Sunday, March 09, 2014

KISS OFF: "I Can't Take You Back" The Hall of Fame and Run-a-Rounds

My take on KISS getting into the Hall of Fame…only to bicker over who is onstage playing? Well, I was there when they were at the height of their fame, and at the time, I spent over an hour with each individual member for interviews. Yeah, they're worth inducting for their stage show, make-up, and the $$$ they made with double platinum albums and world-wide hysteria. Not because their music was any good.

And yeah, the ORIGINAL members should be inducted, because that's when they were famous. That's when they actually had hits. Those were the years when the band formed their identity. That Ace and Peter were easy to replace, and the replacements have been at it for some 15 years now…OK, very nice, stepping into the make-up the other guys wore. But KISS now is a nostalgia act, even with original lead singers Gene and Paul still fronting it.

Ace was the one who instantly alerted fans NOT to buy tickets to the Rock and Hall show (if they were expecting him and Peter). His reasoning was sound. Why the hell should he put on his famous make-up and be on stage…where some other guy is ALSO wearing the same make-up? That's like two prima donnas going to the Oscars and wearing the same dress. Peter Criss quickly fell in line behind Ace. What, he's gonna be in his cat make-up and sit behind drums, and right next to him, some pussy also has a drum kit and make-up??

Ace and Peter have been gone a long time…let's not forget that there was also Bruce Kulick (who was lead guitarist for about a decade) or the first drummer to replace Peter Criss: Eric Carr. Carr was also around for some ten years or more.

What could've been the solution? Perhaps…having each incarnation do one song. Which would be a revelation to non-KISS fans, who probably couldn't name, or sing along to ONE song, much less TWO. Surely, Ace is not so spaced out that he doesn't recognize the reality that he WAS replaced for some 25 years. (Just don't call him Surely). And if the other guys are fine with Peter's tell-all book, then prove it. There also seems to be some questions about "Hall of Fame" rules…which seem to suggest that only original members of a band can be inducted, although replacements can appear on stage…but I'm too bored to research that point. There's no question that Ace is the guy who initially said NO…which is why Ace is the guy you see in the illustration above.

Since this year's "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame" show promises to be as tepid, absurd and boring as most all of them, with poor choices of inclusion, pompous speeches and woefully fabricated "highlight" moments…perhaps this cornball show from nowhere-land (Cleveland) does need the huge build-up of the great KISS band arguing and bitching right up to…who knows, "this magic moment" when they do follow my advice, and each play a song?? I use the term "this magic moment" because, really, the whole thing is as pointless and nauseating as to mention that there was a "Jay" helming "The Americans" before and after Jay Black had his hits with them, and the group still does oldies show with yet another "Jay."

I know, you want my take on the KISS guys and what they were like in person. (Shut up, I know you do). No surprise, Gene and Paul were the most egomaniacal, with Gene at least showing more charisma. Like Howard Stern, he kept up a lively mix of opinionated bullshit, amusing stories, and a good dose of humor. Ace? About as down to Earth as a druggy spaceman could be. He also had a good sense of humor (to go with his admittedly peculiar and comical speaking voice…which I recall as sort of Jay Leno imitating Frank Fontaine's "Crazy Guggenheim" character). Peter was the "regular guy," very likable and easy to talk to. Though not a fan of their music, I liked those guys, and, if was being paid, wouldn't mind talking again to three of the four.

Since KISS is a famous band, there's no need to "introduce" them with a download. So…here's the Run-A-Rounds, an obscure bunch of garage shoegazers who recorded circa 1967 on the indie Manel label. The chosen song, quite relevant to Gene and Paul's views on Ace and Peter, is "I Can't Take You Back." But perhaps your view is closer to another Run-A-Rounds song called…"I Couldn't Care Less."

"There's so much to forget. There's so much on my mind…your request seems unreasonable, after you did me so much dirt…I can't take you back…I can't take you back…should have learned a lesson. Don't play friend against a friend…"


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