1975 - Alive !
1976 - Destroyer.
1976 - Rock And Roll Over.
1977 - Love Gun.
1978 - KISS Meets The Phatom Of The Park.
1979 - Dynasty.
1982 - Creatures Of The Night.
1983 - Lick It Up.
1992 - Revenge.
1998 - Psycho-Circus.
way more Helter Skelter.
September 10, 1975 - 2020: 45 years of: Alive !
The greatest unlive-record by the greatest live-band.
Contradiction and sad ugly truth of the record-industry ...yet without this, the world of hardrock probably wouldn't be, as KISS would've probably dissolved in late 1975.
Recorded during the Dressed To Kill LP touring-cycle in order to save recording costs, the live-option was the last card for label Casablanca Records. Bad economics and even badder inner label-management forced the label to the edge of bankruptcy. KISS, most known for their explosive live performances were caught on tape and then released as a double live-album.
Time for some room service: enter studio-doctor Eddie Kramer. The man responsible for Jimi Hendrix's iconic studio mastery was hired to fix some inaccuracies. Ironically for ages, Mr. Simmons himself stood behind the record stating that it was all recorded live, it is only in recent times that the Demon came clean and admitted that there is indeed a lot of studio-work put on Alive !
It's ok Gene, it's not like your band wouldn't use studio-tricks and ghost-players in the decades to come, right ?
Still no time to wait, back on the road again for something that was unordinary: touring to support a live-album. They had to in order to promote the record, generate sales and save the label and the band's uncertain future. Luckily this masterplan worked, the record sold, a lot, saving the band and using this new-found stamina to prepare for full-length album number 4.
This era also solidified the KISS Army movement, taking it from the undergrounds into mainstream America. In March 1976, KISS would forever change the face of rock and release the mega-monster that is the Destroyer LP.
You wanted the best ? ...well this is all you'll get for now !
Alive ! = full LP
March 1, 1976 - 2021: 45 years of: Destroyer.
They're alive !
After the lukewarm reception of the initial trilogy with 1974's Kiss and Hotter Than Hell LP and 1975's Dressed To Kill LP ...things looked bleak in the bank-account. One last straw with 1975's explosive double-live record Alive ! ...and all hell broke loose. Instant hit, saving the band, Casablanca Records and rocknroll, the explosive sounds of the hottest band in the world now had to transcend into new studio-tracks. Enter the magic of producer Bob Ezrin.
Forget the successes, le limousines, the magazine-covers and the 24h rocknroll parties ...the rock-maestro goes for the basics: one simple question remains. Mr. Stanley candidly asks: "Do You Love Me ?".
The blood-spitting winged-man in black Mr. Simmons, the fearless and fearful "God Of Thunder" crushes everything on this particularly evil song. Please dim the lights and set on repeated play.
Nobody saw the appeal of a piano-driven ballad, yet the lonely "Beth" is now the queen of the prom. No emotions put aside, Mr. Criss wept and made gazillions of people did to. One of the greatest rock-ballad ever.
Electricity rules on top of the rocknroll mountain, just enough to power-up Mr. Frehley's burning (literally) Gibson Guitar. Loud and louder, the decibels "Shout It Out Loud". Follow him ! worship him !
The anthem from the Motor-City to the masses "Detroit Rock City" is the track American needed to get thru the mid-70s recession. We didn't had much "Great Expectations" as our collective "Kings Of The Night Time World" rocknrolled our "Flaming Youth" all nite thru this delightful "Sweet Pain".
This LP is the epitome of all killers, no fillers. Not only a best-of type, but a statement, an icon, and one of the most enjoyable "Rock And Roll Party" around. The burning cities on the background covert-art sat the anti-rock establishment afire, which is another great sign of epicness. 45 years strong, you wanted the best, you've got the best ...hard rocknroll's B12-shot of the mid-70s: Destroyer !
Sign here now to enroll in the KISS Army: ___________________
Destroyer = full LP
Interview in 1976
Live in 1976
November 11, 1976 - 2021: 45 years of: Rock And Roll Over.
Rock gets rolled over.
Hard to imagine but their initial first three records didn't made and instant impression ...and then 1975's ear-splitting Alive live-LP came and changed history. Since then, the following studio-records, speared more rock and more roll starting with 76's all-killers-no-fillers-red-blooded-hit-machine: Destroyer. And now ...time to roll over.
Uncle Sam's counterpart, Uncle Paul shouts out loud "I Want You", a blistering attack on the senses, followed by the edgier "Take Me": two unadulterated jaw-punches. In full strutter-mode, the boys set meetings in the "Ladies Room" where surely some "Love 'Em And Leave 'Em" fun was bound.
More kinky hardrock attitude is exposed on "Calling Dr. Love", they call him "Mr. Speed". Note the left curve-ball, the country-vibed "Hard Luck Woman". The record's final cut, the speedmetal-esque "Makin' Love" is all rabid-rock right-wrist riffin' and romance roamin'.
KISS were now the ultimate band,
KISS were now the ultimate event,
KISS were now the ultimate kings of the night time world.
Rowdy seventies flaming youth were rocking, enjoying life to the fullest and the KISS Army was the coolest thing under the sun. The next, and final, assault shall feature even more heavy artillery with 1977's all steel all explosive Love Gun LP.
Oh, what a rider !
Love 'Em And Leave 'Em = video
Rock And Roll Over = full LP
Rehearsal in 1976
Interview in 1976
Live in Detroit in 1977
June 30, 1977 - 2022: 45 years of: Love Gun.
The last KISS.
The ultimate hardrock heritage of Destroyer, Rock And Roll Over and Love Gun ...the stuff dreams are made of. On top of the world, they could do no wrong, so rejoice and enjoy the ride while it lasts.
Instant firepower as "I Stole Your Love" blasts-out, followed by the always lovable "Christine Sixteen". The heavyrock "Almost Human" brings the band into loud metal-vibes. Mr. Frehley's ultimate signature "Shock Me" still supercharges the arenas, while the gigantic "Love Gun" title-track is one of rocknroll's strongest caliber.
The celebrations culminate on the Alive II double-LP jam-packed set. The KISS Army was at the peak of teenage-dom and you just couldn't look away.
Shooting on all cylinders, the Love Gun LP is the magnum-opus of hardrock, just before the punk and NWOBHM tide-change. The following era would split KISS into four solo-acts, eventual disco / pop waters and band disintegration. Rock fans would have to wait until 1982's Creature Of The Night LP for actual high-gain attitude rocknroll.
Gene, Paul, Ace and Peter in 1977 ...this is the last KISS.
Love Gun = full LP
Interview outside in 1977
Live in Largo in 1977
October 28, 1978 - 2023: 45 years of: KISS Meets The Phantom Of The Park.
One of the only missing card in the deck.
From 1977's top-position to 1978's low-position, an unfocused KISS tries everything. From comic-books, to four solo-LPs, to movie, to eventual '79 disco-rock, to '81 prog-concept LP ...that era was a true marathon of emotions for the KISS Army. From rocknroll to let the camera roll ...let them meet the Phantom.
Being a rockstar is one thing, but actual acting is a different animal. The Kings of the nigh time world gave it their best ...and all we've got is a 90min very lukewarm B-movie at best. Filled to the brim with: fun-parc amusement, teenage-love, mind-control, evil inventor, droïds, low-fi lasers, slo-mo fights, late-70s porn-music and the four united powers of KISS. The cheese-factor is strong here ...so bad, it's kinda bad.
So hop in your muscle-car and head to your local drive-in, for a night you're not about to forget. Months later, rocknroll-wise, the band would break the bank and bring a left-field platter of hip-rock: 1979's glitter Dynasty LP.
KISS Meets The Phantom Of The Park = movie trailer
May 1, 1979 - 2019: 40 years of: Dynasty.
The world's biggest hardrock band couldn't get darker and bloodier ...so they went disco ?!
The machine was on full roar from it's 1974 impressive debut, to the worldwide-phenomenon of 75's Alive and 76's Destroyer LP ... yet in 78-79 the wheels were falling off. From failed movie attempt, to not one, not two, not three, but FOUR simultaneous solo-releases, the writing was on the wall ...the "band" was not a band anymore. And inner struggles and substance abuse did nothing to save the rock unit.
To every culture there is a counterculture, while disco was filling-up dance-floors across the globe, the punk movement was spiting out it's rage on both side of the Atlantic, yet KISS released the diluted Dynasty to it's shocked rock-audience in mid-1979. Driving the nail further down was the performance from another drummer to record the Catman's parts, who was "lost" during the sessions.
While actual disco-music is not present on the album per say, this LP is by all means: a very light pop-rock record. The easy-listening production and vibe, dictated by their record label Casablanca Records who wanted a FM-hit oriented album, big vocals, soft-beats, fewer guitars and an album-selling hits ...this is exactly what Dynasty is.
"Sure Know Something" and "Dirty Livin'" all have ABBA and JACKSON FIVE sing-along choruses packaged in pop overtones. Even Simmons outdid himself on "Charisma", were the barely-there guitars tip-toes around the hand-clapping melody.
The only hardrock numbers found are "Hard Times", "Save Your Love" and the ROLLING STONES-reprise in "2,000 Man" ...a rough tracks sung by the Spaceman himself, one of his few collaborations on this project. Now the disco factor comes in effect on "I Was Made For Lovin' You" one of the band's biggest hit ...and also the cheesiest. Dance-floors were, and are still, filled by it's driving rhythm, wrapped in Stanley's honey-like vocals.
Although the debacle pursued until 1981, the rockin' KISS was back on track and set to reclaim their hardrock dominance with the ultimate return with late 1982's Creature Of The Night LP ...but the damage was done. By 1982-83 the heavymetal craze was sweeping the US and KISS was sidelined by other now arena-fillers AC/DC, SCORPIONS, DEF LEPPARD and California's own decadent VAN HALEN !
KISS did make a comeback throughout the 80s, but the road to hardrock-recovery was plagued by numerous lineup rotations and trend changes. Now 40 years later, Dynasty, the marketed "Return Of KISS" LP, stands as a turning-point in the band's career and a changing of the guards in the realm of rocknroll.
I Was Made For Lovin' You = video
Dynasty = full LP
On the road
Live in 1979
October 28, 1982 - 2022: 40 years of: Creatures Of The Night.
Inject the venom.
It's been a very, very long five years of disappointment from the once hottest band in the world. Divided by the four solo LPs, the failed B-movie and from both pop Dynasty and Unmasked LPs and the experimental 1981 Music From The Elder LP ...needless to say: KISS was at rock bottom.
In this new era, ruled by VAN HALEN and electrified Eurometal, it was time for KISS to reload the love gun, with live rounds.
The drums rolls down and guitars ring aloud as the "Creatures Of The Night" strike at midnight. Rabid and relentless, this is hardrock, this is a furious KISS. High-gain metal riffing grips like a rattlesnake on "Saint And Sinner" and the appropriately titled fast-shooter: "Killer". The pistons pushes with power and might with "Danger", a fast cut that sets the mood for more metal-rock might with the LPs closer, the take no prisoner "War Machine".
Scream it out loud, as Paul yells "Keep Me Comin'", full of adrenaline and attitude. More attitude bleeds out of the arenarock-signature "I Love It Loud" ...were Gene destroys everything above sea-level. Gentlemen, glad to have you back !
Ace Frehley is present on the record-sleeve, but nowhere to be found on the actual record. Enter ghost-player and fretboard-master Vinnie Vincent. New blood and modern crunch, this is the ass-kicking they needed, to kick our asses again. America now had a reason to be scared again. On tour, the world got to meet him in person: Vinnie Vincent was now: The Ankh Warrior !
Red hot and on a roll, there's lots of ground to cover as heavymetal was now the new norm. This was a new challenge for KISS, re-conquer previous-fans and provide possible new-fans with edgy hardrock with balls the size of the Empire State Building.
Always ready for the test, Round Two of the revamped KISS would occur with 1983's unmasked unashamed unrestrained and uncensored Lick It Up LP.
I Love It Loud = video
Creatures Of The Night = full LP
Interview in 1982
Live in Montreal in 1983
September 22, 1983 - 2023: 40 years of: Lick It Up.
Rocknroll's most daring coming-out: KISS UNMASKED !
They are the hottest band in the world and this ain't no mere PR-stunt. After their universal 1975-76-77 success ...the four-horsemen's internal turmoil was taking it's toll. The egos, the drugs, the alcohol and the solo-albums tamed the beast to what became 1979's danceable delicacy: Dynasty LP. Rocknroll was dead, until a sudden revival with 1982's heavy-hitter royal-flush back-to-the-roots Creatures Of The Night LP ...loosing our Ace-card in the making.
And in 1983, the unthinkable happened: KISS removed their makeup. Having NEVER showed their real faces in public, the myth and speculations where present since Day One ...and live on MTV on September 18, 1983, time stood still...
...a new KISS was born:
With the makeup off and new six-stringer Vinnie Vincent on board, the band was re-energized and re-focused on one thing: re-claiming their rocknroll crown, now firmly owned by VAN HALEN.
Eurometal makes an appearance on the opener "Exciter", a lesson in riffology. The massive attack continues on "Not For The Innocent" and the rides gets rough and rowdy on "Fits Like A Glove". More metal clashes with rocknroll, strap-in get ready and "Gimme More", while a new level of heaviness is unlocked with the unlawful "Young And Wasted".
Always lovable and ready for a challenge, the hip and hyper "All Hell's Breakin' Loose", just like the breeze, takes cool twists and turns. The now iconic title-track for "Lick It Up" might be the band's best glamorous display, a Stanley + Vincent signature.
RIAA-certified Platinum, 1983's Lick It Up LP is a strong follow-up to what Creatures kick-started: strong hardrock with heavymetallesque-riffs, loud head-room drums, powerful hooks and some sleazy lyrics that puts glam on the map for what it is: bad-ass hardrock attitude. The next PR-stunt would exclude Vincent and include new guitarist Mark St.John, on 1984's wild Animalize LP.
"And on the 8th day ...God created rocknroll." - Gene
Lick It Up = video
All Hell's Breakin' Loose = video
Lick It Up = full LP
Much Music interview in 1984
Live in Germany in 1983
May 19, 1992 - 2022: 30 years of: Revenge.
Still hotter than hell.
Following the 1989 return to form Hot In The Shade LP, the N.Y. creatures of the night were hungrier than ever. Surviving the 80's L.A. hair-spray tidalwave, the dinosaurs of hardrock were now the edgier act on the block.
The celebrations began during the hip Summer '91, on the Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey soundtrack. The immortal ARGENT reprise "God Gave Rock 'N' Roll To You II" made a welcomed appearance and prepared the scene for and updated KISS.
The heaviness reaches a new level of metaldom on the thrash-metallesque "Unholy", the animalized power punch of "Spit" and the arena-ready F-word lovin' of "I Just Wanna". More strength flexes on "Tough Love" while amps screams for vengeance on "Thou Shalt Not" ...hardrock's eleventh commandment. Note, in the background-office: Vinnie Vincent has some writing-credits for more added muscle.
Sadly, just before recording the album, young drum-icon Eric Carr passed away after loosing his battle with heart cancer. The new, and still current, skinsman would be ex-Lita Ford and ex-BLACK SABBATH top-player machine: Eric Singer.
RIAA-certified Gold status, KISS were still relevant and influential, amid the tormented 1991-92 shape-shifting era ...as displayed on the furious 1993 Alive III CD. After the NoCal alternative hype, the Kings of the night-time world would even try the acoustic MTV-signature. An event that would open The Gates and launch the universal full-blown dressed to kill make-up reunion of 1996 ...and beyond.
RIP Eric Carr AKA The Fox (1950-1991)
Unholy = video
I Just Wanna = video
God Gave Rock 'N' Roll To You II = video
Revenge = full CD
Interview at MusiquePlus in 1992
Live in Detroit in 1992
Alive III = full CD
September 22, 1998 - 2023: 25 years of: Psycho-Circus.
You wanted the best ?
Our rocknroll prayers have been answered on: February 28, 1996. Presented live worldwide during the Grammy Awards, the full blown make-up reunion of: Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss ...a first since 1979's troubled Dynasty-cycle.
You've got the best, the hottest band in the world: KISS !!!
The following humongous world-tours would electrify the globe again during this dire post-grunge era with hits, fire, blood and pyros on one of the biggest live-stage available to mankind. Yet after the road-rage, new music was inevitable ...and this is where the trickery becomes obvious.
"The amplifiers starts to hum ...the carnival has just begun."
The opening-cut, the title-track for "Psycho Circus" drives into town like a freight-train. Heavy riffing and loud chorus, this is a lick it up cut. The crush-factor is imminent on "Within" and the crowd gathering "I Pledge Allegiance To The State Of Rock & Roll". This sounds too good to be true. More slabs of xxxtra-hard hardrock sing-along hits on "Raise Your Glasses" and the Japan-only piledriving thump of "In Your Face".
...but was this for real ?
The lead-guitars feels way too un-Ace and the drums sounds way too modern and perfectly tracked. Various books and later the internet confirmed our suspicions, as our beloved dressed to kill love gunners had a carnival of ...sessions-musicians performing as ghost-players. A reunion-record yes ...for the promotion-department. Basically on CD, to a certain capacity both "Into The Void" and "You Wanted The Best" are the only tracks featuring: the Starchild, the Demon ...the Spaceman and the Catman.
In a storm of contradictions, following Summer 1995's MTV Unplugged reunion-telecast, the band with Eric Singer and Bruce Kulick, minus Frehley and Criss was back in the studio recording the ill-fated ultra-heavy Carnival Of Souls CD. Rapidly swept under the rug, the announced 1996-97 original-reunion world-tour would become the band's most lucrative adventure at that point in time.
Marketing the four iconic KISS faces is a slam-dunk, especially during the no-internet mid-90s. The in-person experience was a to-be seen event for those who weren't there in the mid-70s KISS Army juggernaut. Yet under the hood, Psycho-Circus is an uneasy experience, as the obvious external musical interference of various hands would leave a sour-taste in the midst of this labeled "reunion" record.
Familiar with controversies, KISS featuring or not Frehley and / or Criss ...and not-so new Tommy Thayer on lead-guitar and eventually re-hired Eric Singer on drums, would continue to deliver more rocknroll over, to old and new generations of creatures of the night. For the real die-hard fans, KISS was now put to bed in a kasket, yet the band AKA the scab-version, would finally deliver new material with 2009's Sonic Boom CD, to a very very different post-Napster music-landscape.
"...and I say: Welcome To The Show." - Paul
Psycho-Circus = video
Psycho-Circus = full CD
Press conference in 1998
Live at Dodger Stadium in 1998
MAD TV promo 1998
Grammy Awards in 1996
The Decline Of Western Civilization, Part II: The Metal Years
(c) (p) 2017-2023 helterskelter.ca. All Rights Reserved. Tous Droits Réservés.