We are finally to the end of the Kiss Review Series. And like I like to do at the end of each series is Rank the Studio Albums from Worst to First and we aren’t going to do it any differently here. There are 24 Studio albums and since there are so many, I am keeping the summaries brief and no videos as I usually like to post a video with each album, but just way too many to do this time around.
Kiss began in 1973 and are still around today, but the last studio album was in 2012. It started with the original four – Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Peter Criss and Ace Frehley. Then came Eric Carr who replaced Peter Criss; then Vinnie Vincent who replaced Ace Frehley; then Mark St. John to replace Vinnie and then Bruce Kulick replaced Mark; and it continues with Eric Singer replacing Eric Carr after his death and then Peter & Ace came back in and out after the reunion and then finally Tommy Thayer replaced Ace for good. Lots of changes, but Gene and Paul are always the consistent formula that has kept Kiss “Alive” all these years. For the diehard fan, remember, this is my opinion and your favorites are probably going to be different, but it is okay as we both love Kiss. For the newbie, this is a good guideline on where to focus.
Now, if the band ever decides to do another Studio album, I will gladly come back and update this, but it doesn’t look like that will ever happen. If you want to check out the review of each album in detail, there are links at the bottom to all the reviews in the series and there were only 72 of them!! It took me almost 14 months to get through them all and it is still the most fun I have had on the site.
Thanks for spending all this time with me going through the Kiss catalog and my Kiss collection. I hope you enjoyed it. Enough chit chat as there is a lot to get through so sit back, grab a coffee or a beer and enjoy!!
For some strange reason, I am on a kick reading all about the band Kiss. I don’t know what it is, but maybe it has to do with the Kiss Review Series that I am currently in the middle of doing. The book I decided to read next was a book about the album ‘Music From the Elder’ and sadly, the timing didn’t work out for me to review this book at the same time as the album as that would’ve been great. But better late than never.
The book I read was “Odyssey – The Definitive Examination of Music From the Elder” by Tim McPhate and Julian Gill. And let me tell you , it is definitive. It is over 500 pages of every little detail, little nugget and little story about the album. You would think that one of the bands worst album (arguably) would not warrant a book, but you’d be wrong It does warrant a book for that very reason. We want to know what was going through their minds with this album? Where did the concept come from, what made them go down that road (or who)? All those questions and more were answered.
The authors of this book interview everyone under the sun that was in some way, shape or form associated with this album from engineers, to management, to gophers, to album art designers, to set directors, to actors, to even bits of interviews of the producer himself, Bob Ezrin. I mean there are interviews ad nauseam. And I mean ad nauseam. There were over 30 interviews done for the book. A great portion of this book are just interviews and it reads in that format. Questions become very repetitive because the burning question on everyone’s mind seems to be what happened to the recordings of the dialogue with the actors to help tell the story? The only dialogue on the album was around the last song, but apparently there was a lot more recorded, never released and no one knows where those recordings are or who has them. And after reading this, I don’t give a rat’s ass where it is. I hope I never hear that question again. No one knows the answer!!!
This whole interview process was my biggest complaint for this book. Too many interviews, too many repetitive questions and too many repetitive questions. See that, I am repeating myself now as a result of too many repetitive questions. I would have preferred the writers to take these interviews and actually tell a story chronologically of the whole process using these interviews as the facts for the stories and quoting the person being interviewed. It would have made this a much more enjoyable book rather than being so monotonous and became utterly boring at times.
It took me months to get through this book as the amount of minutiae was incredible. The only thing I don’t think we learned about was the toilet paper they used to wipe their ass when they went to the bathroom and thank God for that (It’s Charmin by the way – kidding). We learn where they recorded the album, all 9 studios. We learn how the door on the cover was made and the table on the gatefold. We learn that Ace stayed at his home studio mostly and rarely, if ever, joined the band other than when they recorded at his house. We learn who the actors were that read the dialogue. One was Chris Makepeace, the star from the 1980 movie ‘My Bodyguard’ which I loved. We learn that Bob Ezrin was fucked up most of the time and rarely showed up for recording. We learn Bob was ultimately responsible for the concept all though Gene was about equally involved. We learn the label changed the order of the songs on the original release which messed everything up. We learn the band really hates the album now and we learn more than we ever really wanted to know.
Was the book all bad, of course not. There really is some interesting nuggets buried in the pages of a million interviews, it takes forever to find them and enjoy them. Whenever the book broke in to commentary and became less like interviews is when I enjoyed it more. I do think one of the more interesting pieces was around the end when they interview the guy that bought the one and only script for the Elder Movie and he talked about what the movie would’ve been like if it was actually ever made. He has a one-of-a-kind collector’s item in that script and his stories were great on the movie concept.
I did like reading about the different album releases and track listings and lot about the collector’s items for The Elder. It was interesting to read more about the background of the characters in The Elder and I must say I enjoyed Robert V. Conte’s stories on what is in The Elder vault and all the conversations on the remastering projects he has been on for the band. That is some cool stuff and let me tell you Kiss fans, there is a ton of stuff in the archives, we haven’t even heard yet.
Okay, I think I have rambled on too long. This book is for the diehard fan. If you want to know every little detail about the album, and read about it more than once, then this book is for you. If you are hoping for more of a story and biography type book, then steer clear of this as it will drive you insane, and to note, that is a short drive for me. I can only muster a 2.0 out of 5.0 Stars for this as it was too much. It gets 2.0 stars as I did learn a few things and there were some great behind the scenes stories, but they were just buried in all the muck. Buyer beware on this one.
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.