A couple weeks ago we talked through the Kiss 7″ Single for “Beth”. I know, I know…the Kiss Review Series will never die as I’ll always keep finding stuff to show off. Now, I found another one of their singles and this one is from their 1977 album ‘Love Gun’. It is “Christine Sixteen” and the song features Gene Simmons on the lead vocals. As far as chart success, it went all the way to #25 on the Billboard Hot 100. Not bad!
I say not bad because of the subject matter of the song, a lot of stations wouldn’t play it or would only play it after 7pm as if that made it any better. The basis of the song is about an older man infatuated with a girl of the tender age of 16. That wouldn’t fly at all today, but back then, it wasn’t terrible or unforgivable, merely frowned upon I would say based on the fact it still sold like hotcakes. Imagine the chart position if all the stations played it any time of day.
My version is the standard U.S. version, with no picture sleeve. It has the standard Casablanca/Filmworks sleeve which is pretty basic. The B-Side of the song might actually be better than the A-Side is it is Ace Frehley’s song “Shock Me”. More on that later. First let’s discuss the A-Side.
Finally!! Kiss decided to release another live album and this one is ‘Alive III’ which was 17 years after their last release. Now they did release a live video, but this is the first album since ‘Alive II’ in 1977. The band recorded the album during the Revenge Tour in 1992 and used the recordings from the Cleveland, Detroit and Indianapolis stops of the tour. This is also the first live album of the Non-Makeup era and the first to not have the original Kiss line-up. The line-up is of course Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, but now it is Eric Singer on Drums and still Bruce Kulick on guitar. Oh yeah, and off to the side of the stage on keyboards is Derek Sherinian who toured with the band at this time since they added keyboards to a lot of the late 80’s songs.
Before we get to the music, let’s talk the packaging. We get a 2 LP set in a beautiful Gatefold cover. One side of the Gatefold has a really cool Kiss Family Tree. Although hard to read at times, it is a cool tracing back of where all the Kiss members, current and past, come from in their musical careers.
On the flip side of the Gatefold, you get the track listing and all the tour credits as well as some band pictures and a little note from the band.
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.
After three studio albums, it was time to repeat the magic with another live album, ‘Alive II’. It worked well the first time so it seemed like that was the intention this time around to try and capture that gold again. However, that was not the original intention. While the band was touring Japan for ‘Rock & Roll Over’, they recorded the entire show of the band at the famed Budokan Hall in Tokyo on April 2, 1977. They felt the band needed a break before recording the next album and this would be it. However, Casablanca hated the album and it was scrapped.
The band went and released ‘Love Gun’ as planned and then it was time for another live album. This time they recorded three shows at the LA Forum on August 26-28 of 1977 while out on Tour for the ‘Love Gun’ album which was just released in June. Heck, they even recorded the soundchecks as the goal for this album was to not duplicate any songs that were on ‘Alive!’. And to add something special to the album, Side Four was going to be all new studio songs which gives this release a little something extra. Eddie Kramer was brought back in to produce and he worked his magic. Continue reading “Kiss – ‘Alive II’ (1977) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)”→
After the massive success of ‘Destroyer’, the band was riding high. Now the hard part, following up a massive album. Despite the success of the prior album, there were many fans who didn’t like the direction Kiss was going. They felt the rawness of the band was missing. It was that rawness they loved. They weren’t alone, Ace and Peter felt the same way. They did not want to repeat what Ezrin had done, but Gene and Paul didn’t want to completely throw it away either.
So, Eddie Kramer was brought back in to produce. They camped out at the Star Theater in Nanuet, New York i hopes to have a live feel for the album to make sure they capture the true essence of the band. And whether or not they did is still up for discussion. You get a mixed bag of thoughts on the production of this album, I will just say I think it is one of their most consistent albums they have done and we will get in to the meat of it later.
Welcome to the beginning of a new series on 2Loud2OldMusic.com. We are finally tackling the entire Kiss catalog. As you know, if you follow this site, Kiss is one of my favorite bands and I am amassing quite a vinyl collection. I have done posts on Kiss over the years (a lot), but I haven’t tackled their main albums and in detail. I figured, it was finally time to do so. And what better way to kick it off then with the band right before Kiss was formed…Wicked Lester. This review is a double review of sorts as this vinyl is a Bootleg and so it is part of my Bootleg Series with Kiss and it will also be the kickoff to the new series as this is where Kiss really began.
I haven’t done a full count, but I am guessing we will wind up with over 50 albums in this review as I will tackle as many Kiss albums as I can including Studio, Live, Greatest Hits, and anything else in my collection. I will even venture off in to solo albums by the band members or other side projects they have. It is going to be everything Kiss related. I have a feeling this will take more than a year to complete, but I think I am up for the task. I hope you are too. At the bottom of every post, there will be links to all the Kiss Reviews we have done in the past if you want to venture over and check them out. I hope you enjoy…
Recording of the ‘Slide it In’ Album started some time in 1983 and this time around Eddie Kramer was onboard to handle productions duties. And let’s just say things did not go well, but was it a band problem (as there were ton of those) or a producer problem, I don’t know. But Eddie was replaced quickly with longtime Snake producer Martin Birch.
The band problems were many on this record and for this tour. Micky Moody was back and recorded the album, but things did not go well on tour and David became an ass to Micky and he had enough and quit after the European tour and his last gig was in October 1983, prior to the release of ‘Slide It In’. His replacement was John Sykes who was the guitar player for Thin Lizzy at the time.
At the same time Sykes was brought on board, Colin Hodgkinson was let go as the bass player and former Whitesnake bass player Neil Murray was brought back in to the fold. Cozy Powell was now the drummer as Ian Paice had left after the last album and then Jon Lord left in 1984 to go reform Deep Purple so Richard Bailey was brought in to fill in. The band was in complete disarray during this time. It is amazing anything got done.
In Part 1 we talked about the packaging and all that was included in The Box Set. Now, we are going to talk about the music. There are 5 discs included in this set and they are broken up in to certain eras/timeframes of the band. They cover from the very beginning all the way up to 1999. The set was released in 2001 so nothing from after Psycho Cirus.
First up is Disc One that covers the era from 1966 to 1975. Wait…Kiss didn’t start until 1973, how do we have stuff from 1966? Well, you will have to wait and see. The disc has 21 songs and of those, 12 are previously unreleased. And it is those 12 songs that are the prize on this release. Here is the entire track listing for this disc.
The first two songs up are demos that were done in 1973 at Electric Lady Studios with the great Eddie Kramer on the boards. You know Eddie from his work with Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix…at least you should. The two songs were “Strutter” and “Deuce”, two of the bands most iconic songs. These versions had never been released prior to this set. I think I am going to go out on a limb and mention that these versions might be better than the actual recordings on the debut album of which, Eddie was not a part. These songs had so much more meat to them. They had more edge and captured more of the band’s essence.
“Strutter” is actually from an early Gene Simmons song called “Stanley the Parrot”. They took the chord pattern off that song and turned it in to a song that Paul feels has a “strutting” feel to it and thus the name. “Deuce” was another song that was sort of a Frankenstein pieced together from a couple of other songs except these weren’t old Kiss songs. The band loosely based it off the song “Bitch” by the Rolling Stones and the beginning of the song came from The Raspberries song “Go All the Way”.