exposed

RE-REVIEW: KISS – eXposed (1987 video)

The KISS RE-REVIEW SERIES Part 31

 – eXposed (1987 VHS/2002 Mercury DVD)

“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.

The KISS Mansion

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!

“Deuce” in San Fransisco

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.

Incredible special features

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.

3/5 stars

* 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

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WTF SEARCH TERMS: A Mixture of Elements edition

It’s the regular feature where I reveal weird search terms that somehow led people here.  These are the WTF Search Terms!

WTF Search Terms XVIII:  A Mixture of Elements edition

Welcome back to WTF Search Terms.  Today, instead of presenting search terms of a similar theme like I normally do, I thought I’d just give you a mixture of different basic elemental varieties that I get every day at mikeladano.com!  A little bit of normal, a little bit of sex, and a little bit of disgusting.  (For the last installment, Whole Lotta WTF edition, click here.)

SAM_003610. who was the topless girl on kiss: exposed

There was more than one, wasn’t there?

9. worlds best pictures

I’m flattered that Google led somebody here to find the world’s best pictures, but I don’t know why.

8. dwarfs extrem

Whatever floats your boat man…

7. sexgorilla and girls

…Except that, that sounds really gross.

6. sreet bob special edition

A true WTF, this one has me baffled as to what they’re looking for.

5. got his pierced

Can you be more specific?

4. do people usually get both tragus pierced

How the fuck should I know?

3. dad number like scary carrie

Once again I have no idea what this guy’s looking for.

2. www. boog bobs milke in the baby video.com

I’m not sure, it just sounds gross.

1. dolly madison, porn

GAH!

DOLLY

REVIEW: KISS – Kissin’ Time in San Fransisco (1974/1975 bootleg)

KISSIN TIME FRONT

KISS – Kissin’ Time in San Fransisco (1974 or 1975 bootleg , Black Diamond Records 1994)

Early Kiss, live Kiss at least, was the best!  They were young hungry punks, a garage band in makeup and heels, playing with an intensity that they never equaled even on later triumphs like Kiss Alive! or Love Gun.  It was a ferocity on stage, made doubly impressive when you remember that they were weighed down by those costumes.

This widely available bootleg recording showcases exactly what early Kiss was about.  Recorded shortly after the release of their second album, Hotter Than Hell, it actually sounds pretty good for 1974 or 75.  You may be familiar with some of these recordings.  “Deuce” for example was on the Kiss eXposed video.  “Parasite” was later made available on the Kiss My Ass VHS and DVD.

What’s astounding here is just how good Peter Criss used to be.  I don’t mean technically.  I mean in that way that a good rock drummer just slams you in the guts and doesn’t let up.  Peter Criss plays like a savage.  The two best moments are “Watchin’ You” and “Parasite”.  He absolutely demolishes his kit, he’s relentless, and it’s so damn fun to listen to him, young and powerful, laying waste.

Gene’s bass is very loud in the mix, and while Gene was also no virtuoso, it’s nice to hear his compositional abilities on bass. Especially in early Kiss, Gene wrote and played some very cool basslines, melodic and solid.  It’s a side of Kiss that is often ignored by the critics.  Gene was heavily influenced by bands like Cream and I think you can hear that.

The setlist is pretty standard, with every song later getting showcased on the aforementioned Kiss Alive!  These versions are without the spit n’ polish that Eddie Kramer put on that disc, live as it was on that night.   In a lot of ways, I prefer these versions.  What they lack in audio fidelity, they make up for in sheer adrenaline and barbarism.  Paul’s as confident as ever on stage.  His stage raps are fully-formed and cocky.  His “Do you believe in rock and roll?” rap is present on “100,000 Years”, with Peter Criss hammering out a consistently tribal backdrop.

The CD is padded out by a bunch of unrelated (and often misspelled) bonus tracks.  “A World Without Heros” is an instrument demo from The Elder, widely circulated.  So is “The Difference Between Men & Boys”, which can be found under different names.  “Young and Wasted” is a Lick It Up demo (not from 1971 as stated on the back, who are we kidding?).  Lastly, “(We Want To) Shout It Out Loud” is from the Wicked Lester album.

4.5/5 stars

DVD REVIEW: KISS – Exposed (1987)

Part 24 of my series of Kiss reviews, leading up to the release of Monster

KISS – Exposed (VHS 1987, DVD 2002)

While Kiss took some time off as Gene continued to pursue his movie career, Exposed was released in lieu of a studio album.  1986 was the first year to ever come and go without new Kiss music.  The band sought commercial success, and an outside producer as they worked hard to record hits.  This video nicely documented their career to that point.

A lot of long term KISS fans absolutely hate Exposed. It is not without flaws, but considering when it came out and what it aimed to do, it is actually one of the best home videos from the era.

Exposed is an early example of a mockumentary, or, as they say in the opening, “A rousing docu-drama. It will be disgusting to some, titilating to others.  But whether it disgusts you, or titilates you, it is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” That right there tells you everything you need to know. Interspersed with the docu-drama bits are video clips, and live clips of the band during the makeup years.

The biggest flaw with Exposed is that it’s pretty sexist. It’s all meant to be in good fun I guess, but many will be offended by Gene using women as wall decorations. It was the 80’s; every band influenced by Kiss was doing the same thing, and Kiss responded by taking it to the limit. It is what it is, and if you’re likely to be offended, don’t watch.  It’s still nothing compared to some rap videos I’ve seen.

The second biggest flaw is the lack of Eric Carr and Bruce Kulick participation. They each get two scenes: In Eric’s scene, he meets the interviewer and leaves without any audible lines. In Bruce’s scene, he chases a girl down the stairs and has the line, “Is this for the documentary? Edit her out!” In the final scene, Bruce and Eric are seen taking Paul’s monkey Sonny Crocket for a stroll. Everything else is the Gene and Paul Show.

The docu-drama takes place at “Paul’s mansion”, and this is where the jokes begin.  It’s kind of an 80’s Monkees, with the band all living together in the same house.  There’s a butler and women everywhere.  Gene of course has a throne.

Paul and Gene are funny in Exposed. The interview segments are 50% “straight”, talking seriously about the early years of Kiss, and 50% comedy segments. I enjoyed the comedy. Gene in partiular is a very funny guy. In the “straight” segments there is a comraderie rarely seen between Gene and Paul, such as Paul razzing Gene about early song lyrics he had written. (“My mother is beauuuuutiful…,” Paul croons to an old Gene lyric.)

The music videos include some rarities such as the banned “Who Wants To Be Lonely” clip (more girls). Basically you get every music video from 1982 through to 1985., with a couple exceptions.

The live stuff proved to be just a taster for what Kiss had in their vaults. At the time, bands didn’t release a lot of archive concerts on home video, instead concentrating on documenting current tours. Now they do release such archival concerts on DVD, and since then Kiss have released more complete footage on Kissology I-III. The film quality, despite complaints from the fans, is pretty decent, especially the old 1974 clip of Deuce. Some fans claim their bootleg home videos look and sound better than the official KISS releases; I haven’t seen that.

The video ends with a brief audio clip of Paul answering the question, “What do we call this?” He responds, “Why don’t we call it Volume I?”

Volume II would come later in the form of Kiss’ X-treme Close Up, a more “serious” video, stripped of the girls and the jokiness. I find Exposed to be a much more entertaining video.

Check it out if you are a fan, particularly for 80’s Kiss. Avoid if you are not.

4/5 stars

Incidentally, you can get Kiss Exposed as a third bonus disc in a deluxe edition of Kiss Gold.  Seen below, the regular edition of Kiss Gold.  We’ll be talking about that CD much later on.