Saturday, March 10, 2007

Sean Delaney

There are few people in KISS history that were as important to the success of the band as Sean Delaney. Sean served from the very beginning as roadie, tour manager, producer, choreographer, hair stylist, sound and light man, co-writer, a lot. Enough to be confirmed as 'The Fifth Member' of Kiss those early years, by Bill Aucoin. Delaney's previous jobs as beautician and hairdresser and theatrical background came in handy while helping KISS with their make up and blue/black/silver hair.
As I said in here earlier, this is an album I had been looking for for quite some years. Turned out to be the most hard to get vinyl LP I ever got my hands on. It took 25 years to be able to hold it in my own hands, and to hear it. And when I did, it was a gift from a good friend, knowing my wish to hear & have it. Thanks a lot, Stig! To say I was curious is a huge understatement. Although I didn't know what to expect, I had not heard a single second of it through all these years, Sean Delaney already had earned my respect for his involvement in some music & bands I appreciated a lot, years ago. Well, Kiss ofcourse. But maybe even more as a producer of Billy Squiers Piper - 'Can't Wait'. And Starz, the band he 'found', and brought to Aucoin Management (Kiss) as well as gave the band it's name.

Bill Aucoin managed Sean Delaney once, as an artist, and said years ago in an interview:
Yeah, Sean Delaney put out an album ("Highway") which is really kind of the story of our life together. And then he did The Skatt Bros who were a great band who did a fantastic album. That dance market was kind of ending and Neil Bogart of Casablanca (who released it) was getting sick and someone else took over the label. Sean had always had a troubled life when I first met him. He had a band called Trust that was about to be signed to Elektra Records and the band broke up just as they were about to be signed. Sean always had that unfortunate side.
He was quite a character, as much or more of a character than any of the members of Kiss. Sean was very flamboyant, embellished everything and a great story teller and he had a lot of heartbreak with Kiss. He didn’t get paid for a lot of the stuff he did. He really felt awkward. It was a really bad separation for a while. He did an awful lot for them, including writing and producing and everything. So it was a bittersweet ending unfortunately for Sean. He never really got that altogether again with them.

From an interview with the band Starz:
'Sean Delaney was a huge inspiration to Starz. He was there for the band in the early years, as he had been for management stablemates Kiss. He was also responsible for coming up with the band name. Sean sadly passed away last year. But there was none more colourful than he was. Everything he did was big. He came to every rehearsal, six days a week, five to six hours a day. He was a very intense person, more so than the band. There was one day when it was snowing really badly, really impossible weather, and Sean called me to ask why I hadn’t come in. He wouldn’t take the weather as an excuse and drove over to collect me himself!!"

Sean and Donna Summer, doing backup vocals on Gene Simmons first solo album.

His involvement in Kiss co-writing & producing:
Kiss - Rock And Roll Over - Take Me (Paul Stanley, Sean Delaney)
Kiss - Rock And Roll Over - Mr. Speed (Paul Stanley, Sean Delaney)
Kiss - Rock And Roll Over - Makin' Love (Paul Stanley, Sean Delaney)
Kiss Alive II - All American Man (Paul Stanley, Sean Delaney)
Kiss Alive II - Rocket Ride (Ace Frehley, Sean Delaney)
Peter Criss - Solo (1978) - Rock Me, Baby (Sean Delaney) & produced
Peter Criss - Solo (1978) - I Can't Stop The Rain (Sean Delaney) & produced
Gene Simmons - Solo (1978) - Produced by Sean Delaney
Double Platinum (1978) - Strutter '78 - Produced by Kiss & Sean Delaney

Sean & his best friend in Kiss, Peter Criss.

Delaney started working on a book manuscript in 1995, but never finished it before he died in 2003. The book was later finished by Bill Aucoin, Sean Delaney's family, and named 'Sean Delanay's Hellbox'. I have never read it, but it's said to be a very thin book, app. 100 pages, and NO photos, and not a very 'finished' product in any way. Although full of facts & info from this rather hidden past in KISS history...

R. I. P.

Prentice 'Sean' Delaney - Songwriter and record producer credited with signing KISS to their first recording contract, who was their first road manager and was often called KISS’s "fifth member", who helped choreograph their stage shows and wrote a number of KISS songs including ''Rocket Ride'', ''All American Man'' and ''Living In Sin'', died April 13, 2003, after a stroke in Orem, UT at age 58.

And the album? Well, not a bad album, by all means, but more interesting historically than a classic one. His role in music make it anyway an interesting listen. And the year of release as well, the year after the four individual Kiss members solo albums. There's not hard to find details from both Gene Simmons solo album here, and his production of Piper - Can't wait, production- and arrangementwise.
I'm glad I found it at last. Glad I've heard it. But most of all glad the search is over.
Anyway, there's always some hard to get gems out there, so I guess the search'll never stop, just the goals...
Now you can get it in minutes. My own vinyl rip. Enjoy!

Casablanca NBLP-7130 (USA, Jan. 1979)

A1. Welcome To The Circus (4:00) - Delaney
A2. High On The Liquor Of Love (3:07) - Delaney
A3. Somebody Love Me (4:10) - Delaney
A4. Baton Rouge (3:47) - Delaney
A5. Old Man (4:08) - Delaney
B1. You Beat Me To The Punch (3:18) - Robinson, Smokey
B2. Spotlights (3:50) - Delaney
B3. It's Over (3:20) - Delaney
B4. Walk On The Water (5:36) - Delaney/Swevel
B5. Dreams (5:17) - Delaney

The album is dedicated to the members KISS. Produced by Sean Delaney and Mike Stone. Engineered by Mike Stone. Features an all star cast including the likes of Luther Vandross and Allen Schwarzberg. Track B2 was demoed for Peter Criss' solo album and would have appeared creditted to both Peter and Sean had it been used.



Freak Magnet said...

Yes! You're back!

Alocacoc said...

Yes, alive & kickin'... ;) Just been a busy time here. Although, it's getting harder to post rare stuff that's not been posted recently by others, in other blogsites... I'll do my best.

Winslow Leach said...

Many thanks! I've been waiting to hear this for years and I love that offbeat-AOR sound. "High On The Liquor Of Love" alone makes this worth a download - it's the kind of song Gene Simmons would write if he was a drinker.

Anonymous said...

Damn, this has gone, can anyone re up it? Been after this for years.

Alocacoc said...

Yes, it's hard to find.
I'll reup it when I get the time.

DL said...

Great piece on a great man!
Just have to point out that the album is first dedicated to Gui [=Bill Aucoin], then Gene, Paul, Ace & Peter.

Bryan J. Kinnaird finished the "Sean Delaney's Hell Box" book (read it! It's thin - 120 pages - and not 20% of what I imagine it should've been, but good anyway). Was Bill Aucoin involved at all with that one?? It's got two small photos of Sean (and one photo of mr Kinnaird).

After these small corrections, I just have to say a HUGE F-IN' THANK YOU MAN!!! for making Highway digitally avaliable! I got my LP a few years ago - it's fantastic!! - and it has already worn down slightly. You're the hero of the day/week/month/year for making such a fitting tribute to remember his passing 5 years ago. You rule.

Anonymous said...

ps - oups, didn't realise you wrote it in 2007 already.

Ron Harold said...

I woke up this morning thinking about Sean Delaney and decided to Google him. When I did, I found out he died last year. So Sad.

About 17 years ago, I was hitch-hiking thru Utah, (Seattle to Louisiana) carrying my guitar and small amp. I was standing on the side of the highway when a long-haired guy in a small red sports car slowed down to offer me a ride. The driver said, "Where you goin?" I said, "I'm trying to get to Shreveport Louisiana - my hometown." The driver said, "Well, I'm not going far......I already reached my exit but I decided to turn around since I saw you and your guitar and amp, so I thought I'd try to help you out. Can you play that thing?" I said, "You kiddin? I'm the baddest of the badd." The driver, clearing the passenger seat said, "Well, why don't you hop in? I can take you to my house and you can eat and rest and maybe you can join the band I'm producing. Why don't you come try out for the band?"

I hesitated to get in and said, "I'm just trying' to get back to Louisiana, but WTF - let's go." I threw my guitar and little amp in his car and off we sped........

The long-haired dude shook my hand, saying, "Hi, I'm Sean Delaney and I invented KISS. You ever heard of KISS?"
I said, "Yeah, of course." I remember thinkin', "This guy either is tryin' to get my booty or he's really who he says he is. I think I can take him if he tries anything, though. I hope he is who he says he is."

The long-haired driver kept talking to me while he drove to his house. It wasn't far from where he picked me up. Upon arrival at his house, we went inside and the first thing he did was hand me a KISS Live double-album and told me to pull out one of the albums and look at the name of the producer on the album: I said, "Produced by Sean Delaney" Then the long-haired dude pulled out his driver's license and showed it to me, saying, "See's my driver's license - I'm Sean Delaney." I looked at it and said, "Kewl."

Then Sean pulled down a gold album off his wall and handed it to me. I looked at it: it was a gold album with Sean Delaney's name on it. Very impressive.

Sean offered me something to drink and I plugged up my little amp and played Sean some guitar. Sean said, "Wow! That's the baddest guitar playin' I ever heard!" I said, "Thanks man.......I taught myself....I've been playin' since I was 12." Sean said, "Why don't you spend the night here and audition for the band, then if you don't want to stay, you can leave in the mornin'." I said, "Well, ok......but I'm tellin' you, I just want to get back to Louisiana, but I really appreciate your hospitality." Sean and I talked for hours, telling me about his experience with KISS an his current life. Sean answered all questions I had about KISS, and told me some helluva KISS road stories and "occurrences," including the one about the customized Porshe he bought while on a midnight coke binge in Beverly Hills, whereupon Sean got the owner of the dealership to open up the store in the middle of the night because Sean wanted to buy a customized Porshe - black with black-tinted windows, etc. Sean paid for the car and the dealership owner said he would have it ready in a few days. Sean told me he was so coked out that he forgot all about it, till years later, when he sobered up.....he was thinkin about the past and suddenly remembered, "Goddamn, I bought a customized Porshe but never picked it up!" Sean said he telephoned the dealership immediately, inquiring about his car. The dealer told him, "We've been trying to contact you for years and we couln't reach you, so we just put the car in the back and saved it for years until last week, where we finally sold the car for storage fees." Sean said he felt sick when he heard that.

Sean told me quite a bit about himself and KISS. On balance, Sean seemed like a very sincere, kind, genuine gentleman, who felt bad and responsible for his bad coke habit which led to his financial demise. I told Sean that he should have more money anyway, from his involvement with KISS. I told Sean he should write a book about his KISS days......Sean said he had thought about it but blew it off because he thought KISS wouldn't like it. I said, "Fuck KISS - you can't even call'em up and ask for help, so fuck'em....write the book....I'll help you write it." Sean said he would think about it some more. Sean had ambiguous feelings about KISS. I am reluctant here to repeat what he said about certain members of KISS.

That night, Sean took me to his band's rehearsal spot and I "auditioned" for the band, playing their songs. They were a country music band and I hate country music, but like everything else I play, I performed it well. The band leader and band liked me and offered me a gig with them, a car and a place to live. They were very nice folks and were very nice to me. I respectfully declined. They asked me, "What are you goin' to do? You don't have any money or any car - what are you goin' to do?" I told them and Sean, "Listen, I really, really appreciate it, but in the mornin' I'd appreciate it if you could just take me and my guitar and amp back to the spot where you picked me up at and I'll be on my way."

They were semi-dumbfounded.

Sean tried talking me into staying at his house, but I said no thanks, but I will stay in touch with you (and I did).
Sean drove me back to the highway the next mornin' and dropped me off on the side of the highway with my stuff.
I stuck my thumb out and was on my way...............r o n

pier said...

Awwwwww! I'm SO looking forward to listen to this album! I've never found it anywhere and I love the work Sean did with (and for) KISS.
Thankyous... truckloads of 'em!!!

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singar67 said...

Thanks...I saw this on vinyl many years ago and didn't buy it...been kicking myself since. This will be great to finally hear.

TJ said...

he was the best great uncle i ever had and its almost been 7 years sense we put him in his final resting place but we will always remember him for who he was

James Schmitt said...

well i met Sean in 1971 in the East Village in NYC - he was sittin' on bench playin' his guitbox - i invited him over to my pad so we could jam a bit - i was working as a roadie for johnny maestro & the brooklyn bridge at the time - since Sean & i got along, i asked him if he wanted to go on the road w: us to which he agreed & off we went - my "musical career " began w: Sean when we'd open for the Johnny & the Bridge - i got to know Guy Aucoin when Sean & he lived in Joisey -i also knew sean's brother Leon - Being a draft dodger & not wanting to go to Nam, i left for France - thus ended my relationship with Sean - Many years later a friend of mine told me that Sean & Guy were managing Kiss - much later ihooked up with them & spent a couple of weeks hanging at their office & messing round lektrik ladyland studios & driving Guy home while he slept in my lap - Sean offered me whatever position i wished to pursue in "his/their " empire - unfortunately fame & riches were'nt my cup of tea so i wen't back to Europa & settle in the Pyrenees on the border with Spain & France - Thanks to the Web, i finally read the news that sean had passed away - Rest in Peace bro, you were quite a character ! - jean marie james schmitt