheric “Imagination”, and “Out On The Street” – somewhat of a ballad, a bit dark and moody, with a fast and frenzied instrumental break. I really like this one, in my top 3 on this album, and I think it’s Sloman’s best performance on Conquest.
The Conquest recordings also included “Been Hurt” [also previously recorded with Lawton] – a B-side [and one Sloman hated]. As well there was the outtake “Lying”, a keyboard heavy pop number that builds up to a memorable chorus; this one would’ve fit nicely on the album, IMO.
I really like Conquest; I thought it had a better flow than Fallen Angel, as well as a number of excellent tunes. And, although Heep missed the boat showing the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal bands how to do it, I liked the new sound that Conquest took. It’s too bad none of these songs would ever be played live again by later Heep line-ups.

Conquest charted in the UK, with help due to a budget pricing for the band’s 10th Anniversary. It was never released in North America, as if no one even tried or had lost interest in the band. After years of decline in LP sales and concert draw Heep were then non-existent in Canada and the USA…for a few years and more changes.
Following Conquest, the band recorded a cover of the pop-fluff “Love Stealer”, at Bron’s request. It was issued as a single and stiffed. Hensley then left and the band carried on for a while with Gregg Dechert on keyboards. Following a UK tour, a single, and demos for a new album the band would break up with Sloman leaving, followed by Bolder, Slade, and then Dechert.
Weather you liked this line-up or not, the Conquest album and it’s aftermath would be a significant period in the band’s history, as they would reform with a new line-up and enjoy a brief period of a successful return in the 80s.

For more on Conquest, check out these interviews with John Sloman.

John Sloman

John Sloman/bands

UPDATE: GODDO (Often Forgotten Canadian Hard Rock/Metal Bands) — Might As Well Blog About It

Some of GODDO‘s early releases are once again available. UK label, Rock Candy Records has released remastered versions of the first 3 GODDO albums. “Goddo” “Who Cares” and “An Act of Goddo“. On these albums you’ll find classic GODDO tracks like “Under My Hat”, “Tough Times”, “Sweet Thing”, “There Goes My Baby”, “Chantal” and “So […]

via UPDATE: GODDO (Often Forgotten Canadian Hard Rock/Metal Bands) — Might As Well Blog About It

Kiss – Top 10 from The Eric Carr Era

The 80s saw big changes for Kiss. I really like the first 3 Kiss albums, and of course Alive; but after that albums weren’t as strong song wise, and by 1980 they’d done everything – including solo albums, 2 live albums, compilations, disco, pop, and changed drummers! The new drummer, taking over for Peter Criss would be Eric Carr. And I think Eric’s heavy Bonham influenced playing was what the band needed going into the 80s. The band would drop the make up and costumes in 83 and carry on making albums regularly. 80s Kiss albums were often marred by bad cover art, and some cringeworthy lyrics. It’s a shame the band didn’t record a live album during Eric’s time with the band, and show fans how much he added as a heavy player and an occasional singer . Sadly he passed away on November 24 , 1991. Here’s my own Top 10 of favorites Kiss tunes recorded during the Eric Carr era.
RIP.

Creatures Of The Night
Creatures of the Night was Kiss at their heaviest. And it’s the title track that opens the album and comes out blazing; great dark heavy rocker, great performances, including Steve Ferris’ [Mr MIster] guitar solo.

The Oath
The first album to feature Eric Carr, and well… what were they thinking!? I actually really like Music From The Elder, but it’s an odd concept for a Kiss album, so it flopped, and many critics, fans, and even bandmembers probably don’t look back on it kindly. The Oath is a good galloping fast-paced rock track to open the album, with some falsetto from Paul Stanley on the chorus, a splash of keyboards… Very different, but a classic, IMO.

King Of The Mountain
Asylum from 1985 was a vast improvement on Animalize, I thought. Though it still had that familiarity in a few of the more ‘radio rock’ tracks in Tears Are Falling and Who Wants To Be Lonely. It’s the opener that is [again] I’ll take here. Cool drum intro from Eric Carr, great rockin tune. First LP with Bruce Kulick as well. Shitty album cover.

Reason To Live
1987’s Crazy Nights saw Kiss lighten up their sound with a more AOR approach, a bit of keyboards, and more of those 80s backing vocals. I think this album was not a favorite to many, but I liked it, especially Side 2. Reason To Live being the first single, great tune, a bit syrupy, but cool.

Nowhere To Run
This was included on the European compilation Killers, which included 4 new rock tracks. A bit of a stop-gap following the flip of The Elder. Guitars by Bob Kulick. Nowhere To Run featuring a killer riff, reminiscent of Paul Stanley’s Tonight You Belong To Me (also played by Bob K, and Rich Kid by Billy Squier – played by Bruce Kulick).

I Still Love You
From Creatures Of The Night. One of a few here co-written with Vinnie Vincent. A classic heavy ballad. One of Paul Stanley’s better vocals,

Somewhere Between Heaven And Hell
From the last album of the 80s – Hot In The Shade. A long album, and a more commercial approach with songs like King Of Hearts and the ballad Forever [uhhg!]. Like this one from Gene, a good mid paced rock tune; great chorus.

Exciter
Opening track to Lick It Up. Sure, the title track was a hit and huge on MTV, but Exciter tries to [and comes close to] run on the same dark heavy energy as Creatures Of The Night. Great opener.

Little Caesar
Also from Hot In The Shade. This is one Eric Carr wrote and sang lead on. Neat rocker, a bit rougher than most of the tracks on this album. Too bad the band didn’t choose a few more of his songs here (see his posthumous solo release Rockology)

Thrills In The Night
From Animalize, which followed up on the ‘success’ of Lick It Up. Not a great album, but it had a few stand out moments, such as the hit Heaven’s On Fire and this one. Great solo intro [almost like a Scorpions song], great solo from Mark St John [RIP], and Eric Carr really pounds this song. Cheesy video, shitty album cover.

KJJ, 11/’19

Blue Coupe – The Eleven Even Interview

Classic Rock fans – check out the new album from legendary rockers – Dennis Dunaway, Albert Bouchard, and Joe Bouchard – better known as Blue Coupe!
Here the bandmembers answers questions about their brand new album, as well as their big showing at the Sweden Rock Festival this past summer.
You can check out the album at the band’s site, as well as youtube, and order it at various sites online.

http://www.bluecoupeband.com

Eleven Even is the band’s 3rd album, 6 years past Million Miles More. When did you guys really decide and start putting the songs together for this album?

DD – 3 albums in 11 years is a far cry from 2 albums and 2 major tours per year like in our glory days, but we still enjoy doing what we do.

AB – We started in December of 2017. We decided that we were each being pulled in different musical directions and wanted to re-energize ourselves to this band and the way to do that was a record of completely new material.

JB – This project started at the end of 2017. We rehearsed for over a year because we wanted to do the best album we’d ever done. The first two albums it seemed like we barely rehearsed. We wanted to go back to the drawing board and relive the way it was done in the 70s.

blue coupe 11 even

First thing that stands out on the new album is the artwork – very bright, eye catching – put together by Richard Zoll. Can you tell me a bit about how this was chosen and how important is it still to have a memorable album cover [in this day & age] compared to the 70s [where album art was a big deal on it’s own]?

DD – Richard Zoll is an artist. We give him the name and a few ideas but basically he just keeps sending different designs until everybody says Yeah!

AB – I’ve known Richard as a fan, Astro, back in the early 90s and started really appreciating his talent as an artist when he designed posters for the three 2016 BOC shows at BB Kings. We all agreed that we wanted him to design the cover of this new BC album.

JB – We went through several designs with wild ranges of styles. This looked good when we first saw it, a few little tweaks and it was ready.

Tish & Snooky are more prominent on this album. What’s the band’s history with the sisters? They definitely add to the sound & feel of the new album. Might we see them in more live shows?

DD – The Darlings of the Demented, as we like to call them, are always the icing on the cake and the extra pizzazz in our shows, but running Manic Panic is time consuming so we have to settle for working together whenever they can.

AB – I’ve known and loved them since the early 70s when I went to every Sick F*ks show I could. When we were making our first album, “Tornado On The Tracks” we all wanted them to sing backgrounds on as many songs as they could fit into their schedule. They loved working with us and since then they have appeared in nearly half our live dates and sang background vocals (and even have a couple solo vocals on the new record) on every single recorded track. Manic Panic is their first child but I would wager Blue Coupe is their second.

blue coupe t&s

The first track you put out was “D Train”, written by the late David Roter. Was this song originally released elsewhere and how/why did you guys decide on recording it?

DD – That’s one of the songs that Albert brought to the table. We’ve all taken that subway, or “the can” as I like to call it, to Brooklyn.

AB – That song was a demo I did with my last band Brain Surgeons but never was released. When we were getting the demos together for this new record Joe brought it in and said a fan, Mark Grosch, had sent it to him and suggested we consider it. We started developing our own version and played it live. It seemed to resonate with us and our fans. Ultimately out of the 40 or so songs we considered, it made the cut. The turning point came when Dennis developed his amazing bass part which freed up the vocal and guitar emote the story of the song.

D Train has such a different feel, very bass driven, and it feels like it would fit nicely in an old 60s cop show or something. Can you describe a bit about the story behind it lyrically and that sound?

DD – The demo had a more precision mechanical feel but I tried to make my bass part be more rambling like a real subway sounds. The lyrics sound far fetched but they really capture the feel of that late night ride.

A lot of the band’s songs are story based or based on observations in your life. Can you give me a few antidotes to some of the tracks and where the ideas come from — Hey Sheriff, Rendezvous In Pale Moonlight, Simple Answers Kill, Tank Man, Day After Day …

DD – Rendezvous In Pale Moonlight is born of imagery of a surreal dream. It’s about a timeless woman in a flowing dress in the pale moonlight.

Day After Day (Runnin’ Away) is about a classic love triangle. She has to make the choice of ending an empty relationship for one that has true love.

AB – Bitter Game has lyrics from Dennis. To me it is a commentary on the perilous landscape of the internet where cyber attacks can ruin a person’s finances or even disrupt a presidential election.

Blood For Blood is sort of self explanatory about the futility of vengeance. I originally wrote this one with my friend from Texas, Kathy Vargas, but Dennis was concerned about the preachy tone of it and retooled the lyrics to be more of a commentary on the human condition than a vilification of people who seek vengeance. Like most of the songs on this new record it is deeper than it seems, like an iceberg.

JB – Simple Answers Kill is a story that relates to the problems in society that are pretty universal. Sometimes immigrants are feared at first, but getting to know the person can change things around. It’s a reflection of the current situation with Trump and the wall. The reality is there no easy answers to many of these problems, but this is a cautionary tale of modern times.

Tank Man is a song about the famous showdown with protesters at Tiananmen Square in China in 1989. It was the 30th anniversary this year. This song was easy to write since the story is so strong and still resonates today. I’m hoping that younger people will hear it and take a closer look at what is still going on in this crazy world. I’ve created a lyric video that shows where the song originated.

This album seems to have much more of a retro / 70s feel to it ; there seems to be more tracks I can see as fitting on old BOC or AC albums. Would you agree and [if so] was it deliberate?

DD – We talked a lot about what kind of album we wanted to make. The dominant ideas were based on the latest trends of vinyl albums and pot. We decided to feature Joe’s lead playing and more harmonies. But like Million Miles More, we wanted to have a live feel.

AB – Yes, after our first practice for the new record we had a serious discussion of what we were trying to accomplish with this new record. One of the things that came out was that we wanted to create this record as much like we created our past favorite records as we could.

We used to be proud that we were the band that never practiced but we can no longer claim that dubious honor. We practiced on a nearly weekly basis for over a year and 90% of all arrangement ideas developed in these practice sessions.

Joe – co-wrote a couple of songs with sci-fi writer John Shirley. How did those come about? [He writes his own albums, novels, and has written with BOC]. Through the BOC connection?

JB – John Shirley heard some songs from my last solo album called “Playin’ History” that came out in 2017. He sent me a short email that said he liked my work, and was a fan. I emailed him right back and said, even though my knowledge of sci-fi genre is pretty weak, I was a fan of his. Also, I said to send me some lyrics if could. He sent 3, then two more, and then a couple more. He lives in Portland Oregon so all this was done by email. I ended up writing with Blue Öyster Cult in mind, since they are looking for material for a new BOC album (the first in over 20 years) that is supposed to be released next summer. I sent songs to Buck Dharma and he was somewhat interested. But I strongly doubt they will use anything of mine. So Albert and Dennis liked Simple Answers Kill and Break Through the Wall so we recorded those for Blue Coupe.

AB – Actually I discovered John Shirley when I was still in BOC. He had written a book called Transmaniacon (after a BOC song Transmaniacon MC) and a friend put me in touch with him. He sent me lyrics then but I never had an opportunity to work with him until now. BTW I think Simple Answers Kill is the deepest song on the record.

You guys played the Sweden Rock Fest this past summer. How did that event go over? Any highlights from that show?

DD – The Sweden Rock Festival is one of the biggest in the world. Blue Coupe closed the 4 days following Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. We waited until their final song, and when the crowd was dispersing, we kicked into “Cities On Flame (With Rock and Roll)” and the crowd came right over to our stage and we were off and running.

AB – I’ve always felt the strength of this band is the live show but it has been hard to get the word out. It was gratifying to be able to do what we do in front a huge audience and receive the feedback that was way beyond what we expected. I do have to say that it didn’t hurt that we practiced so much in the previous year, even though it was not those songs.

JB – Sweden Rock Fest was amazing. The crew know just what to do to make our show look and sound amazing. We also had a Swedish film crew record the whole event and that came out great. I’m releasing videos of all the songs usually on a weekly basis until January. I also have footage that may become part of a longer documentary.

I see in more recent shows [summer 2019], the Blue Coupe setlist has kind of reverted back to more BOC and AC classics, and less of your own tunes. Is it a tough position & decision sometime to be in – whether you play more of your original material or pull out more classic tracks from your previous bands?

DD – We have a lot of songs. If it’s a 2 hour set, we can do half of them. If it’s 45 minutes, we usually stick to our classics with a few surprises.

AB – I love playing the old songs but it is a little frustrating not having time to play these new songs that we have worked on so hard for so long. We just need more gigs where we can do 3 hour shows with a break in the middle for oxygen and B12 shots.

JB – We have to play to the majority, and some feel cheated without hearing their favorite songs. But we always slip in a few surprises, and a deep cut or two. It’s fun to mix it up.

You guys have done numerous shows over the past decade, many high profile gigs like the Sweden Rock Fest, and plenty of others which fans can find on youtube. Might we see any live shows released as a Blue Coupe live album in the near future?

DD – Watch for a music video of the Sweden Rock Festival. Joe’s production is pro.

JB – Sweden was an exception to most gigs since they recorded the whole show on a digital multitrack. It all fit unto a couple of thumb drives. It sounded great and it was easy to do remixes of all the songs. It is very time consuming but, I hope to do it again.

Will we see some Blue Coupe shows further out [i.e. Southern Ontario, maybe down the east coast, or further west] to promote Eleven Even? Anything in the works and/or being rehearsed?

DD – All it ever takes is a decent offer and we will be there with cowbells in hand.

AB – Amen, moo.

JB – Hope to see you soon. Thanks!

http://bluecoupeband.com/store/eleven_even_is_here/

*all pics from the band’s website
KJJ, Nov.’19.

Eric Carr – An Interview With Loretta Caravello [from 2000]

*This is an interview I did in June of 2000 for the release of “Rockology”, Eric Carr’s posthumous solo album.
Carr was Kiss’ drummer during the 80s, until his passing on November 24, 1991. He was dressed as the fox when he debuted with Kiss. Eric Carr brought a heavier style of drumming to Kiss in the 80s and definitely a huge asset during a number of albums that saw the band at their lowest and rebuilding with a number of MTV era hits and hard-rock classics. As much credit as Kiss fans like to give Vinnie Vincent for ‘saving the band’ in the early 80s, I think it was Carr’s drumming and stability that had more to do with the band’s resurgence in the ’80s.

[more on this era another day…]

[Eric Carr [Paul Caravello] was the drummer in KISS from the time he replaced Peter Criss until he passed away in November of 1991 after a year of illnesses [cancer and heart surgery] and 2 brain hemorrhages. Longtime Kiss bandmate and friend Bruce Kulick helped to get together the tapes for what has now been released by Spitfire Records as “Rockology” – the Eric Carr solo album.
Featuring just Carr and Kulick, the album features 11 tracks [some instrumentals] from Eric’s Kiss days that never made it to album. The album is a decent rock album, and tracks like “Somebody’s Waiting” and “Eyes Of Love” sit strongly alongside the better Kiss tracks of the 80s era. This album will be a ‘must’ for Kiss collectors and a decent curious piece for rock fans in general; thus being a fitting release to pay tribute to Eric Carr as a musician.
I recently spoke with Eric’s sister – Loretta about the project and her brother.]

eric carr 1

LORETTA CARAVELLO

Q: How did the idea for releasing the tapes come about?
L: The music that you hear on ‘Rockology’ was stuff that my brother wrote for Kiss, and it was really good stuff, and Bruce Kulick had some demo tapes, and the stuff was just too good to let it lay around. We wanted the fans to hear it, and Bruce really worked hard to put it out. He mastered it and everything, and we’re really glad it’s out.

Q: Do you know the time frames of the recordings?
L: I think “Somebody Is Waiting” was meant for the “Hot In The Shade” album in place of “Forever” [1989]; and I think “Eyes Of Love” was around the time of “Crazy Nights” [1987]. The other music that’s on there – “Tiara” and others, those were 4 “Rockhead” songs. Those were written throughout the 11 years, a little at a time. That was Eric’s animation.

Q: To what extent was Eric involved in these? Was he aware that these were going to come out one day?
L: He wanted it to. He presented “Somebody’s Waiting” and “Eyes Of Love” to Kiss; and that’s what he was supposed to do before each album – make a presentation and they would decide what would go on the album. Those were his pride and joy, he really loved the songs, but they just didn’t make it. As far as the songs for Rockheads – he was extremely protective of those; those were his special ‘babies’ for his animation.

Q: How involved was he in that?
L: They started in High School with 1 little character; actually it went all the way back to when he was a kid, and he just always drew characters on the side of his homework, and it progressed in high school. Then when he got in to Kiss it really started to take shape. He wrote stories; I have drawers full of stories, finished products, different character drawings that weren’t finished but the ideas were there, plus lots of documentation of companies that were really interested in producing the Rockheads, but of course due to the untimely death a lot of things changed.

Q: Who else besides Eric and Bruce played on a lot of these?
L: It’s just Eric and Bruce.

Q: So Bruce did the bass work as well!?
L: That was my brother. My brother did the vocals – the background vocals, the drums, bass guitar, and some of the lead vocals.

Q: Did any of the Kiss guys do any of the harmonies or anything?
L: Not an iota! That’s all Eric and Bruce.

Q: Is there more of this stuff in the vaults?
L: I don’t think so, from what we know right now, unless Bruce comes up with some more demo tapes. There was some songs that were not used. I have some lyrics that were written by him, and music, and different things that if someone wanted to actually sit down and write lyrics to the music and vice versa there would be some songs. You never know, though.

Q: A few of the tracks would’ve made excellent Kiss songs – like “Eyes Of Love” is easily recognizable..
L: Oh yeah, “Eyes Of Love” could’ve been a hit. As far as ballads go “Somebody’s Waiting” is aussum! That’s him doing all those harmonies; it’s pretty amazing!

Q: Those 2 especially would’ve fit on any Kiss album.
L: The other ones, you can hear where he was going with them. He wasn’t searching for melodies, the melodies were there, all it had to be was changed in to words, and the songs would’ve been complete.

Q: How involved were you with Eric as far as during his Kiss days and that, and how close were you with his career?
L: My brother was private with that to a degree. I think a lot of different things go on in the music field that you’re not aware of, and a lot of it’s not too nice, so he kind of kept us out of that part, which now I’m glad he did. We’d see him play all the time. He would always ask me about his solos, and I’d make a few suggestions to him. He always included us in that, but it wasn’t like he’d come home and say “Hey guess what happened?” That he did not do; my brother was very quiet as far as that stuff went. Good. It’s like leaving your work at the office too sometimes.

Q: Have you have had any contact with any of the Kiss guys as far as this release goes, besides Bruce Kulick?
L: Bruce Kulick and I are very close, and Adam Mitchell. They’ve both been really helpful in putting out the “Tale Of The Fox” – which is a video and the Rockology. So, that’s all I need, I got them.

Q: Can you tell me a bit about Eric in his early years, as far as his growing up, anything he followed, bands he liked……?
L: We came from a very musical family. My Grandfather was a trombonist on Vaudeville, my mother sang opera, my father was a trumpet player – we all play instruments. So music always surrounded us. But when The Beatles came out – that was the thing that did it and my brother formed a band called “The Cellarmen”. There’s were actually records that were made, and 1 of them was played on the radio – those we have on the video [The Tale Of The Foxx]. And he was in Salt N Pepper, Creation, Bionic Boogie, Lightning… – these were all basically the same band that changed members slightly throughout the 70s to ’80. He struggled a lot; there was so many ups and downs for him, but he never gave up, and I think that’s the key that most people can learn from him – always follow your dreams; he was a great example of getting it to work.

Q: One thing I would think I would say about him from (what I’ve gathered and what i followed of Kiss) is he was probably the one of the most honest guys in the band .
L: Yeah, he just loved the kids and he loved everybody. He never really spoke bad of anyone. We lived in Brooklyn from when he was in Kiss in the mid 80s and we’d have kids knocking on the door. And he was just a regular guy; he’d hang out outside on the steps and the neighbors would come over “Hey Paully!”; they knew him by Paully, they knew who he was. He was very accessible, a very honest guy; you would’ve never known he was a rock star — never!

Q: Can you take me back to the days when he joined Kiss, and what the reaction was?
L: He was with a band called ‘Flasher’, it was a 3 piece band. And they were playing in Long Island, and an ex-bandmate of Flasher told him he saw an ad and my brother followed up, sent in his resume. Kiss called him, and he went down for the audition. He came home and said he had to go back. The story I’m telling you is actually how it happened; it happened so fast, that we were so into what we were doing [working during the day] that this was happening right before our eyes and none of us really knew it. He finally came back one night and he went to the bathroom and he was shaving his mustache and beard, and he said “you know they called me back, but they said I’ve got to shave! That’s pretty cool…” And the next day he came home and he was in. This all took place in, i would say, in a matter of maybe a week. That’s it. It was just a normal week for everybody; it just didn’t have time to penetrate.

Q: What can you tell me about him from during the 80s, about his relationships with the guys in Kiss and how things worked and that?
L: I would have to say he was the closest to Gene; he was like his idol. Whenever you’d see them together my brother was always around him. Gene gave him a lot of good advice as far as The Rockheads go, and taught him a lot about dealing with business because Gene is a business-man. Paul and him had a good relationship too. Bruce and him became very very close though. I think because they were more on like the same level, you know – they were contracted, and they didn’t have as much say as the other 2 guys, so you have someone you can relate to a little more. But he got along well with everyone. He didn’t like to go against the grain; he spoke his mind when he had to, like certain music disagreements – like he thought they should be going in a heavier sound like the “Creatures…” sound in the ’80s, but they insisted on going more poppish. But you can’t buck the boss; when the boss says “that’s it!” – that’s it. So he went with the flow, and he loved what he was doing, but I think he wanted to go back to the roots of when they first started – with the heavy sound.

Q: What Kiss songs would you pick out that best feature Eric, that if he were around today would be his proudest moments?
L: He was really proud of “Little Ceasar”. That was the first song that he ever wrote and sang himself, and I think that was the ultimate for him; even though personally i don’t think it was his best song after hearing all the ones on “Rockology” – which i was not aware of until only a few years ago. I’d never heard these songs; these songs he did with Bruce. I knew he was great, but i was really flabbergasted, and I think that one of those songs would’ve been the ultimate for him if iit was on a Kiss album, but it’s on a solo album now and he really has that now.

Q: What would say are your best memories of your brother? What picture do you most come back to?
L: There’s a lot…….. I’d have to say how brave he was at the end. I know he was a brave guy and all, but just the overall way he made us all relax and just say “everything’s going to be OK”. Last impressions sometimes, you know!?

Q: Any stories about him?
L: He loved to catch bloopers in movies, that was like his big thing. He’d come over to my mom’s on Sundays for his famous spaghetti and meatballs – which he could eat 10 times a week. His big thing was watching movies and picking out bloopers, and his favorite movie was “The Ten Commandments”, and he loved “The Wizard Of Ozz”. He would actually sit in front of the TV and say “OK, watch this scene – this guy here died in the last scene….”, and he would be right about all these things that he caught. He could watch a movie over and over again, and he’d memorize it to a T. We have stories from his original bandmembers Salt N Pepper [and all these groups] – one of the guys I spoke to about 5 months ago, and he told me this story when my brother was sitting watching a movie and he was saying the lines before the people on the screen would, and he was sitting in his own world. And the guy said he was cracking up because he was imitating the Indians on the screen, what they were saying. My brother was always into that kind of stuff. And UFOs, that was his thing, you know.

Q: Have you read some of the Kiss books that have come out recently?
L: I read “Kiss And Tell” and “Black Diamond” ....

Q: What did you think of some of them?
L: Kiss And Tell – Wow!! I think you’ve got to have a lot of guts to put that stuff out there. Whether I believe it all or not is one thing and really not important, I just think it takes a lot of guts to do it. As far as Black Diamond, Dale Sherman I think, is really informative. This guy knew a lot of stuff. I met him in 1992 when he came to my home and we spent hours just talking, and he was really nice. He helped us with a lot of things throughout the years, and still is helping us. He’s a very nice person.

Q: Anything else you can tell me about your brother as far as Kiss and the 80s…..?
L: Yeah the 80s were hot. You’re always going to have your die-hards and your battle of the 80s to the 90s, and the 70s… but if it wasn’t for all Kisstory – there’d be no Kisstory. Without the 80s there would be no 90s. I feel that my brother gave the band punch. Gene would say that he made them so much better musically, because in order for them to hear themselves they had to really play hard because he was such a heavy drummer. He was a small guy, very tiny – like 5 4″ and a 32 waste. He was very thin on the bottom, but very muscular on top, and he worked out. Everytime I would go to a concert or meet someone back-stage that knew him – like Carmine Appice and all these people, because of course we grew up with them in Brooklyn, lived close to each other. They were amazed and go “Your brother’s amazing, and he’s so small”, and Carmine’s a giant. And I think that’s what amazed people is the power that he had and the size, and how innovative, I mean there was really no other drummer who did the cannon drum. My brother Todd Trent from Ludwig created that cannon drum – the one piece. And just the way he used everything, the lazers and everything; it just makes you wonder what he would’ve been doing today.

Q: Are you surprised by the amount of tribute that there is out to him?
L: Yeah! I think it came kind of late, but it’s wonderful. I think now kids are starting to just sit back and respect the whole history. It’s coming to and end, and now everyone’s reflecting on everything, and he really deserved it.

Q: The one thing I thought a little bit odd was that the day he passed away was the same day Freddie Mercury passed away, and Freddie kinda got a lot of the spotlight …….
L: All in the same time also, only England time – 5:00. So that’s just the whole irony of it – that even in death he couldn’t shine. And I’ve heard that from people that think that, but he’s shining now, and no-one’s forgotten him.

Q: Did he have favorite drummers?
L: Yeah he loved John Bonham, and of course Ringo – that was his inspiration at the time when he started. Lars Ulrich and they knew each, and my brother would say “you’re better” and Lars would say “no, you’re better” and they’d go back and forth. But my brother, I would say mostly John Bonham.

Q: Bonham was a heavy player as well.
L: That’s where my brother got that from. And you know he always wanted to meet him, and the year he got into Kiss was the year John Bonham passed away. So he met his son, and even jammed with him at times, but it wasn’t the same.

Q: How was he in his final months? Was he aware of what was going on with Kiss and that? How was his spirit?
L: He would take care of his health first and things were working all-right. He was strong after his heart operation, he got a clean bill of health. He went in to get some treatment for radiation for the cancer and he was in remission, and he was really happy. He worked hard. I feel personally that he could have gotten a lot more support, but everybody has a different way of dealing with things. I guess at that time people feel they are doing the right thing. I feel my brother held his own, and he wasn’t going to give up no matter what was out there; no matter who was telling him and what was telling him – he was a member of Kiss and he was going to die a member of Kiss! He did. And I truly tell you that that meant a lot to him.

Q: I assume he was close with Bruce near the end !?
L: Bruce was with us every step of the way. Bruce was a champion. When my brother passed away Bruce was with the family every day and he handled a lot of things for us that we couldn’t handle. He never left.

Q: What else have you got planned – a video?
L: There’s a DVD coming out called “Inside Tale of The Foxx”. This is the guy – Jack Sawyer made it; this is going to be more extensive, and have links to more unreleased music, again, a more extensive look at The Rockheads, more interviews, really cool stuff. We found some footage of my brother on 8mm film, playing drums at 16 years old, and him as a kid running around. Just stuff that we’re fascinated with because we didn’t even know we had it. The most important thing right now though is The Rockheads. We’re focused [me, Bruce, and Adam] are focused on that, and that was my brother’s ultimate goal, and he was so close, I mean Hanna Barbara was interested, Landmark was interested, but at the last minute things just fell through. They couldn’t agree on something. My brother wanted control of that; that was one thing that was his and he wanted the control of that. And when you get in to certain positions certain things people want to control, and sometimes you cut your nose to spite your face because you just don’t want to give it away. Hopefully now we can make his dream come true. I know he’s watching because he’s helping us every step of the way.

Q: Can you give me 3 words that would best sum up your brother?
L: I would say ‘loving’, ‘kind’ and ‘caring’.

Q: Was he a gentle person?
L: Yeah, very soft spoken, so patient, very patient, and he showed it. You can interview fan after fan who will say they adored him and he made their day; took the time out. He was a good natured person and when you’re good people remember that and it comes back to you 10 times. And it’s showing now. Everybody’s come forward to help, unconditionally, with pictures, video, and any other way, even just kind words, and that’s what pulled us through.

KJJ. 11/19