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 !
March 1, 1976 - 2021: 45 years of: Destroyer.
They're alive !
After the lukewarm reception of the initial trilogy with 1974's Kiss LP and Hotter Than Hell LP and 1975's Dressed To Kill LP ...things looked bleak in the bank-account. One last drawn 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
May 23, 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 counter-culture, 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 line-up 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
On the road
Live in 1979
You wanted the best - you've got the best: one of rocknroll's most daring coming-out: KISS UNMASKED !!!
They were the hottest band in the world and this was not a mere PR-punchline. After the massive universal success of 1975-to-77's Alive! - Destroyer - Rock And Roll Over and Love Gun ...the 4-horsemen's internal turmoil got the best of them.
The drugs, the alcohol, the merchandise, the solo-albums and Hollywood tamed the beast to what became 1979's disco crossroad: Dynasty. Rock was dead, until a sudden revival in 82's heavy-hitter royal-flush back-to-the-roots in Creatures Of The Night ...loosing our Ace-card in the making :(
But in 1983, the unthinkable happened: KISS removed their makeup. Having NEVER showed their real faces EVER in public, the myth and speculations where present since 1974 has of: who are these guys ?
...and time stood still on September 18, 1983 live on MTV, a new KISS was born:
With the makeup off and new official 6-stringer Vinnie Vincent on board, KISS were re-energized and re-focused on one thing: re-claim the world with real rocknroll ! 1983's Lick It Up is a follow-up to what Creatures started: strong hardrock with heavymetallesque-riffs, loud head-room drums, powerful hooks and some sleazy lyrics that put glam on the map for what it is: bad-ass hard-rock attitude
Get ready, "Gimme More" we are "Young And Wasted" this ride is "Not For The Innocent" cause "All Hell's Breakin' Loose" !
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