The KISS RE-REVIEW SERIES Part 31:
“Hello. The show we are about to see is a rousing docu-drama. It will disgust some, and titillate others. But whether it disgusts you, or titillates you, it is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but…the truth.”
Kiss were on to something here. The concept of a home video release that was more than just a compilation of clips was fairly new. Kiss took the bull by the horns and put together a video that was all at once extremely sexist and innovative, offensive and invaluable. Only fans need apply; anyone who is sick of Gene Simmons’ schtick will bore quickly of his oafish humour. But when Kiss play it “straight” in certain interview segments, light shines through. The old memories and the old friendships are fresh and vivid.
Interviewer Mark Blankfield strolls up to the “Kiss Mansion” where all four members live Monkee-like together in one house with dozens upon dozens of beautiful women. The doorbell plays “Rock N’ Roll All Nite”, and Paul Stanley is confused. He thought the interview was scheduled for…not noon, but 12 midnight! Nyuck, nyuck, nyuck.
Some of the scripted bits are actually funnier than you’d expect. Paul and Gene are natural clowns, and playing the role of disinterested rock stars tickles the funnybone. Blankfield keeps chasing them around, trying to get them to do some interviews. All the while, he encounters scantily clad babes in various states of undress, and a butler intent on keeping him away from them. Subjects of discussion in the scripted bits include nutrition and fitness. Learn about Joseph Kiss Sr., who came up with the vision of Kiss in 1773. Check out Paul Stanley’s workout video! Meet his best friend, a monkey named Sonny Crockett. Cut to a music video!
The music videos are something. In a scripted bit, Paul is surprised that they have access to the uncensored version of “Who Wants to Be Lonely”, which neither MTV nor MuchMusic were willing to play. Censors were offended by images of women in bikinis spraying themselves with hoses, even though I’m sure George Michael did something similar a couple years later. Every music video that Kiss filmed from “I Love It Loud” (1982) to the Asylum album (1985) is included, except “Thrills in the Night”.* All videos from eras prior to this are live and unreleased!
Live in Rio, from Kiss’ very last concert in makeup, it’s “I Love It Loud” with Vinnie Vincent! This is good quality video and audio from a TV broadcast. From the now famous bootleg Kissin’ Time in San Francisco (1975), it’s a nuclear version of “Deuce” in black and white. It’s the first appearance of Ace Frehley and Peter Criss in this feature, and the rawness of the old band is a delightful contrast to the new. Then it’s “Strutter” at Cobo Hall in ’76, an Ace guitar solo from 1980, and “Beth” in 1977 with Peter Criss (and a pretty bad final note). Gene’s got a bass solo/blood spitting clip to show off, but the most interesting clip of the batch could be “Detroit Rock City” in Australia, 1980. Paul did the verse melody with a slightly different twist. “Rock and Roll all Nite” is included from the same show, which had Eric Carr on drums. “I Stole Your Love” and “Ladies Room” have the original lineup from the Love Gun tour; Kiss at their bombastic best.
Of the best of the “straight” interview clips is the question, “How did you two get together?” Paul and Gene start busking to “I’ll Be Back” by the Beatles, and suddenly you can imagine what they sounded like in 1972. They even sing bits of Gene’s more…obscure early material. “I love Eskimos…” “My mother is beauuuutiful…” (Hopefully we will hear these songs on Gene’s upcoming 150 track box set, Vault?) Another good question, to Gene, is “Have you gone Hollywood?” which he answers with candor.
The very large issue with this DVD is the absence of Bruce Kulick and Eric Carr. They only appear in brief cameos, and get a couple lines a piece. That’s very unfortunate. And then there is the excessive objectification of women. It’s done as an obvious satire of the rock star stereotype, but not particularly well. Too bad. This isn’t Spinal Tap.
Some of the diehards would have preferred a home video with more music and less gags. Fortunately Kiss got the message when they eventually got around to a sequel.
* It appears that “Thrills in the Night” must have been intended for inclusion at one point, because it’s in the songwriting credits at the end of the video.
Original mikeladano.com review: 2012/08/03