We are now in 1994 and it has been almost 2 years since the band’s last studio album. At this point in the timeline, there is no work being done on a new album either. Kiss was in limbo to some degree. But the motors were turning and the band thought to celebrate their 20 years in music, they would do a Tribute album which would be performed by artist that were big at the time of 1994. Tribute albums were big in the early 90’s as there a ton, so this was not an original idea by the band. I believe they had run out of original ideas years earlier.
The band had over 100 bands that wanted to do songs including such acts as Sir Mix A Lot and Smashing Pumpkins. Hell, even Kurt Cobain and The Melvins did a song together, but sadly it came in too late to be included on the album. They had settled on 12 acts to perform 12 Kiss Klassics…sorry Classics. These song wouldn’t be straight up renditions as each band was allowed to do something different to the songs and make it special in their own way.
Before we get to the music, let us talk about the packaging a little. Now, if you notice the cover art, the make-up for Ace isn’t shown and that is because Kiss didn’t own Ace’s make-up design. At this time, Ace still owned it. The band didn’t get permission from the right people in time for the album’s release so that is why it is absent. Instead, you get Paul’s original design with the bandit style make-up on the little boy.
Welcome to a two-fer Book Review of ‘Take it Off: Kiss Truly Unmasked’ by Greg Prato. Not only am I doing a review but my friendDeke over at Thunder Bay Arena Rock is doing one as well. So click on his name and go read his when you are done with this one. I am sure his will be better!!
A little backstory on Kiss during the Unmasked years. I was a teenager during most of this time and I discovered Kiss for myself in these years. I say that because I was introduced to Kiss in the 70’s as I had one brother in particular that was huge in to the band. He had posters and magazine pictures plastered all over his bedroom all…and I mean ALL over it. I listened to all the 70’s albums, but I was seeing it through his eyes. In 1982 with Creatures of the Night, I was now buying Kiss and loving Kiss on my own.
After the Lick It Up album came out, I finally got to see them live and I saw them live 3 times during the Unmasked years. I bought every album during this period and have them today in some form or fashion. So, needless to say, I am a huge fan of the Unmasked years so when I heard about this fantastic book by Greg Prato, I had to have a copy. And I got one as a Christmas gift. So, no more waiting, let’s review the book.
Greg’s book covers the entire era of Kiss without makeup. All the way from 1983’s ‘Lick It Up until 1997’s album ‘Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions’. And if you didn’t know, that is 12 albums mixed with Studio albums, live albums and compilation albums as well as one tribute album. And here they are…