Right after the Creatures of the Night Tour, the band went back in to the studio to complete the follow-up album. Michael James Jackson would stay on board as the producer as the sound he got on “Creatures” was amazing and the band wanted to continue that harder sound. Vinnie Vincent was now an official member of the band as he was on the cover. However, he actually wasn’t an “official member of the band” as he never signed his contract which became an extreme soar spot with Vinnie and the band which we will discuss a little later on in our story.
The ‘Lick it Up’ album, which came out on September 23, 1983, garnered way more attention than ‘Creatures’ for one main reason. The band finally took off the make-up which is something they had been talking about doing since at least the ‘Music from the Elder’ era. They finally did it and the big reveal was on MTV during primetime. I remember this vividly as this was event TV for me as I was a lifelong Kiss fan at the time (and still am today). I remember seeing each member in make-up and then without and I remember thinking, “PUT IT BACK ON!!! OOOOH THE HORROR!!!” No, it really wasn’t that bad. It was actually pretty cool. And just like that Kiss was back in the public eye and they had some songs that could back it up.
Kiss had to get back to their hard rock roots after the disaster of their last studio album ‘Music from the Elder’. The band had been on a downward spiral since ‘Dynasty’ with their sound going softer, Peter Criss leaving the band and now Ace was pretty much done. Due to his disillusionment the last few years with the band, the fact he had no say in anything, his alcohol problem and his prescription drug problem related to a car crash, Ace was done. He was so done in fact, he does not show up anywhere on this album. Well, that isn’t entirely true. Kiss still credited him as a member of the band, his picture is on the cover and he made some public appearances in support of the band including appearing in the music video for ‘I Love it Loud” which he didn’t even play on. After that video shoot though, Ace was no longer in the band.
Kiss was basically a trio for this whole album. Additional musicians and songwriters were brought in to help them write and record this album. Michael James Jackson was brought in as the producer and Michael had worked on the four new songs used on the ‘Killers’ album early in the year. They went in to the studio with the sole purpose of bringing back the heavy rock. Paul’s writing friend, Adam Mitchell, was back to help as well as Jim Vallance, Bryan Adams and Mikel Japp. All these guys co-wrote on the ‘Killers’ album, so it stands to reason that all these songs for both ‘Killers’ and ‘Creatures’ were part of the same writing sessions.
Kiss had released the ‘Music from the Elder’ back in November 1981 and it flopped. The record company was in a panic and needed to get something out so people could forget about the disaster that was ‘the Elder’ so what do they do? Well, they put out a compilation. Phonogram (the band’s European label) requested Kiss go back in and record some new songs for the compilation which they gladly did…well a couple of them gladly did. Ace was pretty much done with Kiss back in 1981 and wasn’t involved at all with any of the new songs. However, he wouldn’t leave the band until after the next album in late 1982. Gene played on them (I think), but didn’t sing or write as he was pretty busy either with his girlfriend Diana Ross or making movies.
The heavy lifting was left to Paul and Eric. Paul wrote or co-wrote all the songs and sang on all of them. The label and band brought in a bunch of outside writers including Mikel Japp, who co-wrote with Paul on his solo album, Adam Mitchell, who would write a lot on the next album ‘Creatures of the Night’, and lastly some guy named Bryan Adams. All the drum work was done by Eric Carr and the late Bob Kulick handled all the lead guitar work just as he did on Alive II, with rhythm guitar on one song done by Mikel Japp. So, I guess it is still Kiss.
For My Sunday Song #135, we are going to discuss the song “Nowhere to Run” off the bands 1982 compilation called ‘Killers’. After the doomed release of ‘The Elder’, Kiss immediately went into the studio and recorded 4 new songs to go with a greatest hits compilation because they knew that ‘The Elder’ was dead on arrival. The four new songs were all fantastic. This was my favorite of the bunch.
Out of the four new songs, this was the only one solely written by Paul Stanley. For all the others, he had help. Also interesting is the fact that Paul sang all four of the new songs, no Gene. Although, he did play bass and Eric was on the drums. And Ace tour it up on lead guitar, at least that is what I thought as a kid. It was actually Bob Kulick who had originally auditioned for Kiss back in the day, but was beat out by Ace. Now, he was lead guitarist (just not officially).
The song had an old Kiss sound and felt like they were going back to their roots, but it was the 80’s and the production was louder and bigger with Michael James Jackson at the board. It is a rocking track and Bob really does kill it on the solo and Eric’s drums are loud and powerful as he brought such a new life to the Kiss sound. I love the little drum fill at the beginning with a little acoustic intro and it built up from there. Paul sounded sensational and this was Kiss hitting on all cylinders. After the disaster of ‘The Elder’, Kiss was back in good favor…at least in my book.
If you follow this blog at all, you will know I am a Kiss fan. I am not the crazy fan that collects everything although I am starting to have those tendencies and might be there soon. I am a fan that wants their music whether it is vinyl, CD or DVD, I want it. I have been working really hard on doing just that. I have a long way to go, a very long way to go, but I feel I am off to a good start. I am not missing much on the vinyl set; however I still need a few.
This post is just to document where I am with the collection. The Turntable & Vinyl series is basically a diary of sorts of my vinyl adventures and this adventure needs a good update, so here we go.
I have broken it apart into sub-eras. The first era is of course the debut up to Kiss Alive I. When I started this blog, it talked about a box of vinyl I had, well in that box were Alive and Hotter than Hell. I have since found Dressed to Kill and just recently bought Kiss (the debut). I bought a new copy as I wasn’t having much luck finding a decent used copy, plus the new was only $12 which is what I probably would have paid (if not more) for a used original.
We are now to the end of the “My First Time” series. I ended up skipping it in November as their were too many new albums to review, plus I just wasn’t in the mood, That got me thinking. I don’t like being tied down to a specific album or theme. I want to review albums whenever I am in the mood to do it. Doing this series, limited me a little so I figured I would do one more and then just start reviewing any album, any time…no theme.
I figured if it was going to be my last, it needed to be something special. For me, that means Kiss!! The “My First Time” series is about the FIRST album I bought from a band. Believe it or not, that album is ‘Lick It Up’ by Kiss. A couple of my brothers were huge fans and had all their albums, but I had never bought one. That changed with the excitement of this release.
What was all the excitement about this album? Well, I am glad you asked. Kiss sales had been in the decline. Even with the stellar album ‘Creatures of the Night’ (one of their best), Kiss needed to do something to shake things up. So they did just that. They removed the make-up. It was such a big deal, MTV held a special for the band to reveal themselves without make-up. They also introduced the video for their first single, “Lick It Up”. Here is the MTV special reveal…