The Whisky, Hollywood, CA

AMERICAN MAN is former Black ‘N Blue guitarist Tommy Thayer’s new outfit, and after tonight’s viewing I have nothing but high hopes for them.

All things that B’N’B lacked or suffered from are nowhere to been seen or heard, and with a bit more seasoning I predict that this outfit will not only cop a deal rather quickly, but make quite a bit of noise once they do grab that elusive piece of paper.

‘Power Generation’ served as a strong introduction to the four-piece, with a crunching riff that offset a strong, melodic chorus. Brian Jennings handled the lead break, proving early on that Thayer is willing to share the stage and attention.

The chording to ‘Bad Blood’ kicked in immediately after and it proved to be an early set highlight and allowed bassist/vocalist Todd Jensen to shine vocally.

Make no mistake about it – Jensen has it! Besides doing a fine job of both singing and plunking the four strings, Jensen served as the outfit’s visual focal point. Between a frantic and enthusiastic stage presence that had him visiting every square centimetre of the boards and his powerful, yet smooth vocals, Jensen proved to be quite a frontman – especially for one that had double duty!

Drummer Kevin Muriel pounded for all he was worth, giving ‘Break Down The Walls’, ‘American Man’ and ‘The Unforgiven’ the kind of kick and crunch that few drummers I’ve seen recently are delivering, while ‘Ballad Of The Bullet’ was the solitary slow track of tonight’s show.

‘Knocking At Your Door’ and the epic ‘Red Asphalt’ got an airing tonight as well, and it I had to offer a comparison soundwise to anybody, I’d mention Skid Row, Kiss, B’N’B of course, and maybe even a bit of Aerosmith and Bad Company. It’s a classy rock sound that’s long on substance and style.

A cover of Rock Candy’ was well done, and the obligatory B’N’B number in the form of ‘Chain Around Heaven’ was a fine finisher that hit with considerably more power and punch than the original version ever did.

Thayer looked and sounded good, Jennings proved to be a strong supporting guitarist, and as for Muriel and Jensen. they’re gonna be stars!

American Man are fresh and exciting in a way that doesn’t reek of the current Hollywood scene; they’ve got the tunes, they’ve got the look, but they don’t have the tattoos or drug habits that some seem to think are obligatory for an LA rock band!

Good show – now just watch ‘em go!




PAUL STANLEY L’Amour, Brooklyn New York

Just what the purpose is for Paul Stanley’s month long solo trek is anyone’s guess? On stage the KISS guitarist never voiced his motivation, choosing to state only: “I intend to kick some ass!”, before storming into the concert opener “l Stole Your Love”. The twelve year old “I Want You” followed, and like its 1978 predecessor, it had a timeless sound. “Tonight You Belong To Me” from Paul’s 1978 solo album was also performed early in the set as were “C’mon And Love Me” and “Wouldn’t You Like To Know Me?”

This first half-hour of the set featuring many songs rarely, if ever, performed live was marvellous. The inclusion of these songs gave the evening a special feel.

It was about the time that Paul began “I Still Love You” however, that the set list became stale by comparison. Most of the tunes he went on to perform this evening, including “Reason To live”, “Crazy, Crazy Nights”, “Detroit Rock City”, “Lick It Up” and “Love Gun”, have been in the KISS set list for many years.

Ironically, the predictability of Paul’s performance was most welcome. He used to be one of the finest performers in the business and it’s good to see that that hasn’t changed. He can’t play guitar worth a damn, but he has a true stage presence and he commands attention in a way that few others can. His voice was one of the most stable to ever sound off through the L’Amour sound system.

With regard to the other band members’ long time KISS associate Bob Kulick handled the none-too-demanding lead guitar chores in a fine manner, adding a few noteworthy enhancements to “Let’s Put The X In Sex”. The other members, Dennis St James on bass and Gary Cortiett on keyboards, were adequate, if less appealing substitutes for KISS members Gene Simmons and Bruce Kulick. In light of drummer Eric Singer’s performance however, Eric Carr was sorely missed.

One of the evening’s finest moments was the band’s rendition of “Hide Your Heart”, an unreleased KISS song written sometime during the last two years. The song had a “Copacabana” style story line and a sing-along chorus. This song’s omission from the recent “Smashes, Thrashes And Hits” compilation album is certainly odd.

Also noteworthy was Paul’s fine rendition of LED ZEPPELIN’s “Communication Breakdown” as an encore.

John Ricard




BLINK AND blink again. Above is the picture you thought you’d never see: Ace Frehley, less hirsuite than normal but unmistakable nonetheless, decked out in full stage regalia and nestling nonchalantly within the Kiss ranks.

As you’re no doubt aware, rumours surrounding the guitarist have flown fast and furious of late, some claiming he’d gone solo others that he’d just (hic) gone, but all have been staunchly denied by management and band, who could now be excused for collectively dubbing their forthcoming post-Xmas dates the ‘We Told You So Tour’.

Personally, I’m still not convinced that Ace, despite getting sleeve space for his features, plays on ‘Creatures Of The Night’, Kiss’ latest, strictly metallic, offering but there can now no question that the other-galactic one will continue to play out his fantasy role to the hilt, plans to introduce another guitarist at the side of the stage (Steve Casey in drag?) having been firmly knocked on the head.

“Actually, Ace is lucky to be alive, “reveals Paul Stanley over the Kerrang! hot-line. “He didn’t really want people to know but he had a very bad car accident a few months back and completely totalled his Porsche. He’s still in pain and has a bit of trouble ‘whiplashing’, but at least he’s in one piece.”

Despite this dramatic, real-life reconstruction of ‘Detroit Rock City’, however, the band have lined up a heavy touring schedule that should keep them busy for most of next year. Originally, they were due to play some South American shows but for political reasons these have had to be cancelled and Alberqueque, New Mexico, on December 27, is now the opening date, heralding a further 99 gigs over a five month period. Kiss’ first US tour in some three years it’ll see the four playing 8-20,000-seaters and taking in places they haven’t shaken since the early the days.

Older, harder material has now been introduced – ‘I Want You’ not performed live since ‘77, will certainly feature and ‘Deuce’ and ‘I Stole Your Love’ have been rehearsed – as well as a new metallic stage (right), recently unveiled for nigh on 300 media persons at a press conference (!) in Los Angeles where these pics were taken. As you can gather, the theme is a military one, a tank to be precise, the turret and gun (which works, I’m assured) acting as a base for Eric Carr’s drums and the treads, illuminated naturally, flanking the stage on either side.

This setup, which probably won’t be seen in Europe till late next year, perfectly complements the ‘Creatures Of The Night’ album in reflecting a new-found hunger and aggression within the Kiss ranks. No more compromises, no more half-measures.. . and definitely no synths!

“Our road crew have direct orders to kill all synth players that approach the stage, “warns Gene Simmons. “Our aim, as it’s always been, is to get up onstage and put on the greatest rock ‘n’ roll show in the world!”
(to be continued – without a doubt).