Saturday, April 18, 2009



The Backstory:

1977 saw the original quartet at the height of their fame, riding high on the massive success of big albums and the merchandising of anything featuring those iconic grease-painted faces. Determined to squeeze another golden egg out of the band, plans were set to record one of their shows at Budokan Hall in Tokyo. The bulk of this was rejected for release so a second effort was made by taping a late summer, three night stay at the LA Forum. Selecting the best performances from both attempts, "Alive II" would be issued as a two record set with the fourth side consisting of five new studio cuts.

This was filmed a week after the LA shows.

The Challenge:

One of my best friends recently suggested that I dust off my vinyl copy of "Alive II", go straight to side four and concentrate only on those songs. Many years have passed since I had last listened to these tunes, so it was a serious journey into the time machine.

What a blast!

Straight ahead, tons of guitar and plenty of hooks. No prizes awarded for being lyricists of consequence but they never claimed to be anything other than a big rock spectacle. As the last note of the Dave Clark Five cover ("Any Way You Want It") echoed, I dropped the needle and proceeded to spin it again.

Ace's "Rocket Ride" gets the most stars here, with a heavily phased riff that's more fun than a dozen beer. "Larger Than Life" claims second prize (love that drum sound) while the rest just brought back a ton of good memories. Great players who knew how to deliver an instant classic when they were on their game.

Very pleasant surprise.

After that, I re-enlisted in the Kiss Army and cranked the rest of the album.

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