Get Your Jackets It’s Time To Go Home: Part 1 – KISS
If you were born in the 1970s like I was, I am willing to bet you have strong memories of your parents singing along to the music on the Oldies station. I’m sure they also went to the nostalgic revival festivals.
I can picture it now: you’re sitting in the back seat, staring out the side window of you parent’s station wagon. A Beach Boys hit comes on the radio and all of a sudden, your mother and father break out into song. “Help me Rhonda, help, help me Rhonda!” Your eyes open wide as pancakes. Your jaw practically falls off your face. You are mortified. You pray that no one you know is in audible distance of this horror show. The more you heard them sing, the more you scoffed at them. Admit it, you were laughing at them the night they went to go see Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons at your town’s local music fair. Yep, all of us 70s babies are in the same boat. We wondered why they would listen to archaic music when there was all this great, new rock-n-roll to indulge in. Why listen to the Beatles ‘White Album” when they could crank up Back in Black by AC/DC? Well, as a 41-year-old adult, I can honestly say that I owe my parents an apology.
You see, the music I grew up on, the music I listened to as a teenager is the same music I listen to today. My favorite bands as a young adult are still my favorite bands to this day. That sounds eerily similar to what our folks said 30 years ago or so, doesn’t it? My folks were not able to make that leap from Doo-wop to hard rock and metal and I am not able to make that leap from the metal bands of the 70s and 80s to whatever masquerades today as ‘Heavy Metal.’ The last band that truly moved me, the last band that made me stop and listen, the last band that gave me an adrenaline rush was System of a Down. To me, they were a combination of Black Sabbath (with their thunderous rhythm section) and Alice in Chains (with their dark, beautiful harmonies). The alleged metal bands of today are manufactured and interchangeable. I can’t tell the difference between Breaking Benjamin and Five Finger Death Punch. Sure, you have all-star collaborations like Kill Devil Hill, Alter Bridge and Hell Yeah! but all these bands full of veteran rockers lack that youthful spirit that fuels a new rock movement.
Just like the great rock acts of the “Doo-wop” era had years before, the bands of my youth are becoming extinct. Most of the original pioneers of hard rock and metal have or are about to hang up their guitar straps. Bands like Motley Crue and Black Sabbath have officially called it quits (Sabbath’s final show is on February 4th in England). Bands like the Rolling Stones, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden keep plugging away to sold out audiences all over the world. The fact that there is still a market for these dinosaurs is indicative of the lack of new rock talent but that is a topic for a different day. At some point, most likely very soon, all of the great rock acts of the pioneering era will be gone. I don’t blame them for continuing to tour. There is clearly still money to be made but you really have to wonder what staying around just for a few extra bucks is doing to their respective legacies. That is what this blog is about. When is it time for these all-time greats to turn off the lights and go to bed. I will focus on three bands in particular who are, in my view, hurting their legacies.
The first band is Kiss…Ah, those Knights in Satan’s Service!
You’ve heard of Kiss regardless of what genre of music you listen to. You are familiar with the make-up. You know about the costumes. You’ve heard Rock n Roll All Night about as often as you’ve heard your dog bark. Since their inception in the mid-1970s, Kiss has been part of the pop culture landscape in various forms. No artist or artists in the hard rock genre influenced more bands than Kiss. Even bands of the Thrash, Punk, and Grunge scenes had members that were vociferously influenced by Kiss. Legendary guitar whiz, John 5 stated that he saw the cover to the Kiss album Love Gun in a department store and he forced his mother to buy him the record simply because of the artwork. He had never heard of them and knew nothing about him, however, he needed to have that album and his life-long love affair with Kiss began. Dime bag Darrell of Pantera was such an immense Kiss fan that he was buried in a Kiss coffin after he was murdered.
Kiss has existed in many different eras and in many different forms. They’ve made a plethora of lineup changes. They took their legendary makeup off then put it back on again. After the reunion with original members Peter Cris and Ace Frehley fizzled out, they brought in new members Eric Singer and Tom Thayer and put them in Ace’s and Peter’s costumes. Most Kiss fans found that to be sacrilegious. It seemed a direct insult to two of the driving forces behind Kiss’ astonishing rise in the 1970s and unprecedented rebirth in the 1990s. Things didn’t work out with Ace and Peter? OK fine, they just don’t belong in a band together anymore. Why did Paul and Gene have to tarnish the legacy by putting imposters in the Cat Man and Space Ace suits? I listen to Kiss a lot (especially the Eric Carr/Bruce Kulick version). Their music will always be on my iPod.
However, the current entity of Kiss is something I do not recognize. If I were given (for free) front row seats, backstage passes and all the beer and hot dogs I could consume, I still wouldn’t see them in concert. I simply refuse to give in to the greed of Corporate Kiss. They have become nothing more than a money-making machine. Rumor has it that when Paul and Gene are ready to put their spandex in moth balls, they will bring in replacements to wear their make up and continue on as the Kiss entity. If that is true, anyone who pays money to see a glorified cover band should be expelled to Siberia. Paul and Gene should have the decency to bring back Ace ad Peter for one last round of shows and then, call it quits keeping the legacy of the band intact. They must realize that the legacy of Kiss is bigger than any individual.
In order to preserve whatever is left of their dignity, I implore them to get their jackets, pick up their car keys and go home.
Part 2: Guns N Roses will be published on Saturday, January 21st.
Part 3: AC/DC will be published on Monday, January 23rd. Be on the lookout!
Two of my biggest passions are sports and rock music. Both of which, I have many strong and at times provocative opinions on.
My favorite bands are AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Pantera, and 80s Metallica and well, I have to admit I listen to a lot of Kiss, too.
My teams are the Mets, Jets and Rangers(I know, they all suck)
I've never met a place for buffalo wings that I didn't like.
I am a customs house broker by trade but I have this yearning to express my views on a variety of topics and blogging has become a great outlet for my voice.
In the words of the immortal Bon Scott, "Lock up your daughter and lock up your wife. Lock up your back door and run for your life. The man is back in town, so don't you mess me around"