Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Flashback


Time for another Flashback. OK, so take a moment to realize that this next band is truly one of the great american rock bands. If you can look past the kitsch, the theatrics, the smoke, the pyrotechnics, the over the top outfits, and yes, the weird make-up, you can hear some really good hard rock tunes. Perhaps they felt they needed some gimmicks to get noticed, but the fact is, I think they would have been taken much more seriously if they just played music, but who can fault them for having fun and doing it their own way? Not I.

A few years back I played their first studio album, which I also own on CD, at a little party/get together with some of my old pals. No one knew who the band was, but everyone seemed to enjoy the seriously hard rockin' sounds the band recorded way back in 1975. Finally someone asked, "Who is that on the stereo?" I smiled knowingly, and answered, "Only the band that ruled the world for a few years in the late 70's, KISS."

If you take the stance that many of my peers did and still do, KISS might me considered child's play or throw-away pop rock. Wrong. For proof, here's a clip of them from 1975 playing a rock tune which was normally their show-stopper, Black Diamond, as sung by their original drummer, Peter Criss.

If you think KISS is just a bunch of silly dudes prancing about in make-up with gigantic boots, minimize this page and just listen to the music. You might change your mind about who they were in the early days. You'll hear a band that was performing edgy, raw, proto-Metal during their pre-mega stardom days, a damn good rock and roll outfit playing what is simply a classic song.

KISS in 1975: Gene Simmons: Bass and Vocals, Paul Stanley: Guitar and Vocals, Ace Frehley: Lead Guitar, Peter Criss: Drums (and occasionally Vocals).

~Sham, Quixotic Referee


David Larkins said...

I definitely gave KISS a pass for many years because of their image. But you're absolutely right, they are one of the greatest pure rock bands of the 70s. If you want to read some nerdy pontificating on KISS, you should check out Chuck Klosterman's books, particularly Fargo Rock City and Killing Yourself to Live.

Scott said...

I hated, *hated* KISS as a kid and actually got beat up once because of it. I've since softened on them a bit, if only because of the Replacements' version of "Black Diamond." I've even seen a KISS tribute band (Strutter).

I actually saw them "unmask" on MTV ... total lollercaust.

Sham aka Dave said...

Haha, yeah I was a big fanboy at age 10, but once Love Gun came out in '79, I lost interest. Quite coincidentally, part of the reason I 'rediscovered' KISS was because of the Black Diamond cover by the 'Mats.

The 'Mats will surely be featured here at some point this year. It's one of the great crimes of the 80's that Westerberg and Co. didn't ever achieve commercial success (and I type this right as Favorite Thing from the 'Mats album Let It Be starts playing on my iPod lol).

Secular Transhumanist said...

I actually like that clip as much for the Flip Wilson intro as the song itself. He was a really funny guy.

trollsmyth said...

I remember the '70s as a magical time for music. I wasn't born 'til late '71, so I mostly missed KISS, but I knew who they were. I didn't hear them much in the car, they being too "extreme" for pop radio back then. But you could hear ABBA and Kenny Rogers and Olivia Newton John and John Denver. The sound on the radio was pretty eclectic back then, even if you were listening to just a single station.

I'd meant to, as you'd suggested, just let the music play as I read the next entry, but I had to stop and watch the show. No mystery why these guys were able to pack entire NFL stadiums back in the day. Were they vamping it up for the audience? Sure, but the audience is clearly loving it.

- Brian

Jeff Rients said...

Off topic: Sham, you're presence is requested in the Fight On! section of ODD74.

On topic: Kiss rules! Musically, I like pretty much everything they've done.