Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Rock Stars Record KISS 40th Anniversary Tribute Album To Benefit Montreal Cancer Hospice


Montreal rock journalist and KISS fanatic Mitch Lafon wanted to help raise some cash to benefit The Vaudreuil-Soulanges Palliative Care Residence after his father-in-law James Stanley Droulis passed away from cancer last month. Within days of dreaming up his KISS 40th Anniversary Tribute Album for charity – the album will be called A World With Heroes – a who’s who of the hard-rock world have come on board, including members of such bands as Cinderella, Guns N’ Roses, Whitesnake and Montreal’s very own Slaves on Dope.

“I was very impressed with the staff and care given at the Vaudreuil-Soulanges Palliative Care Residence and I wanted to give back, but didn’t know how,” says Lafon, a West-Island native. “A couple of weeks after my father-in-law passed away, KISS – one of my favorite bands – celebrated their 40th anniversary, and that’s when the light in my head went off. Having been a rock journalist for over 20 years, I thought why not combine my love for KISS, the friends I’ve made in the rock world and do something spectacular for the palliative care unit? I could certainly raise greater awareness and funds this way than anything I could do on my own.”

The list of rock stars who have agreed to record tracks for the KISS tribute album is impressive: Eric Brittingham (bass – Cinderella) , Jeff LaBar (guitars – Cinderella) and Troy Lucketta (drums – Tesla); Terry Ilous (Great White), Bumblefoot (GNR), Mark Slaughter (Slaughter), Russ Dwarf (The Killer Dwarfs), Ron Young (Little Caesar), Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake), Rex Brown (Pantera, Kill Devil Hill), Dery Grehan (Honeymoon Suite), Bill Leverty (Firehouse), Phil Lewis (LA GUNS), Doro, Tommy Denander, Slaves on Dopes, Phil Naro (ex-Talas and Peter Criss), Ron Keel and Sean Kelly (Nelly Furtado’s band and Helix). Lafon expects to announce more musicians shortly.

“I did my first interview when I was 11 years old, back in 1980 with non other than Gene Simmons of KISS,” says Lafon.

“It’s been years of doing interviews and cultivating friendships,” Lafon continues. “I simply called up ‘my rock star buddies’ or emailed them, told them my plan and one-by-one they hopped on board, many saying, ‘Anything for you Mitch.’ Everybody participating on this album is donating their time and talents. Nobody made any demands. Everybody just said, ‘What song do you want and when do you want it by and it shall be done.’ It really was that easy. Egos have been put aside and truly human spirit has prevailed.”

Montreal rockers Slaves on Dope – who themselves are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year – will record two songs, Anything For My Baby and New York Groove.

“Mitch mentioned his project to me and who was involved, and honestly, we did it because of Mitch – I like him a lot, he’s really nice, sincere and a huge KISS fan, and when he told us why he was doing this, it was a slam-dunk,” says Slaves on Dope frontman and CHOM deejay Jason Rockman. “We love early KISS and to be attached to this project is really nice.”

KISS fans can be a part of the creation of this album by donating money or pre-ordering the album via Pledgemusic. There’s a ton of really cool memorabilia being offered to donors.

Says Lafon, “The initial goal is to raise $15, 000 and it’s intended for the charity. We will have to pay the ‘mechanical licenses’ for the permission to use the songs – which has nothing to do with KISS, it’s simply the law – and we’ll have to pay for the manufacturing of the CDs which runs about $1.50 to 2$ per disc.

“I want to be very clear: The mastering house is taking NO money. They have donated their services. The graphic artist doing the album artwork has donated his services. The ‘rock stars’ have donated their talents. The artists are assuming their own recording costs. I’m not taking a single cent from this, not even as much as paying for a cup of coffee for myself. Hopefully, the project will not only reach the goal but double, triple, etc. it. Would be nice to raise $100,000$ or $200,000 and more.”

The deadline to make a pledge for the A World With Heroes KISS 40th Anniversary Tribute album for cancer care is April 17. Click here for more info and to make a pledge, click here for Mitch Lafon’s all-star rock’n’roll Dropping The Needle podcasts; and here for POP TART’s interview with Gene Simmons of KISS