Jul 212011

I’m gonna keep this simple: How on Earth can a man who will take a bullet for the right of any music lover to dumb things down once in a while hate KISS? Is it the blatant show-biz manipulativeness that turns you off? The fact that the band fooled a planet with their ridiculous makeup/monster schtick? Do you just not like music at the intersection of pop and “hard rock?” Are you turned off by their admittedly poor musicianship? Their idiotic lyrics? What is it?

Speaking for myself, the band gets a pass. I don’t “love” them — or even like them very much, if “liking” something means that you have to stand up and defend the verifiable quality of it. But they make me pump my fist, bob my head, and smile. They’re patently retarded, I get that. But only an extreme tight-ass would have a problem enjoying “Firehouse” or “Rock Bottom” or “Cold Gin” from that Alive! twofer.

I will say this: I just went out and reminded myself of the actual track list on the album, and it’s not a flawless double. In fact, I think I’d reduce it to a single-record deal. But that record would be a fun-fest for me, and for any other Rock-loving child of the ’70s who’s not afraid of donning the nostalgio-glasses every once in a while.

Come on, man! Loosen up a little! Switch to boxers or something!

Your pal,



  56 Responses to “I’m Calling You Out On This Whole KISS Thing, EPG!”

  1. You did it. That’s the nail in the coffin. Any respect I ever had for you is now gone.

    The Moderator probably does’t remember this, but many, many moons ago, before he was married, I mentioned, yes, just mentioned the name “Kiss”. Right away, he waved his hand through the air and barked, “I don’t wanna talk about that shit!” Just for the record, that was the beginning of the whole Chang and Eng Bunker thing with me and the moderator. Deep friendships are built on solid values concerning things like God, political leanings, and most importantly, the 100 percent given that Kiss blows. Simply put, you either get that or you don’t. It’s not worthy of discussion.

  2. The blatant showbiz/cartoon aspects about KISS don’t bother me much. What I feel about them is disappointment that the music doesn’t match all that visual flash. I expect epic songs like the type Iron Maiden make. What I get is very ordinary and pedestrian rock of no special merit. To compound the sins, KISS throw in goopy ballads (gawd!) like “Beth”. So they’re fun to watch with the sound off, but boring as hell to listen to.

  3. hrrundivbakshi

    Mr. Mod: please clarify — are there *any* Kiss songs you enjoy, even as guilty pleasures? I don’t want to destroy your long-standing friendship with Gergley, but I want to know.



  4. I have no beefs with R n R All Night. They should have been a 1-hit wonder and disappeared for only nerds like us to dredge up.

  5. At the risk of losing any stadning Imay have here in the hallowed Halls of Rock, I will cop to this: I like Kiss.

    Now before the crucifixion, let me at least make something of an explanation.

    I know they are hopelessly dumb and ridiculous.

    However, as a kid during those times, they were like rock superheroes. I was only five, but I’ll give them credit for turning me on to electric guitars instead of GI Joe.

    I still listen to those records and actually enjoy them for all their dumbness. Granted I do not take them seriously, but it makes for a fun listen once in a while.

    I can’t make any arguments for the artistic contributions to the history of music, but, for me, they’re okay.


  6. As you know, I am a major snob and have been forever. I never liked ’70s hard rock. Even today I barely have an ironic appreciation of hard rock. I also have little sense of “mindless fun.” Life is like usually like a Fogerty song.

  7. alexmagic

    I love that KISS exists and have gotten so, so much enjoyment out of them and the shit they get up to – especially how awful Gene Simmons can be, primarily to other members of the band – over the years. I can understand how others might not, but I’m telling you, you are missing out on good times.

    That said, a question I’m not sure I’ve ever actually considered over the years: removing irony from the equation and even (especially!) if you don’t like them, what is the “best” KISS song, factoring in musical/vocal performance and songwriting and what not? I’m not saying anyone has to like any of their songs, but I’m genuinely curious what people would come up with if they were forced to choose an objective Best KISS Song.

  8. misterioso

    And I, too, am Spartacus! Look, I was about 10 when they were at their peak. I had Alive 1 & 2, Destroyer, the first bunch, too. (I bought “The Originals.”) I never joined the KISS Army. (I got a deferral.) Lost interest after Alive 2: I was enough of a rock snob to differentiate between good KISS and bad KISS, which, I realize, in retrospect, seems kinda funny. But, you know, Detroit Rock City was good, I Was Made for Loving You was bad. Obviously now their main appeal is a mix of nostalgia and ironic humor. Still love Detroit Rock City, though! I regret nothing.

  9. alexmagic

    Mod, I think you should play a show under some KISS-style makeup, just once. What if it had some kind of huge, liberating effect on you?

    Remember Fogerty’s face lighting up as he watched JaBru destroy Mike Love at the RnR Hall of Fame. Imagine the stress Fogerty might have burned off if he did the entire Centerfield tour while dressed as a Baseball Fury from The Warriors.

  10. I’m with you on this, bakshi, as you know–although I think tonyola’s got a great point. If we’re going to like cartoonish hard rock power, why not go over all the way to the flashier metal dark side?

    That said, man, I’m going with you to that Kiss Alive! show. We’ll drink Budweiser and smash beer cans on our foreheads and say goofy crap to girls while EPG sits home with his self-proclaimed pin through his testicles and the Mod broods, angst-ridden, on why Coach took him out of center field.

  11. Hey mwall,

    I’m glad all this came up. You and Hrundi have a lot more in common that I thought! I thought you guys were miles apart. Man was I wrong!

    Thanks for the insights!

    E. Pluribus

  12. misterioso

    Pretty much true but I really would rather have someone stick pins in E. Pluribus Gergely’s testicles for all eternity than listen to Iron Maiden. Run to the hills, indeed.

  13. hrrundivbakshi

    That’s rich, coming from somebody who makes apologies for Humble Pie!

  14. I did! I was one of at least three members of my band (chickenfrank and sethro, I believe, being the others) who DID play a Halloween show at the Tin Angel in KISS make-up. It was a lot of fun, but I still hated everything I ever hated about that band in the morning.

  15. 2000 Man

    I can only give Kiss so much of a pass, because I was the exact kid they were marketing to when they arrived on the scene. Did the marketing work? Hell, yeah. Did I change demographics? Hell, yeah. I’m really glad I grew up just enough to see the difference between Wooly Bully and Deuce (though I will admit that a very young 2000 Boy thought it was hilarious when a friend changed the line to “she’s worth a douche” even though I had no idea what a douche was). Kiss is a joke that just keeps going on and never changing.

    I know some over 40 guys that are still huge Kiss fans, and foist them upon their young kids. I think their young kids will one day question why mommy ever gave daddy a second date.

  16. Growing up I hated Kiss. I was more of an Aerosmith guy.

    However when my heroes The Replacements covered Black Diamond on Let It Be —

    I had to re-think my attitude a little.

  17. What about the four solo albums they put out in 78 — even the teenage me saw through that — and talk about short — you barely had enough time to sit down before you had to flip the album on those things.

  18. misterioso

    Surely you don’t wish they were longer?

  19. tonyola

    The day KISS released the four solo albums was the day they officially jumped the shark.

  20. I love Kiss, never cared one way or the other until I saw them in 1996 on the reunion tour. I worked for the label that had their openers The Verve Pipe (RCA) I was too low on the totem pole to get backstage, but I did get decent seats. The fun was just MISSING from Rock and Roll in 1996 and then there was KISS, they wanted you to have fun and get your money’s worth.

    I got a great book that went album by album and broke down every song in the band’s own (not all complementary) words.


    I picked up their entire catalog from a website that may or may not be owned by Capt. Jack Sparrow and then gave each album a fair shot.

    They are the least consistant band in the history of Rock . The highs are in the clouds and the lows are deep in middle earth.

    Suprizingly, I like the really bad stuff and the really good stuff, The problem is the middle ground (and their worst song, maybe the worst song of any band is Let’s Put The X in Sex)

    My favorites span all eras : 1st record, Destroyer, Love Gun, Creatures Of the Night, Revenge, Sonic Boom

    Creatures of The Night is a very strong Hard Rock record, not hair metal, but actually a good hard rock record. Much of it was written by Vinnie Vincent and Bryan Adams (no lie) and I might nominate “War Machine” and “Rock and Roll Hell” as Bryan’s best two songs. There is a very Led Zeppelin feel to it and the drums are HUGE.

    I like Shandi, I Was Made For Loving You, Lick It Up, Crazy Nights Heaven’s On Fire, Forever but I also recognize that they are CRAP songs.

    ..and the GOOD stuff
    Black Diamond, Detroit Rock City, Strutter, Christine Sixteen, Deuce, Dr. Love, Do You Love Me, Plaster Caster,Hard Luck Woman, Creatures Of The Night, Shock Me, Ney York Groove, Shout It Out Loud…they should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for these songs and for their stage show.

    I’ve seen them twice since, with the replacement Ace and Peter and the most recent show was their strongest performance, just missed having Ace as part of it.

  21. I know you guys love rock-related golf stories . . . a few years ago, my buddies and I had a foursome rounded out with a military guy who was a full bore member of the Kiss Army. He had Kiss headcovers, Kiss golf balls, Kiss ball marks and after the round, he got into his vintage Trans Am — with the license plates that said KISSARME.

  22. misterioso

    Let’s Put The X in Sex, that is just so sad. Let’s Put the ‘Ew’ in Screw would’ve been more like it.

    But wait wait wait a minute here: Bryan Adams? What the?

  23. misterioso

    Can you say “Section 8”?

  24. No kidding. We were playing at one of the courses at Andrews AFB and this guy told us he was part of White House military guard for President Bush (the son).

  25. I don’t want to talk about this shit!

  26. Though, I do have a download of a collection of Paul Stanley between song banter that’s pretty hilarious….in small doses, of course.

  27. Well, I’ll tell you, EPG. As a guy who owns Kiss Alive! and plays it maybe once a year for the high-spirited comedy of it, I’m a bush league Kiss fan compared to some in the hall, as you can see. But still, I’ll stand with bakshi any day on the value of dumb hard rock.

  28. cliff sovinsanity

    After not listening to KISS since I was 11 years old, I decided to put together a neat 8-10 song compilation together for nostalgia sakes. Before I knew it, I was I had 28 songs on the playlist. I tend to like the Gene and Ace songs much more than the wailing Stanley and wimpy Criss.
    Agreed, the music doesn’t match the bombast. Blame a lot of that on POOR production for sapping their live sound on vinyl.
    Favourite song is a hidden gem on Hotter Than Hell called All The Way.

  29. cherguevara

    Eddie Kramer passed on producing the 1st Boston album to produce Kiss Alive! instead. It’s not a live album, despite the title. I don’t think you can really say that their “studio” albums stripped them of their live sound, I suspect they were being propped up as best their producers could muster, and Bob Ezrin is no slouch. Did Peter Criss really play drums on those records? A band needs a good drummer, and Criss doesn’t fit that description.

  30. trigmogigmo

    Like Cliff, I have not listened to Kiss since before I was a teenager. When I look at jungleland’s list of their “good stuff”, I recognize a couple of them. They’re OK for what they are.

    One of these days I would like to find a box in the basement of my mom’s house, which I know has a print of a photo taken when my 6th grade self and my grade school best friend (*) and a couple other classmates put Kiss face paint on and with our beginner rock skills played a few Kiss and other songs on a school patio at lunch.

    (*) Whom I recently found out is now the mayor of a major North American city.

  31. bostonhistorian

    What’s worse than being KISS? My sixth grade friends who dressed up as *Angel* lip-synched a song in a talent show. I never had much use for KISS and I like them even less now. You’d think guys in their 60s who wear makeup would stop acting like their shtick doesn’t stink.

  32. Yep, Mr “Summer of ’69” was a for- hire songwriter for the 1981-82 Creatures Of The Night sessions. Gene tells a story about how frustrated Bryan was that Gene was too busy bangin’ chicks to make it to his songwriting sessions. If he had, then Bryan would have had many more songs on the record.

    Guitarist Robben Ford plays lead guitar on two songs “Rock and Roll Hell” and “I Still Love You” (the rest are Vinnie Vincent, even though Ace is on the cover)

    Vinnie Vincent was later kicked out of KISS for being an ASS, stared his own band (Vinnie Vincent Invasion) and was kicked out of THAT band for being a DRUNK ASS, and the renamed band: Slaughter (after singer Mark Slaughter) had a huge hit with the very Kiss-like “Up All Night (Sleep All Day)”

    Vinnie, was never heard from again and his “character” the Egyptian Ankh was taken out of the lineup permanently.

  33. tonyola

    That’s one sort-of-decent funk song out of four lousy albums. Not what I would call a winning ratio. Plus Ace still dressed funny (and wrongly) for that style of song.

  34. I must confess, I was a Kiss Army draft dodger. My friend, who loved Kiss then and still holds deep love for them (what I call simply a nostalgic love, much like I do for The Banana Splits), has argued that I would be apeshit for Kiss and the whole shtick had they issued one or two albums and were never popular. He actually views Kiss as right of passage in his bonding with his son. His Dad took him to see Kiss for his first concert and he took his son to see Kiss for his son’s first concert. I’ve joked that Kiss will exist for his child to take his son too as well.

    Personally, I am glad my Dad chose this “father-son bonding- pass it down the generations ritual and applied it to bands would my Dad have taken me to (ones he would have or actually did), that I would then want to take my child to see?

  35. I meant to type:
    Personally, I am glad my Dad chose this “father-son bonding- pass it down the generations ritual and applied it to baseball. It did have me think about what bands would my Dad have taken me to (ones he would have or actually did), that I would then want to take my child to see?

  36. Robben Ford on Kiss albums! This is the kind of detail I roam the Hall for — thanks!

  37. Angel co-founder/guitarist Punky Meadows used to own a tanning salon in Oakton, VA, about three miles from my house.

  38. hrrundivbakshi

    I never miss a chance to point people in the direction of the most unintentionally hilarious videos in rock history, “Boyz Are Gonna Rock” by the Vinnie Vincent Invasion. Check out the explosive, fiery ending at 4:01 or so — it’ll change your rockin’ life!


  39. I think the best KISS song is… Hard Luck Woman, their faux Rod Stewart number with Peter on the vocals. Flame away. I’ll most likely be off line all day today but I will try to address your insults and snide remarks later on tonight.

  40. I’ve got your back on that.

  41. I have that collection of stage banter too. Always amusing when the iPod is on shuffle and one of his intros leads into something like a George Jones song.

  42. misterioso

    Yo, hvb, you’re stealing my line!

  43. I also have it, specifically for shuffling my iPod. And I burned it for Alexmagic one year for Christmas.

  44. saturnismine

    Hey Gergs,

    Just days after you asked me what I thought of that Giamatti wrestling movie, it was my in-flight entertainment across the big pond.

    I never would’ve bothered with it if Delta didn’t shove it in my face.

    On the whole, it wasn’t bad. It’s a little slow; there are too many laconic-speaking people in it. People who speak in single short sentences are few and far between, but this film is littered with them. It’s unreal. And the latently gay friend who’s going through a divorce arouses no sympathy whatsoever, and hardly provides quality comic relief.

    As for the ethical questions it raises, I could’ve done without the “shame on you” denouement (as if the mother had nothing to be ashamed of). Lawyers don’t talk to one another like that either.

    That’s my short, un-nuanced take.

    As for Kiss, they’re not worthy of the passion hvb gives them, or the derision you and the mod have for them.

    it’s only rock and roll.

  45. Yep. That’s how I use it, too, guys.

  46. hrrundivbakshi

    Wha… ? I got no passion for KISS!

    Speaking for myself, the band gets a pass. I don’t “love” them — or even like them very much, if “liking” something means that you have to stand up and defend the verifiable quality of it. But they make me pump my fist, bob my head, and smile. They’re patently retarded, I get that.

  47. saturnismine

    yeah…i know…but even the fist pumping’s just a bit much for me, dude.

    seriously, tho, I’m just bustin’ yer stones.

    how ya been?

  48. alexmagic

    On the contrary, I’d say Hard Luck Woman is very near the top. I’d say its competitors would be Black Diamond and Christine Sixteen.

  49. alexmagic

    I’m still disappointed that there was a Paul Giamatti wrestling movie and it wasn’t Giamatti doing a biopic of George “The Animal” Steele.

  50. I forgot about “Christine Sixteen.” Whenever I wanted to be nice to my little brother that was one of a few songs I’d let him play in my presence.

  51. misterioso

    Cliff, 28 songs?!? Good Lord, man. Paul and Gene couldn’t list 28 listenable KISS songs.

  52. HVB,
    Now THAT is good comedy!

  53. Funoka, they’re my heroes too and their version caused me to come out of the closet and stop denying my Kiss-loving past.

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