Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Discuss: KISS


david_b said...

Growing up in the 70s, I was still in my Beatles (soon to add Stones) world. I liked a few other more pop-ish groups, but didn't have the money to buy albums and such. So my enjoyment of KISS is more in retrospect than most, other than seeing all the KISS t-shirts, albums at Kmart, and KISS Army stuff, which I thought was an outstanding marketing venture.

Not a big fan of the music, I more enjoy their grand showmanship. That takes incredible planning and effects, so back in those days (still rudimentary technology..) it was quite spectacular.

Much like they say about Keith Richards, if KISS didn't come along, rock would have invented it.

One big plus for me, again not a big fan of the group's music, is their devotion to fans. I don't care what genre of music you're in, if you don't respect/appreciate and really give back to the fans, you're 'nuthin' in my book. That's the best marketing in the world.

J.A. Morris said...

My take is similar to david_b's. I loved Kiss when I was 6. I asked my parents for a Kiss album, they let me pick out 'Destroyer', got a t-shirt the same day. About a year or so later, my father joined the old Columbia Record Club and asked if I wanted a Kiss album. I picked 'Kiss Alive II'.
I listened to it for about a month or so, and a month later,the Kiss tv movie aired. What a piece of crap that was. Even as I kid I knew it sucked. Around that time,I "moved on" to The Cars and Cheap Trick and paid more attention to music than costumes.

Doug said...

It took me quite awhile to recognize that musically, KISS isn't much better than the kids playing in the garage band down the street. But like has been mentioned, their whole schtick with the costumes, the pyrotechnics, and the marketing juggernaut that they created around themselves really drew me in as a child.

I got to see them on the Love Gun tour when I was 12 (at the Chicago Stadium) -- wow. Just... wow. I was hook/line/sinker on them at that point, but it quickly faded as I hit high school. It was over when they took the make-up off -- Samson might as well have cut his hair.

But I'm glad to see these days that they've embraced who they were in the '70's, they understand that they are now "nostalgia", and don't really try to be more than that in their shows. The thought of Paul Stanley, at 60+ years of age, strutting around bare-chested, is I suppose a bit revolting.

But as I and others have said, who in the music industry has done a better job of marketing themselves? They really are a pop-culture empire in their own right.


Fred W. Hill said...

I never got into KISS at all. Oh, yeah, I liked their song "Beth" which got a lot of airplay circa 1978 when I was in highschool, along with one of the solo hits, "New York Groove". I don't think I even heard any other songs by them until years later. Of course, I did get the comic with their brief guest appearance in Howard the Duck, although I didn't get the KISS comic written by Gerber. Perhaps their costumes and theatrics didn't pull me in because I never went to any concerts until I was in my 20s and while I can appreciate good showmanship, I'm really more interested in the music itself and if that doesn't grab me, nothing else will. That, and, well, I was never much of a party animal.

Edo Bosnar said...

I went through a brief phase (when I was in the 3rd/4th grade) of really liking Kiss, prompted after watching the Kiss movie on TV. The young me was sucked into the hype, and loved the fact that they had super-hero like codenames (and, in the movie, powers) to match their costumes. The music was always secondary to me, and I agree with Doug, they were/are pretty mediocre talents in that regard. (By the way Fred, interesting that you like(d) "New York Groove" - that's also one of the few Kiss songs I still like, but it's actually a cover; in fact, Ace Frehley's version differs little from the original by Hello.)
Anyway, my Kiss phase didn't last long, but I have to admit now that they had a really effective hook which they exploited at many levels. And I eventually found a grainy bootleg copy of the movie a few years back and have watched it a few times. Like J.A. said, it is truly a piece of crap, but for some reason I can't say I hate it, because it's such unintentional comedy gold at the same time...

Inkstained Wretch said...

I saw Kiss in 2003 when they went out on tour with Aerosmith. Steven Tyler and the boys were obviously the better musicians but it was Kiss's performance -- with all of the fireworks and showbiz schtick you'd expect -- that sticks out in my mind.

The best moment was when Peter Criss came out to sing "Beth." They didn't even bother to hide the fact that he was doing it to a backing track. The problem was his microphone didn't work. A stage hand rushed out with a second one. That didn't work either. Criss threw up his arms in defeat and mimed "I'm sorry" to the audience. The rest of the band came out on stage and patted Criss on the back. The audience cheered anyway. It was a surprisingly sweet moment, the type of unscripted drama you wouldn't expect to see at a Kiss show.

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