Paul Stanley welcomes us to the show! We're off to a great start. Jimmy Pardo is here as well and he's quite concerned with the legal ramifications of using Paul Stanley's name/nickname/voice. Jimmy does his own bad impression of the Starchild. He's his son Oliver's favorite member of Kiss. Today's topic should be quite obvious, really. It's Kiss!
Before we get to Starchild and Co., we've got another edition of
Here's the deal: Pat sometimes writes reviews for Pop Culture Beast and he'll get CDs from bands that he's never heard of. So we're gonna hear some songs with completely fresh ears. Jimmy Pardo is a very lucky duck as it's his first time doing this award-winning segment. This week's album is It's the Hustle by Bobby Hustle. Just to preface, the artwork is awful. But let's see how the music pans out.
"Inna Rizzla" --- It's reggae, which neither Pat nor Jimmy are big fans of, but the production sounds great.
"Another One Gone" --- "This isn't bad!" Pat and Jimmy exclaim.
"Memories" --- Again, the production is superb.
Pat and Jimmy give this bad boy a thumbs up. They're not particular fans of reggae music, but the album presumably sounds great for those who are reggae fans. That said, Jimmy takes one look at a photo of Bobby Hustle and immediately hates him.
Bobby Hustle is of Caucasian persuasion, for those not in the know. Jimmy wonders if Elvis Presley walked out to "The Hustle" by Van McCoy. Or was it "Also Sprach Zarathustra?" Or maybe it was "C.C. Rider?" Oh, this is quite the conundrum. Jimmy remembers how he wanted him and Pat's 1996 sketch group to open the show with Ozzy Osbourne's "Let the madness begin" intro that he does at his concerts. The rest of the group voted them down, so they walked out to.... nothing. Just a bunch of guys walking out on stage to... nothing. Comedy!
Now let's talk about Jimmy's relationship with the band Kiss. His first concert ever was Kiss on the Dynasty tour. He went with his mother, brother, and stepbrother. Judas Priest opened for them. Pat saw them on the Dynasty tour as well, with the opening band being New England.
Everyone said the Dynasty tour sucked, but sweet boys Jimmy and Pat didn't know any better at the time. They were caught up in the lights and pageantry of it all. Jimmy's first Kiss album: Rock and Roll Over. Pat's first Kiss album: Love Gun. His second Kiss album was actually a three-disc collection of the first three studio albums called The Originals. Again, the young,innocent lambs Pat and Jimmy had no idea that it was essentially a cash grab; they thought it was a gift that the gods of thunder and rock and roll were bestowing upon them. Even back then, Kiss knew how to bilk the dummies out of their cash. So let's get to the numbers:
Today we are only tackling the studio albums, so no solo songs, live songs, or any of the studio songs from Alive II. And today's episode is even more nuanced because the subject is Keepers and Clunkers. Jimmy and Pat will each pick two songs from an album. One of the songs is a keeper, a great song, while the other song is a clunker, which you can probably guess what that is. "Are people still listening?" asks Jimmy. It's a viable question. Jimmy always makes sure to turn off the Murray episodes. He's kidding, of course.
Every Rock Solid co-host has their own character, notes Pat. Mike is "The Snowman," the cocaine-fueled ladies man with a heart of gold and a nostril of white. Christy is "Legs," the sweetest woman in the world who would easily cut your throat if you badmouthed The Cars in any way, shape, or form. April is the cool chick who somehow knows every obscure post-punk band ever. And Murray is the put-upon old man who gets crapped on a lot, but everybody secretly loves him. See? This whole damn show is a variety of interesting people. Jimmy seems incredulous that we'll get through all the Kiss studio albums in one episode (hint: we won't). This is the first time Jimmy is recording in this studio, but not the first time he's been in this studio. He was here on movie night with Pat, Kyle, Mike Schmidt, and awful food. All it is is a gaggle of idiots who talk and never get to the movie.
Before we finally get to Kiss, Jimmy promotes his brand new show Race to Escape on the Science Channel. In the promo photos, Jimmy has a nice smile on his face. Kyle doubts the sincerity of said smile, which causes Jimmy to scold him.
Okay, here we go, finally, some Kiss music. We start with 1974's Kiss, their debut album. Pat and Jimmy love the cover, especially Peter's intricate cat makeup. I'm sure Gene told him to cut that out straight away. The band is still putting the makeup on themselves, apparently. Jimmy recalls getting Kiss makeup as a kid via stencil and spray paint; the whole thing took four minutes. Why doesn't the band just do that? It would save a lot of time.
The first three Kiss albums are known to have solid songs, but the production is quite flat. Jimmy clarifies that some of the clunkers on his list aren't necessarily bad, they're just the least favorite on the album. And sometimes the keeper is no better than the clunker. Jimmy's keeper for the first album is "100,000 Years". While Jimmy rocks out, Pat doesn't understand the lyrics. When a man is away from his girl for a long time, Pat, it feels like 100,000 years. So simple, so universal. Jimmy's clunker is the previously maligned "Kissin' Time". Really? In a band of demons and starchildren and spacemen and kitty cats, they go with that?
Who agreed to that? It was management who forced the band to record the song. It's not a bad song, but it's not right for Kiss. The song is also Pat's clunker. Pat's keeper is the song "Firehouse". How would Pat and Jimmy rate the album? Pat gives it a 10. Jimmy disagrees. There are a lot of solid songs, argues Pat. Jimmy gives it a 9. Pat changes his mind and goes 9 too, if only for "Kissin' Time."
The second album is Hotter Than Hell, which was released in the same year as the debut album. Pat's keeper is "Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll". His clunker is "All the Way". Lazy lyric writing, but the chorus saves it. Jimmy originally had that as his clunker, but the chorus was too hooky. Does Oliver listen to the Kiss songs about sex? He's a kid, he only knows the big hits and doesn't get innuendo.
The cowbell in the song gets brought up. Jimmy used to be a staunch anti-SNL guy, but the cowbell sketch brought tears to his eyes. The whole thing probably started with two idiots talking about how it was that there is a lot of cowbell in "Don't Fear the Reaper" and they got lucky with the pitch. That sketch could easily have been "All the Way" if the song was a success. But alas.... Jimmy's keeper has a story. He and Pat used to be roommates. They saw Kiss perform on Letterman to promote their gig on MTV Unplugged. They thought the song they played was a brand new song, but it wasn't. It was "Comin' Home".
Jimmy's clunker is a song called "Mainline". It's no worse than "Comin' Home" but for some reason Jimmy can't listen to it. Pat and Jimmy weren't as familiar with Hotter Than Hell on review. Jimmy gives it an 8.
The 3rd album is Dressed to Kill from 1975 and produced by Neil Bogart. It's their shortest album yet at barely 30 minutes. Jimmy's keeper is the deep cut "Rock Bottom".
How can you think that Kiss is evil when they have songs like that?! LISTEN TO THE SONGS, PEOPLE! Pat's keeper is the same song. Jimmy's clunker is this one, "Anything for My Baby". Seriously... HOW CAN YOU PICKET THESE CHEESY BASTARDS?!
Pat's clunker for Dressed to Kill is a song called "Room Service". Here's a little inside information: It isn't about food. Tee hee.
Dressed to Kill has some good stuff on it. Jimmy almost picked "Rock and Roll All Nite" as his clunker because he's heard it so many times. What would be his Chicago clunker? "If You Leave Me Now," maybe. No, it would be "You're the Inspiration."
The first three Kiss albums are all pretty much alike, but Alive! is where things really pick up. It was a huge success for the band, opening the door for their fourth album Destroyer. They get Bob Ezrin to produce. It's their first true classic, reaching double platinum status. Jimmy's keeper is the second track on the album, "King of the Night Time World". It's one of his favorite Kiss songs ever and he still gets chills listening to it.
Jimmy's clunker is "Beth". He never wants to hear it again. In fact, we don't hear it at all! The song is musica nongrata, thanks to Jimmy Pardo.
Pat's keeper is the song "Flaming Youth". Parents, man, they just don't understand. Will Smith was right all along. Pat's clunker is "Great Expectations". Pat doesn't hate it, it's just not his favorite on the album.
The fifth album is 1976's Rock and Roll Over. Pat thinks the album title is rather punny because you've got the rock and roll aspect of it, but also the fact that when you have sex with a lady, you rock, and then when you're done, you roll over. Get it? Jimmy and Kyle, to put it lightly, do not. Pat is a fool, they say. The album cover is great; Pat and Jimmy used to trace it nonstop as kids.
Jimmy's keeper from the album is "Makin' Love". His clunker, which is the same as Pat's, is called "Baby Driver". It's written and sung by Peter Criss. Musically it's fine, but lyrically it's the opposite of fine. A bonafide, automatic skip of a clunker.
Pat's keeper also has Peter Criss vocals, but this one is great. The song is "Hard Luck Woman". It's very Rod Stewart-y, which makes sense because they wanted to give the song to Rod Stewart, but Gene demanded that Peter sing it. When Gene smells potential dollar signs, he doesn't let go.
Rock and Roll Over is a great album, maybe Jimmy's favorite. Now we turn to 1977's Love Gun. Pat does not think that this is a good album, but he does have a keeper for us. It's "I Stole Your Love". Pat originally had two clunkers, but he picks his absolute clunker which is "Hooligan". Pat is incensed at the lyrics to this song. What is the best song on Love Gun? A lot of people agree that it is "Shock Me," written and sung by Ace Frehley. Let's ask Ace himself. Hey Ace, is "Shock Me" the best song on Love Gun?
Jimmy's Love Gun keeper was also "I Stole Your Love." For his clunker, he originally had "Hooligan" written down, but, as Yoda said to Obi Wan in Empire Strikes Back, "There is another." It's "Christine Sixteen". Jimmy hates the bullshit piano intro. Jimmy agrees, this is not a great album. "Almost Human," "Plaster Caster," "Got Love for Sale." This was the peak of their supersonic Kiss powers, but here they are with lazy songwriting and tinkling ivories. The album also ends the era of all four original members playing on the album.
1979 gives us the album Dynasty. The album cover, which is just their four faces, is absolutely hypnotic to Pat and Jimmy. They can't explain it, but their eyes are captured by the majesty of these four men. The album was their longest yet. It was the disco era for Kiss with the big disco song "I Was Made for Lovin' You" (which isn't bad). Revisiting the album, Jimmy declares that it isn't good. He remembers the backlash from back in the day, about Kiss turning away from their sound, but one could also argue that "Christine Sixteen" wasn't Kiss rock, but rather a Happy Days tune. On a side note, Jimmy brings up the Fonzie novelty song. Kyle plays it from YouTube and it's not good. That said, Jimmy remembers hating the song, but secretly buying the 45 single and listening to it in shame like a proper drug addict.
Anyway, back to the Dynasty backlash. Jimmy agrees that the band betrayed what they had built up. Pat has a confession: This is one of his favorite Kiss albums. Jimmy is absolutely aghast. Pat plays his keeper "Hard Times". Jimmy is just disgusted with Pat Francis. How can Pat like this if he doesn't like "Hooligan?" Pat's clunker is the only song on the album that has Peter on drums. It's called "Dirty Livin'". Anton Fig did most of the drums on the album, but did Peter realize he wasn't on the album? Interesting question from Pat and Jimmy. It's sad because at this point Pat's favorite member of Kiss was Peter.
Jimmy has the same clunker as Pat's. His keeper is a song called "Sure Know Something". Even with Jimmy's eye daggers, Pat still stands by his love of Dynasty.
The beginning of the 80s brought up a new Kiss album, Unmasked. Pat likes the sense of humor that Kiss put into the album cover, but Jimmy does not think the comic strip should have been the cover.
Jimmy didn't search this album out back in 1980; he stumbled upon it because at this point he was probably done with Kiss. Pat got the album and didn't really care for it. Now, they both like it a lot. It's a total 1980 power pop album. Peter is nowhere to be found, despite being credited in both name and image. Jimmy's keeper is a song written by Gerard McMahon called "Is That You?". At this point, the world was done with Kiss, but if they had put this out under a different name, it might have been a celebrated power pop record.
Jimmy's clunker is called "Two Sides of the Coin". Ace's lyrics are juvenile, but it's not bad.
Pat's keeper is a song called "Tomorrow". Interestingly, Gene is MIA from six of these songs. Pat's clunker is a Gene song, though, called "She's So European". There are a lot of highlights on this one.
With Ace now gone, Kiss needed a new drummer. They got one in the form of Eric Carr. They also got back Bob Ezrin as producer. They tried to recapture the mojo of Destroyer. What did they come up with? 1981's Music from "The Elder", a concept album. Kiss are nowhere to be seen anywhere on the album cover. And at this point, EVERYONE was done with Kiss. Still, Pat can't help but compliment the look that Kiss had at the time: the streamlined costumes, the black leather, the short hair. "The Fox looks stellar," says Pat, eliciting a snicker from Jimmy. At the time, Pat thought this was the best that Kiss had ever been. But what is the story of this album? Kyle has it: A young kid is being trained by a guy named Morpheus to fight evil. Okay. Jimmy did not buy the album when it came out.
Jimmy's keeper from this album is "Under the Rose", which is Pat's clunker. Jimmy debated to the wee hours of the morning about what his clunker would be, and in the end he picked Space Ace's "Mr. Blackwell". The lyrics, unlike The Fox, are not stellar.
Pat's keeper is a song called "The Oath". Jimmy clarifies that he chose "Under the Rose" as his keeper for non-Kiss fans. We're nearing the end of the makeup years, which is a good stopping point for part one since the show has gone over 2 hours. Choosing the songs was serious homework for Jimmy, so part two should be a bit easier for him because he had already picked out the rest of his songs.
It's time to showcase the last album of the episode, 1982's Creatures of the Night. That album cover... a hundred times yes to that album cover. Pat claims some of the album covers had the eyes glow in the dark. Did they? Jimmy disputes this. The re-released album cover with Bruce Kulick is not as great. Mike Porcaro plays on the album, Steve Farris (Mr. Mister) plays on the album. Ace is credited and on the cover, but is not here.
Jimmy and Pat bought this initial release because of the album cover. It's the first album to have Eric Carr's thundering drums. The title track is one of the best Kiss songs ever, but it's not Jimmy's keeper. His keeper is the ballad "I Still Love You". "Listen to those heavy drums," Jimmy points out. The song is co-written by Vinnie Vincent and is one of Kiss' longer songs. The only song that is longer is "Jungle" from Carnival of Souls. Jimmy's clunker? He doesn't have one!
"My personal friend. When Grand Funk comes, I'm calling him. Get me into that show."
- Pat, talking about Bruce Kulick
"You don't think you can just walk into Tommy Malone's and see it?"
- Jimmy, with the line of the episode
Pat's clunker is called "Keep Me Comin'". Pat doesn't like it because it introduced the type of songs that Kiss relied on heavily during their non-makeup years. Pat's keeper was going to be "War Machine", but Kyle completely derails the show by mentioning that the episode needs a playout song. Jimmy is disgusted at Kyle's unprofessionalism. Side note: When Jimmy runs half-marathons, there is only one Kiss song that makes the playlist every single time. That song? "Keep Me Comin'." It's what brought him back to Kiss.
You wanted the plugs? You got the plugs. Again, Jimmy's new show Race to Escape is on the Science Channel. Go to his website JimmyPardo.com for his dates. Jimmy and Matt are doing a live show in Toronto, but Pat must stay at home. Why? Because there's not enough money for Pat's airfare. Even Kyle has comedy shows coming up. Go to his Twitter to find out more (located handily on the side of this page). Jimmy's on Twitter @JimmyPardo, as is his podcast Never Not Funny @NeverNotFunny. The podcast's website is Pardcast.com. The Rock Solid 200A premium episode is brought up, and it's not the hot ticket item that Pat hoped it would be. A whopping 29 purchases. Pat is just upset at the lack of sales. Hell, he probably lost money on this thing.
But you know what will cheer up Pat? His keeper from Creatures of the Night, which is how we end this episode. Thank you to Jimmy for being here; we're all looking forward to the five-hour part two episode that I'm sure is coming. Hell, split that in two and make this thing a trilogy. On second thought... don't do that. Please. Pat closes it out with "War Machine".