Kiss came off a very successful Australian Tour thanks to Unmasked and the song “Shandi” being huge hits in that country, but in the States, Kiss had floundered significantly. They were now basically a joke. Peter Criss was no longer in the band, their music was no longer rock and things looked pretty dire for them. Kiss started recording for a new album and this album was going to get back to the hard rock roots of the band, however, things started to change. The thought of hard rock album wasn’t enough. The band had to do something drastic, something big, something artistic. In comes producer Bob Ezrin.
Bob had come off the success of doing a concept album with a band you might know name Pink Floyd. The album was ‘The Wall”. In January 81, the band had started recording at Ace in the Hole studio at Ace’s house and they were doing much harder, rock recordings. But when Bob came on board around March, talk started to change to maybe doing a concept album and Gene was immediately on board, Paul was somewhat, Eric was not thrilled about the direction, but he was thrilled about finally recording his first Kiss album. And Ace, well Ace wasn’t happy at all. Things with Ace would start to deteriorate even more. So much so while the album was being recorded in Toronto and New York, Ace stayed at this house in Connecticut and did his parts in his studio and mailed them out when he was done.
I know…you are probably sick of Kiss related posts at the same time I am doing the Kiss Review Series and I am sorry. I am in a Kiss Zone right now and everything is KISS, KISS, KISS!!! And on my continuous Kiss hunt, I found another book that was all about Kiss that I want to discuss.
This is a book right up my alley and education level. It is a picture book with very few words…YEAH ME!!! It is Kiss: 1977-1980 by Lynn Goldsmith. Lynn is a celebrity portrait photographer and was one of the very first female Rock Photographers. Lynn has been asked numerous times to photograph Kiss and this book encompasses all of those meetings and pictures from all of the sessions she had with the band. Those sessions were only from 1977-1980 which was a very interesting and transforming time for the band. It was coming out of Alive II, the solo albums, in to Dynasty and Unmasked where the music changed and Peter left. It goes up to where Eric Carr joins the band and has his first photo shoot with the band.
By the end of they Dynasty Tour, the Kiss Empire was eroding quickly. Between Ace’s and Peter’s drinking problems (among other things), the band was at an all time low. During an interview on October 31, 1979 on the Tom Snyder Show, Ace was totally hammered and you could see the faces of Gene and Paul and they did not look altogether happy. Pissed is a probably a good word for it. And let us not forget Peter during the Tour. By the end, he would make so many screw-ups and some times would simply stop playing. Gene and Paul had had enough and so had Peter.
When 1980 rolls around, the band have to make a new album and this would become the first album without all four members of the band. Peter did not play on the album at all and there are no Peter sung songs, but he was credited to play and he was on the cover as Kiss wanted to keep the illusion going the band was fine for as long as they could. Who handled the drumming, well that would’ve been Anton Fig.
Now Ace, well, he was on the album, however, he only shows up on probably 5 of the 11 songs with the rest of the guitar parts being handled by Paul, Gene or Bob Kulick. It was becoming more and more obvious that the end was near for Ace as well although it wouldn’t be for another year or two. He somehow managed to hang in there for a little while longer.
Welcome to my monthly wrap-up of all my purchases for the month. Now I am cheating as there are a number of items that came in at the end of August after I had already done my August post and I wasn’t about to go update that and have to change a few pictures so they will start out our September update.
First up is an brand new album from one of my favorite bands, Needtobreathe. Their new album came out on Friday, August 28th and luckily I got release day delivery and it came with a CD. I have already done a review (Click Here) and an update to their Album Rankings will be coming shortly.
August 29th was the first 3 of RSD days for 2020. As you know, due to Covid the April Record Store Day was delayed until June and then split in to 3 days in hopes of decreasing the # of people showing up on the day of release. The first one of these 3 days was August 29th and there will be one in September and October and if I am not mistaken, November will still see the normal Black Friday RSD. I tried to keep this one simple and I only bought 4 albums, one of which was for my daughter. I bought an Ace Frehley album, Collective Soul and a Def Leppard one. The album for my daughter was a live album by Billie Eilish (I will probably listen to it as well as she is quite interesting.
And I guess it wasn’t the only thing I bought as it was raining and he let everyone come in early, but he couldn’t actually ring us up until 8 and it was around 7:30. So after we got to pick out or RSD items, I had time to walk around the store and see if there was anything else. I wasn’t going to actually buy anything else as I spent enough on the above. If you follow the site you know I have started collecting Kiss Tour Books. I picked up a Bon Jovi one when I was out and I wasn’t looking to do anyone else other than Kiss. Well, Repo Records had a Bon Jovi Tour Book from 2011. And you guessed it. I bought it. I will do a full review of this soon.
Normally on Record Store Day, Repo Records gives us a goody bag. This year he didn’t have a goody bag (Sad face)…No, he had a goody album cover…WTF? He had old useless album covers and inside he had a Record Mat for your turntable, a sticker, an RSD guitar pick and a button of someone but I have no idea. And that was it…wasn’t much.
And that was it for RSD, but on the same day I had delivered another item from Needtobreathe. I was on eBay only about 3 days earlier and checking to see if any of their rare Fan Club Insider CDs were for sale. You can only purchase these if you sign up for their fan club and pay the annual premium of like $60. I hadn’t done that up until this year so the new one will come in December, but I have been trying to find these on eBay or Discogs at reasonable prices (something less than $60…and I did). I got my second one, Volume 5, for $25…yeah me!! And within a week, I found another one for $27 after eBay was kind enough to give me a $25 Off coupon for being a member since the beginning of eBay. That is two for less than a year membership for one. Not bad!!!
Next up was an album I ordered back in June or so and when it was released in August, Amazon apparently ran out so I had to wait and wait to finally get it. My local record store had it but sold out so I kept waiting, plus Amazon’s price was only $16 so I was willing to wait. It is the self-titled album from Collective Soul that was finally issued on vinyl to celebrate its 25th Anniversary.
I forget what day, but the kids wanted to get out of the house and so we took a ride over to 2nd & Charles, the whole family, and we all searched for books or music or movies or whatever floated our boat. I found one item that I needed for my collection and at $8, it was a steal. Peter Criss’ book ‘Makeup to Breakup’ another book in my long list of Kiss books I have to get through.
Next up is an autographed copy of the Storm Force album ‘Age of Fear’. My fellow bloggers Deke and LeBrain have raved about this album and then during LeBrain’s live stream on Facebook, the boys from the band joined him and Deke and talked for an hour on a fun-filled Friday night. I thought that was really cool of the guys so I supported them by buying this. You should do the same.
And then something else popped up. I was on Amazon and I saw Art Alexakis’ solo album for only $8 and free shipping so since I am fan of Everclear, I jumped on it. It came quick and is below…
And finally we get to the 2nd Record Store Day and this was just this past Saturday on Sept. 25th. I picked up three things including The Alarm’s Celtic Folklore Live, a Mott the Hoople compilation called The Golden Age of Rock and Roll and then a live album from Hootie & the Blowfish. That one wasn’t on my list, but when I saw it and that it was from 1995, their heyday.
And like last time at Repo, they let us in before they could check us out and it gave us time to look around and shop. Let me tell you that is never a good thing. The first thing I found was a 7″ Kiss single for Beth and Detroit Rock City and then it was a bootleg from Van Halen for the Women And Children First Sessions full of the demos. I’m a sucker for that stuff….
And Repo gave out his typical swag….at least the mat was a different color this time…
And that is everything…yes, that was plenty. Here it all is in one big picture…
Thanks for stopping by. I already have a few things coming for October and there is another Record Store Day so shaping up to be another big month.
As a Bonus Edition to The Kiss Review Series, we are going to look at a couple singles I have for the Song “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” off the band’s 1979 album, ‘Dynasty’. The song was a commercial success for the band reaching all the way to the #11 slot on the Billboard Hot 100 and one of only a handful of times they have broke the Top 40.
The music, however, was quite a departure for the band. The song was labeled as Disco and if you listen to it, it really was. The song was written by Paul Stanley, Vini Poncia and the great Desmond Child makes his first of many appears with the band (only one on this album). The story goes that Disco was really big at the time and the record company wanted the band to be a little more commercial. Paul thought any idiot could write a disco song and a bet was made and a few hours later, the song was written and the Paul proved his point. This song did have every trapping of a disco song, the tempo, the beat, the pop sound, the disco sound effects…I mean it was disco…but it was good and it was catchy and they still play it live today. Now on a side note, this is Gene’s least favorite song (and Peter and Ace hate it too).
I have two versions of the Single. I have the Radio Edit 45 Single with “Hard Times” as the B-Side and I have the 12″ Dance Mix with “Charisma as the B-Side. First we will talk about the 7” Single, which might be the Radio edit.
After the solo albums, Kiss jumped back in to the studio in January/February 1979 and began work on their seventh studio album (the solo albums aren’t really considered Kiss Studio albums) to be called ‘Dynasty’. It was set up to be the return of Kiss as it was the band’s first “band” album since 1977’s Love Gun. I say “band” because by this point, “band” is a very loose term.
The band was having serious problems with Peter Criss at this point. Peter had hurt his hand in a car accident, he was heavy in to drugs and alcohol and he was basically difficult to work with. To help try and ease things with Peter, the band hired Vini Poncia as the producer as he produced Peter’s solo album so they thought it would make things easier…it didn’t! In fact, Vini did not feel’s Peter’s playing on the recordings was sub par…basically, it sucked. So, they brought in a drummer to do all the drum parts. His name was Anton Fig and he played drums on Ace’s solo album. Anton played on every song, but one. The one song Peter played on was the one he sang, “Dirty Livin'”. It would also be the last Kiss song he played on any album until 1998’s Pyscho Circus (which is a whole other story to be discussed much later in the series).
1978 was a big year for Kiss. Not only were they working on their Solo albums, they were also making their first movie. Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park was released on October 28, 1978. It was a made for TV movie in the U.S. if that tells you anything about it before we even start talking about it. I actually remember all the hype this was getting and for me it was Event TV. I was going to watch this when it came out and I actually did. I was just shy of 10 years old and I remember this vividly. I even had it on VHS when it was released (or my brother had it), but we don’t have it anymore.
I think there was a plot so I will see if I can piece it together for you. The movie takes place at Six Flags Magic Mountain in California and the Park is having some money troubles. The evil scientist man, Abner Devereaux played by Anthony Zerba, is spending too much on his robots. He is close to developing the most realistic robots ever, but before he can finish, he is fired. This sets him off to destroy the park and Kiss as they were there to perform 3 shows over the weekend. The funny thing is that after being fired, he wasn’t escorted out of the park like any normal firing. Stupid mistake on their part.
There is Sam and Melisse, two young kids in love. Sam works for Devereaux who takes Sam hostage using a micro chip in his neck to control him and basically turn him in to a human robot. All the while, Sam’s girlfriend, Melissa, is trying to find him. She meets Kiss and tries to get their help. Kiss is happy to oblige a pretty young lady and she was that. Kiss had special powers, they were superheroes basically. They had these Talisman that gave them their powers and Devereaux uses Sam to steal those Talisman.
Ace is back!!! Welcome to Friday’s new releases and there are a handful of releases worth noting and of course, the true Spaceman himself has a new album out. Even if it is a covers album, I have already bought it is on its way! All my choices are highlighted in Blue which is only 2 for sure and maybe I will check out the Derek Sherinian and Flying Colors albums, but it will all depend on time. What is out this week that you want to hear or what did I miss from the list? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!!
Ace Frehley – Origins, Vol 2 – (Entertainment One): Yes!!! Ace is finally releasing his 2nd covers album which has been talked about since the release of Vol 1 a few years ago. It has some John 5, Robin Zander of Cheap Trick and the one and only, Bruce Kulick!! Yes Kiss Fans…Bruce!!! The two best Kiss guitarist are on a song together. Doesn’t get much better than that!!
White Lion – All You Need is Rock & Roll: Complete Albums 1985-1991 – (Cherry Red): This album has been bumped time and time again and is finally coming out. It is a box set with the first four studio album plus a live disc which is the one I am wanting. I can’t “WAIT”!!!!
When we think of the Kiss Solo albums, we really only have Ace to blame. Ace was not happy with the band and he wanted to do a side project, but to keep the peace, the idea was floated out there that each member of the band do a solo album and they were all to be released under the Kiss moniker and all on the same day. A feat never done again by Kiss or any other band and there is a reason for that. No one can afford all albums at once and not every band member is created equally as Ace proved here.
Ace Frehley’s solo album had the best producer of the four, Eddie Kramer, and it was the one that sounded the most like Kiss. In the case of the solo albums, this is a Win-Win for Ace! Ace didn’t deviate from the Kiss sound at all. In fact, I think he refined it and made it even better. This would only boost his confidence even more and drive that ego to hit the stratosphere as problems would continue from here on in for Ace and Kiss. Between his issues and Peter’s, things were about to get dicey. Enough about that, and back to the solo albums.
August started off with a bang on purchases. We went on vacation down to St. Augustine, Florida and like I do on every trip, I hit the local record stores to see what I can find. There were three to choose from on this trip and of course, I hit all three on different days.
The first was actually in a little house that was selling Antiques. The record shop goes by the name On The Record – Vinyl Records and More and it was two blocks from where we were staying which made for an easy walk from the house. It was a small shop and didn’t have a ton, but enough that I found some albums. First up was a Crowded House album and then 2nd was The Cult. I also picked up a 45 Single for the song from the TV show The Greatest American Hero which I loved (at least the first season).
The next shop was a record store called MusicMatters. It was in a strip mall and looked promising but was far from it. They didn’t have anything really cool and everything was overpriced. Not a great shop in my book. I did find a Kiss Bootleg and thankfully I already had that one because they wanted $200 for it. That is right $200. CRAZY!!!…no F$&KING CRAZY!! I paid $50 for mine and the quality was no different at all. I did find one cool piece at this store and that was a compilation that I bought for two reasons, 1) I had when I was a kid and 2) it was $5. It was “Masters of Metal”… Continue reading “August 2020 Purchases – Vinyl & CDs”→