When Your Walls Come Down - Kiss - Crazy Nights
Label: Thomsun Original - EN-1969 • Format: Cassette Compilation, Unofficial Release • Country: Saudi Arabia • Genre: Rock • Style: Hard Rock
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 Nightswhich was released in September of 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 and 4 on the UK Albums Chart.
So, let's take a track-by-track look back at what I remember about When Your Walls Come Down - Kiss - Crazy Nights the album that really defined the mid to late 80s period of KISS. It may not be reproduced - in whole or in part - without express written permission. Crazy, Crazy Nights. What 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. 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 Must Be The Feeling - Khiflee - Mixtape Collection Vol 5 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 When Your Walls Come Down - Kiss - Crazy Nights 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 Revengebut I have to admit I really like a lot of the guitars on Crazy Nights.
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 She Said - Selwyn - Meant To Be classic KISS music.
I'll Fight Hell to Hold You. 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 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 Gnomus - Moussorgsky* / Ravel* - Fritz Reiner, Chicago Symphony Orchestra* - Pictures At An Exhibiti 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! 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 When Your Walls Come Down - Kiss - Crazy Nights Gene and Eric.
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. 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? 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. Here'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 I sang the chorus right then! I worked out the chords and the slinky progression and verses in Take Me As I Am - Roy Clark - Take Me As I Am / If Youll Pardon Me 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. All in all a Our Legacy - GhostXShip - Carry The Flame track for the album, and I was very proud to be creatively involved with the writing.
My Way. Paul 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. Side two begins with some plucking muted guitars, Eric counting it off, and then Kick in When Your Walls Come Down - Kiss - Crazy Nights 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. 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. 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!
The groove is kind of Judas Priest-like, chugging along in a sexy manner, and When Your Walls Come Down - Kiss - Crazy Nights 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.
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