Kiss – ‘Unmasked’ (1980) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

By the end of they Dynasty Tour, the Kiss Empire was eroding quickly. Between Ace’s and Peter’s drinking problems (among other things), the band was at an all time low. During an interview on October 31, 1979 on the Tom Snyder Show, Ace was totally hammered and you could see the faces of Gene and Paul and they did not look altogether happy. Pissed is a probably a good word for it. And let us not forget Peter during the Tour. By the end, he would make so many screw-ups and some times would simply stop playing. Gene and Paul had had enough and so had Peter.

When 1980 rolls around, the band have to make a new album and this would become the first album without all four members of the band. Peter did not play on the album at all and there are no Peter sung songs, but he was credited to play and he was on the cover as Kiss wanted to keep the illusion going the band was fine for as long as they could. Who handled the drumming, well that would’ve been Anton Fig.

Now Ace, well, he was on the album, however, he only shows up on probably 5 of the 11 songs with the rest of the guitar parts being handled by Paul, Gene or Bob Kulick. It was becoming more and more obvious that the end was near for Ace as well although it wouldn’t be for another year or two. He somehow managed to hang in there for a little while longer.

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My Sunday Song – “Naked City” by Kiss

For My Sunday Song #134, I am going to discuss “Naked City” off the underrated 1980 album ‘Unmasked’ by Kiss.  I say underrated now because I have grown to like this album now.  I didn’t appreciate it back in the day, but there were some great songs on this album, including this one.

First, the song was written by Gene Simmons, Vini Poncia, Bob Kulick and Pepe Castro.  The bass on the song is Gene and the rhythm guitar is Paul,  but that is it…no Ace & no Peter.  Drums are handled by Anton Fig and actually he did all the drums on the album even though Peter is credited.  Lead guitar on the song is Ace Frehley, but it is said that former Kiss bandmate Bruce Kulick’s brother, Bob Kulick played some guitar on the album as well.

The song is more of a pop/rock song and doesn’t have the full edge of the classic Kiss tunes, but it is smoking when it comes to overall tone, groove and Gene’s vocals.  Even without all original members, it is still Kiss and it is still fantastic.  The song is about New York City (which a lot of their songs are about).  The song talks about the fact there are so many people in the city, so many lonely and lost people.  It is actually quite a sad, insightful and observant viewpoint of the city.

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