Author Topic: Kamala's KISS Korner  (Read 17365 times)

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Offline Love Harnesser Kamala

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #50 on: February 08, 2013, 02:03:43 PM »

At the end of the '80s, KISS somehow found themselves in even more of a state of disarray than at the end of the previous decade. At the end of '70s, they at least had the benefit of having come off a huge album and top ten hit. By 1989, KISS couldn't afford another flop. They had cleaned house with their management (some of whom had been with them since their heyday) and hired an unusual replacement to handle their business affairs...Paul Stanley's psychotherapist, Dr. Jesse Hilsen. Hilsen's methods were highly, highly unusual and he would often threaten to "let Paul go crazy on them" if he didn't get his way.

With their recent albums, KISS had trouble maintaining their own identity while trying to compete with the popular hard rock bands of the late '80s (many of whom had been inspired by KISS). Adding to this difficulty was the fact that due to the financial disappointment of Crazy Nights , the band couldn't afford to hire an outside producer so Gene & Paul had to produce the album again. Fortunately, with his record label and acting career on the rocks, Gene's focus was more back on the band.

Also adding to the songwriting process for the first time was Eric Carr, who got his first chance to contribute. He had long desired to become a bigger part of the creative process but for whatever reason, the songs he submitted for the albums never made the albums. Carr, who had crippling bouts of anxiety and depression, was incredibly insecure with his position in the band and was constantly asking friends if Whitesnake was looking for a drummer. Some of his concerns were assuaged when Gene took a liking to a tossed off funked up rocker Carr recorded called "Ain't That Peculiar" (no relation to Marvin Gaye's classic) and worked with him on rewriting it and renamed it "Little Caesar" (named after Gene & Paul's nickname for The Fox)

A number of outside songwriters were again brought in for the album. Vini Poncia, who produced Dynasty and Unmasked for the band, came back to co-write five songs with Gene. Desmond Child came back to try and craft another super hit with Paul and the KISS obsessed lead guitarist for third tier (Simmons managed) hair metal band, Black N Blue, Tommy Thayer got to realize his dream and co-write two songs with The Demon. Bruce Kulick again played a role in the songwriting process but his biggest contribution was not there or with his lead guitarist.

Kulick got his start as the guitarist in a hard rock band in the late '70s called Blackjack. The frontman for that band was a singer named Michael Bolotin and they recorded two albums that went nowhere on the charts. By the end of the '80s, Michael Bolotin had dropped the second O from his name and found  huge success as the middlest of middle of the road blue eyed soul crooners. Kulick had continued to do session work with Michael Bolton even after Kulick became KISS guitarist and he introduced Paul Stanley to the singer who was just becoming a megastar. Bolton, for whatever reason, had always wanted a big monster power ballad for KISS and Stanley wasn't going to turn the opportunity to have one of the biggest stars in pop appear in the credits of the new KISS album. Even if Bolton was the antithesis of what most KISS fans wanted on their album.



Hot in the Shade was released in October of 1989 and saleswise failed to live up even to the standards of Asylum and Crazy Nights. The album is incredibly disjointed and like a lot of the early albums recorded with the longer CD length in mind is way, wayyyy tooo long. Production wise, it's more stripped down and less poppy than the previous KISS releases but it still sees KISS as a band without an identity. Are they sensitive arena rockers like Bon Jovi? Are they just a stripped down version of the original KISS? AC/DCesque sleaze merchants? That lack of identity is somewhat apparent by the fact that this is the only KISS record not to feature the classic band logo on the front cover. The confusion over their current identity didn't stop Gene & Paul from donning the makeup (sort of...) for the first time since they took it off six years earlier.


(Fun fact: Ace's band, Frehley's Comet released their version of this song a week before KISS did. Even weirder is that Paul & Desmond Child originally wrote it for Bonnie Tyler of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" fame!)

Surprisingly (or maybe not so), the power ballad "Forever" became KISS' biggest hit since "I Was Made For Lovin' You" and their last Top 10 hit ever in the US,  reaching #8 on the Billboard singles chart in early 1990. Still the success failed to reignite albums sales and once again, KISS found themselves playing on some nights to sold out 20,000 arenas and then half empty venues the next. Adding to the tension of the HitS tour was the fact that Eric Carr was refusing to speak to the rest of the band after they cut his drum solo out of the setlist and once again, became terrified at the prospect of losing his spot in the band. Fortunately for him, the solo was reinstated in the setlist and the tour finished with a triumphant sold out appearance at Madison Square Garden in Gene, Paul, and Eric's hometown of New York City  November of '90. Tragically though, it would be Eric Carr's last performance with the band.


With Hot in the Shade, KISS realized that a big pop hit wouldn't cure all of their problems. In fact, like "I Was Made For Lovin' You", it might have created more of them since some KISS Army members were offended by KISS blatant ploy to hit the top of the pops. To recapture the magic of their heyday and recover from the shaky '80s, KISS would have to reunite with an old friend who had somewhat of a tarnished track record of his own. KISS were hoping to achieve success in the '90s by reuniting with the producer of one of their strongest albums (and one of their weirdest) and have a shocking reconciliation with an old bandmate.

Next: KISS gets heavy (in more ways than one) as they have their first lineup change in six years and record their first album of the '90s and reunite with one of their most popular producers and an old bandmate. I look back at when KISS got Revenge

Offline Love Harnesser Kamala

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #51 on: February 10, 2013, 10:29:21 AM »

At the dawn of the '90s, the music scene was changing rapidly. The glitzy hair metal bands that KISS spent much of the '80s trying to emulate were quickly killed off a by a new music scene out of Seattle. The grunge scene seemed the antithesis of what KISS stood for; they wore thrift store clothing and wrote dark, angst ridden lyrics. However, the Seattle rockers did love the heavy metal of the early '70s and many of them like Nirvana's Kurt Cobain and Alice in Chains' Layne Staley grew up admiring KISS. Whereas the previous generation of hard rock bands like Motley Crue saw KISS as old dinosaurs, a lot of the grunge bands saw KISS as their childhood heroes. With this newfound relevancy, KISS was eager to get back in the studio.

Unfortunately, shortly after the end of the Hot in the Shade tour, drummer Eric Carr fell ill. Medical tests initially showed nothing out of the ordinary but he was later diagnosed with a rare and unexpectedly serious type of cancer-heart cancer. While Carr recovered, the rest of the band was asked to record a cover of Argent's "God Gave Rock N Roll to You" (ironically, Argent was one of the bands in the mid '70s who had KISS thrown off their tour for showing them up)  for the soundtrack to the upcoming summer blockbuster Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey. The song would be produced by Bob Ezrin, who had produced Destroyer (one of KISS biggest successes) and Music From "The Elder" (the band's biggest failure). Simmons was reluctant to work with him again---especially after the failure of The Elder. However, eventually they agreed to record with him and recruited Eric Singer, a former Black Sabbath drummer who had been a part of the backing band for Paul Stanley's solo band during a 1989 tour, to fill in for Carr behind the kit. Carr was well enough after initial treatments well to sing backing vocals on the record. Gene & Paul were satisfied enough with the results to ask Ezrin to produce their next album.


However, before production could begin on KISS' 16th studio album, tragedy struck. On November 24th, 1991, Eric Carr passed away at the age of 41. Somewhat controversially, KISS returned to the studios just a few weeks later with Eric Singer officially named their new drummer. Ezrin set about to writing songs with Simmons & Stanley and once again, enlisted some outside songwriters. Some conventional choices like former Alice Cooper guitarist Kane Roberts helped out but a few very unconventional partners helped out Gene & Paul. Gene Simmons had always wanted to write a song with Bob Dylan and cold called the singer's manager to see if the elusive singer-songwriter would help write a song for KISS' new album. Surprisingly, Dylan said yes and the two worked alongside KISS gofer Tommy Thayer on the song but were unable to finish the lyrics in time, perhaps because Bob Dylan released he was Bob Dylan and he didn't want his name appearing on a KISS album. The song would reappear on Gene's solo album but we'll get to that eventually.

A more familiar but just unexpected collaborator appeared on Revenge. Wanting to make amends for his past behavior, former KISS guitarist Vinnie Vincent reached out to Gene, wanting to reconcile and patch things up. Gene agreed to let bygones be bygones and the two agreed to write some songs together, three of which appeared on Revenge. The set of songs was KISS' strongest in years and Mercury once again went into full overdrive, hyping what they thought would be KISS biggest comeback album. A special hosted by KISS superfan and Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach that covered KISS' history to that point was produced for music television.


In June of 1992, Revenge was released and critical reception (outside of the typically hostile Rolling Stone) was better than usual and reception among KISS Army members was enthusiastic. Many considered it their strongest album in years with some even saying it was their best work since the days of the original lineup. Revenge initally was a huge success on the charts, debuting at #6 on the Billboard charts, their highest chart position since 1979's Dynasty.



However, the album quickly fell of the charts and like their previous album failed to go platinum. Their tour failed to make much of a serious impact. Hardcore KISS fans who had stuck by the band were enthused but it failed to draw in more casual fans. KISS nostalgia was increasing but that didn't extend to the current lineup of the band. No matter how much they adapted their sound/appearance, the unmasked KISS never managed to capture the public's imagination that the way the greasepaint clad version did. Even though KISS brought back old producers and members, it had little effect on their fans.

It would be six years before KISS released their next studio album and during that period, the band would make many changes in personnel in appearances. But their immediate moves after Revenge would see the band once again reaching back towards the past---in a fashion that was a tad unorthodox.

Next: A look back at KISS releases in 1993 and 1994. The long awaited second sequel, Alive III and the oft bizarre tribute album, KISS My Ass: Classic KISS Regrooved, featuring the alt rock stars of 1994 (and Garth Brooks)

Offline Love Harnesser Kamala

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #52 on: February 11, 2013, 09:24:53 AM »

Once again, like they had by having Bob Ezrin produce Revenge, KISS tried to recapture the magic of the past by reuniting with an old friend of the band. This time around they brought back Eddie Kramer, who had produced Rock and Roll Over, Love Gun, Ace Frehley's debut album, and most pertinently in this case, the first two Alive! records. So the band brought Kramer along to record a pair of shows at the Palace of Auburn Hills, outside of Detroit which has always been KISS biggest stronghold.  During the recording of Alive II, KISS made a point of not playing on songs that were featured on the first album but that was tossed aside for the third edition. Songs from all eras of KISS were played and to tie into that and acknowledging their past , featured in the liner notes is  a KISS Family Tree  that ties in all of KISS members, as well as bands that current and former KISS members were in. This is most notable for the fact that Tony Iommi's Black Sabbath (who Eric Singer drummed for in the late '80s) is misidentified as Tommy Iommi's Black Sabbath. I find this inexplicably gutbustingly hilarious.

A lot of fans thought this paled in comparison to the first two due partly to the facts that keyboards were heavily featured (as they had been since the Hot in the Shade tour) and extensive overdubbing was done but I somewhat disagree. While this album falls far short of KISS first live album, I think it's on par with the second album. The Simmons-Stanley-Kulick-Singer lineup was on the top of its game and it includes some adventurous by KISS standard takes on their classics.



Alive III debuted at #9 on the Billboard charts in May of '93 but like Revenge, quickly fell off the charts and failed to go Platinum. So if KISS reuniting with the producers of its biggest albums failed to achieve massive success then KISS decided to go another route to achieve relevancy in the '90s. Reunite with the original members? Nah, that's the next entry! KISS was going to have some of the most popular stars of the '90s record covers of KISS' Greatest Hits!



KISS My Ass: Classic KISS Regrooved was a project that Gene Simmons had been waxing poetic about for years. Released to coincide with the 20th Anniversary of KISS first album, the album featured alt rock stars of the day covering KISS hits of the '70s (with the only exception being German punk band Die Arzte covering Revenge's "Unholy"). Gene Simmons hyped the album as featuring some of the biggest stars of the day; Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots,  Alice in Chains,  Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, Ozzy Osbourne, Pantera, and Megadeth. Unfortunately, none of these acts materialized due to a variety of reasons (Gene Simmons just being a namedropping, lying goof, record label issues, and the fact that Kurt Cobain had to get selfish and die on us.) However, they did manage to get a massive star. The singer who is behind only Elvis and The Beatles in terms of the most albums sold all time in the United States and an unexpected KISS fan, Garth Brooks. KISS, who originally were only going to serve as consultants on the album, jumped at the unique chance to be the backing band to the reigning King of Country. Brooks originally wanted to sing a rocker like "King of the Night Time World" or "Detroit Rock City" but Paul wisely suggested a song more in Brooks' wheelhouse, "Hard Luck Woman".


Outside of Brooks, the starpower on the album was significantly dimmer than what Simmons had hyped. There were watered down alt rockers (Gin Blossoms, Toad The Wet Sprocket), actual alt rockers (Dinosaur Jr, Lemonheads), the expected metal bands of varying degrees of hardness (Anthrax, Extreme) and a then  mostly unknown Mighty Mighty Bosstones with a few foreign language tracks thrown in because why not? Stevie Wonder even made an appearance on the album, playing  harmonica  on Lenny Kravitz's funked up cover of "Deuce". Unlike Bob Dylan, somebody must have not informed Stevie he was appearing on a KISS related album.


There was another onslaught of promotion for KISS My Ass' release in June of 1994. The Gin Blossoms (at the height of their New Miserable Experience) sang their cover of "Christine Sixteen" with Gene & Paul on The Late Show with David Letterman, a video was filmed for The Mighty Mighty Bosstones cover of "Detroit Rock City" with Gene making a cameo, and KISS backed up Garth Brooks on an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The album peaked at #19 on the Billboard charts and it went Gold but it wasn't the mega success that KISS was expecting for their 20th Anniversary album. Undeterred, KISS' next move was not to go for the fences but appeal to the hardcore fans who had stuck with them through the lean years (and withstood Music From "The Elder").


Next: The Era of the KISS Konvention is born! And KISS gets Unplugged on MTV and FINALLY mends fences (sort of) with Ace Frehley and Peter Criss.

Offline Love Harnesser Kamala

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #53 on: February 12, 2013, 11:11:16 AM »

The Revenge tour ended not with a bang but a whimper with just 3,000 people showing up at the 20,000 seat capacity America West Arena in Phoenix (future home of the Suns Live Blog)   for the finale. KISS simply couldn't afford to keep staging extravagant shows for tours with erratic attendance numbers. They would either have to downsize the show and move to smaller venues or do package tours with other acts of its era catering to middle aged audiences with money to spare. Somewhat surprisingly, the band chose the former option.


Since the late '80s, KISS fans had been having unofficial conventions where the band's memorabilia and merchandise would be displayed and former members like Peter Criss and Mark St. John would participate in Q&A sessions. As nostalgia for the '70s grew so did the size of these conventions. What used to be an informal gathering of a few dozen fans turned into a small fortune for promoters with hundreds of people showing up to collect KISS memorabilia, hear tribute bands, and listen to The Catman gripe about how he was the true heart and soul of the band. Sensing there was money being made just underneath the noses- Gene & Paul decided to check out a convention and confiscate some vintage KISS costumes...



The success of these conventions did realize that there was a core audience that would be willing to pay hand over fist to see KISS in an intimate setting. So throughout 1995,  KISS decided to put on its own official conventions (or Konvention as they cleverly called it) at hotel ballrooms all over the World where they would display their memorabilia over the years, feature performances of officially sanctioned tribute bands, and culminate with an acoustic performance by the band, playing a combination of their greatest hits and deep cuts. All for a cool $100 admission fee.

The tour was full of surprises (KISS weddings!) but the biggest surprise came on the first date of the U.S. tour in June of 1995 in  Los Angeles when Peter Criss jumped onstage for the band's encore to sing "Hard Luck Woman" and "Nothin' To Lose" and performed with Gene & Paul for the first time in sixteen years.



A producer of the then wildly popular series MTV Unplugged Alex Coletti took notice of this and wanted to feature the band on an episode of the series which featured bands putting on acoustic performances of their hits. He didn't just want Gene & Paul with Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer though. If KISS were going to do the show, they would have to include Ace & Peter in some capacity. Gene and Paul were initially a bit reluctant but realized how big of an opportunity this was and agreed. Peter also eagerly jumped on board. Ace was a harder sell since he had a marginally successful solo career and was selling out clubs on his own but eventually, he relented.

In August of 1995, KISS began rehearsing at Manhattan's SIR Studios for the special. Though KISS had been playing acoustic shows throughout 1995, they needed to modify their set to fit Unplugged standards so gone were the amps and Paul and Bruce's electro-acoustic guitars. Luckily, there were little complications with Ace and Peter arrived at the studios. The years of hostility subsided (temporarily) and the four set about modifying their hard charging songs to the Unplugged setting.

On August 9th, 1995, the band filmed their episode of MTV Unplugged. The first 75% of the episode featured the current lineup of KISS with Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer playing a set of the band's deep cuts from over the years. Then, Bruce and Eric stepped aside and Gene and Paul introduced their surprise guests, Ace and Peter. The audience exploded seeing the four original members together on stage again. They played "2000 Man" and "Beth" then welcomed Bruce and Eric back to the stage for a rousing encore with members of past and old singing "Nothin' to Lose" and "Rock N Roll All Nite".



There was a three month period in between the show's taping and its debut on MTV and while all involved thought the show was a success, it didn't seem to detour them from a plan. Peter Criss announced he was recording another solo album while Frehley's Comet set about a cross country tour in the Fall of '95. Meanwhile, Gene and Paul and Bruce and Eric planned on going further in the direction they took on Revenge and hired Slayer and Alice in Chains producer Toby Wright to produce their next album with production beginning in November of 1995. They had little idea of what was to come in 1996 (or maybe they did!)

Next: KISS goes grunge (well, tries to)  about four years too late and records its darkest album ever. I take a look back at KISS "lost album". Join me, Gene, Paul, Eric and Bruce for a trip to the Carnival of Souls

Offline Love Harnesser Kamala

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #54 on: February 14, 2013, 06:56:24 AM »


Though KISS had remained active touring internationally and staging KISS Konventions across America, it had been almost four years since the band had released Revenge, by far the longest period the band had gone since releasing an album. Side projects had been distracting the band in the same way they had in the mid '80s with Gene's film career and the late '70s with all of the outside business ventures of the SuperKISS era. Finally, at the end of '95, the band decided to finally commit itself to another album. Bob Ezrin was initially scheduled to produce the album but the band's glacial pace at recording and other commitments caused him to leave the project.

In his place, KISS enlisted Toby Wright, a producer who had helped mix Crazy Nights and had gone on to work with hit artists of the day like Alice in Chains and Slayer. The bands he worked with were generally much heavier than KISS. Working with a producer known more for working with metal acts was a conscious decision on KISS. Current alt-rock acts like Smashing Pumpkins and AiC had cited KISS as an influence so many times that KISS decided to tip their cap towards them. In fact, the album opened with a shout out to Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan, which was masked by the record label.

The material on the album was by far KISS' darkest and most introspective material in years if not ever. The album was unusually personal for a band that typically sang about good times and partying. Another unusual aspect of the album was the increased presence of longtime lead guitarist Bruce Kulick, who had writing credits on 9 out of the 12 songs and for the only time in his twelve year tenure with the band, got to take a turn on lead vocals with the power ballad "I Walk Alone".




However, as the album was being prepped, KISS Unplugged debuted on MTV and the special became a surprise smash hit with the network airing it repeatedly for months on end. As word of mouth grew and rumors of a full blown reunion by the original lineup (with the make up)  intensified, the band (especially Kulick) wondered what their strange new album's place was in all of this. Gene Simmons always insisted that the album would come out in Spring of '96, right after KISS Unplugged was released in March of that year. Those plans  changed on February 28th, 1996 at the 38th Annual Grammys when the original four appeared in full makeup costume.


(The only time you'll see KISS, Tupac Shakur, and Hootie & The Blowfish appear on the same stage!)

KISS had finally stopped trying to cave into trends and decided the best way to reclaim their power is to fully embrace the past. Weeks after the Grammys appearance, a full  reunion tour across North America was announced for the Summer and Fall of '96. The album was placed on the backburners and no one was sure if it would ever be released. Eventually, the album (dubbed Carnival of Souls by many fans) and was bootlegged widely by KISS fans. Reaction was divisive. Some bands liked to see the heavier, darker material while others were put off with it and thought KISS was trying to jump on the back of the grunge trend which was quickly fading by '96.

For the vast majority of KISS' reunion tour, Eric Singer and Bruce Kulick were given a weekly paycheck to standby in case Ace Frehley or Peter Criss reverted back to their old ways. Eventually at the end of 1996, Singer and Kulick were let go with Eric Singer going on to drum for KISS spiritual godfather, Alice Cooper and Bruce Kulick in an even more ironic move going on to form a band with John Corabi, a singer who had recently been booted out of Motley Crue where he had replaced Vince Neil as vocalist for four years in the mid '90s.

Eventually, Mercury Records decided they didn't want to keep an album they had spent hundreds of thousands sitting on the shelf forever. They and KISS decided it'd be good to make some money off the record before everybody had a bootleg copy. Taking a cue from the fans, the album titled Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions was released in October of 1997 and debuted at #27 on the Billboard charts. The debut single "Jungle" (the longest song in the history of the band, clocking in at almost seven minutes) got some radio play on modern rock stations but other than that, the album quickly fizzled from the charts. Carnival of Souls gave hardcore fans something to discuss and debate before KISS "reunion" album came out in 1998 but was otherwise ignored.

So the era of the band's "unmasked" era ended with not a bang but a whimper. Though it's often derided by many (including most fans of the band), KISS run in the '80s and early '90s helped keep the band's name alive. It may have never reached the heights of the '70s hysteria but the band still managed to sell millions of albums during the era and for many, Bruce Kulick is the guitarist they identify with KISS not Ace Frehley and they loved Eric Carr (or Singer) just as much as the fans in the '70s loved Peter Criss. Sadly, that era is mostly forgotten by even the band itself with very few of the songs represented in their live sets over the past fifteen years. Although many of the albums were terrible and their fashion choices were even worse, me and a few thousand weary souls will always proudly carry the torch for the non-make up era of KISS.


Next: It's the Return of KISS...for real, this time. Take a look back at the unprecedented success of their 1996/7 Reunion tour and the not so successful reunion album, Psycho Circus.

Offline no fact, no matter

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #55 on: February 20, 2013, 06:11:29 AM »
I never thought I'd actually want to read about Psycho Circus, but Kamala you did it.. damn you! When's this update coming? ;)
You should probably put your bandit hat on now.

Offline Love Harnesser Kamala

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #56 on: February 20, 2013, 11:30:18 AM »
Sometime before the end of this weekend hopefully

Offline Love Harnesser Kamala

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #57 on: February 24, 2013, 12:42:08 PM »

KISS' reunion tour had revived their fortunes dramatically. After a warm up date at KROQ's Weenie Roast in Southern California, they played their first show of the tour at Detroit's Tiger Stadium in June of '96. Detroit had always been a good home to the band even in the leanest times but during the reunion tour, they showed their appreciation in resounding fashion by snapping up the 47,000 tickets for the show within hours. Throughout the second half of '96 and during the first half of '97, KISS played sold out venues across the country. The band mocked for the past seventeen years for being out of touch were suddenly cool again.



Fans were thrilled at the prospect of a new KISS album with original lineup. And the band returned to the studios at the beginning of '98. Unfortunately for members of the KISS Army, this would be no reunion album. Over the course of their comeback tour, old tensions in the band resurfaced. Ace Frehley's wild ways were back and Peter Criss strongly resented being a mere employee of the band instead of a full fledged member. Paul Stanley had no intention of letting Ace & Peter play on the album and in fact paid them $750,000 not to play the album. Although Ace & Peter would make appearances on the album to keep up the "reunited and happy" guise, most of the lead guitar parts were played by Gene and Paul's longtime assistant Tommy Thayer while session musician Kevin Valentine played the skins. The only track that all four members played on was Ace's contribution "Within", which Ace insisted that Peter play on. All four also contributed vocals to the album's attempt at another "Rock N Roll All Night" called "You Wanted The Best"



Gene and Paul attempted to recreate the majesty of Destroyer with a varied, "epic" sound. Producer Bruce Fairbairn had produced Aerosmith's comeback albums in the late '8s and was hoping to replicate that success. However, KISS was a house divided. The reunion which had rescued all four members from some degree of irrelevancy had also reignited all four men's monsterous egos. 

The "reunion" album Psycho Circus was released in September of '98 and was met with a great deal of excitement.  The album debuted at #3 on the Billboard Charts, KISS' highest chart position to date. THe title track for the album reached #1 on the Billboard Rock Tracks. However, after that initial success, KISS fans came to the realization that the album for the most part (outside of a few tracks) was just not very good.


KISS was no longer the young, hungry band that wanted to conquor the world. They were old, tired professionals, looking to churn out an album that they could sell at the merchandise stands for the next tour. Yes, KISS first official album with the original lineup since 1979 was treated as a "big deal" but it wasn't as big of a deal as KISS Week on Fox (featuring guest appearances by the band on Millennium and MAD TV!) or their new concert tour with a 3D video screen! With Psycho Circus, KISS had been given a chance to reignite their career and have a big second act like Aerosmith and Bon Jovi had. But instead they lived up to all of the criticisms on them over the past eighteen years. They were a band that cared far more about trying to wring the last dollar out of their fans than creating a great album. Psycho Circus should have heralded the return of KISS, instead it was an album that was nearly as bad as stinkers like Hot in the Shade.

The initial magic of the reunion tour turned into monotony. With each ensuing tour, the enthusiasm waned and the tensions in the band intensified. To survive into the New Millennium, KISS couldn't (just) rely on the same old tricks. They needed to prove why they were once the Hottest Band in the World even if it meant abandoning some of the members that had brought them to that state.

Next: A look back at KISS turbulant '00s, concluding with a look at their "comeback album" Sonic Boom

Offline no fact, no matter

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #58 on: February 25, 2013, 06:28:13 AM »
Holy fuck that shit is awful. I'd never heard anything off of that album aside from the title track.. I didn't think it could get any worse until I heard "You wanted the best"....ugh.
You should probably put your bandit hat on now.

Offline Love Harnesser Kamala

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #59 on: February 25, 2013, 07:14:39 AM »
I actually like the title track (and "Into The Void") but the rest of the album is awful. Maybe the worst KISS album (although my least favorite is Carnival of Souls). Hot in the Shade is really, really godawful too.

Offline Harley Quinn

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #60 on: February 26, 2013, 10:02:49 AM »
Didn't see you cover this but any thoughts on Hard to Believe: A KISS Covers Compilation released around 1987-1988?

Just curious since it features covers done by several of the "grunge" era bands (Skin Yard, Melvins, Coffin Breakers, and Nirvana).

Track Listing
Quote
-Side A: 1. Detroit Rock City by Bullet LaVolta 2. Parasite by Smelly Tongues 3. Snowblind by Skin Yard 4. Deuce by Hellmen 5. Christine 16 by All 6. Dr. Love by Hullabaloo
- Side B: 1. God of Thunder by Melvins 2. Beth by Coffin Break 3. Rip It Out by Chemical People 4. I Want You by King Snake Roost 5. Do You Love Me? by Nirvana 6. Lick It Up by Hard Ons

Offline Love Harnesser Kamala

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #61 on: February 27, 2013, 01:32:15 AM »
I actually haven't heard that one, outside of Nirvana's cover. Melvins cover of "Goin' Blind" nearly made KISS My Ass but Gene Simmons chose Dinosaur Jr's version inste

Offline FroGG_NeaLL

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #62 on: March 05, 2013, 01:10:22 PM »
This is an awesome thread, Kamala. You still gonna finish it?

Offline Love Harnesser Kamala

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #63 on: March 05, 2013, 01:47:39 PM »
Yeah. Eventually. I'm honestly busy watching/reviewing all of the WrestleManias. So a combination of that and my lack of interest in the current lineup of KISS are gonna hold it back a bit. Should be up at some point.

Offline Bladelock

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #64 on: December 17, 2013, 09:44:33 AM »
Kiss is gonna get inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Rawk on Kamala.

Offline Avid Warehouse Enthusiast

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #65 on: December 17, 2013, 09:55:45 AM »
Way too long overdue, IMO.

Offline Beer Baron

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #66 on: December 18, 2013, 05:22:05 AM »
Tears Are Falling is one of their best songs. Probably top five with Strutter, Love Gun, Black Diamond and I.

Offline Love Harnesser Kamala

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #67 on: December 18, 2013, 02:26:21 PM »

I'm so psyched that it sounds like the original lineup will play one last time at the ceremony.

I honestly wouldn't care if they never got inducted since I think the concept of the R&R HOF is inherently flawed but at the same time, it's nice that they got in and finally got a nod of recognition from those old timer mainstream music critics that have always ignored them at best and usually demeaned them.

Retiring after the induction ceremony would be a fitting sendoff but knowing Gene, he'll milk a few more tours out of this, probably with the bastardized lineup. I think it's best for all parties involved that the original four don't play together on a regular basis anymore.

Offline Avid Warehouse Enthusiast

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #68 on: December 18, 2013, 02:37:10 PM »
Metallica going in before KISS was wrong, and I'm saying that as somebody who still considers the first three Metallica albums to be three of the best albums ever written.

Offline Love Harnesser Kamala

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #69 on: December 18, 2013, 02:54:09 PM »
I mean the fact that KISS got inducted in the same class as Nirvana, a band who said KISS was a big influence on them and came out 15 years after KISS, really demonstrates my point of how nonsensical the concept of a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is.

Offline Avid Warehouse Enthusiast

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #70 on: December 18, 2013, 03:27:09 PM »
Very true. It's just another means for the RIAA to make money.

Maaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnn

Offline Love Harnesser Kamala

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #71 on: December 18, 2013, 03:29:46 PM »
It's just a tourist attraction. The only reason I think they let KISS get inducted is because there just aren't that many acts that are critically respectable but commercially successful to induct.

 I'm as excited about this as I would be if Universal Studios announced that they were going to have a KISS World section of the park or something. And don't doubt that Gene Simmons is trying to make something like that happen.

Offline BPSS

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #72 on: December 18, 2013, 03:37:08 PM »
I mean the fact that KISS got inducted in the same class as Nirvana, a band who said KISS was a big influence on them and came out 15 years after KISS, really demonstrates my point of how nonsensical the concept of a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is.

You forgot Hall and Oates.

Offline Love Harnesser Kamala

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #73 on: December 18, 2013, 03:44:28 PM »
Tears Are Falling is a great song, but I don't recall saying it was the best KISS song ever.
Tears Are Falling is one of their best songs. Probably top five with Strutter, Love Gun, Black Diamond and I.
WTH?

And Hall & Oates getting inducted is long, long overdue. They're the most successful duo in pop music history (at least charts-wise). It's baffling that they weren't even nominated before this year.

Offline Beer Baron

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #74 on: December 19, 2013, 04:50:11 AM »
It grew on me.

Offline Love Harnesser Kamala

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #75 on: December 19, 2013, 05:45:36 AM »
"Tears Are Falling" might be the best non-makeup era song. At least in the Top Three for me with "Heaven's On Fire" and "Unholy".

Also my write ups on Sonic Boom and Monster...they're not very good. Although Sonic Boom is marginally better than you'd expect a KISS album released in 2009 to be. Monster isn't one of KISS worst albums but it's probably in the Bottom Five. Which is too bad because the first single, "Hell or Hallelujah" was probably the best KISS song of the past twenty years. Faint praise I know but it combined what I like about '70s KISS and '80s KISS in one song.

I also saw KISS in August at Meadowbrook Farms, this smallish by KISS standards (6,500 seats) outdoor ampitheatre in bumfuck New Hampshire and it was fantastic. Surprisingly, just my second time seeing them. Way better than the first.


Greatest night of my life.

Offline Epic for the Summer

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #76 on: December 19, 2013, 06:03:43 AM »
KISS experimented with hip-hop once:



Seriously, is there ANYTHING KISS didn't try to do?

Offline Love Harnesser Kamala

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #77 on: December 19, 2013, 06:07:41 AM »
"All Hell's Breakin' Loose" would also be in my Top 5 list of Favorite Non Make Up era KISS songs.


I don't think KISS has ever experimented with electronica/techno stuff but that's pretty much the ONLY major musical trend of the past forty years off the top of my head that I don't think KISS has experimented with. Knowing Gene Simmons, there will probably be a dubstep song on the next KISS album.

Offline no fact, no matter

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #78 on: January 07, 2014, 05:30:20 AM »
Also my write ups on Sonic Boom and Monster...they're not very good.

Speaking of these two, do you think you can do (or redo if you're not happy with them) within the next 12 weeks? ;)
You should probably put your bandit hat on now.

Offline Love Harnesser Kamala

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #79 on: January 08, 2014, 11:32:47 AM »
I haven't gotten any but I could whip something up (while also mentioning all of the members solo "comeback" albums in the '00s and the various versions of Alive IV/Alive Symphony). Honestly, I'd have to listen to each again. I've listened to Monster once all the way through and Sonic Boom one or two more than that.

Offline no fact, no matter

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #80 on: January 09, 2014, 01:13:28 AM »
If you could, that would be awesome. As it stands right now, those would be Part 13 so you've got a lot of time. I also did a pretty sweet cover image for it and want to use it. ;)

You should probably put your bandit hat on now.

Offline Love Harnesser Kamala

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #81 on: January 09, 2014, 10:55:19 AM »
"Uh! All Night"

uhhh this song ruels bro
I actually enjoy the song but it's dumb as fuck even by KISS standards. And it's really baffling that it took three people to write those lyrics!
I just listened to Revenge in its entirety for the first time in a few years and "Take It Off" makes "Uh! All Night" look like "Ballad of a Thin Man" in comparison.

The live version is great if you're a fan of Paul Stanley overcompensating in refuting gay rumors. "HOW MANY GUYS OUT THERE LIKE LOOKIN' AT NAKED WOMEN, LET ME HERE YOU!!?!

Offline The King of Trash

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #82 on: January 09, 2014, 01:15:32 PM »
sick screenshot

Offline Love Harnesser Kamala

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #83 on: January 09, 2014, 04:51:25 PM »
A good screenshot for guys who like lookin' at naked women!

Offline Love Harnesser Kamala

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #84 on: January 20, 2014, 12:55:57 AM »
While we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, one of the greatest Americans who helped make the world a better place. Let's not forget that today is the birthday of another great American who, in his own way, has made the world a little bit better!

Happy Birthday to "The Starchild" Paul Stanley

Offline Love Harnesser Kamala

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #85 on: April 11, 2015, 03:31:42 AM »

 8)

Offline The King of Trash

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #86 on: April 01, 2017, 05:49:11 AM »
A story he would breathlessly recount a few years later with his solo band, Frehley's Comet in the unintentional comedy classic "Rock Soldiers"

Hey man, I earnestly like this song and think it rules. It also got me to check out a bunch of Kiss and re-read this thread. Awesome stuff, worth bumping.

Offline The King of Trash

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #87 on: May 06, 2017, 05:38:53 AM »


have you heard of this spoken word 'album'? Most if not all seems to be on YouTube. Today this would be like an extended mini-podcast series or something, but I ctrl-f'd 'aucoin' and '13 classic' and found nothing.

I haven't listened to this yet myself but I imagine a lot of it will be covered by what you've written in here. I'm just curious as to the credibility of this guy.

Quote
During the recording sessions for the song, Criss was the only Kiss member in the studio, making it the only Kiss song that features no instrumental performances by any member of the band.

I find this really funny considering Beth was also their biggest hit.

Offline The King of Trash

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #88 on: May 06, 2017, 05:41:48 AM »
Quote
In an article for Rolling Stone, Paul Stanley questioned Criss' role in co-writing the song, saying, "Peter had nothing to do with it."

lmao

Offline Love Harnesser Kamala

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #89 on: May 07, 2017, 12:57:19 PM »
I haven't listened to Aucoin's spoken word album but I think he is fairly credible due to the fact that he managed KISS during their first decade.

I only say fairly cause he was apparently a Keith Moon-esque party animal during that time. He also managed Billy Idol during his heyday. Too bad he died before he could write an autobiography because he's got a hell of a story.

Offline Phil Jackson

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #90 on: August 09, 2017, 12:21:08 PM »
I've always been a big Kiss fan, since I hung out with them after a show at the Beacon back in '75. They looked up to me because I was an NBA star, but I told them they would make it and they did. I could pick out talent even back then.

Anyway, I'll update this thread with more organized thoughts after the peyote wears off.

Offline Magic Johnson

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #91 on: August 12, 2017, 12:13:00 AM »
Mr. Jackson, I don't agree with you on much, but you were really on the money with this one.  KISS are rock and roll legends, and not only that, before the Insane Clown Posse, straight from my home state of Michigan, came into the picture, they rocked the face paint like no other musical act.

Offline Phil Jackson

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #92 on: August 13, 2017, 06:22:03 AM »
Thanks Magic, and I think we agree on more than you think:

https://sports.yahoo.com/phil-jackson-reportedly-wanted-lonzo-210243083.html

Offline Phil Jackson

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #93 on: August 13, 2017, 07:06:12 AM »
Where do I begin with this legendary brand?

It’s probably best to explain why many didn’t like them to begin with, and why they are still the butt of many jokes today. Perhaps rock’s best kept secret despite selling out stadiums all over the world, Kiss’s lack of radio play prevented many young people post-1990 to really take them seriously. They were depicted as dad rock before dad rock was even a thing, and most younger folks looked at them like a joke as a result. That’s true even to this day!

But like my man DubQ up there pointed it out, there’s a reason why so many musicians who were around for their prime looked up to them. The fact that they’ve carved out the place that they have in the canon of rock history despite getting almost no help from radio stations or journalist hacks is probably the ultimate testament to their greatness.

Without Ace, Gene and Paul are just a superband featuring a rotating cast of accomplished players. Which is funny to say, but it just shows how epic Kiss really was in its prime.

I’ll post some more thoughts later about specific albums that I personally enjoy the most. But I have to say, listening to the debut album, it was immediately clear that this band was way cooler than what many had been let in on. Cold Gin is Trans Am rock at its best produced, and has such a classic fucking riff. It’s a shame about Ace’s shyness around this time period, as a song about drinking needs to be sung by a guy who has cold gin running in his veins 24/7, not someone who is basically dry. Still a great song though.

Btw, when Ace told me about his shyness problems, I helped him meditate. it just didn’t take though, he told me drinking was just so much easier for him to let his guard down. I never asked what his problems were, but I was as shocked as anyone when I heard about the drunk driving incident depicted in Rock Soldiers. Of course he told me about it before he told you guys, and I helped him see the demons in his behaviour that he referenced in his lyrics. It’s extremely personal about a crazy real life incident with an anthemic riff and bass drum. What a great track.

But I digress. The debut album sounds like it was produced in an auto shop, and I mean that in a good way. It also shows the diversity in styles and influence in their song structures. Nothin’ To Lose has a bluesy feel, Strutter is a great opener with a catchy hook and a fun beat you can dance to. The chugging riff of Firehouse is great for when you wanna zone out and get taken on a sweet ride to that era to see what rockin' out was supposed to feel like. And that's probably the best way to describe this album, as the sound, song styles, hooks and lyrics make it feel like quintessential classic rock.

What a great debut, a showcase of what this quartet with a tight sound and a budding knack for pop songwriting were capable of.  Too bad the media and radio stations didn’t see it that way, but my man Kamala already covered all that.

Come back to this thread to hear more hot takes about other Kiss albums, including the revelation of my favorite one. I’ll give you a hint, it’s not what you expect from ya boy. 

Offline LaVar Ball

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #94 on: August 14, 2017, 09:59:37 PM »
Damn y'all got some wack ass taste in music!  What's so ballin' about a bunch of damn clowns?

Offline Magic Johnson

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #95 on: August 14, 2017, 10:12:14 PM »
LaVar, don't be a hater.  You don't know anything about the Juggalo life.

Offline LaVar Ball

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #96 on: August 14, 2017, 10:20:11 PM »
If the "Juggalo life" doesn't even allow you to buy mainstream soda, then I don't to know anything about it!  You can't drink Moon Mist and call yourself a Big Baller!  C'mon Mag', I thought we were above this!

Offline Phil Jackson

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #97 on: August 19, 2017, 01:15:22 PM »
Stay in your lane, Lavar. I'm working on my article about my favourite Kiss album, and I don't want the Kiss Army to be distracted by your BULLSHIT.

Offline Phil Jackson

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #98 on: February 24, 2018, 09:12:33 AM »
for all your snobby indie rock friends like byron who hate on Kiss:

Quote
The Kiss Indie Army
Every individual on this list and at least one individual in every band on this list has admitted to being or having been a fan of Kiss.

Rivers Cuomo (Weezer)

Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth)

Nirvana

Bill Stevenson (All)

The Melvins

J. Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.)

Stephen Malkmus and Scott Kannberg (Pavement)

Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails)

Marilyn Manson

Soundgarden

Stone Temple PilotsJeff Ament (Pearl Jam)

Alice in Chains

Malfunkshun

Mother Love Bone

Mudhoney

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Lemonheads

Smashing Pumpkins

The Replacements

Bob Mould

Dan Murphy (Soul Asylum)

Guy Picciotto (Fugazi)

Mike Watt (Minutemen)

Peter Prescott (Mission of Burma)

Greg Demos (Guided by Voices)

Superchunk

Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine)

Maynard James Keenan (Tool)

Redd Kross

Craig Finn (The Hold Steady)

Daft Punk

Adam Horovitz (Beastie Boys)

Craig Montoya (Everclear)

https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/music/a28273/kiss-indie-rock/

Offline The King of Trash

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Re: Kamala's KISS Korner
« Reply #99 on: March 10, 2018, 02:25:27 PM »