Kiss – ‘Alive!’ (1975) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

With ‘Dressed to Kill’ out and sales only slightly better than ‘Hotter Than Hell’, the only thing the band really had going for them was their live shows.  Their record label was nearly bankrupt and Kiss was about to lose their record deal and it was about to all coming to a crashing halt. The band had yet to receive any royalties after their pittance of an advance and their manager, Bill Aucoin, along with the band were ready to sue and get out of the contract.

In a last ditch effort to save the label and the band, Neil thought a Live album was the way to go.  The Live shows is where people finally understood what Kiss was all about.  With Gene Simmons spitting blood and breathing fire, with Ace Frehley’s electrifying guitar solos, Paul Stanley’s charm in his dialogue to the crowd and Peter Criss’ drum riser and solo, Kiss was a Live band that needed to be heard LIVE!!  Plus, this was cheaper than an album, so they could afford to do this route.

IMG_2072

Alive!’ was recorded over four stops on the Dressed to Kill Tour.  You had May 16 at Cobo Arena in Detroit, Michigan, naturally; June 21 at Cleveland Music Hall in Cleveland, Ohio; July 20 at RKO Orpheum Theater in Davenport, Iowa; and July 23 at Wildwoods Convention Center in Wildwood, New Jersey.  With four shows recorded, they could piece together a perfect live album…well…maybe not!

Continue reading “Kiss – ‘Alive!’ (1975) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)”

Kiss – ‘Dressed to Kill’ (1975) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

When the band completed ‘Hotter Than Hell’, they quickly went right back on tour.  That album only had the one single, “Let Me Go, Rock & Roll”, which quickly fell from the charts. That wasn’t the only thing that fell quickly, so did the album sales.  Their label, Casablanca, was hemorrhaging money with Kiss on Tour and the album doing poorly.  As a result, the band was yanked off tour to record a new album.

When they get in the studio, the producer for the record was no longer Kenny Kerner and Richie Wise as Casablanca had no money to pay anyone.  So the owner of the record label, Neil Bogart, stepped in and recorded the album.  Which isn’t really a problem as he has a ton of experience…in the pop and dance music world.  Not in Rock & Roll.  And it would be evident as the heavier sound of the band on the first two albums, was a little more pop sounding on this one.  Don’t fret, it still rocked out, but not as hard.

IMG_2054

Imagine you are in a band and you are now starting to write your third album in about a year’s time.  You have to be one heck of a writer to come up with that much music in such a short time.  Well, Kiss didn’t have the songs.  So, what did they do.  They pulled a couple songs from their Wicked Lester Days and re-worked them.  Now, only 8 more to go.  Paul wrote three of them, Gene got two, Ace got one and then Paul & Gene wrote one together and what a song it was.  More on that in a minute. Continue reading “Kiss – ‘Dressed to Kill’ (1975) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)”

Billy Idol – ‘Don’t Stop E.P.’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

After the demise of Generation X and Gen X, Billy would follow Bill Aucoin, his manager and Kiss’ former manager, to New York City to start a solo career.  When Billy signed on with Gen X as their manager, he quickly learned that the star of this band was not the band, but its lead singer, Billy Idol.

When Billy got to New York, he met a lot of interesting people and really loved the club scene…and of course, the drug scene was something he enjoyed as well.  If you read his book, “Dancing With Myself you can find out all about it so I won’t spoil the details here.

Billy was introduced to a guitarists at this time that would become just as big a part of Billy’s solo career as he was.  He met Steve Stevens.  There is no Billy Idol sound without Steve and his guitar playing is what makes Idol’s solo songs that much better.

img_1662

With Steve Stevens in tow along with Phil Feit on bass and Gregg Gerson on drums, the band set out to record Billy’s first solo album.  As a teaser and build up to his career, it was decided an E.P. would be put out, I guess to whet everyone’s whistle and draw up buzz on the singer.  ‘Don’t Stop’ was the result.  It was more of a dance album than the former punk sound Billy had and you could see the magic being developed on what would become an amazing run of albums in the 80’s.

Continue reading “Billy Idol – ‘Don’t Stop E.P.’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)”

Gen X – ‘Kiss Me Deadly’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

After touring the band’s second album, ‘Valley of the Dolls’, the band was in shambles.  During the recording of their third album, Derwood Andrews decided to leave the band.  And shortly thereafter, Billy asked drummer, Mark Laff, to leave…well, he fired him as he didn’t feel his style was appropriate for the new sound.  Generation X was done.  That third album would not be released for another 20 years.

Remaining players, Billy Idol and Tony James, decided to keep going, but now they were called Gen X.  First the band needed a new manager,  Tony found a guy by the name of Bill Aucoin.  If you are a Kiss fan, that name should ring some bells pretty loudly.  The band then got drummer Terry Chimes and they auditioned several guitarists while recording the new album.

The band’s style was no longer punk.  They were going to ride the New Wave sound that was starting to sweep across England.  That sound would be what carried Billy into his solo career.  Speaking of solo career, Bill Aucoin wasn’t overly impressed with Gen X.  His real interest was Billy Idol and what he could with him in America, but that would come just a little later down the line.

IMG_1529

Continue reading “Gen X – ‘Kiss Me Deadly’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)”