“I’m the king .. I’m the king … I’m the king … I’m the king … “
KISS Destroyer is an album from a confident band, a band that is the king. What’s funny is a confidence from a group with precisely one hit album, and that a live compilation. But whatever … Destroyer was the from-on-high statement of a band of cartoon characters scientifically crafted to appeal to 13-16 year-old boys across America. Success!
Bob Ezrin, who had worked with Alice Cooper and Lou Reed in the preceding years, brought a similarly dramatic approach to the production for this previously bare-bones band. Children crying and singing, radio DJs, strings … more than the typical KISS affair to be sure.
As for hits, it’s a surprisingly thin album—especially considering it is often considered the greatest KISS album of all time. “Detroit Rock City” is the classic; “Shout It Out Loud” is the obvious anthem; and “Beth” is the ballad. “God of Thunder” has its cache as a live stalwart. But hits? In America, “Beth” hit #7. “Shout It Out Loud” hit 31.
Hits aside, though, this is so, so obviously a different band. (In some cases, probably literally. As Bob Kulick says he told a passed-out Ace, “best solo you ever played.” The quality throughout is just much higher, whether due to Ezrin cracking the whip, using outside musicians, or something else. But every song is a strong one, a cut above the three previous studio albums.
Hits aside, though, this is so, so obviously a different band.
Yes, obviously it was a different band.
Back in the days of early KISS, I had a friend who shared the same taste in music as me. We both found various summer jobs and earned peanuts, but neither of us worked during school because it was sports, sports, and more sports. We both had to budget and be very selective with our music purchases, and even strategized as to what we would buy next. It used to be "If you buy The New York Dolls' new one then I'll grab Montrose's new one." And, "Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger have new solo albums out so you'll have to pick up Led Zeppelin's new release." And on and on. As I mentioned above, my interest in KISS after Alive started to fade. Luckily my buddy was still heavily into them so he picked up Destroyer. I'm glad he did.
Before I get to the praise...I remember listening to Destroyer for the first time, because there were actually some wince-inducing moments. It was, "Oh no, now Ezrin brought his kids over to KISS!" And, "Shout It Out Loud" doesn't really rock does it? And the biggest one of all was with "Beth" - fu*kin' strings!? There were times we looked at each other and rolled our eyes or grimaced. What happened to OUR KISS? Did they sell out? Did they forget where they came from?
Over the years I mellowed. I won't go as far as saying I/we were wrong. Hey, we were young, stubborn, purist diehards. But KISS was trying to grow, expand their horizons a little bit, and NOT fall back into the same old KISS. Was Bob Ezrin the right producer? I'll leave that up to bigger KISS freaks than me. I will admit, though, that I came to like "Shout It Out Loud" and even "Beth". Now, the little kids' voices...
There's some first rate KISS songs on Destroyer, the obvious being the classic "Detroit Rock City". I like "God Of Thunder", and I especially like "Do You Love Me", one of Paul Stanley's best vocals on the album and a great tag. Honestly, I'll have to give the album another listen because my memory of some of the other songs is a little shaky. Kapitan, you said above "But every song is a strong one, a cut above the three previous studio albums." I never viewed Destroyer that way and I take some exception to your quote. But like I said, I've have to give the album another spin, er, click.
Perfect rock record, that's strong stuff right there. I don't know I'd go that far. I think the production aspects are a bit much for a perfect rock record. But even without the kids, strings, and hellscapes, it sounds so much better than what came before. Their first professional sounding album, frankly. And I don't mind the production aspects, either: they are fitting for a band with this image.
But I'll give my hot take (that I probably have said before, so it has cooled off into a lukewarm take): Detroit Rock City isn't the best song on the album, and isn't even among KISS's best 20 songs.
Post by Sheriff John Stone on Sept 3, 2019 17:44:49 GMT
Speaking of "Flaming Youth", I was just reading that Bob Ezrin brought over Alice Cooper and Lou Reed's guitarist, Dick Wagner, to play the guitar solo on the song. Dick also played on "Sweet Pain" and acoustic guitar on "Great Expectations" and "Beth".
I think Ace by this period onward was more than a handful for anyone trying to conduct business. His playing was never much beyond solid bar-band style rock and roll. He's good, sure, but nowhere near the guitar god his biggest fans seem to believe. (And I LOVE Ace Frehley.) And that's why Dick Wagner, Bob Kulick, and over the years a handful of others had to do his parts, just like various others had to do Peter Criss's.
Absolutely. Plus, there is the logical fallacy of thinking that because they were in your favorite era of a band, that they were therefore the best talents. That's just silly! They were good enough to play the kind of basic rock and roll that made KISS great. That's not the same thing as being great players, especially once the chemical dependency issues got out of control.
B.E.: I skimmed the Mark Linett interview recently posted on SSMB. He said he’s hoping for a Fall release for the box set.
Feb 27, 2020 2:58:34 GMT
Sheriff John Stone: Was hoping for a spring/early summer release, however, I hope for a spring/early summer release with EVERY Beach Boys' album! I can wait for fall.
Feb 27, 2020 18:50:55 GMT
Kapitan: Maybe we’ll get that BW doc that we heard about way back when, Long Promised Doc 😀
Feb 27, 2020 19:18:45 GMT
kds: I get the feeling that documentary will one day be mentioned in the same breath as the 50th Anniversary Doc that was supposed to happen in 2012
Feb 27, 2020 20:55:14 GMT
Kapitan: And Pleasure Island!?
Feb 27, 2020 20:55:51 GMT
Sheriff John Stone: I'm skeptical about that Long Promised Road doc, not whether it will eventually come out, but the quality. If the highlight is Brian and an interviewer driving around and Brian commenting on BB songs/albums, I can only imagine how that'll go...
Feb 27, 2020 22:18:29 GMT
Sheriff John Stone: ...Brian, what do you think about the song, "Long Promised Road"? Brian - "I thought Carl sang it great." Brian, what do you think about The Beach Boys Love You album? Brian - "There's some great songs on that album."
Feb 27, 2020 22:21:28 GMT
Kapitan: I'm skeptical about EVERYTHING. But that doesn't mean I'm not interested in seeing and hearing it all.
Feb 27, 2020 23:50:16 GMT
Wata: I hope it would include some rarities - hopefully with the accompanying soundtrack. And it's time we got to listen to snippets from the rendition of "Long Promised Road" Brian supposedly recorded for the doc. I'm not holding my breath for it, but still...
Feb 28, 2020 5:58:00 GMT
kds: From the description, it sounded like a new version of the Brian Wilson On Tour doc.
Feb 28, 2020 13:20:10 GMT
Kapitan: Except as I recall, they were focusing on driving around LA for a lot of it. Just Brian and whoever the eventual filmmaker was (there had been a replacement) seeing the sights and chatting.
Feb 28, 2020 13:28:28 GMT
Kapitan: btw, it's just a couple weeks shy of a year since they released the movie poster.
Feb 28, 2020 13:31:24 GMT
kds: And, didn't they do the driving around bit in the IJWMFTT doc?
Feb 28, 2020 13:38:15 GMT