Stand up on top of your seats and raise your fist in the air and light that lighter to its highest flame because KISS “Alive II” has reached its fortieth anniversary and was released on this date back in 1977. As this is one of my very favorite albums of all time I am pretty stoked to reflect upon its awesomeness. Here we go.
In some sense it began for me with the opening line that shouted “You Wanted The Best And You Got The Best! The Hottest Band In The World —- KISS!!!” From the moment this album began with that intro I started my first truly full exploration into a band that I had only heard every now and again at that point in history. I would sometimes hear them if my parents had the Rock radio station on in the car and songs like “Rock and Roll All Night” or “Strutter” came across the airwaves. I liked those songs enough to the best of my recollection but that was all I was able to absorb since I was still at a pretty young age. When KISS “Alive II” came out I was still in grade school and for some reason I can still recall seeing a double page advertisement for it in one of the major newspapers of the day. Since money was not really in my own control around those years it would be a couple of years later when I finally got my own copy of the album but of course I had heard it quite a few times by then since some older friends had it and allowed me to indulge in its greatness and be schooled in a sense with what truly was “The Hottest Band In The World” to my young ears. To me, Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss were Rock and Roll superheroes and their wild image was like watching the comic books that I was reading come to life.
Join me now as we return to the year 1987 when MTV was ruling the small screens of homes everywhere and teenagers and the not so much would tune in to see the top videos of the day. It was during this time that the band KISS would release what amounted to be their most commercial album yet with “Crazy Nights”. An album that celebrates its thirtieth anniversary today. By the time 1987 rolled around, it seemed like the makeup had been gone from the faces for so much longer and I guess this was due to the band having released three albums previously all without the famous face paint. “Creatures Of The Night” would be the last makeup years album and when Vinnie Vincent became an official member for “Lick It Up” it was gone. Then came “Animalize” and “Asylum” and new guitarists in Mark St. John for “Animalize” onto Bruce Kulick for “Asylum” where he would continue the role on “Crazy Nights”. At the time of this release Eric Carr (RIP) had become my very favorite drummer and despite being a super diehard for the legendary Ace Frehley, I was quite enjoying the skills that Kulick was bringing to the table. Before getting deep into thoughts on this one, remember that these are personal reflections to the best that’s possible and not line for line history since that is already on the Wikipedia entry. Here we go.
I bought my copy of “Crazy Nights” on vinyl from a store in my neighborhood called The Record Factory. It’s been gone for a very long time as I write this and now is one of the numerous cell phone providers sales places. A band friend of the time would join me in my first listen to the album over a couple of beers in my Sanctum Sanctorum basement headquarters in my parent’s house and while I had heard the single somewhere already was a tad concerned on just how commercial this seemed to be. According to interviews of the time the band had hired on producer Ron Nevison and he was tasked at giving the band a brand-new radio friendly sound. Nevison had worked on Ozzy’s “The Ultiimate Sin” and there were some hits on the release so KISS probably felt that his touch would do similar magic to their latest work. As my friend and I worked through the listen it was agreed that the second number was a killer one but “Bang Bang You” was junk. Too corny and lame we felt – with lines like “I’ll shoot you down with my love gun baby” – Please. I was pretty much a fan of KISS for the past ten years at this time and was feeling very let down by my favorite band as I worked deeper into the release. Below you can examine the full track listing and I’ll continue to share my favorites afterwards. Continue reading KISS’ “Crazy Nights” Hits Thirty Years (1987-2017)→
Hails My Metal Legions, it’s time to “Heben Sie Ihre Faust” or as we say in English, “RAISE YOUR FIST” because today is the 30th Anniversary of the Warlock album “Triumph and Agony” which was released on this day care of Mercury Records. The album, while their fourth and final release, was probably the one that the fans of this type of music first learned of the band and their rocking leader – The Amazing Doro Pesch. The group was popular in their native Germany but back then it was very hard to break a band over in this part of the globe. We had Helloween of course, but even they didn’t come over here for touring all that much to my recollection. The album would feature a completely new lineup for the group and its signature, and most iconic track is the anthemic “All We Are”. I’ll go over some more about the tracks after reminding how like most of our toasts, this is a personal reflection more than its line by line analysis since that stuff has long been done on the albums Wikipedia entry.
Warlock’s new lineup consisted of Niko Arvanitis and Tommy Bolan on guitar, Tommy Henriksen on bass while Michael Eurich handled the drums. I found it interesting to learn that there were also three guest drummers on the release that included the late great Cozy Powell (a personal favorite player), Rich Richman and Sterling Campbell. The latter two I am unfamiliar with any work from across my Metal mainframe. Bolan and Henricksen would add an American Metal flair to the previously full German based band that was found delivering “True As Steel” (the preceding album). Some of the Metal fans that were more “in the know” about what was happening elsewhere in the world got into them care of that album but as I’ve said for the larger side its “Triumph and Agony” all the way. Though my copy of the original is a long unsolved mystery in terms of its location, I do have a copy of this on CD which allows me to blast it at maximum volume once more for its anniversary. I still enjoy the whole release, but like most albums there are some songs that I absolutely love from the session. Let’s take a look at the full track listing down below from the original album. Continue reading “Es Wird Gefeiert”; Warlock’s “Triumph and Agony” Hits 30 (1987-2017)→
Today is also the day that the mighty Metallica is celebrating a bit of an anniversary as their extended play “The $5.98 EP: Garage Days Re-Revisited” is thirty years old today. Do you own this one? I must admit that I do not have this on LP but clearly remember seeing it in the bins at numerous record shops back in the day when it had come out. However, since I didn’t recognize any of the songs that they were doing I just didn’t want to take a chance on spending money that could be used on something else KISS or Iron Maiden related at the time. You see back in 1987, I wasn’t really the biggest of Metallica fans but I did purchase their “Master Of Puppets” at Tower Records at the moment that it was uncrated with my friends. I discussed that Music Milestone HERE if you’d like to refresh your memory. Now as usual this is mostly personal recall instead of deep liner notes since you can read all of that stuff down on the Wikipedia link below. There is no sense in repeating what their editorials have already accomplished. Continue reading Still Thrashin’! Metallica’s “The $5.98 E.P.: Garage Days Re-Revisited” Hits 30 (1987-2017)→
Our latest Music Milestone is actually quite the historic one because not only is it the first professionally recorded work by the infamous Mayhem, but it is also cited as the very first recording laid down by a Norwegian Black Metal band. That EP was released thirty years ago today on Posercorpse Records and one has to think that the label name was created in response to all of the Glam Rock that was rather prominent in the United States. The EP while done in a professional setting is very sparse in the overall quality of sounds but the intensity of this material is very present and it’s interesting to listen to in today’s music world as its some of the earliest melodies in this now massively popular Black Metal genre. Though I wasn’t listening to anything like this back in 1987, and couldn’t say that it had made the rounds in the circle of friends I kept at the time I wanted to raise a cup of blood to its debut since the band has had quite the interesting history. Continue reading Mayhem’s “Deathcrush” EP; Three Decades Of Darkness (1987-2017)→