In my quest to get all the Kiss Tour Books in my collection, I have now come to my fifth in the Tour Book Series. This is one of two that came from the Kiss Alive / Worldwide Tour from 1996-1997. You might remember I already did one from that tour, but that was a special edition book during the 1997 part of the tour which included the Giant 1997 Poster Calendar and had a silver cover. It was a replica of the European Book. Plus, all the pictures were different. This is original Tour Book with the Black Cover.
I bought this book right at the beginning of the pandemic. A friend of my brothers was selling it and so he reached out to me and I said, yes, buy it for me (I did pay him back). I asked my brother to hold on to it and I would grab it the next time I was down in Atlanta which would’ve only been about a month or two after I bought. 9 months later and I still hadn’t gone down thanks to Covid. I finally asked him to mail it on up to me and he graciously did.
One of the interesting things about this book is that it was bought at the October 1, 1996 show at the Omni in Atlanta. How do I know, the ticket stub was still inside. That for me is cool to know which show it was purchased because I was actually at that show. I can’t believe I have a book from the actual show I attended. What are the odds of getting one 25 years later. Our ticket stubs are below.
Kiss were plugging along and everything is still right in the world. In 1988, as they were preparing for their Tour of Japan, the label and the band decided to release a greatest hits compilation. The CD was issued on May 25, 1988 and was limited to only 100,000 copies and only released in Japan. The was the 2nd greatest hits package to not be issued in the U.S., the first being 1982’s ‘Killers’. For that fact, this is a hot collector’s item for Kiss collectors and I didn’t even know about it until years after its release and I still don’t have a physical copy of this release (but I will get one someday).
The Japanese character on the back of the case and on the CD might look familiar. It is the same symbol that was on the bottom of the cover art for the band’s 1974 album, ‘Hotter Than Hell’. Eric Carr also used that symbol on his drum kits for quite some time. Chikara is the Japanese word for Power if you are interested in knowing that fact. And when you are looking to buy this CD on ebay or somewhere, the prize to get is the OBI strip with all the Japanese writing. A lot of the ones I’ve seen out there don’t have that strip anymore.
You are probably wondering why I’m doing a Black ‘N Blue album in the middle of a Kiss Review Series. What does this band have to do with Kiss? There are several reasons why, but first and foremost is who is a member of this band. Current Kiss guitarist, Tommy Thayer, is the guitarist in Black ‘N Blue. Since Tommy is still in the band, I can’t do his first release after his time in the band as that hasn’t happened yet. Instead, I decided to find an album of his work prior to his time in Kiss and I picked an album with some major Kiss connections. The album is actually the band’s third studio album and this one was produced by Kiss member, Gene Simmons. This is where the relationship between Gene and Tommy blossomed as they had met previously in 1985 when they opened for Kiss. It would lead to Tommy’s eventual membership in Kiss.
If you’ve paid attention to the last few Kiss reviews, you will notice I mentioned that Gene wasn’t always completely committed to Kiss during this time of Kiss and this was one reason why. He was busy finding new bands and producing other albums. Gene came across the band and really liked their sound, he was brought on as the producer of this album as well as the follow-up and took the band back to a more raw sound. The album, ‘Nasty Nasty’, came out in August of 1986.
His name is George Peter John Criscuola, but you know him as Peter Criss thanks to a little band he was in called Kiss. On May 18, 1980, it was official that Peter Criss was fired from the band. According to Peter he quit, but Gene, Ace and Bill Aucoin all say he was fired. He did have one last duty before he left the band and that was film the music video for the song ‘Shandi’ off the ‘Unmasked’ album. When that video shoot was done, so was Peter. A sad day in Kisstory as the first of the original four had left the band. Kiss as we knew it had changed forever (or at least until 1996 when a Reunion Tour was announced)
Peter didn’t waste any time and put together a solo album so he could keep his name out there and try to make it as a solo artist now. So in just a few short months, on September 8, 1980, Peter released his second solo album called “Out of Control”. The Kiss Peter Criss solo album was the first. The album tanked and did not do well at all. I believe there are two reasons for that failure. First, Peter was on the same label as Kiss, Casablanca. Kiss had been with Casablanca since the beginning and you can bet your ass they were not going to let Peter’s album do well so I am sure they pulled some strings with their label to not push this album as hard as they push a Kiss album. I’m not saying this is true, but I’m saying it is a major possibility. Just ask John Sykes about his Blue Murder album which was on Geffen, the same label as his former band Whitesnake.
The second reason this album didn’t do well probably stems from his first solo album under the Kiss brand. That music was not rock, it was not Kiss, it was Lounge Rock as a fellow blogger described it. Think Rod Stewart without the songs or the talent and you have an idea. That scared off a lot of people and when the first single came out, it was pretty much more of the same.
The album cover was done by artist Todd Schorr, who took an idea from Peter and turned into this, let us say interesting, cover. The blonde chick on the lower left is based on Peter’s wife at the time, Debra Jensen. The picture is a jukebox exploding and records flying all over the place. The picture screams 70’s to me and feels dated so not a timeless cover.
Peter does write 9 of the 10 songs, one is a cover and 8 of those songs are co-written with his former Chelsea and Lips bandmate, Stan Penridge who also played guitar on the album. It surprised me that the two didn’t form their own band, but I understand them wanting to capitalize on Peter’s name since he was with Kiss. Alright, that is enough behind the music stuff, let us actually get to the music.
The first song, and first single, is “By Myself”. It is a ballad and a strange song to kick off the album. I guess he figured since his big Kiss hits were ballad let’s kick it off with one. The song is about him being solo…by myself…get it. It is cheesy, sappy and probably the worst song to open an album. However, it is Peter and it is the type of music he prefers it is just a bad opening track as it doesn’t suck you in, it puts you to sleep.
The next song, “In Trouble Again” is much better and kicks things up a notch. It is a more rocking tracking with a solid groove and Peter’s vocals fit nicely with this one as that gravely vocal works well. Plus there is a little cowbell, never have enough of that. The highlight is a nice guitar solo by Stan which makes the song rock out pretty good. The keyboards on it are a little much, but don’t detract a whole lot as it is still an enjoyable song.
“Where Will They Run” changes things up again as this one is more R&B and soul with a nice bass groove. Think Hall & Oates, but not quite as good. It is a little slower tempo and with nothing of note to mention, the song is kind of a sleeper track at least until George Young whips out the saxophone and the song then has one nice little moment.
Then with “I Found Love” we jump into the 80’s with a synthesizer keyboard overload. The song is about his finding love with his Playmate wife, Debra Jensen. It is a pure pop song and it is a little catchy and I kind of like it…a little…okay I like this one for some strange reason. I am sucker for 80’s synth pop I guess.
Side 1 ends with “There’s Nothing Better”, which was written for Dynasty but not used obviously. It is another rocking track with some nice piano work. Very upbeat, but with horns and this pop feel to it, it would’ve need to be re-worked to be on a Kiss album. It is too chipper for Dynasty, the horns would have to go. Otherwise, not a bad song, not a great one, but not bad either. I mean it does have a guitar solo. One thing of note, with Peter being the drummer, you think the drums would’ve been more front and center, but they aren’t. He focused on the songs and the singing.
This side kicks off with the title track, “Out of Control”. This has Peter’s raspy vocals showing that he really is a decent rock singer, his material is usually the problem but not here. More piano and synths, as they are prevalent on most or all the songs. Peter does a good job on this one, I like his grit and probably one of the better songs on the album.
Then we get to “Words” and well, I should probably just leave it with that. It is a slowed down song that seems pretty lifeless and I don’t think bad is a strong enough term.
“You Better Run” is up next and we get a Pat Benatar cover song…wait…Pat’s is a cover song…ok. Well here we have a Young Rascals cover song. Peter keeps it rocking, for a song that seems to be about revenge, I don’t really hear the anger or urgency in wanting to get that revenge. It is lackluster at best and truly unbelievable. Plus, I can’t get Pat out of my head so I don’t think this is anywhere near as good as her version which to me is the most exceptional version of this song.
“My Life” is up next and plods along going nowhere. It falls flat and has way too much piano which is too loud in the mix and almost drowns out Peter’s vocals.
The album finally comes to an end with “Feel Like Letting Go” which is exactly how I feel after listening to Side 2. The song opens with a piano and I swear I was about to hear Elton John start singing, but sadly that was not the case. This is one of those songs that he is trying to make it sound bigger than it really is and for me misses the mark wildly. Now at the very end of this track is a hidden track called “As Time Goes By (intro)” and Peter sings the first two lines which are “You must remember this… a kiss is still a kiss…” which I am guessing is a little shout out to his former band.
By Myself – Delete
In Trouble Again – Keeper
Where Will They Run? – Delete
I Found Love – Keeper
There’s Nothing Better – Keeper(1/2 point)
Out of Control – Keeper
Words – Delete
You Better Run – Delete
My Life – Delete
Feel Like Letting Go – Delete
The Track Score is only 3 1/2 out of 10 for a Score of 35%. I would say it got better with every listen, which it did up until a point that it didn’t. I liked Side 1 better than Side 2, but the biggest problems were the songs. They weren’t that good. I think they tried to do too much and tried to make the songs bigger than they were or they could handle. It did have its moments, but I am not a big fan of this style especially in 1980 this would not have been on my radar. I will say I liked his Kiss solo album better. My overall score on this one is a 1.5 out of 5.0 Stars.
Next Up: Kiss – The Elder (1981)
Check out the rest of the series if you have time!!
I know…you are probably sick of Kiss related posts at the same time I am doing the Kiss Review Series and I am sorry. I am in a Kiss Zone right now and everything is KISS, KISS, KISS!!! And on my continuous Kiss hunt, I found another book that was all about Kiss that I want to discuss.
This is a book right up my alley and education level. It is a picture book with very few words…YEAH ME!!! It is Kiss: 1977-1980 by Lynn Goldsmith. Lynn is a celebrity portrait photographer and was one of the very first female Rock Photographers. Lynn has been asked numerous times to photograph Kiss and this book encompasses all of those meetings and pictures from all of the sessions she had with the band. Those sessions were only from 1977-1980 which was a very interesting and transforming time for the band. It was coming out of Alive II, the solo albums, in to Dynasty and Unmasked where the music changed and Peter left. It goes up to where Eric Carr joins the band and has his first photo shoot with the band.
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.
Welcome to my monthly wrap-up of all my purchases for the month. Now I am cheating as there are a number of items that came in at the end of August after I had already done my August post and I wasn’t about to go update that and have to change a few pictures so they will start out our September update.
First up is an brand new album from one of my favorite bands, Needtobreathe. Their new album came out on Friday, August 28th and luckily I got release day delivery and it came with a CD. I have already done a review (Click Here) and an update to their Album Rankings will be coming shortly.
August 29th was the first 3 of RSD days for 2020. As you know, due to Covid the April Record Store Day was delayed until June and then split in to 3 days in hopes of decreasing the # of people showing up on the day of release. The first one of these 3 days was August 29th and there will be one in September and October and if I am not mistaken, November will still see the normal Black Friday RSD. I tried to keep this one simple and I only bought 4 albums, one of which was for my daughter. I bought an Ace Frehley album, Collective Soul and a Def Leppard one. The album for my daughter was a live album by Billie Eilish (I will probably listen to it as well as she is quite interesting.
And I guess it wasn’t the only thing I bought as it was raining and he let everyone come in early, but he couldn’t actually ring us up until 8 and it was around 7:30. So after we got to pick out or RSD items, I had time to walk around the store and see if there was anything else. I wasn’t going to actually buy anything else as I spent enough on the above. If you follow the site you know I have started collecting Kiss Tour Books. I picked up a Bon Jovi one when I was out and I wasn’t looking to do anyone else other than Kiss. Well, Repo Records had a Bon Jovi Tour Book from 2011. And you guessed it. I bought it. I will do a full review of this soon.
Normally on Record Store Day, Repo Records gives us a goody bag. This year he didn’t have a goody bag (Sad face)…No, he had a goody album cover…WTF? He had old useless album covers and inside he had a Record Mat for your turntable, a sticker, an RSD guitar pick and a button of someone but I have no idea. And that was it…wasn’t much.
And that was it for RSD, but on the same day I had delivered another item from Needtobreathe. I was on eBay only about 3 days earlier and checking to see if any of their rare Fan Club Insider CDs were for sale. You can only purchase these if you sign up for their fan club and pay the annual premium of like $60. I hadn’t done that up until this year so the new one will come in December, but I have been trying to find these on eBay or Discogs at reasonable prices (something less than $60…and I did). I got my second one, Volume 5, for $25…yeah me!! And within a week, I found another one for $27 after eBay was kind enough to give me a $25 Off coupon for being a member since the beginning of eBay. That is two for less than a year membership for one. Not bad!!!
Next up was an album I ordered back in June or so and when it was released in August, Amazon apparently ran out so I had to wait and wait to finally get it. My local record store had it but sold out so I kept waiting, plus Amazon’s price was only $16 so I was willing to wait. It is the self-titled album from Collective Soul that was finally issued on vinyl to celebrate its 25th Anniversary.
I forget what day, but the kids wanted to get out of the house and so we took a ride over to 2nd & Charles, the whole family, and we all searched for books or music or movies or whatever floated our boat. I found one item that I needed for my collection and at $8, it was a steal. Peter Criss’ book ‘Makeup to Breakup’ another book in my long list of Kiss books I have to get through.
Next up is an autographed copy of the Storm Force album ‘Age of Fear’. My fellow bloggers Deke and LeBrain have raved about this album and then during LeBrain’s live stream on Facebook, the boys from the band joined him and Deke and talked for an hour on a fun-filled Friday night. I thought that was really cool of the guys so I supported them by buying this. You should do the same.
And then something else popped up. I was on Amazon and I saw Art Alexakis’ solo album for only $8 and free shipping so since I am fan of Everclear, I jumped on it. It came quick and is below…
And finally we get to the 2nd Record Store Day and this was just this past Saturday on Sept. 25th. I picked up three things including The Alarm’s Celtic Folklore Live, a Mott the Hoople compilation called The Golden Age of Rock and Roll and then a live album from Hootie & the Blowfish. That one wasn’t on my list, but when I saw it and that it was from 1995, their heyday.
And like last time at Repo, they let us in before they could check us out and it gave us time to look around and shop. Let me tell you that is never a good thing. The first thing I found was a 7″ Kiss single for Beth and Detroit Rock City and then it was a bootleg from Van Halen for the Women And Children First Sessions full of the demos. I’m a sucker for that stuff….
And Repo gave out his typical swag….at least the mat was a different color this time…
And that is everything…yes, that was plenty. Here it all is in one big picture…
Thanks for stopping by. I already have a few things coming for October and there is another Record Store Day so shaping up to be another big month.
After the solo albums, Kiss jumped back in to the studio in January/February 1979 and began work on their seventh studio album (the solo albums aren’t really considered Kiss Studio albums) to be called ‘Dynasty’. It was set up to be the return of Kiss as it was the band’s first “band” album since 1977’s Love Gun. I say “band” because by this point, “band” is a very loose term.
The band was having serious problems with Peter Criss at this point. Peter had hurt his hand in a car accident, he was heavy in to drugs and alcohol and he was basically difficult to work with. To help try and ease things with Peter, the band hired Vini Poncia as the producer as he produced Peter’s solo album so they thought it would make things easier…it didn’t! In fact, Vini did not feel’s Peter’s playing on the recordings was sub par…basically, it sucked. So, they brought in a drummer to do all the drum parts. His name was Anton Fig and he played drums on Ace’s solo album. Anton played on every song, but one. The one song Peter played on was the one he sang, “Dirty Livin'”. It would also be the last Kiss song he played on any album until 1998’s Pyscho Circus (which is a whole other story to be discussed much later in the series).
1978 was a big year for Kiss. Not only were they working on their Solo albums, they were also making their first movie. Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park was released on October 28, 1978. It was a made for TV movie in the U.S. if that tells you anything about it before we even start talking about it. I actually remember all the hype this was getting and for me it was Event TV. I was going to watch this when it came out and I actually did. I was just shy of 10 years old and I remember this vividly. I even had it on VHS when it was released (or my brother had it), but we don’t have it anymore.
I think there was a plot so I will see if I can piece it together for you. The movie takes place at Six Flags Magic Mountain in California and the Park is having some money troubles. The evil scientist man, Abner Devereaux played by Anthony Zerba, is spending too much on his robots. He is close to developing the most realistic robots ever, but before he can finish, he is fired. This sets him off to destroy the park and Kiss as they were there to perform 3 shows over the weekend. The funny thing is that after being fired, he wasn’t escorted out of the park like any normal firing. Stupid mistake on their part.
There is Sam and Melisse, two young kids in love. Sam works for Devereaux who takes Sam hostage using a micro chip in his neck to control him and basically turn him in to a human robot. All the while, Sam’s girlfriend, Melissa, is trying to find him. She meets Kiss and tries to get their help. Kiss is happy to oblige a pretty young lady and she was that. Kiss had special powers, they were superheroes basically. They had these Talisman that gave them their powers and Devereaux uses Sam to steal those Talisman.
The third Kiss solo album in the review series is none other than the Catman, Peter Criss. Peter’s album was released on the same day as all the other band members on September 18, 1978. And Peter, sadly, had the least selling and the lowest chart placing on Billboard charts at #43, however, that doesn’t mean it was the worst of the group…ok, yes it does!
Peter’s album was my least favorite, by far, and I haven’t heard it in over 30+ years probably. And when I pulled it out for this review and gave it a listen, it isn’t bad as I remember. I think that stems from the fact I know so much more about who Peter is that I feel the album fits him perfectly. Peter is not a real rock drummer, he has more of a jazz feel and this is more of his style of music. Does that mean I like this one, no, not at all, but I get it now and I respect him for it.