This is day 3 of Kiss Kountdown. Click here for day 4.
You Wanted The Worst and You Got It! - by Nick Jezienry
I am a lifelong Kiss fan who saved up pennies and loose change to buy Kiss Alive! at the local department store. It was a double 8-track and I didn’t have enough change, so I got the first release instead.
That’s what started it off. I was hooked.
My first concert was Kiss in 1978 with The Rockets opening at the now-leveled New Haven (Conn.) Coliseum. My parents were reluctant to let me go as I was in third grade, and the only way they would let me attend was if I got straight As. That was the only time in my life I got straight As, by the way.
I stayed a Kiss fan but I admit that I lost interest for a few years (Unmasked, The Elder and Creatures weren’t on my radar at all as Kiss wasn’t “big” in junior high). In high school, I got reacquainted when “Lick It Up” came out and I revisited the old stuff and caught up on what I missed through some kids who had these albums. I saw Kiss for the second time on the Asylum tour — paid $35 for a third row seat and saw Black N Blue open. (Tommy Thayer rocked! Who knew he’d become Ace!!)
I went away to college at Ohio University and stayed true to Kiss. I was fortunate that the Crazy Nights tour rolled through New Haven when I was home on break and got to see that tour, too. When CDs became popular, I traded in all my cassettes at SchoolKids during my junior year at Ohio U. The first CD I purchased with the trade was “Music From The Elder.” I had owned all of the band’s work on 8-track, cassette and now CD. And then I got all of the remastered versions. You can say I am a Kiss completist.
I've seen Kiss a handful of other times — twice on the very stellar “Hot In The Shade” tour, once on the first reunion tour, the Psycho Circus opening tour date at Dodger Stadium and again on the first farewell tour in Las Cruces, N.M., that was one of the last shows the original lineup did.
The point of all this is I really like Kiss and don’t truly dislike anything they’ve done. Some discs were weaker than others (hello Asylum), but Kiss has a formula that resonates with me. I did a quick, very unofficial count of 224 songs and I’m picking my LEAST favorite 10 to celebrate the band’s long overdue induction into the Rock Hall. I’m picking the least favorites because everyone makes “best of” lists, right?
I chose not to include any covers (Kissin’ Time, Then She Kissed Me, Anyway You Want It). The newer material also got a hall pass as I’ve listened to “Sonic Boom” and “Monster” less than any of the other records. I like both of those offerings, but I just don’t listen to them as much as I did other material. Anyway, you wanted the worst and you’ve got it …..
1. Nothing Can Keep Me From You: This was the new track on the Detroit Rock City soundtrack. I remember thinking “Oh god, I hope this isn’t the last song Kiss ever writes.” Just an awful ballad. Who knew they’d put out about five more records after this came out. I’m still not sure if I like the movie or not.
2. Love’s A Deadly Weapon: Kicked off Side 2 of Asylum (cassette reference), which is my least favorite Kiss release from start to finish. Gene Simmons’ material on Animalize, Asylum and Crazy Nights wasn’t much to brag about. I can say that now, but back in high school, I’d have defended Gene and probably argued he was a better bass player than Geddy Lee!
3. My Way: This ends Side 1 of Crazy Nights, and along with I’ll Fight Hell to Hold You, are the low points of Kiss’ commercial success in the 80s (Paul Stanley version, as Gene’s worst songs are way worse than Paul’s duds).
4. It Never Goes Away: Carnival of Souls. Just a weird song for Kiss on a very different Kiss CD that has some strong moments. This song, clocking in at over 5 minutes, wasn’t one of those strong moments.
5. Tomorrow and Tonight: Love Gun. Even as a third grader, I knew this was a ripoff of “Rock and Roll All Night.” The live version on Alive II is even worse than the studio version. Kiss was really trolling for a hit with this one. Why not release “I Stole Your Love?"
6. Saint and Sinner: Creatures of the Night. The only weak spot on a very cool sounding record. Eric Carr’s drums on this disc were amazing. This too-long, too-boring song probably prevents this from being my favorite Kiss CD. And it’s the second song — usually a spot on the record for the hit single!
7. Boomerang: Hot In The Shade. The closer on what I feel is a very under appreciated Kiss record. I thought a lot of the material was good, but this song just didn’t seem to fit. Seems like it would have more of a “Revenge” era song.
8. Partners In Crime: Killers. This was among the material Kiss reportedly scrapped to make “Music From The Elder.” The other three songs were stellar, but this one definitely qualifies as filler.
9. We Are One: Psycho Circus. Had this been a Paul Stanley song, it might have worked. But it doesn’t fit The Demon’s persona at all and comes across rather cheesy.
10. Any Way You Slice It: Asylum. Another second song sleeper from Gene Simmons. Any Way You Slice It, this isn’t a good song.
Nick Jezierny is a former journalist who worked at The Columbus Dispatch, El Paso Times, Idaho Statesman, Lancaster Eagle-Gazette. He graduated from Ohio University and lived in Columbus from Labor Day 1991 to Memorial Day 1998. He never saw Watershed perform during that time, but he spent about $2,500 to travel from his current home in Boise, Idaho, to see four Watershed shows in 2013.