Day 10 of Kiss Kountdown to Rock n Roll Hall of Fame begins now...
Paul Stanley's Solo Record is the Best of the Four.
I don't know who initially declared Ace's solo record the best but it must have carried some weight because it has been taken as the gospel since the ill-fated day this preposterous scheme was unleashed on the unsuspecting music public. No one expected much from Ace and sure, the Spaceman's record is pretty good. No doubt covering Russ Ballard's classic "New York Groove" was inspired, but Paul's album is better and has a couple of stone cold power pop classics to boot.
"Ok, hotshot, if Paul's album is so good, how come nobody bought it? Huh? What went wrong?" Casablanca surely was looking for a big top forty ballad when they released "Hold Me, Touch Me" as first single off the platter, and who could blame them? All that blow Neil Bogart and his fellow executives were snorting while producing Angel records wasn't cheap and certainly Paul was feminine enough take a bite out of Air Supply's ass, wasn't he? Trouble is, they overshot the mark by half and inadvertently managed to bring the subject of Paul's "gayness" onto the national radar. ("Gaydar" was trademarked by Gene Simmons) Obviously, I respect the right for everybody to be who they, but let's face it, metal fans aren't exactly the most enlightened kids in the classroom. This isn't the way to appeal to your hardcore 70's stoner fan base. I mean, a good portion of KISS early success was appealing to the midwestern rock fans as the very straight, less queer New York Dolls.
Ok, so the lead single was totally gay and lame but the OTHER songs on the record were totally not gay. Except in the supergay rocking way which is totally different. The Raspberries never wrote a pop rocker 1/10th as good as "Wouldn't You Like To Know Me" or "It's Alright". (eat it Ricki) Not to mention "Ain't Quite Right" is moody and melancholy beyond anything the other KISS members could dream of then or now.
As long as i am on the subject…. Over-Rated: Paul Stanley's next solo CD "Live To Win." Under- Rated: Ace's Frehley's 2nd solo record, "Frehley's Comet."
"Live to Win" is noteworthy only for the cover art portraying Paul in all his sexy mid-50's splendor. "Frehley's Comet" is written on a 1st grade level with nearly ever single line on the CD rhyming, but that just shows how essential Ace was to keeping KISS on that 8 year old level where the band band really hits paydirt. No wonder Ace hated "The Elder" and quit the band. That's a very boring record for an eight year old. They should have put a dinosaur on the cover or something.
"If the devil wants to play his card game now, he's going to have to play without an Ace in his deck" - Ace Frehley's best line.
If The KISS solo records had been just one record, would it have been the best KISS album ever? Yes.
Side one: It's Alright (Paul) New York Groove (Ace) Radioactive (Gene) I'm In Need of Love (Ace) Tonight You Belong to Me (Paul)
Side Two: Rip it Out (Ace) Wouldn't You Like to Know Me (Paul) See You Tonite (Gene) Move On (Paul) Fractured Mirror (Ace) Take Me Away (Paul)
Damn, that is a pretty good record. Can one of you power nerds reading this whip that track listing into a bootleg for my listening pleasure? Thanks. Considering the roll KISS was on at the time and how the solo records debacle tossed cold water on the raging hype tire-fire that was KISS in 1978, it's scary to think how big this record could have been.
Goes to show that when your label president and band manager are partying harder than the band (except the drummer) things can go haywire in a hurry.
"But wait, you didn't have any solo Peter tunes on that record? That doesn't seem fair."
The most over rated of all time - Peter Criss from 1976 until forever.
Peter Criss fell into a gold mine when he met Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. He worked hard for the first couple of years and his drumming somehow, someway was actually pretty good. The second the band hit paydirt Peter completely fell apart and was on the curb within 3 years. He complained before he got famous. He complained while he was famous. He complained after he lost his fame. He complained when he got back in the band and was saved by those assholes Gene and Paul. After he lost the gig again, he complained.
What a dick. Don't take my word for it, read "Makeup to Breakup -The Peter Criss Story." Peter thinks he is a sympathetic character. I just feel sympathy for everybody who had to put up with his bullshit all those years. If it's any consolation for you fans of the pussy, Peter did write by far, the best biography of any KISS member, at least until Vinnie Vincent puts one out anyway. Videos below...
Colin Gawel is a founding member of website Pencilstorm and the band "Why Isn't Cheap Trick in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame?". You can read about his life in the best selling book Hitless Wonder
Below: Clip 1) Paul Stanley rocking in the supergay rocking way. Clip 2) Just plain gay.