I've been a solider in the KISS Army for a long time. Since the very beginning, in fact. I bought the debut record the day after it was released. And as a fan who has supported them at every stage of their career, I think I've got more than a bit of perspective.
With that in mind, it's with complete confidence that I make the following statement. This is not a regular KISS album. With past records, everything was transparent and you knew exactly what was what when dropping the needle or pushing the button.
With Monster, at least for me, its magic was not so instantly apparent. I cracked the plastic on the CD when I received it and sat back waiting and….nothing stood out. Only one cut "Show Mercy" showed promise and Eric's vocal on "All For the Love of Rock & Roll" also caught my ear.
Slightly disappointed, I let it sit for a day or so before trying again. This time it became warmer. The first single "Hell or Hallelujah" shined a bit brighter. It still wasn't there, however. It sat for a few more days and then a strange thing happened. I threw on some headphones and listened to it that way. Suddenly and dynamically, the album came rushing into focus like an old-time Polaroid quickly developing before your eyes. The songs that first struck me became absolute winners and the other tracks quickly followed suit.
Here are some more great fan-posted Youtube clips from throughout KISSTORY! These clips are KISS in '76, '77 and '78.
"Hotter Than Hell" - Cobo Hall 1976
"Calling Dr. Love" - Largo, MD 1977
Magic Mountain Outtakes 1978
HAS CHANGED MY LIFE!
KISSONLINE FAN LETTER
Thank you, KISS Army for sending us so many wonderful letters, like the one below, celebrating 40 years of KISS!
I don't have enough space to write about what this band has meant to me in my lifetime. I have been with KISS through all the ups and downs, and have never wavered in my loyalty. From the moment I heard Detroit Rock City played to me over the phone by my best friend, I was hooked. KISS has changed my life, given me a reason to believe in myself when no one else would, and it has showed me what is possible with hard work and patience.
When no one else believed in me, KISS told me that I could believe in myself. I am a professor of English to hundreds of college students per year, and that basic KISS credo of be proud of who you are and you will accomplish your dreams is a message I preach in every class. Thank you for that.
Yes, I'm a freak, and it's a cross I'm proud to bear. Here's a photograph I took at my first KISS concert at the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum in November of 1977. All it was was a hand-held 110 film camera I held up high and clicked. The result speaks for itself.
Thanks, Paul, Gene, Eric, and Tommy, for keeping the dream alive.
Written by Chris Ryall
Art by Alan Robinson
Colors by Jay Fotos
Cover Art by Ray Dillon
Release Date: January 9, 2013
Cover Price: $3.99
Outside of my obsessions for heavy metal, sci-fi, and horror, I habitually find myself gravitating towards two distinct styles of media in entertainment: the dark, disgusting, and macabre; or the stupidity of plain ridiculousness and irreverent humor. So when fellow GoD of Thunder, Dave3, hurled out his list of comics available to review recently, it should be no surprise that my eyeballs became magnetized to a title that read Mars Attacks KISS.
I have been a KISS fan for 26 years, which is way more than half of my current lifespan, and so naturally my first two thoughts were, “Wait! Is this about the band KISS?” and “That is the most ridiculous comic title ever conceived – I love it”.
And it is indeed about the hard rock/heavy metal band I’ve obsessed over for nearly three decades – being faced with the skull-faced, brain-headed, ack-ack-speaking monstrosities from the film of the same name.
To put it guilelessly, when I scored this review for Geeks of Doom, it was like giving a jigsaw puzzle with alphabetized pieces to someone with OCD.
Before we do carry on, I must put my heavy metal historian hat on for a moment, because it does figure into the context of the review. In 1977, KISS was pretty much the biggest band in the world at that point. Like, bigger than Beatles big… As in Godzilla-sized stomping the Beatles flat. You get my drift.
The band was a phenomenon in the United States, appealing to a multigenerational audience. They were a world-shattering change in the music scene in Japan. Europe was blown away by them, and they were so big in Australia that 1 in 14 people had a KISS album. Combining this success with the band’s make-up/costume image with extravagant stage show, evolved into something that, now when looking back, seemed pretty inevitable.
Let’s transform them into superheroes. It was the perfect idea for the perfect time, and Stan “The Man” Lee with Marvel comics jumped at the chance. The very first issue of KISS #1 also contained the band’s blood in the red ink. Yes, truly: it smacked of publicity stunt material; but it was most certainly rock and roll through and through.
The best Paul Stanley Kiss songs show just how important the talent and charisma of the man born Stanley Harvey Eisen are to one of hard rock’s most outrageous and enduring bands.
Think about it, this whole ridiculous circus doesn’t fly without a ringleader who truly believes in the power of rock and roll enough to don warpaint, platform boots, feathers and leather night after night while staring down decades of critical sniping and changing musical trends.
Which is exactly what Stanley has done without falter, even as his bandmates came, went or got caught up in film careers or other outside interests. So here they are, the 10 best songs featuring the true president of Kissnation, Paul Stanley:
10: 'Lick It Up'
From: 'Lick it Up' (1983)
We kick off this list with proof positive that Stanley's ability to write catchy anthems didn't leave him when the band's makeup came off in 1983. Throughout the band's "unmasked" era, it was mostly Stanley-fronted tracks like 'Heaven's on Fire,' 'Tears are Falling' and 'Crazy Nights' that kept the band on the charts. 'Lick It Up' -- a "seize the day" anthem for the bedroom -- has proven to be the most enduring song from this era, and remains a highlight of the group's live shows to this day.
KISS Kruise III: The band takes to the high seas once again, sailing out of Miami during the Halloween season for four nights of the kind of fun only KISS can deliver.
Scheduled to depart aboard the Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Pearl Oct. 28, the roundtrip voyage to Great Stirrup Cay immediately steps into high gear with a special acoustic “unmasked” concert on the pool deck.
Of course, it wouldn’t be KISS without all the theatrics, makeup and special effects the band is famous for. The cruise also includes a full-blown KISS theatre show and opportunities for fans to have their photos taken with the band in full costume. In addition to a Q&A with the band, each KISS member will host their own onboard activity.
A new KISS Kruise attraction is a meet-and-greet for new members of the KISS Army. Strictly for the kids, the only fans that need apply must be ages 2-14. What’s more, this particular feature proudly proclaims, “No Parents Allowed!”
With pricing beginning at $750 per person based on double occupancy (plus fees and taxes), you get entertainment, meals and all the amenities you’ve come to expect on these ocean-going extravaganzas, including pools, hot tubs, rock climbing, a fitness center and more.
Staterooms go on sale to the public March 15. Grab your water wings and dogpaddle on over to TheKissKruise.com for all the particulars.
CELEBRATES 40th ANNIVERSARY THIS MONTH
Forty years ago in January 1973, Paul, Gene, and Peter held auditions for a lead guitarist for their new band. As the band took shape, they chose Ace. Paul suggested the name KISS, and the band was born. Later that month, KISS performed its first show on January 30th at Popcorn, a club in Queens, New York.
Four decades on, KISS is still rocking a legion of fans that number in the millions around the globe! What an amazing ride it has been so far! Now 40 years strong, Paul, Tommy, Eric and Gene prepare for a MONSTER world tour in 2013!
We know that KISS is the soundtrack to so many of your lives. We want to hear from you! Tell us about your 40 years with KISS.
by Matthew Wilkening / Photo Jim Dyson, Getty Images
KISS were the clear champs of our reader-selected 2012 Ultimate Classic Rock Awards, taking home trophies in six of the 11 categories — including Album and Artist of the Year.
It was a very busy year for the greasepaint-wearing legends, who released a “resurrected” version of their classic ‘Destroyer’ album in addition to the brand-new record ‘Monster.’ The former won Best Reissue or Archival Release honors by nearly a four-to-one margin (48% to 13%) over the nearest competitor, Pink Floyd‘s massive ‘The Wall: Experience Edition’ box set.
Meanwhile, ‘Monster’ earned 44% of the vote in the Album of the Year race, easily outpacing Van Halen‘s ‘A Different Kind of Truth’ (14%) and Rush‘s ‘Clockwork Angels’ (10%). The album’s second single, ‘Long Way Down,’ took home the Song of the Year prize with 35% of the vote, with Journey‘s ‘Resonate’ (11%) and Motley Crue‘s ‘Sex’ (10%) also earning medals.
As you can imagine, racking up wins in all those big categories also made it pretty clear that KISS was the Artist of the Year in the eyes of our readers, and indeed they beat Van Halen (14%) and Aerosmith (10%) out for that honor by capturing 42% of the vote.
The makeup-wearing marvels also took home prizes for Commercial of the Year (although we wonder if even they might agree Rush and Eddie Money got robbed there) and Photo of the Year, for a series of shots unveiling the latest versions of their famous stage costumes. Together with summer tour mates Motley Crue, KISS also came in second place in the Tour of the Year category.
The Winners' History of Rock and Roll, Part 2: KISS
How four men in face paint made rock real for a nation
By Steven Hyden
"We got wars going down in the middle-western states." —The Hold Steady, "Knuckles"
"I am a fan of Middle America. Remember, it was mass culture that created rock 'n' roll. Our tastes happen to coincide with theirs." —Gene Simmons, 1977, in Rolling Stone
The video begins — the 17-minute-and-18-second version that's posted on YouTube, anyway — with a medium close-up of a carnival barker carnival-barking at a group of gawkers outside of a freak show. The tape is blurry but the metaphor is clear to the point of obviousness. And yet Edwin Newman, the unflappable veteran reporter carved out of hickory and tweed who has been dispatched by NBC News to get to the bottom of this evening's investigation, isn't afraid to underline it several times. He alludes to P.T. Barnum and the suckers who are born every 60 seconds. He warns against a "vast machinery of hype" threatening to sucker the suckers of today — which in the video is 1977 — into mindless oblivion. Even by the murderously lax standards of the network-news hatchet job, Edwin Newman has dispensed with all subtleties. He is out to bust balls.
Hype is this newsman's primary concern. Hype is the subject of his special report, helpfully titled Land of Hype & Glory. Suddenly, the setting shifts to a rock concert, and we meet Newman's Exhibit A. "These four men have been performing for four years. In that time they've been responsible for selling records worth $30 million," he intones grimly. "By some accounts, they are the favorite rock group of American teenagers. Their name, for no reason immediately apparent, is Kiss."
Kiss is playing "Black Diamond," the final song on the band's self-titled 1974 debut. "Black Diamond" is sung primarily by drummer Peter Criss, the Catman, but the Catman is the one member who is not in view. Instead, we see Gene Simmons stomp from stage right to stage left like Frankenstein doing the funky-chicken. We whizz by Ace Frehley playing a guitar solo with his Gibson held at a mathematically precise 45-degree angle. We venture to the outskirts of Paul Stanley's black forest of mossy chest hair.
The visual stimuli serve as the backdrop for Newman's brisk overview of Kiss's history — sorry, Kisstory — and performance aesthetic. "From the beginning Kiss emphasized style over substance," he says. "They went heavy on trappings. Makeup came first. It set them apart from everyone else and gave them an aura of mystery … Costumes were next, complete with black leather, aluminum studs, and eight-inch platform heels." Newman talks about Kiss's elaborate staging, which includes a battery of 40 amps and 150 speakers — "more than any other rock band has," he notes — pumping out 130 decibels. ("In technical terms 130 decibels may be described as loud," Newman clarifies.) He estimates that 1.7 million people buy tickets to see Kiss every year. That makes Kiss an incredibly vast hype machine for Newman to explain to the viewers at home. But Newman's studious manner suggests that he is the right 58-year-old person for the job.
"In the eyes of their fans, they are more than musicians, more than celebrities — they are superstars," Newman says incredulously. He is now incredulously questioning the band, which sits on a stage after a photo shoot. Newman turns to Gene Simmons and references Kiss's recent profile in Rolling Stone, the first major piece the magazine has done on the band. The most memorable part of the article is when writer Charles M. Young likens Kiss to "buffalo farts" (favorably!), but this is not what interests Newman. Instead, he refers to a quote that Simmons will give in different variations in countless other interviews for decades to come: "We're not a great rock band. The musicianship is average, maybe even below, but in a year we're going to be the biggest band in the world."