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The KISS Album Focus Volumes, 1 – 4 [Book Review]

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 The KISS Album Focus, Volume 1: Kings of the Night Time World (1972 – 1982)
The KISS Album Focus, Volume 2: Hell or High Water (1983 – 1996)
The KISS Album Focus, Volume 3: Roar of Greasepaint (1997 – 2006)
The KISS Album Focus, Volume 4: Never Enough (2006 – 2013)
by Julian Gill
KISSFAQ.com Publishing

For many years, the website KISSFAQ.com (not affiliated with or endorsed by the band KISS) was the source of a lot of great info on the band. What I found most entertaining and informative was the website’s “KISS Album Focus” series where the band’s recording history was broken down into detail. These considerably lengthy articles were all posted and available for free. Eventually, he Album Focus articles were pulled from the site and were slowly released in book format starting in 2002 (with updated editions being published at various points). As of this writing, the series covers the band beginnings all the way up to 2013.

In addition to KISS albums, these books also focus on what every band member was up to pre- & post-KISS. Various editions of albums and singles are discussed as well.

I’ve read a lot of KISS books over the years and these are some of the best. While this isn’t technically a biography of the band, it does cover every album the band has released (including compilations and live albums) and talks about events during and leading up those releases.

I started with Volume 2 because it covers my favorite era of the band. I think KISS’ run during the ’80s and early ’90s is much more interesting than the classic period. We’ve heard all the stories from the band’s 1970s heyday a million times. so my eyes and ears always perk up when I get to read about what went on post-originals/pre-reunion.

Next I purchased volumes three and four. Volume 3 was interesting because it focuses on the reunion and while I already knew that Psycho Circus wasn’t a true reunion album, I didn’t realize how much of a mess relations were in the band from the get-go. Volume 4 covers the shortest amount of time out of all the books and according has the least amount of pages. I was a bit disappointed with this one because I felt surely there’d be much more to say with the band kick-starting their creatives juices with the releases of Sonic Boom and Monster.

Finally, I picked up Volume 1. I almost bought the $5 Kindle version because the paperback was listed as being out of print and prices on copies of it skyrocketed up around $40. Just a few days earlier the paperback was in stock and had been listed at around $17 or so. I mulled over whether I wanted an e-book to complete the set but after doing that for a few weeks, Amazon got more paperback copies in, so everything turned out okay.

My biggest complaint about this series is that Julian Gill really could’ve used an editor (or a spell-check/grammar check program). Words are omitted, words are misspelled, entire paragraphs are repeated but worded differently… This happens throughout the entire series but seems to happen the most in Volume 1.

I wouldn’t recommend these books to a casual KISS fan that may only pick up a Gene Simmons book for a quick read, but all hardcore KISS fans should read and love this series. These are books I’ll be referring to and re-reading certain chapters for many more years to come!

Ace Frehley – Space Invader [Review]

ace-frehley-space-invader-cover

Ace Frehley – Space Invader
2014, eOne Music

1. Space Invader
2. Gimme A Feelin’ [Radio Edit]
3. I Wanna Hold You
4. Change
5. Toys
6. Immortal Pleasure
7. Inside the Vortex
8. What Every Girl Wants
9. Past the Milky Way
10. Reckless
11. The Joker
12. Starship

Musicians:
Ace Frehley – Vocals, Guitar, Bass
Matt Starr – Drums
Chris Wyse – Bass

Producer: Ace Frehley

There was a sticker on the wrapper that said “Space Ace has out KISSed KISS. This may end up the best KISS album KISS never recorded.” Relax, dude.

Of course, Ace being Ace, you can’t help but pick out the classic KISS sound on a few of these tracks. It’s a part of who he is as a musician. That classic KISS sound couldn’t have existed without Ace playing lead. “Toys” and “Inside the Vortex” have that classic KISS vibe. And “Inside the Vortex” actually sounds like something that fits right alongside “Modern Day Delilah” and “I’m An Animal” from KISS’ Sonic Boom album. “What Every Girl Wants” isn’t a standout track but it has a KISS vibe as well.

It’s the first four tracks that I find to be the best. “Space Invader” is some of Ace’s best guitar work in decades. “Gimme A Feelin'” and “I Wanna Hold You” are kinda like amped up ’50s/’60s rock. Very catchy. Especially “I Wanna Hold You” (which is tied with “Space Invader” as my absolute favorite song from the album). “Change” reminds me of something we might’ve heard from Frehley’s Comet back in the late ’80s.

Maybe it requires further listening but “Restless” strikes me as a bit of filler and Ace’s cover of the Steve Miller Band’s “The Joker” is most unwelcome. Not because of Ace’s performance but because the original song itself is terrible.

Ace closes the album with an instrumental called “Starship”, which is worthy successor to the “Fractured” series of instrumentals and done in the same vein. I would not be mad if any and all future Ace albums continued to feature “Fractured”-like instrumental. It would be nice to have a compilation of all of these instrumentals. I’m sure something like that will pop up on YouTube eventually if it isn’t already there. I would have to listen back to know for sure but off the top of my head the song “Immortal Pleasures” (which is not an instrumental) seems reminiscent of the “Fractured” instrumentals.

I don’t feel bad that Ace is not in KISS anymore. He signed his rights away to the character he created and left the band on at least two different occasions of his own freewill and I think he can be just as much of a flaky, egotistical trash-talker as Gene, Paul and Peter can be. I’m saying this to show that I’m not an Ace fanboy and while I thought Anomaly was good, I was only mildly interested in this CD as I figured Ace probably didn’t have enough in the tank to even match the quality of that album. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised to be wrong! This is a great album and blows Anomaly away. Space Invader easily trumps everything, except Ace’s first solo album way back in 1978.

Highlights: “Space Invader”, “Gimme A Feelin'”, “I Wanna Hold You”, “Change”, “Inside the Vortex”, “Past the Milky Way”, “Starship”

 

KISS – Rock and Roll Over [Review]

rock-and-roll-over

KISS – Rock and Roll Over [Remastered]
1997, Mercury Records
Originally Release: 1976, Casablanca Records

1. “I Want You”
2. “Take Me”
3. “Calling Dr. Love”
4. “Ladies Room”
5. “Baby Driver”
6. “Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em”
7. “Mr. Speed”
8. “See You In Your Dreams”
9. “Hard Luck Woman”
10. “Makin’ Love”

Band:
Paul Stanley – Vocals, Guitar
Ace Frehley – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Gene Simmons – Vocals, Bass
Peter Criss – Drums, Vocals

Producer: Eddie Kramer

After the experimental and successful Destroyer, KISS changed directions yet again with the release of Rock and Roll Over, which came just 8 months after Destroyer. While I always assumed KISS didn’t want to rest on their laurels or make Destroyer II, according to Paul Stanley, without Bob Ezrin producing the band was scared to blaze further down the trail that Destroyer had set. So they reverted back to the no-frills hard rock heard on Rock and Roll Over because that was what they knew best.

While Paul has stated this album was a “letdown” and that he didn’t think Eddie Kramer captured the proper sound of the band, I have to disagree as far as it being a letdown. Proper production on the other hand, whether a product of times or what, plagued KISS during the 1970s. I agree that this album doesn’t sound all that powerful but other than the Ezrin-produced Destroyer, nothing KISS did in the ’70s sounded all that energetic from a production standpoint.

The songs are top notch though with only “Take Me” and “See You In Your Dreams” coming across as a bit of filler. “I Want You”, “Ladies Room”, “Baby Driver”, “Mr. Speed” and “Makin’ Love” are some of the band’s best rockers. “Makin’ Love” especially so. Then you’ve got one of Gene’s signature songs — “Calling Dr. Love” while “Hard Luck Woman” is a trademark for Peter right up there with “Beth”. In fact, Peter gets lead vocals on “Baby Driver” as well and I wish he was given more vocal duties during his time spent in KISS.

For this KISS fan, Rock and Roll Over is one of the band’s best and most consistent efforts.

Highlights: ” I Want You”, “Calling Dr. Love”, “Ladies Room”, “Baby Driver”, “Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em”, “Mr. Speed”, “Hard Luck Woman”, “Makin’ Love”

KISS – Destroyer [Review]

Kiss_Destroyer1

KISS – Destroyer [Remastered]
1997, Mercury Records
Originally Released: 1976, Casablanca Records Buy the album at Amazon.com

1. “Detroit Rock City”
2. “King of the Night Time World”
3. “God of Thunder”
4. “Great Expectations”
5. “Flaming Youth”
6. “Sweet Pain”
7. “Shout It Out Loud”
8. “Beth”
9. “Do You Love Me?”
10. “Rock and Roll Party” [hidden track]

Band:
Paul Stanley – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Gene Simmons – Lead Vocals, Bass
Ace Frehley – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Peter Criss – Drums, Vocals

Additional Musicians:
Dick Wagner – Guitar (“Sweet Pain” & “Beth”)

Producer: Bob Ezrin

You have to give KISS credit after having just come off the success of the Alive! album — instead of coming up with a new studio release that sounded similar to their three first studio albums, they wanted something a little different and tapped Alice Cooper/Pink Floyd producer Bob Ezrin to help them come up with it. Ezrin hold a co-writing credit on every song but “Sweet Pain” and “God of Thunder”.

There’s some weird stuff here. “Great Expectations” is complete with an orchestra. It’s odd, but I like it. “Flaming Youth” could’ve easily been an Alice Cooper track, I think. “Sweet Pain” is standard fare that could’ve easily been on Rock and Roll Over (which would be the band’s second album release for 1976!). “Rock and Roll Party” is a hidden track that uses echos and what sounds like backmasking and comes off as kinda creepy and I’m sure it probably only served as fuel to those that thought KISS were Knights In Satan’s Service.

Then, of course you’ve got “Detroit Rock City”, “Shout It Out Loud” and “God of Thunder”. All of which are stone-cold classics that still make it to the set list. “Beth” is another vintage KISS track and I’ve always had a soft spot for “Do You Love Me?” (which the band had a great performance of during their MTV Unplugged set).

Gene & Paul might say this is the best album KISS ever made but that probably has more to do with it making the most money. For me, it’s not their best, there’s a few quirky numbers here. They aren’t bad but they get totally outshined by “Beth, “Shout It Out Loud”, “God of Thunder” and “Detroit Rock City”.

Highlights: “Detroit Rock City”, “King of the Night Time World”, “God of Thunder”, “Great Expectations”, “Shout It Loud”, “Beth”, “Do You Love Me?”

KISS – Dressed to Kill [Review]

Dressed_to_Kill_(album)_cover

KISS – Dressed to Kill [Remastered]
1997, Mercury Records
Original Release: 1975, Casablanca Records
Buy the album at Amazon.com

1. “Room Service”
2. “Two Timer”
3. “Ladies in Waiting”
4. “Getaway”
5. “Rock Bottom”
6. “C’mon and Love Me”
7. “Anything for My Baby”
8. “She”
9. “Love Her All I Can”
10. “Rock and Roll All Nite”

Band:
Paul Stanley – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Gene Simmons – Lead Vocals, Bass
Ace Frehley – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Peter Criss – Drums, percussion, Lead/Backing Vocals

Producer: Neil Bogart

Dressed to Kill is the band’s third album and it was released only 13 months after the band’s debut! They don’t crank ’em out like that anymore. In the case of KISS and Casablanca Records, they were determined to be a success and that was the cause of the rapid fire release of new studio albums. As a live act, KISS’ popularity was unquestioned but still weren’t finding chart success like they or the label had hoped (that wouldn’t come until the release of Alive! later in 1975).

This album is the very embodiment 1970s KISS and it’s gotta be the most consistent album from that decade for the band. There’s really no dud track here. This classic album captures a band that was still hungry and scrappy. Though they were gaining a large following, this was before they tasted true commercial success on music charts and before all of the merchandise.

Obviously, the most well-known song is “Rock and Roll All Nite” (which didn’t become a hit until a live version was released from the Alive! album) but I’m extremely tired of that song and actually believe it’s overrated. It was the most dumb and commercial song in their catalog at that point, so that’s why it caught on.

“Rock Bottom” is one of my favorite songs in the band’s catalog and Ace’s nearly classical sounding acoustic intro (which was tacked on to the rest of the song that Paul wrote) is fantastic and proves that Ace should’ve had a bigger musical influence during his time in the band. “C’mon and Love Me” is another one of my all time KISS favorites.

As I said before, Dressed to Kill truly is what KISS was all about in those early years and it’s the most KISS-like of all their studio albums from the 1970s, if that makes any sense.

Highlights: “Room Service”, “Two Timer”, “Getaway”, “Rock Bottom”, “C’mon and Love Me”, “Anything for My Baby”, “She”, “Love Her All I can”

My thoughts on KISS getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and album reviews coming

If you follow the world of rock/metal online, you’d be hard pressed not to know that KISS is finally getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 10, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. You’d also have to be living under a rock to not be aware of the controversy surrounding which members are (and are not) getting inducted. It’s become quite a mess. Gene & Paul are having it out in the press with Ace & Peter, Gene & Paul are having it out with the HOF’s induction process, the fans are having it out with Gene & Paul, etc. It goes on and on.

Here’s what we know: the Hall of Fame is inducting only Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. The original four members of KISS and that’s it. They aren’t inducting anyone else and they don’t want anyone else (such as Tommy Thayer & Eric Singer) performing at the induction ceremony. Frankly, that’s silly, but look — KISS has been eligible for induction for a long time and for the Hall of Fame execs to put this restriction on the band is just their way to make the induction as painful as possible for KISS. It’s like they couldn’t put off leaving KISS out of the Hall any longer because the public was becoming too vocal about their exclusion but at the same time the Hall of Fame didn’t want to make it a fun/easy process for the band.

No one is arguing the founders shouldn’t be in but I think all members should be inducted and that they should be allowed to perform with Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer (which the Hall does not want). My dream scenario is that everyone who has ever been in KISS gets inducted and then the classic line-up plays and then the modern line-up plays and/or they have all six of those guys (plus Bruce Kulick) jam together.

It’s not a big deal to induct every single member of KISS, so I don’t see why the Hall is resisting it:

  • No question, Eric Carr definitely deserves to be in. Great drummer and he contributed to the band for 11 years on many successful albums.
  • Bruce Kulick — same situation. He was there for 8 years and played on a number of KISS albums that went gold/platinum.
  • Vinnie Vincent. Not sure if anyone could even find this guy and he didn’t have the best relationship with Gene & Paul but even they would admit his guitar work and songwriting skills played a big hand in freshening up the band’s sound and giving them some of the best albums they’ve ever produced.
  • Eric Singer first joined KISS in 1991 after Eric Carr’s death, had a short stint in the early 2000s filling in for Peter Criss and has been their drummer since 2004 when Peter Criss once again left and has sung lead vocals on a handful of KISS tracks.
  • Tommy Thayer is a big force in the modern band. Great guitar player and he’s been playing with them since 2002 and has songwriting credits/vocal duties on the last two KISS albums. I could see someone maybe arguing against Tommy though given the time frame he joined, but I think he’s contributed enough to warrant the induction.
  • Given his very short tenure, Mark St. John is probably the only KISS member you could question for HOF status and say that he didn’t contribute much to the band… provided you consider playing on a platinum-selling album as not contributing much.

It’s nice that the band is getting inducted into something called the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when you consider the people who run the Hall and the list of people who have already been inducted, it’s anything but a legit rock hall. No one in their right mind would argue that if there is such a hall that KISS deserves to be there, but it’s sad that the RNR Hall of Fame is refusing to acknowledge the entire career of the band and wants to focus only on the 1970s.

It’s a tough pill to swallow for some KISS fans but I actually applaud Gene & Paul for refusing to give in and play strictly with Ace & Peter. They want all eras of KISS to be recognized and they think Eric & Tommy deserve to stand on stage. I agree. I know there is the whole Gene & Paul vs. Ace & Peter thing, and that’s sad, but I don’t have a problem with Gene & Paul’s “all or nothing” stance.

Now, I recently noticed there’s a surprising amount of KISS albums I haven’t yet reviewed. I could’ve sworn I reviewed them all! Well, with all the buzz regarding KISS these days thanks to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the fact that this year is the band’s 40th anniversary, there’s no better time than now to finish reviewing the band’s catalog! Be on the look out for those reviews in the coming weeks.

KISS – Smashes, Thrashes & Hits

KISS – Smashes, Thrashes & Hits (1988, Mercury Records)

1. “Let’s Put the X in Sex” … 3:48
2. “(You Make Me) Rock Hard” … 3:26
3. “Love Gun” … 3:31
4. “Detroit Rock City” … 3:45
5. “I Love It Loud” … 3:47
6. “Deuce” … 3:20
7. “Lick It Up” … 3:53
8. “Heaven’s on Fire”… 3:19
9. “Calling Dr. Love” … 3:38
10. “Strutter” … 3:38
11. “Beth” (Eric Carr vocal) … 2:46
12. “Tears Are Falling” … 3:54
13. “I Was Made for Lovin’ You” … 4:29
14. “Rock and Roll All Nite” … 2:56
15. “Shout It Out Loud” … 3:07

Smashes, Thrashes & Hits is a KISS compilation aimed at the MTV generation that had helped breathe new life into the band during the ’80s (this album itself would go onto double platinum status). There are five tracks that come from either Creatures of the Night, Lick It Up, Animalize or Asylum while eight tracks feature some of the band’s classic ’70s material. Most of the songs from the 1970s were remixed for this collection.

Basically, the remixes amount to nothing and I could care less whether I’m listening to original or “remixed” versions, they sound the same to my unrefined ears. In the case of “Beth”, the vocals were re-recorded with Eric Carr (who does quite a good job on the song). Two additional tracks were recorded for this album and along with having the Eric Carr version of “Beth”, they are the only reason I was interested in owning this album.

“Let’s Put the X in Sex” and “(You Make Me) Rock Hard” are definitely songs of the time and follow the same pattern of the Crazy Nights album that came out in 1987 (which, surprisingly, is not represented here at all). Very cheesy and sexually-driven and they’ve always sounded to me as if they could’ve been recorded by Aerosmith around the same time. That’s probably because frequent Aerosmith collaborator Desmond Child co-wrote these songs with Paul Stanley! Future Aerosmith collaborator Diane Warren (“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”) helped to co-write “(You Make Me) Rock Hard” as well.

Despite Paul Stanley swearing off both of these songs, I love them for the guilty pleasures that they are. I loved both of these songs from the first time I heard them and the lyrics are just plain cheesy hornball fun to me.

For an album that devotes half its space to the 1970s KISS catalog and half to their 1980s output, I think this is a solid compilation that does its job of representing both decades well. It’s not the compilation I would recommend for people wanting to discover the band but for the diehards that happen to love ’80s KISS? This is definitely worth picking up (can easily be found at a low price) for the two new tracks and Eric Carr’s take on “Beth”.

http://www.facebook.com/KISS
http://www.kissonline.com

Buy ‘Smashes Thrashes & Hits’ at Amazon.com (See all Album-Oriented Rock (AOR) Music CDs)

CRISS – Cat #1

Criss – Cat #1 (1994, Tony Nicole Tony Records)

1. “Bad Attitude” … 4:35
2. “Walk the Line” … 3:49
3. “Truth” … 4:54
4. “Bad People Burn in Hell” … 3:47
5. “Show Me” … 4:04
6. “Good Times” … 4:36
7. “Strike” … 4:45
8. “Blue Moon Over Brooklyn” … 5:23
9. “Down with the Sun” … 4:37
10. “We Want You” … 3:48
11. “Beth” … 2:48

Band:
Peter Criss – Lead Vocals, Drums, Percussion
Mike Stone – Guitar, Lead Vocals
Mike McLaughlin – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Mark Montague – Bass, Backing Vocals

Additional Musicians:
Ace Frehley – Guitar (“Bad Attitude”, “Walk the Line”, “Blue Moon Over Brooklyn”)
Wayne Johnson – Acoustic Guitar
Doug Shawe, Dito Godwin – Piano
Kirk Miller – Guitar
Stephen Presley – Keyboards

Producer: Dito Godwin & Peter Criss

Peter’s non-KISS material has always been the least enjoyable of the original four members of KISS. His self-titled KISS album is pretty lame and I’ve read that 2007’s One For All was even worse. Of the five solo albums he’s released to date, I think Cat #1 is easily the best. Yeah, I know “Criss” is the name of the band and it’s commendable that he tried to get a real band going but let’s call a spade a spade and just say this is a Peter Criss album (even though guitarist Mike Stone handles vocals on “Show Me” and “We Want You”). This album may have gotten a bit more notice had it been titled as such.

You won’t find any of Peter’s jazz, R&B, big band or crooning influences here. This is a hard rock ‘n’ roll album that sounds like it came out of the late ’70s or early ’80s. In short, it’s the type of album he should’ve made back then during that very time frame!

There’s some great rockers like “Bad Attitude”, “Show Me” and “The Truth” and then some cool ballads as well (“Good Times”, “Blue Moon Over Brooklyn”). Peter’s always had a great soulful voice and it’s in fine form throughout the album. For KISS fans, I think this is worth seeking out, especially if you’re a fan of the original line-up and not only because of Peter Criss but because Ace plays guitar on a few of these songs.

Highlights: “Bad Attitude”, “The Truth”, “Bad People Burn in Hell”, “Good Times”, “Blue Moon Over Brooklyn”

http://www.petercriss.net/

SPACEWALK: A Salute to Ace Frehley

Various Artists – Spacewalk: A Salute to Ace Frehley (1996, Shrapnel Records/Triage Records)

1. “Deuce” – Marty Friedman … 3:47
2. “Shock Me” – Gilby Clarke … 3:23
3. “Rip It Out” – Scott Ian … 3:47
4. “Hard Luck Woman” – Ron Young & Jeff Watson … 3:11
5. “Snowblind” – Snake Sabo … 4:01
6. “Rock Bottom” – Sebastian Bach … 3:07
7. “Parasite” – Tracii Guns … 3:16
8. “Cold Gin” – John Norum … 4:10
9. “New York Groove” – Bruce Bouillet … 4:52
10. “Fractured Mirror” – Dimebag Darrell … 6:35

Pretty good tribute to Ace although some of these songs choices make me scratch my head. “Deuce”? “Hard Luck Woman”?  Ace didn’t sing lead on these songs and he didn’t write them either so what’s the connection? “Deuce” is a Gene signature song and “Hard Luck Woman” belongs to Peter. They could’ve easily left those songs out and included “Strange Ways”, “Rocket Ride”, “Hard Times”, “Talk To Me” or even something from his solo days.

The songs are pretty faithful to the originals but it’s fun to hear other artists’ slight interpretations especially when you’ve got artists like Mary Friedman, Tracii Guns, Scott Ian, Sebastian Bash, etc. The artists listed aren’t necessarily the vocalists but I guess they were considered the “biggest” names to be playing on the tracks so they get their names front and center. In fact, Scott Ian (who is on vocals) has Anthrax bandmates Frankie Bello and Charlie Benante backing him up on “Rip It Out” while Dimebag Darrell and his brother/Pantera bandmate Vinnie Paul performed all of “Fractured Mirror”. Judas Priest drummer Scott Travis plays on a number of these songs.

I don’t know who Bruce Bouillet is but his version of “New York Groove” sucks. I guess he took it back to the original version that was done by Hello. Ace’s take have never been a favorite of mine and I like the original version even less.

For the few bucks I was able to snag this online for, it was well worth the purchase. It’s a good novelty disc for hardcore KISS fans and Dimebag Darrell’s “Fractured Mirror” needs to be heard.

Highlights: “Hard Luck Woman”, “Snowblind”, “Rock Bottom”, “Parasite”, “Fractured Mirror”

KISS – Asylum of Death Interviews DVD

KISS – Asylum of Death Interviews (2006, MVD)

Another DVD I streamed on my PS3 courtesy of Netflix. You know, I’m really starting to enjoy the titles of these unauthorized videos. They make no sense but sound darn fun: first “Krazy Killer” and now “Asylum of Death”! If only those had been actually KISS albums.

This is a collection of interviews and TV news pieces but unlike the oddball collection on Krazy Killer, there’s a bit more continuity here as many of these clips are from the Dynasty era. This is fine by me because I always thought KISS looked pretty cool during their disco rock phase (or as Ace calls it during an interview “rock disco”). I found it funny during one interview Ace is asked why they decided to go disco. He explains that it’s really only “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” that is “rock disco” and somehow ties this into a statement that disco is dying then three sentences later he says “disco is hot right now”. Of course, Paul steps in as the consummate promoter and says they must have done something right because the song is “number one or number two all around the world”.

The very first clip features the infamous appearance by Gene on The Mike Douglas Show then we get into an “unmasked” interview featuring KISS except they all have their backs turned to the camera. Next up is a round of Dynasty period interviews and then the video jumps to ’91/’92 with what I guess is the British MTV doing an interview with some guy who runs the “KISS Museum” and is a collector and seller of their memorabilia.

The final piece is an interview in England, by the same MTV veejay who interviewed the museum guy, talking to Gene, Paul, Eric Singer and Bruce Kulick. Appears to have taken place shortly after the release of Revenge. It’s an interesting piece notable for when the discussion turns to Eric Carr and after a few somber answers from Gene & Paul, you could visibly see talking about this was getting to them and they told the interviewer it was time to change the subject because they’d rather not dwell on not having Eric and would much rather celebrate the times they did have with him. I’ve read a few negative things over the years knocking Gene & Paul for the way they handled matters while Eric was sick, if there’s ever any proof that these guys truly cared for Eric and it was a tough situation for them as well, this interview is it.

It is during this interview where Paul and Gene state Revenge is heavy and almost like a return to the first album. Paul goes onto say this is KISS being true to themselves and not following trends. Pretty funny when you consider 30 minutes earlier on this video he was defending their “rock disco” album! He also bashes the power ballad craze of the day and likened “Everytime I Look At You” to a Led Zeppelin or Rolling Stones ballad that has nothing in common with the pop metal (“pap” as he called it) ballads. Again, this is humorous because KISS did their best to fit into the ’80s pop metal (the very scene their “true” selves inspired)!

This is a solid collection that I’m sure hardcore KISS fans will appreciate. There’s even an interview conducted by Billy Crystal! The sound and picture quality varies, but it’s acceptable for clips that date back to the late ’70s. At one hour and available for less than ten bucks, this really isn’t a bad purchase for those that are huge KISS fans and it is definitely worth a rental at least.

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