The KISS RE-REVIEW SERIES Supplemental: Peter Criss solo.
The ex- kitty-cat landed on his feet rather swiftly. A few short months after his departure was announced, Criss released the first solo album ever by an ex-Kiss member. Unfortunately for the Catman, fans were already scared off by his 1978 album. Anyone who was flabbergasted or confuddled by Peter’s penchant for light rock steered far clear of Out of Control. They were correct to do so. Out of Control is a virtual carbon copy of the 1978 album.
At least Peter didn’t mislead anyone into thinking this was a rock album. The very opening, “By Myself”, is one of the softest songs Peter’s ever recorded. Not a bad one, mind you, but not a song with mass appeal. Peter Criss wasn’t about to become the next Rod Stewart. His control over notes is not as strong…they are “out of control” so to speak, and his voice wavers.
“In Trouble Again” is far better. Peter played all the drums on this album, and there’s some cool stuff happening on “In Trouble Again”. It’s the most rocking tune on the album. It’s back to ballad town on “Where Will They Run?”. It’s dominated by the synthesizer, and it has a cool and light breezy rock vibe. It even has a sax solo by George Young (not the one that’s Angus’ brother). By track four, Peter is eager to tell us “I’ve Found Love”. You’re in for a fun and upbeat number…but Peter just can’t hold onto a note! He returns to rock and roll on “There’s Nothing Better”, which sounds like an old R&B classic even though it’s a Criss/Penridge original. Well done on that one.
There’s a very corny title track here, which has a pseudo-disco beat: “Out of Control” is cheesy and fun all at once. It’s the string cheese of danceable rock. Is that such a bad thing? Not unless you’re lactose intolerant, or allergic to cats in general. Sadly, “Words” is pretty horrid. Peter also turned in a pretty lacklustre cover of The Young Rascals’ “You Better Run”, also famously covered by Pat Benatar and some guy named Robert Plant. That’s tough competition. “You Better Run”? More like “Don’t Even Bother”.
The closing track “Feel Like Letting Go” is one of the best tracks. It feels like a followup to Peter’s album closing epic “I Can’t Stop the Rain”. The strings and piano make them spiritual brothers. Did the lyrics have anything to do with Kiss? “I feel like letting go…but my heart keeps saying no.” Maybe, maybe not. Peter seemed to be trying to separate himself from his former band, in order to establish himself. The artwork and songs don’t offer clues as to Peter’s previous job. Paul, Gene and Ace are thanked in the fine print.
In fact there is only one real wink to Kiss fans, and it was on a hidden track right after “Feel Like Letting Go”. Paraphrasing a line from “As Time Goes By” (1931), he sings quietly “You must remember this…a Kiss is still a Kiss…”
The fans didn’t see it that way.
To be continued…