Toad the Wet Sprocket, ‘Rock and Roll All Nite’ – Terrible Classic Rock Covers
When the rock band Kiss decided — with typical immodesty — to put together an all-star tribute album to themselves back in 1994, you had to expect the results would be a bit of a mixed bag. But there’s no way anybody could have figured a cover as terrible as Toad the Wet Sprocket’s version of ‘Rock and Roll All Nite’ would ever be allowed to see the light of day.
To be sure, there are some strange interpretations of Kiss classics on here — Yoshiki’s heavily orchestrated version of ‘Black Diamond‘ and Shandi’s Addiction’s take on ‘Calling Dr. Love‘ spring to mind. But for the most part, everyone does a fine job straddling the line between the source material and their own personal sound — including Anthrax (‘She‘), Lenny Kravitz and Stevie Wonder (‘Deuce‘), the Mighty Mighty Bosstones (‘Detroit Rock City) and even Garth Brooks on ‘Hard Luck Woman.’
It’s admittedly very admirable of Toad the Wet Sprocket, best known for soft alt-rock hits like ‘Walk on the Ocean’ and ‘All I Want,’ to attempt such a distinct version of an iconic song like ‘Rock and Roll All Nite.’
But stripping away the electric guitars and slowing down the pace of this party anthem so it sounds like a lilting campfire tune doesn’t reveal any hidden depth in the lyrics or offer a rewarding new perspective on the original song’s catchy melody. It just sucks. Again, brave attempt, good effort, but the only proper response to the first in-studio playback should have been, “OK, so burn that — what else can we try?”
In the band’s defense, none other than Kiss’ own Gene Simmons has stated that he strongly disagrees with this opinion: “I give that an absolute ‘A’ just for balls-to-the-wall bravery … to me, Toad’s version is every bit as relevant as everyone else’s, ours included.”
Listen to Kiss’ ‘Rock and Roll All Nite’