KID KING KISS (aka Jason Roberts)

How do you rank the studio albums by the original four?  I’d give them all 10’s!!

What got you hooked on KISS as a kid?   The first time I saw the cover of KISS Alive II with the blood all over Gene.
What was your favorite live KISS concert experience?  Revenge … my uncle Dennis bought us tickets, it was my first show … it was the UIC Pavillion …it was my favorite … just seeing all the adrenaline and the bombs and the pyrotechnics just made me feel like a kid again!
Who is your favorite member of the original four and why?  Has to be Gene because he just tells it like it is and he holds no punches even though his mouth gets him in trouble sometimes, but he’s got to learn too.
What’s your favorite 80’s KISS record and what are your favorite 5 KISS songs of the 80’s?  Asylum … “Uh All Nite”, “Let’s Put The X In Sex”, “Silver Spoon”, “Who Wants To Be Lonely” and “Heart of Chrome”.
You are a huge Elvis fan, what do you think KISS and Elvis have in common? They were all cool back in their day, he had his worst times with the movies and the Army and he had everything taken away and KISS had their day with non-make-up records and the disco era — they both had their non-cool phase.

What’s your review from the Chicago Open Air show this summer at Toyota Park?  I think they need to really quit — I had to say but they need to quit or do a one year reunion tour with everyone whose alive and just call it a day.

If you met someone who wasn’t (yet) a KISS fan, what 5 songs would you play them to try and enlist them in the KISS Army?   “Dr Love”, “Do You Love Me”, “Kissin’ Time”, “Love Gun” and “Deuce”.

You have a weekly feature on KISStorian in your Jason‘s Kisstoric Flashback — how do you decide each week what video to pick?  It’s not very hard, I just go with how I feel that week, whatever song I feel like throwing up there.

If somebody bought you the Gene Simmons Vault and he was gonna come and hang out for a bit, what would you wanna do and what would you talk with Gene about?  I would talk him about why is he letting KISS continue to play live and ask him to consider just making more studio records because that’s probably what the fans wanna see most at this point … I would just like to spend the day with him and see what he’s like.
You are asked to write Ace Frehley‘s set list for the next tour … what songs are essential for him to play live that he hasn’t been playing?  “Do Ya”, “Trouble Walkin'”, “Talk To Me”, “2,000 Man”, “White Room” and “Foxy & Free”.

What is your favorite moment in KISStory?  Gene’s appearance on the Mike Douglass Show or the Tom Snyder Show interview.

What would you call the next KISS studio album, please give us three working titles Jason? Maniacs, Tear It Up or Worlds Apart.

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KISStorian ranks KISS’s ‘unmasked’ studio albums

KISS_LickItUp-costumes2Helmets tight KISS Army …I sat and looked at the album covers, accessing the part of my brain that governs KISS related decisions to figure out which album I really wanted to listen to most, and 2nd most, and so on and so forth. A short blog piece on a Herculean task. Please forgive me.

LICK IT UP > back on the streets  …hey, hey have you read the news? this album is as good as Creatures of The Night and is the make-over that saved the KISS brand.

ASYLUM > alive n’ kickin’ …guh-guh, guh-guh, guh-guh, guh-guh get the message sugar: Asylum is Kulick/Carr KISS hitting their best 80’s stride.

ANIMALIZE > once bitten, twice shy …Stanley’s triumph in fret-frenzied St. Johns wood; had Simmons given a damn, or Vincent remained on-board, Animalize might have been as good as LIU.

REVENGE > cult of personality …KISS was cool again but I’de give the album higher marks were it not for Stanleys somewhat labored contributions under the rose w/ Ezrin.

HOT IN THE SHADE > these happy days are yours and mine …KISS lighten up to become almost human with “Forever” and a fun album.

CRAZY NIGHTS > desperate, but not serious …KISS buffed to 80’s money-shot oblivion by the grace of Nevison’s hand. 

CARNIVAL OF SOULS > return to sender …unmasked KISS fade to black with a grungy dirge.

 

 

 

 

KISStorian’s 5 best BRUCE KULICK KISS solos

As acropped-scan0014-51.jpg matter of fate, unfortunately Bruce Kulick is slightly land-locked in the 80’s because he had to wear so many fret-defying hats in KISS‘s post make-up, hair band phase. But Bruce is a guilty pleasure with no bad after taste who has done some excellent guitar work with KISS and beyond, especially on his solo disc BK3. But, as it relates to our furry fab four, these are this KISStorians’ top 5 of all time:

“HELL OR HIGH WATER”  – You get sizzle & steak on this ripping solo from Kulick. The high point is the Hendrix-infused long high bend that is, to me, the hottest shit he’s ever laid down. Say what you will about the production on Crazy Nights, in some ways it’s Bruce’s most succinct and dialed in 80’s sound. It’s consistent through-out and one of the most pleasing elements of the album. The fade out riffage is hot also. It reminds me a lot of his brother Bob to be honest and, by all accounts, this take is the Demon’s favorite Kulick shred on tape. Ripping Kulick.

“TEARS ARE FALLING” – Off the semi-screechy Asylum opus from ’85, Bruce’s solo here is A1, top-notch, super-melodic and ends on a searing jam of high notes that removes bras at Paul’s request (yeah, he produced it). The harmony guitar line is so cool — instantly singable, hooky, and a big part of the tunes appeal. Pure melodic 80’s Kulick.

“KING OF THE MOUNTAIN” – Also off Asylum, the Kulick solo here, and the extended outro jam out, is hairy and yet slick thanks to what seems like a long leash from Paul. Bruce managed to do some sweet Van Halenesque tapping and yet infuse the blues into his playing like the classics Clapton, Page, Beck, Hendrix and, dare I say, the original ‘Spaceman’ Ace Frehley. Majestic Kulick.

“FOREVER” – Though slightly saccharine for this KISStorian’s tastes as a number, Bruce really shines on an acoustic solo that elevates the song nicely (if not the entire Hot In The Shade album). I don’t think it could be improved on (though who wouldn’t love hearing the electric version he apparently did that ended left on the cutting room floor in favor of the keen radio-friendly approach). I am especially fond of the descending phrase at the end of the figure.  It’s so tasty a solo in fact that it is, musically speaking, a legitimately KISStoric highlight/moment. Classy Kulick.

“I WALK ALONE” – Bruce’s swan song on Carnival of Souls, and his only lead vocal with the lads, “I Walk Alone” is down right epic and recalls the guitar work of Queen’s Brian May. You can really feel the love on this track, perhaps more than any other KISS/Kulick effort. It’s a great song that is somehow in KISS’s wheel house and yet a little farther reaching in scope. If God Gave Rock & Roll to You and I, the fact that “I Walk Alone” made the record is a miracle of Biblical proportions; must have been the 8th Day? Amen. Epic Kulick.

through the past darkly with 80’s KISS

AtNight1Me and my bro Rich were talking about Paul’s recent rather disparaging comments about Gene’s material in the 80’s. I can’t argue with his assertion that Gene was mailing it in here and there in terms of material and over all effort in the unmasked 80’s. It’s a pity Gene was so distracted after removing the facial facade because he simply contributed less tunes than Stanley with very few truly great tracks and certainly no workable singles …..but clunkers? The true measure of the quality of material is how it holds up today. Let’s see:

LICK IT UP – I can no fault with either the Starchild or Demon’s offerings on this mega rock opus that may be the best hard rock record of 1983, period.

ANIMALIZE – Some will roll there eyes here ‘cuz this album is so land-locked in the 80’s it’s hard to have any perspective on it that isn’t absurd but the only Gene cut here that really wears on me is “Lonely Is The Hunter” (even though it’s got the best guitar work on the record compliments of Bruce Kulick behind the scenes).  I would say Paul’s “I’ve Had Enough” is a bit of a dog in on the LP also.  “Burn Bitch Burn” may be a low point for Gene in terms of lyrics but I gotta say people, it rocks. Score: 1 to 1.

cropped-scan0009-83.jpgASYLUM – Pretty cool album. but I’ve always hated “Trial By Fire” because it’s just so shitty, save the fun bridge which does makes one want to do the Demon head and tail wag a bit.  “I’m Alive” is also a bit too much: we may enjoy it, but I would say it’s borderline at best. Score: 2 to 2.

CRAZY NIGHTS – Again, Gene’s output here is weak, but in terms of truly walking the plank, this is Paul’s baby and “My Way” and “Bang, Bang, You” are sub-par KISS cuts no matter how much gloss was added by Nevison. That said, they are over shadowed by the grim reality of Gene’s god-awful “No, No. No”….mercy.  Score: Paul 4, Gene 3.

HOT IN THE SHADE – Welcome to the jungle people, it’s thick in here with KISS near hits n’ misses but the two pigs that really stand out to me today, as they did upon first listen, are “Cadillac Dreams” (Bruce, you we’re so right!) and desperate abomination that was “Read My Body”. The rest is survivable though the chorus of “Love You To Hate Me” and irksome but I’ll let it slide lol.. Score: Paul 5, Gene 4

SMASHES, THRASHES & HITS – Then of course we have the Stanley womanizers  “Let’s Put The X In Sex” and “Rock Hard” but both tunes are catchy enough to escape banishment here I think. Since Gene contributed nothing here it’s hard to dock points. He was the only one of the two punching in at the office apparently.

In conclusion, sure Gene was AWOL and brought little to the table ‘unmasked’ that stands out today (save “Hell of High Water” and maybe “The Street Giveth” (Tommy Thayer take a bow)) but in the Demons wanderlust absence the Starchild birthed his own collection of 80’s muts.  That said, I cut him slack and offer a tip of the hat because did what had to do to get us all through the 80s, though a tad darkly at times.