You Wanted The Best, You Got The Best…The Hottest Band In The World…KISS!

Take a minute to think about it… How many KISS fans had been given chills down their spine by the sheer listening to this famous intro, only seconds before their favorite band hits the stage and gives a performance that would be permanently engraved to their memory? On the 30th of January, 2008 KISS celebrated 35 years of constant presence and decided that it was the right time for… not just another special article. You see, it would be too easy to put down on paper (or more likely on word processor) some milestones in KISS’ career. However, we wanted to give to the entire KISS Army a gift to remember and cherish for all 2008! 30 noteworthy KISS-related figures that have been connected at a point in their lives with KISS turn back the hands of time and remember their KISS experience. Every 10 days we will be adding the recollection of a different KISS-related figure, like Jim Vallance, Bob Gruen, Robert Fleischman, Jay Messina etc. Sit back, relax and enjoy this Rocket Ride that will keep us company for the rest of 2008!

Special Feature by: Sakis Nikas


ROBERT FLEISCHMAN (Lead Singer of Vinnie Vincent Invasion) How did you get to work with Vinnie Vincent in the first place? How did you guys meet?

Robert Fleischman: Vinnie called me up one day through a mutual friend that had told him about me. We got together in my home/studio. Vinnie played me some demos he was working on, and we wrote a song together. I think the song was “Do You Wanna Make Love”.  We were discussing continuing our work when he received the offer to join Kiss. After he left KISS, he came back to me and we went into a recording studio and did about 4 more songs. Vinnie took the project to Chrysalis Records where he was able to land a deal without me. I found out what he had done, essentially excluding me from the deal, so as you could guess that that was pretty upsetting. I began to get calls from him to come and do the record, but I refused to because of what had happened. Then more calls came day and night from Vinnie explaining why I had to do the record. Apparently, Chrysalis had signed him for the sound we had made together; so many offers were sent my way by Vinnie.  At the time, my son Austin was on his way, so it just made sense to do it. The first Invasion album was one of the best sellers of the year for Chrysalis Record. What do you remember from the recordings of that album?

Robert Fleischman: I remember the auditions for the other band members. That was when we found Bobby Rock. I thought he would make the group very interesting. As far as wild stories go, yes, there are some...When it was time for me to do the vocals for the album, Vinnie had wallpapered the vocal booth from floor to ceiling with playboy centerfolds. I thought that was pretty funny, I had nicknamed it the “titty box” and thought to myself, he must have quite a subscription. Also I recall my first day of recording when I walked into the studio and saw Vinnie’s amplifiers. There were about 8 Marshall stacks in a circle which looked like Stonehenge…a real scene out of Spinal Tap. Another time Vinnie was doing overdubs and his guitar kept getting out of tune. So after many times of trying to do this one lead, he finally had had it with the guitar’s tuning. He proceeded to throw the guitar on the ground, pulled his pants down, and piss all over it. We couldn’t go into the studio for about 3 or 4 days because of the condensation and odor. Why did you leave almost immediately after the completion of the record?

Robert Fleischman: I was never fired. Vinnie had a manager whose only experience was being a road manager. The manager had promised Chrysalis that he would tie me up in a contract. So at the photo shoot for the album, the manager came to me with this document as thick as the phone book and told me to sign it, saying “trust me, it’s ok”. I told him that I wanted to take it to my lawyer, a thing that is typical in these situations, but he insisted that I sign it right then and there. So I refused. Obviously I was once again pegged as a “difficult” person. He went back to Chrysalis and had to tell them that I didn’t sign, but he had already led Chrysalis to believe that I will sign. So he was caught in a lie and the shit hit the fan. So then I started getting calls from Chrysalis telling me to sign a deal which would tie me up without any money advances or anything. I said no to them, they threatened me by saying they would take my voice off the album, so I told them to do what they had to do. Obviously taking my voice off would have cost them a great deal more of money, but I never heard from them after that. They found another vocalist to sign apparently and they probably gave him very little money. A few months later I had people telling me to turn on MTV. So I turned on MTV to see the premier of Vinnie’s new video “Boyz Are Gonna Rock” expecting to hear their new singer’s vocals. To my surprise my voice was coming out of this guy’s mouth as he was dressed in leather pants with panties on the outside. So that was the first Millie Vanillie type situation. Needless to say, there was a legal dispute over it, which I won. After a long hiatus between you and Vinnie, you once again worked together for the EP "Euphoria" and the defunct album "Guitarmageddon". Tell us a little bit about that reunion.

Robert Fleischman: We spent a few months in the studio. Things were different because Bobby Rock wasn’t involved in the project. It was basically Vinnie playing both guitar and bass tracks. I later came in to do the vocals to tie everything together. A lot of the vocals that you may have heard from all of the “bootlegs” are rough drafts of the song; they are not the final version of how the songs were meant to be. In the middle of the project Vinnie started thinking that he wanted to talk to other record labels, although he already had a contract with a label that was financing the album. Well the other labels started inquiring with the label he was with about the status of Vinnie, and obviously he got himself into a bit of trouble which ended the deal. Vinnie seems to have abandoned music. Actually, nobody knows his whereabouts for the last 4-5 years. Do you keep in touch with him? What do you remember the most about him? How is Vinnie as a person and as a musician?

Robert Fleischman: Unfortunately, I have not kept in touch with him. Last I heard he was in Tennessee. Although we have quite a checkered past, mostly I remember that he was always kind to me and we had a mutual respect for one another on a musical level. I remember he was a good father. One thing I learned recently was that his parents were professional Country/Western musicians. Vinnie’s guitar playing that most people hear is just one of the many dimensions of his capabilities as a guitarist. Would you work with Vinnie again?

Robert Fleischman: At this time in my life I have my own work to pursue. Namely, my most current album “Look at the Dream” which can be purchased in US stores or off of my website/myspace, has been keeping me busy. I am also working on some international deals at this time—so the album will soon have European distribution.