After just finishing the Kiss Review Series, I have come to realize I have a ton of posts that are about Kiss. I figured (thanks to the help of Mike Ladano) that putting all the links to every Kiss Post in one post might be convenient for the readers of this site. I have everything from Album Reviews, to Book Reviews, to Concert Reviews to almost anything you can think of, I’ve probably written about it. And the good thing is, I will continue to have Kiss Posts as I find more vinyl I don’t have in my collection, more videos, more books, more bootlegs, more tour books and more of well…Kiss. So, I will continually be updating this post with the latest Kiss posts. You might want to bookmark this page for easy reference.
As of right now there are 155 Posts of Kiss…This might take you a while to go through so sit back, grab some coffee and enjoy!!
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!!
By this time in the Kiss World, things are kind of boring. There are no more studio albums and doesn’t look like there will ever be. The band is touring regularly meaning they are basically doing Summer Tours with another Big Named Band. And for their 40th, that Big Name Band was none other than Def Leppard…yes, I saw that show and Leppard was freaking fantastic and Kiss was good. But it was still exciting because the band was celebrating their 40th Anniversary (which was really 2013 if I’m not mistaken)…regardless, it was time for the band to release another Greatest Hits Compilation…yes…just what we needed!! That is supposed to be very sarcastic so if you could read as such, that would be great!!
They did make this compilation a little interesting. Being the 40th Anniversary, they picked one song…and I mean only 1 song…from each and every album release they have had over the years. That means, that picked a song from all studio albums, including the solo albums, they picked one from every live album and every greatest hits package and every box set. How many bands can say when they pick one song from every release they can have 40 songs…probably none. And actually they couldn’t either. There were 4 extra songs added to get to the 40 and we will talk about that later.
Not every song was the album version though. They did throw in some Single Mixes such as “I Was Made for Loving You” from Dynasty, Radio Edits like “Jungle” from Carnival of Souls, an edited version of “Shout It Out Loud” from Alive II and an edited version of “Psycho Circus’ from Psycho Circus that had the beginning instrumental piece edited out. They weren’t all the cookie cutter songs straight off the release.
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.
After the Lick It Up Tour with Kiss, Vinnie Vincent was officially let go from the band. Except can you call it official since technically never signed his contract so I guess he was never officially in the band. However you want to look at it, by mid-1984 Vinnie Vincent was gone from Kiss. And since my goal in the Kiss Review Series is to review the first thing the former band members put out after leaving Kiss, we are going to discuss Vinnie’s debut release with Vinnie Vincent’s Invasion. After being let go, Vinnie decided to go see the world and upon his return, he was ready to make music. His paths crossed with Dana Strum who had worked with Ozzy. Dana knew Vinnie was out of Kiss and was looking for a good guitar to play with so he searched out Vinnie and they finally connected.
Now the band needed a drummer and they found that in the muscle-man himself, Bobby Rock. The main band was now together and all they needed now was a singer. They looked no further than the former lead singer of the band Journey. No, Steve Perry hadn’t left Journey (yet), they found the guy he replaced, Robert Fleischman. And the band was now complete. The band got a record deal with Chrysalis…okay, it wasn’t really the band, it was actually only Vinnie that had the deal, but we are splitting hairs at this point. And they were off to make a new album.
You saw the title to this and you are probably saying to yourself, “John, you’ve already reviewed ‘Creatures of the Night’. Have you lost your rocker?” And the answer to that question is YES! I have reviewed ‘Creatures’ and I am off my rocker. The thing is, the band re-released the album in 1985 for some strange reason. The new line-up of Kiss with Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Eric Carr and Bruce Kulick was riding high. The fans loved the line-up, the last album was successful, the tour went off well, so all was good in the Kiss world. Someone, somewhere in the Kiss camp thought, “Hey, we should re-release the album ‘Creatures of the Night’ because why not.” I have no idea the rational or reasoning behind this at all as it makes no sense.
If you are going to re-release it, why not put a brand new cover on the album with the band without make-up. Check! Why not stick a picture of Gene’s Ass on it in tight-fitting leather pants. Check! Here’s the thing. The picture of the band without make-up has Bruce Kulick on it and if you aren’t aware, he didn’t play on the album. I guess that isn’t a problem because the original picture on the album had Ace Frehley, and if you read my review earlier, you know he didn’t play a note on the album either. So in the end, I guess it doesn’t matter whose picture is on the cover. And here’s the other thing, it was never fun looking at the back cover because there was a giant ass staring you in the face. You felt a little grossed out looking at that….thing!!
No, you are not reading things wrong. This is part of the Kiss Review Series. You may ask yourself why because Wendy O. Williams was a part of the Plasmatics, she wasn’t in Kiss? How can this possibly be a part of this series? There are so many reasons why and I will go on record and say that this might be the best Kiss album that is not a Kiss album. WTF??? Am I smoking some weed, have I been drinking? The answer to both of this is None of your business. I guess I need to explain myself a little.
This is part of the Kiss series because nearly every member of Kiss at the time was on this album, most songs were written by members of Kiss and Gene Simmons was the producer of this album. Basically, it is a Kiss album. The bass player on this album was named Reginald Van Helsing who was actually Gene. And a funny point about the bass playing…Gene played Bass on more of these songs than he has on any Kiss album around this time period. What other Kiss members were on this album? Here is the list…
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.
Founding members Mark Slaughter and Dana Strum were in a little band called Vinnie Vincent’s Invasion. When that imploded due to its namesake, they decided to form a new band and they liked Mark’s last name and so it became Slaughter. The decision was easy because the VVI label, Chrysalis, just transferred the Invasion contract to them and let them form a band. Pretty easy!! They added guitarist Tim Kelly who has since passed away in 1998 and drummer Blas Elias.
The band put out 5 albums over their career from 1988 to today. The band showed up on the scene with their first album in 1990 and their second came in 1992. The problem was not the albums, but the timing. The market was so oversaturated with these 80’s Rock bands that the tide was turning. Grunge showed up on the scene and wiped them out of existence on MTV and the radio. But they didn’t stop. The continued to release albums throughout the 90’s and maybe someday we will get a new one. For now, we will discuss and rank their 90’s output. I hope you enjoy.
THE WORST – ‘FEAR NO EVIL (1995):
The band’s third album was called “Fear No Evil” and released in 1995. I had already checked out by this time and didn’t even know they had an album. Listening to this now, it really isn’t that bad. They don’t really have a terrible album. This one sounded like the first two, but I think the biggest problem was Mark’s vocals were a little more shrill then usual. Mark’s vocals are a little different and not for everyone. They never really bothered me except this one was a little too much. Continue reading “Slaughter – The Albums Ranked Worst to First”→