What’s The Rockbrat Viewing Today ? Kiss: Animalize – Live Uncensored

hang onto your wigs – we’re doing a ‘live’ video

Some facts – I owned this thing back in the day. The day – as in 1985. Can I say that ? I wonder how that rates in this world of ‘Kiss cool’  where, it is how old you were when you got into Kiss, which gives you the serious cred amongst your fellow Kissers…you know what I am talking about here – the ones who fudge the truth a little (the Cowboy wrote about it recently and you hear it now and again on Kiss podcasts) “I got into Kiss in 1975 when I was five years old” Sure you did. Most children that age are still content to play with cars, crayons and horses, yet it would seem some supercool kinderbrats – (back in 1975 at least), had their ears to the ground   and were dissected the Dressed To Kill album. P-lease. So what if you got into Kiss in 1988 ? Where’s the shame ? Ahhh I get it, gotta look the goods amongst the older (and no doubt wiser) Kiss fans/disciples  who jumped on board the Kiss train in the 70’s …..but Mr Rockbrat digresses.  This fondness for the make-up era attracted a large part of the Kiss audience in the 80’s, be in no doubt about that. As a Kiss droid, I recall seeing an advert for this in a copy of Circus magazine and all but peed my pants. Apart from a seldom-seen VHS copy of the Kiss film venture ‘Attack of The Phantoms’, there was nothing ‘officially’ released to slam into our family’s video player. So when I bought this, I was indeed – in heavy metal heaven. Last night, I decided to re-watch this show – step into my DeLorean as it were – the date set to 8th December 1984 and the place – Detroit’s Cobo Hall. Ponder this – only the year before – Kiss were still recognisable head turners – stomping around in platform boots and face-paint on the Creatures of the Night Tour. Flash forward a mere three months later and they play their first ‘unmasked’ show – in Lisbon, of all places. The capital city of Portugal, rich in culture and history/kisstory – and setting for the very first Kiss show without the costumes. That tour was in support of the Lick It Up record, followed by the Animalize platter…which brings us back to winter in Michigan in 1984. Kiss were – though I couldn’t see it back then – let me use the ‘F’ word – faceless. Just another hard rock band out on the road trying to get bums on seats. As you will have gathered – laughter (piss taking) is something Mr Rockbrat takes great delight in, especially with New York’s finest – and there is plenty to scoff at here:
Spinal Tap was released in March of 84. If $immons saw it, he was surely dozing through it and missed the joke. Though I bet Stanley didn’t get the joke. Serious business the one he’s in.  reckon that around this time period, only Krokus, Quiet Riot and Pretty Maids (along with Biff and pals in Saxon of course) rivalled Kiss in the field of looking ridiculous. I’ll get to the frivolity in a moment, but first, let’s go over the set list:

It ain’t a crime to be good to yourself…
Kiss my ass – indeed !

‘Detroit Rock City’ was the obvious opener, but the Frehley-penned  “Cold Gin” at second song was not. It remained in the set for years and I ain’t really sure why as it was never a stand-out. I couldve done without  “Smell The Glo…err I mean “Fits Like a Glove” and also ‘Under The Gun’ from the record they were touring. As for airing b-grade HM fodder like Young and Wasted ? Unnecessary – especially when you think about the amazing back catalogue of tunes they got to choose (ahem) from. oh that’s the old Kiss, I geddit. The excruciating I Still Love You is like watching paint dry and by continually including it in the Kiss set year after year, indicates that an egomaniac (with a purple aura) was at work. Black Diamond is one of my favourite Kiss tunes and it is great here, unlike the tiresome ‘Love Gun’  or their anthemic set-closer, which I will not name as I am sick to death of it. Simmons used to have that annoying way of singing it too – veering from the original recording with his own – “we’ll drive you (pause) cray…..zeh”. Overall a fairly weak set, though back in the day I wore out the tape. It ruled man – or unreal – as we used to say (that’s late 70’s speak for ‘fully sick’). Little did I know, as we all didn’t, that some of the audio was apparently touched up in the studio. More Kiss trickery from wizards Gene and Paul. Still, when you’d faked Alive! and Alive 2, what did it matter anymore ? According to some sources, some  (if not all) of Stanley’s vocals were overdubbed for a cleaner audio sound. Is it any wonder with all the dancing and prancing he used to carry on with back then ? He can barely stand still at the mike. Actually his dancing is fucking ridiculous and at times he resembles an epileptic string puppet. He is constantly kicking and prancing and it is damn hysterical. No one takes themselves more serious than the Eisenite. The Cat (in his excellent new book) mentions that Paul would strangely grab his own ass on stage at different times – like tonight. Check the Starchild out when, during his long-winded Love Gun intro, he actually turns his backs to the audience and fakes making out !? Like Ralph Malph used to do on Happy Days sometimes. Bizarre. Maybe he was lost without his black star and diamond vest ? His bass playing buddy sure as hell was. $immons must be the least athletic guy in town so him performing those high kicks is a riot. Shame he didn’t fall on his ass and dislodge that dead cat he was wearing. Bruce Kulick was competent but had the stage presence of an oak tree….amd his solo’s have no feeling…compare the solo in Black Diamond to Frehley’s (actually no one will ever fill Ace’s boots or match his sound). Eric Carr – as always gave his all….even during an unneccesary drum solo – nothing against Carr, I am just against drum solo’s full stop. As for solo’s, could Paul Stanley get away (ahem again) with a guitar solo ? I mean, really ? Yes, he was far more competent in 84 than 74, but since when do rhythm players get a solo ? I will not even mention Gene’s (are they leather diapers he is wearing ?) boring bass solo. A bass solo !? Billy Sheehan ? Sure. Stanley Clarke. uh-huh. Gene Klein ? No way….and he needs the accompaniment of the former Fox to come to his rescue. Should I mention the women’s underwear ? I mean really – there is so much of it draping the mike’s and guitar necks that they could’ve opened a lingerie shop. Ladies and Gentleman, Spinal Tap. Note that at one point Stanley tells the crowd ‘this place looks like a damn zoo’. Yet when it came to that tour’s stage threads,  the band in fact are wearing more leopard and tiger print garb than the big cats at the nearby Detroit Zoo (which is an improvement on the spandex and knee pads from the previous tour). Yes, Kiss Sherlock , I am aware Animalize had animal skins on the jacket sleeve…. Looking back this performance is good at best. I was fond of this line-up – they were together for a few years, but looking back – the charisma just ain’t there. Criss, Frehley and the 70’s peak were a looming shadow, and long since passed. Kiss had morphed into a faceless heavy metal act – a stereotypical HM band cranking it out for largely male dominated audiences.. In 85 I dug it, but now I can see through olderize. It is fun to watch, though I could not get through all of it. Before any Kiss drones get all flustered about my thoughts – don’t take it all to heart. After all, they’re just another rock n roll band. Merry kissmas folks.

21 thoughts on “What’s The Rockbrat Viewing Today ? Kiss: Animalize – Live Uncensored

  1. I couldn’t agree more. Back in the day I loved it. It was awesome. Now I get a good chuckle and can’t watch it all the way anymore.

  2. I got into KISS when I was 11 back in 1977 and my sister got into them when she was 5 in 1978. Sorry, buddy, but your opening comments are silly.

  3. Ahhh the mid-eighties….before metal went to rot….Kiss did everything they could to meet the cock rock standard set by other groups in that era….I saw this concert on MTV Concerts in ’84 or so…wouldn’t have missed it…looking at it about once a year now, it remeinds me of a time when 15 year olds like me thought that things like Accept’s BALLS TO THE WALL album cover were “macho, sexy for the girls”. My god what did the twenty-somethings think of me and my friends for being so easily led? After all…at least seventies era teens KNEW that kind of thing was gender bending/homo erotic stuff.
    A very definite sense of “danger” pervaded metal and hard rock pre-1986…When Bon Jovi broke through in a big way: instead of, “Your friend Adam has longggg hairrrr ewwwww”, my friends mothers were saying “oh wow your hair is soooo cooolll I LOVEEE ITTTT!”
    This article, and subject put me in mind of those (impossibly) long ago days…

    Kudos to Kiss for becoming relevant again in the 80’s, headlining in the States again and having some pretty important singles in the hard rock category….good job…….Thank god for Stanley Eisen’s insecurity, and personal identity being intrinsically linked to Kiss entirely. That provided the drive for their partial return to prominence.

  4. The magic of Kiss consisted of two elements. The mystery of the faces behind the masks and their raw unpolished talent. When Peter Criss left the band in 1979, Kiss was finished. Anything after that has only been a poor substitute. The closest they came to recapturing the magic was the “Reunion Tour”. However it still wasn’t the same because that raw talent had been glossed over and lost forever. Furthermore we knew what they looked like without the make-up. I would like to see the original four get together and do a 40th anniversary show and then RETIRE!!!! Gene Simmons turned Kiss into a complete and total joke. It’s time to pack it in Gene. “Kiss Alive 75” Forever!!!!

    1. Another thing about the reunion, Ace Frehley, once the most competent player on stage, was found with his skills embarrassingly eroded….Peter also…..overall the whole was barely even ready to tour..they rushed it out there and it showed..Still would not have missed it for the world, all of a sudden Kiss were a must-see act again, first time since ’77 that statement could be made…

      1. Ace, Peter, Gene and Paul will forever be the real Kiss. When these guys get together you can feel the magic again. I have been keeping up with Ace and his playing skills are very sharp. I saw one of his recent shows and he played like I have never seen him play before. I think Ace finally grew up. All of these guys are getting old and are experiencing the problems that come with age. However I would bet that if they reunited for a 40th Anniversary tour, it would sell out in minutes. As long as Peter can keep the beat, I think they could pull it off. Maybe do 10 shows or so and then call it quits. If they did choose to do this ( I totally agree with adambomb ) then they should rehearse until the cows come home. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to see them go out on top and together. Sadly though Gene and Paul would probably never agree to it, because it would mean letting go of some serious bucks to Ace and Peter. A Kiss fan of the original four can only dream…right!!

  5. Totally agree…Ace’s playing has rebounded tremendously since his sobriety. If only they would play a short series of no makeup concerts …Ohhhhhh …but then there is the matter of Paul’s terrible sounding voice, badly eroded….they should have played a series of shows with Ace and Peter, without makeup, before it got to this point.

    1. The original four members without make-up? Hardcore Kiss fans wouldn’t go for it. The fans want to see those characters. That’s why Gene has two clones posing as the “Spaceman” and the “Catman”. One of Kiss’s former accountants wrote a book about Kiss called “Kiss and Sell”. In this book he explains how Gene and Paul were broke by 1995 and came up with the idea of bringing back the original members in full make-up. This accountant said that Ace and Peter literally saved Kiss. I am a hardcore fan of the original four and I wouldn’t give a plug nickel to see them perform without their make-up. I totally agree with you on the matter of Paul’s voice, he sounds terrible. Paul can’t sing anymore, he’s had heart issues, knee surgeries and multiple hip surgeries. Gene never could sing, he forgets the lyrics and falls all over the stage. The fact that they are still performing just proves how greedy they truly are. Between the health issues, the merchandising frenzy and the two clones, Kiss is a total joke. Paul has even made the statement that Kiss will continue on, even after he and Gene finally do retire. Talk about a joke!! In the end Kiss will be the biggest “Tribute Band” in the world.

      1. Kiss these days, makes me nostalgic for the Revenge era….at least it was exciting to be a Kiss fan of a non-original lineup again….As for the makeup, the only reason I say they shouldn’t wear it for a farewell show with the original four is because ace is so damn heavy I think it would look silly….so does gene but somehow he almost gets away with it….well the original four looked cool on MTV Unplugged without it anyhow..
        I think if they can get the weight down to (almost) human, and with a good set of wigs (lol)…then the makeup would be okay in that case…..
        Oh but how it would be mocked for Paul’s voice alone. I feel terrible that he’s come to such a pass but he sounds beyond repair…..It’s a grave foul to even tour in that condition, although I understand that they should be proud of singing the harmonies without sampling and all the instruments without backline help. It’s just that Paul is leaving his usual harmony parts to other band members, and it is impossible to hide his lead vocal trouble….call it quits guys…

      2. Yes Gene and Ace could stand to lose a pound or 50…LOL!! Gene does resemble a stuffed sausage in his costume. I strongly agree that “Kiss” needs to pack it in, but it would still be awesome to see the original four in full costume just one last time…blubber, wigs and all…LOL!!!! Just imagine the status they would have held, had they retired when Pete left in 1979. I wish they had of.

  6. Yeah if they quit in 79 then reunited when they did it would be bigger in a way, but I think Kiss being carried on with in the eighties kinda retained interest in a way too…….it kept Paul and Gene sharp too…..they love touring so much that I think they never would have quit lol..I think Paul loves to be “that” Paul so much that he would tour non stop.

    1. Gene and Paul have forgotten where they came from. That’s one of the things I respect about Ace and Peter…they are still just down to earth people. During the 80’s Gene lost interest in Kiss because he wanted to be a movie star. Paul did hold Kiss together during this period, but you know he only did it so he wouldn’t lose that all powerful spotlight. Paul lives for his fame and that’s very sad. Gene and Paul owe so much to Ace and Peter, but they will never admit it. Not only did Ace and Peter save Kiss by doing the “Reunion Tour”, but Peter also saved Kiss back in ’76 with his hit “Beth”. Before “Beth”, Casablanca Records and Kiss were done. Gene and Paul have stepped on so many people to get where they are…how sad and pathetic. I even read an article that stated when Eric Carr got sick, Gene and Paul totally distanced their selves from him so they wouldn’t get stuck with his medical bills. I think that says it all.

  7. Oh!! another reason why I respect Ace so much is due to the fact that he kept his word. During the “Farewell Tour” Gene and Paul were constantly stating ( I’ve seen the interviews ) that when the tour finished, Kiss would never perform again. Well after the tour ended Gene and Paul decided to go on ( they lied their asses off ) and they wanted Ace to go out on tour with them. Ace said “No!!”, because they had told the world that Kiss was retiring and would never perform again. Remember the B.S. explanation that Paul gave for going back on tour? Paul said that it wasn’t the fact that Kiss wanted to stop, it was the fact that Kiss didn’t want to go on with the other two original members. That was a lie. They clearly stated that Kiss was going to retire…period!! Furthermore they brought Peter back after making that statement about the two original members…another lie!! Gene and Paul are total liars and the greediest people I have ever seen. Can you imagine how many people went to their so called “Farewell tour” and bought tons of merchandise because they were told that this was it!! Gene and Paul need to realize that money doesn’t equal respect. I met Ace a few months ago and he was awesome!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

    1. I checked your videos out…awesome!!!! Which members of Kiss did you guys jam with at the Boston convention? Do you guys still play together? All of you looked like the characters you were portraying, but that “Catman” was nearly a dead ringer for Pete. I picked up the guitar when I was very young ( most of my family members played guitar ) and started getting serious with it after I bought the “Kiss Alive 75” album. I was totally inspired by Ace. I know a guy who was in an Ace tribute band called “Fractured Mirror”. His name is Bill Baker and he actually became friends with Ace. I bought some pieces from him that came off of Ace’s Les Paul Jr. Anyway My rock and roll ambitions fell to the wayside after I discovered chics, a lot of chics…LOL!! You know a lot of guys get in a band to get chics ( that’s why Gene Simmons started a band ) but I found the chics first. Looking back on it, I wish I would have kept going with the rock thing…LOL!! You guys rock!!!! Oh I have one more question. Were you the one playing Ace? I watched the “Shock Me” video and if that was you, you nailed it. Keep on rockin’.

  8. KISS Rock………..and there will never be another band out there that will and can still do what KISS do on stage, I have been to every Sydney KISS concert and am going to this years March Tour 2013, I will leave this earth knowning that i enjoy going thru my life listening to great Rock, and i have been following KISS since i was 7yrs 🙂

  9. Yes, I was the one playing Ace lol….thankyou for the compliment…..We played with Kiss at the official KISS Konvention in Boston, 1995. Pics of us withe Gene. and Paul are on our page….
    Kiss had to actually go on before us because the had to catch a flight to New York to start rehearsals for MTV Unplugged, unbeknownst to anybody> So we always joke about how Kiss opened for us lol…………….They were watching us soundcheck and I played a bunch of Beatles songs on purpose cuz I know how much they worship the Beatles lol…..the rarest songs I could….I was a blast to see them watching me/us play from the side….They were extremely nice and down to earth….even Gene…he was the friendliest of all of them….He walked up to us like he’d known us for 20 years and started cracking wiReunion tourse right away.. They sent us tickets to the Revenge tour and the reunion tour which was very nice of them….
    We also played at two different conventions with Vinnie Vincent in ’94 …He was friendly also….there is footage of us playing Cold Gin and Lick it Up with him on the page also…..
    Thanx for checking the page out….those are some great memories…about 20 years ago now….we quit doing it when we were no longer one of a very few Kiss tributes out. There are hundreds of them now…..

  10. There is something I want to add about the article … I have absolutely HATED the way Gene sings Rock and Roll All Night in recent years, with the “pause and Creee-zeeee”. I totally agree with the author, I have hated that vocal tic Gene has added to the song with a vengeance.

    Also, (well I guess this makes it “two things”)….I will take the first half of the 80’s for music and pop-culture and general goofiness, over the late eighties any day of the week….If it is considered dated the way that Kiss (and others) conducted themselves/dressed/wrote music, etc, then the late eighties is way wayyyy worse….Kiss sounded like survivor on Crazy Nights album. When I want 80’s, give me the full-blown glammy un-ashamed early-mid eighties, not the watered down, homogenized late 80’s. I had a great time in life in general in the late 80’s but for music and pop culture it was horrible. I’ll take Romeo Void and Lisa Lisa over Edie Brikel and Paula Abdul…….Screaming For Vengeance and Shout at the Devil over Turbo and Girls Girls Girls…….thriller over Bad……you get the idea

    1. Yes I totally agree… I will take the first half of the 80’s over the second half any day. First of all disco had to be put out of it’s misery and it’s influence totally erased. Rock and roll had basically been on life support for a few years but, it came back with a vengeance. People like Ozzy Osbourne lead the way…”Bark at The Moon”!! When Kiss did a disco tune, that’s when I knew Kiss had completely sold out. Both Ace and Peter have said that they hated that song. I also agree with you on the way Gene has butchered “Rock and Roll All Night”, but Gene could never really sing in the first place. Furthermore if ever a song has been done to death, it’s that one. I just hate it when Paul refers to it as “The Rock and Roll Anthem” of the world…what a crock!! You are also right about there being hundreds of Kiss tribute bands, with the biggest one of them all being lead by Chaim Witz and Stanley Eisen…LOL!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s