Kiss – ‘Alive!’ (1975) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

With ‘Dressed to Kill’ out and sales only slightly better than ‘Hotter Than Hell’, the only thing the band really had going for them was their live shows.  Their record label was nearly bankrupt and Kiss was about to lose their record deal and it was about to all coming to a crashing halt. The band had yet to receive any royalties after their pittance of an advance and their manager, Bill Aucoin, along with the band were ready to sue and get out of the contract.

In a last ditch effort to save the label and the band, Neil thought a Live album was the way to go.  The Live shows is where people finally understood what Kiss was all about.  With Gene Simmons spitting blood and breathing fire, with Ace Frehley’s electrifying guitar solos, Paul Stanley’s charm in his dialogue to the crowd and Peter Criss’ drum riser and solo, Kiss was a Live band that needed to be heard LIVE!!  Plus, this was cheaper than an album, so they could afford to do this route.

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Alive!’ was recorded over four stops on the Dressed to Kill Tour.  You had May 16 at Cobo Arena in Detroit, Michigan, naturally; June 21 at Cleveland Music Hall in Cleveland, Ohio; July 20 at RKO Orpheum Theater in Davenport, Iowa; and July 23 at Wildwoods Convention Center in Wildwood, New Jersey.  With four shows recorded, they could piece together a perfect live album…well…maybe not!

Continue reading “Kiss – ‘Alive!’ (1975) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)”

Tuesday’s Memes – Kiss (Part 3)

We have come to the end of Tuesday’s Memes.  I started it with a little Kiss, so I will end with a little Kiss.  I have been doing this for 3 years I believe so it is time to come to an end.  These are a huge draw to the site, but I am bored with them and need to change things up a little. So for one last time…

“You Wanted the Best, You Got the Best, The Hottest Band in the Land…KISS!!”

Covid!!!

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Ace & Peter…

5ea432ef0a560cea215d14dc9d6243bb Continue reading “Tuesday’s Memes – Kiss (Part 3)”

Kiss – ‘Dressed to Kill’ (1975) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

When the band completed ‘Hotter Than Hell’, they quickly went right back on tour.  That album only had the one single, “Let Me Go, Rock & Roll”, which quickly fell from the charts. That wasn’t the only thing that fell quickly, so did the album sales.  Their label, Casablanca, was hemorrhaging money with Kiss on Tour and the album doing poorly.  As a result, the band was yanked off tour to record a new album.

When they get in the studio, the producer for the record was no longer Kenny Kerner and Richie Wise as Casablanca had no money to pay anyone.  So the owner of the record label, Neil Bogart, stepped in and recorded the album.  Which isn’t really a problem as he has a ton of experience…in the pop and dance music world.  Not in Rock & Roll.  And it would be evident as the heavier sound of the band on the first two albums, was a little more pop sounding on this one.  Don’t fret, it still rocked out, but not as hard.

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Imagine you are in a band and you are now starting to write your third album in about a year’s time.  You have to be one heck of a writer to come up with that much music in such a short time.  Well, Kiss didn’t have the songs.  So, what did they do.  They pulled a couple songs from their Wicked Lester Days and re-worked them.  Now, only 8 more to go.  Paul wrote three of them, Gene got two, Ace got one and then Paul & Gene wrote one together and what a song it was.  More on that in a minute. Continue reading “Kiss – ‘Dressed to Kill’ (1975) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)”

Kiss – ‘Hotter Than Hell’ (1974) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

After the poor sales of the debut Kiss album and the fact that Casablanca was bleeding money on the tour, Neil Bogart wanted the band to get back in to the studio to record their next album.  While on Los Angeles for a show in August of 1974, Kiss started recording their follow-up.  The band’s line-up was unchanged and the producers were unchanged as Kenny Kerner and Richie Wise were behind the boards again.  And yes, they are to blame for the awful sonics on this record, especially the dull drum sound.

Let me tell you, the band was not thrilled with doing this album in L.A.  These guys are New York guys and this whole new environment was foreign to them and not home.  Put that along side the fact they have had zero time to write new songs, they weren’t being setup to succeed.  They plowed through and by October 22, 1974, the album was released and actually performed worse than the debut album which is no easy feat as that one did poorly.

Before we go in to the music, can we talk about that cover?  Of course we can, it’s my blog.  I remember seeing this cover as kid of maybe 7 or 8 and thinking how cool this was with all the Japanese writing (now not sure I really knew it was Japanese, but it was still cool).  The album concept was done to mimic the look of Japanese comics and if you notice that little character at the bottom…

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That character stands for the word “Chikara” and if you know that then you know that is the name of a greatest hits package by the band that was only released in Japan in 1988.  It is on my grail list to get a copy.  If you are interested, “Chikara” means power. And there were other Japanese lettering on the album cover. The lettering in the top right corner of the album actually means “the shout of hell” which isn’t the same as “hotter than hell”, but not sure if that was the intent or not. Continue reading “Kiss – ‘Hotter Than Hell’ (1974) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)”

Kiss – ‘Kiss’ (1974) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

On February 18, 1974, the world received their first Kiss album, simply called ‘Kiss’.  But not many people took notice. It only sold around 70,000 copies at the time and quickly faded into existence.  But hold on, before we get in to the album, let’s go back to the first Kiss show one year earlier on January 30th, 1973.  For that show, the band didn’t really wear any make-up.  They had their name, but were just setting out and didn’t know who they were yet. They had the drag/glam look going for them, but the make-up progressed rather quickly.  Each member was discovering their personalities….The Demon (Gene), The Starchild (Paul), The Spaceman (Ace) and the Catman (Peter).  Over the next year, they would settle on who they were and so much more.  And who were they?  They were the following:

  • Paul Stanley – The Starchild
  • Gene Simmons – The Demon
  • Ace Frehley – The Spaceman
  • Peter Criss – The Catman

In early March, the band would finally decide on the make-up, then about a week later, they entered The Daisy in Amityville, NY with famed Led Zeppelin producer and recorded a five song demo.  The same 5 songs we talked about briefly on the Wicked Lester demo album from last week.

Then shortly after that, they were doing a showcase in the Summer and they meet a lad named Bill Aucoin who would become their manager and change their life forever.  But before they signed with Bill, they said he had 2 weeks to get them a record deal.  Not much time for anyone, but for Bill, he made it work.  The band would be the first band to sign with Neil Bogart’s Casablanca Record label on November 1st, 1973.  Quite a busy year.  And yes, I skipped so much, but this isn’t a history lesson, this is an album review.  So why don’t we get to that part now.

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Kiss – ‘Wicked Lester and Progeny Demo Sessions’ (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series )

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…

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Kiss – ‘They Only Come Out At Night’ (Bootleg Series) – Album Review

In my quest for collecting Kiss Bootlegs for eery tour they have done, I found another fantastic addition to the collection.  My local record shop, Hardy Boy Records, has been a goldmine of late for Bootlegs. I have now bought four over the last few months and all for tours I didn’t have (or a collection of Wicked Lester demos – that is another story that will be told later).

The last 2 I bought were actually the same store, so I guess that statement was entirely true.  The difference was one was the North American Tour setlist (which will come in the next week or two) and this one is the European leg of that tour with an ever so slightly different setlist.

Before we get to the show and the music, let’s discuss the cover of the album.  This album is listed as “For Promotional Use Only” and is a really cheap production.  The album jacket is plain white cover with this paper picture of the band that wraps around the back. It is glued down and not going anywhere.  But the strange thing is the people on the cover.  Now, I get it this the Animalize Tour so you would expect Mark St. John to be on the cover, but there is a problem.  This is not one of the 3 shows that Mark actually played on.  This has Bruce Kulick playing before he was an official member which would come about two months later.

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The show is from October 26, 1984 at the Johanneshov Isstadion in Stockholm, Sweden on the first leg of the tour.  The recording if an audience recording actually sounds quite excellent.  Not much crowd noise and everyone sounds pretty clear with minor instances where the sound was off a little.  This was released a year later in 1985 by a group called Poverty Records at least that’s what it says on the album itself. Continue reading “Kiss – ‘They Only Come Out At Night’ (Bootleg Series) – Album Review”

Kiss – Asylum World Tour – Tour Book

I started 1985 with a Kiss concert (Animalize Tour) so I had to end it with a Kiss concert. This one was on December 31, 1985 and where else, but at the Omni.  This show was for the Asylum Tour this time. The opening act for this show was Black n Blue.  Gene had produced their album so no wonder they opened. Same line-up as the earlier show so nothing really new except the costumes were quite colorful and loud and looking back are quite hideous.

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This setlist was different in the sense that Rock and Roll All Nite was not the encore.  This encore was a big jam session with a lot of covers and I remember it being pretty cool.

  1. Detroit Rock City
  2. Fits Like a Glove
  3. Guitar Solo (Paul)
  4. Uh! All Night
  5. Cold Gin
  6. Under the Gun
  7. Guitar Solo (Bruce)
  8. I Still Love You
  9. Bass Solo
  10. I Love it Loud
  11. Tears Are Falling
  12. Drum Solo
  13. War Machine
  14. Love Gun
  15. Rock and Roll All Nite
  16. La Bamba (Encore)
  17. Whole Lotta Love (Encore)
  18. Heaven’s On Fire (Encore)
  19. Oh! Susanna (Encore)
  20. Won’t Get Fooled Again (Encore)
  21. Lick It Up (Encore)

And like the last show, I bought a Tour Book which I still have today and we are going to go through it right now.  Bruce finally gets his spotlight in the Tour Book as he wasn’t in the last one even though he performed.  It was still Mark St. John as the band didn’t have time to change it out or want to spend the money to do so.  I have him now and that is all that matters.

The first page, as always, is a list of all the albums they have released.  This page isn’t much different than the last tour book since it has only been one album.  Well, there is one big difference.  The ‘Creatures of the Night’ cover is different. It now has the band unmasked and Bruce was on the cover…wait…I don’t think he was on that album…but then again, neither was Ace and he was on the original cover.  I guess it is okay…not really!!

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Kiss – Animalize World Tour 1984-85 – Tour Book

On January 9th, 1985, I went to my 2nd Kiss concert which as the old arena called the Omni.  That arena is no longer around, but the memories I do still have.  The opening act was Krokus and they were great.  The tour was for the Animalize Tour and the lead guitarist on this one was supposed to be Mark St. John, but he was fired in December of the previous year.  Bruce Kulick took over duties for the remainder of the tour and for years later. I hate I didn’t get to see Mark. He is the only Kiss guitarist I have not seen live.

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The setlist for this show was below and not all too different from the Lick It Up Tour I saw before.

  1. Detroit Rock City
  2. Cold Gin
  3. Creatures of the Night
  4. Fits Like a Glove
  5. Heaven’s On Fire
  6. Guitar Solo
  7. Under the Gun
  8. War Machine
  9. Drum Solo
  10. Young & Wasted (Eric now on vocals)
  11. Bass Solo
  12. I Love it Loud
  13. I Still Love You
  14. Love Gun
  15. Black Diamond
  16. Oh! Susanna (Encore)
  17. Lick It Up (Encore)
  18. Rock and Roll All Nite (Encore)

Continue reading “Kiss – Animalize World Tour 1984-85 – Tour Book”

Kiss – The Tickler (Bootleg Series) – Album Review

A month ago, local record shop Hardy Boys Records bought a Kiss collection and offered up for sale. Everything was going to drop on that next Saturday at 10am. I got up, showered, dressed and headed out the door and arrive about 9:50 and luckily only one person was in line ahead of me.  Great conversations were had about our love for Kiss. I picked up 6 different Kiss pieces that were not in my collection one was this Bootleg called The Tickler.

‘The Tickler’ is an independent released bootleg of the bands concert from the Scandinavium which is in Gothenburg, Sweden.  The show was on the Lick It up Tour and dates to November 18, 1983.  It isn’t the full show as that show had 17 songs.  This one is only 8 songs and 2 solos including Gene Simmon’s bass solo and Vinnie Vincent’s guitar solo.

The bootleg is limited to 500 copies (no, it’s not numbered).  It has the green cover as there is one with a red cover floating around as well.  The packaging is very limited.  you get the horrible black & white photos on the front and back of the album jackets is blank.  The labels on the vinyl are pretty basic black with an A & B on each side and the name of the label, Roxy Records.  No special inserts or any bonus items.  Plain and simple.  My guess this came out in the 80’s.  Now the copy I bought was sealed, but to me that is a complete and utter waste.  I want to hear it, so I opened it and played it…SUE ME!!! Continue reading “Kiss – The Tickler (Bootleg Series) – Album Review”