RECORD STORE TALES Part 152: Carnival of Lost Souls
The Year: 1996
The Place: Dr. Disc, Hamilton Ontario
The Guilty Party: Me
Remember when the original Kiss reunited back in ’96? It was a huge deal. Everybody was talking about it. What very few people were talking about was the studio album that the previous Kiss lineup (with Eric Singer and Bruce Kulick) had completed prior to the reunion. That album, Carnival of Souls, was shelved to avoid confusion.
It was, however, leaked. Or, at least most of it was. It revealed a new, grungier Kiss ready to take on the likes of Alice in Chains and Soundgarden. Not a bad album in fact, and some songs such as “Hate” and “In My Head” were downright vicious. A buddy of mine, Len Labelle, hooked me up with a poor-sounding cassette. It was better than nothing.
Both Gene and Paul pooh-poohed the idea of a release. You’d read things like, “We don’t know when it’s coming out,” or “We have no plans to release it right now.” But I was digging that tape and I wanted a CD, dammit!
T-Rev, Tom and myself were at a record show in Hamilton, and we stopped at a local Dr. Disc. I went over to the Kiss section. I saw two discs, both at $30 staring me in the face: the ultra rare Japanese import Chikara, a greatest hits album, and a bootleg copy of Carnival of Souls…
I had a limited budget and could only buy one. I chose Carnival of Souls. I’ve never seen a copy of Chikara again. And Kiss officially issued Carnival 9 months later, rendering my bootleg obselete. I can’t give it away, today.
It was a bad call, Ripley! Bad call!
So what about this bootleg that I bought? Well, it has a few notable features.
- The title is wrong. The title on the bootleg is Carnival of Lost Souls.
- The wrong lineup is on the front and back covers. They show the original Kiss, in makeup.
- Even though it says it’s “the complete 11 track version” on the front cover, Carnival of Souls has 12 tracks. Missing is “I Walk Alone”, the lone Bruce Kulick lead vocal.
- The songs are in the wrong order, and most have the wrong titles.
- “Hate” = “Hate (Is What I Am)”
- “Master & Slave” = “Tell Me”
- “Rain” = “I Think It’s Gonna Rain (Down On Me)”
- “It Never Goes Away” = “It Never Ends”
- “In the Mirror” = “(Take A Look) In the Mirror”
- “I Confess” = “You Confess”
At best, this is now just a weird oddity that sits in my closet, unlistened to, unwanted, unloved, for the rest of eternity. There’s $30 I’ll never get back again. Yeah, like I said, it was a bad call!