Dressed to Kill by Kiss hit record stores on March 19, 1975. The third album by the hottest band in the world upped the pop energy of previous records without skimping on the hard and heavy and (at least) three of its ten songs endure as rousing, roof-raising classics—including one that, bar none, is rock-and-roll’s all-time greatest party starter.
Alas, as with Kiss’s self-titled debut and it’s follow-up, Hotter Than Hell, poor Dressed to Kill landed with a dull thud. That three-peat losing streak broke, big time, upon the explosive breakthrough of 1975’s Alive, which sent new fans scrambling to catch up with the Kiss back catalogue. As a result, Dressed to Kill got a second chance at life and today, as we celebrate the album’s fortieth birthday, it’s proven to be nothing less than immortal.
Here now are 40 Kisstastic facts to celebrate Dressed to Kill still knocking dead all comers at the dawn of its fifth decade.
March 15 is a heavy day in general, and for rock in particular. To the ancient Romans, the “ides” marked the mid-point of any given month—a period of time that was sacred to Jupiter, the god-of-gods among the ancients. The Ides of March, then, was Jupiter’s feast day smack in the middle of the month named for Mars, the sword-wielding deity of war. That’s not just heavy, it’s cosmic. Read more…
“Heavy” and “metal.” In a physical sense, those words apply quite literally to pinball machines and video games, but there’s also no denying the spiritual, maybe even cosmic connection between headbanging music, quarter-pumping classic arcade fun, and crashing on the couch in front of the latest home-gaming system with hard rock blasting and maybe some certain other kind of substance blazing.
Everybody missteps sometimes, even the mightiest overlords of heavy metal sound and fury.
In fact, for a metal band (or any band, really) to truly attain legend status, it seems as though they’ve got to experience one colossal blunder, be it a major performance gone wrong (Guns N’ Roses’ 1991 St. Louis Riverport Riot), a mortifying music video (Billy Squier’s “Rock Me Tonite”), or, toughest of all to take, an eagerly anticipated album that hits listeners in every wrong way possible.
From their earliest tours onward, Kiss’s Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons prided themselves on selecting their opening acts. So for all the shock and awe properly heaped upon Kiss for their larger-than-lust, louder-than-life concert spectaculars, one aspect that gets overlooked is the group’s peerless skill as talent scouts.
Music legend Kim Fowley died Thursday at the age of 75 after a long battle with bladder cancer. Although perhaps best remembered as manager of the all-female rock band the Runaways, his influence extended far beyond. The brilliant yet eccentric artist was equal parts writer, producer and impresario, working with a genre-spanning list of talent over his half-century in the business. Whether proto-metal dynamite with Blue Cheer and The Lancasters (featuring a young Richie Blackmore), quieter acoustic fare with Cat Stevens, ’60s pop perfection with Paul Revere & The Raiders and the Byrds or harder ’70s rock with KISS and Alice Cooper, Fowley put his unique stamp on the musical world. As we mourn his loss, we take a look back at our 15 favorite tracks that he left behind.
KISS may not be the most wholesome band but they still enjoy a nice cup of coffee in the morning like the rest of us. Folgers Coffee must have had similar sentiments until they changed their mind last minute.
We all have that one album that we turn to when we need guidance or reassurance that life isn’t a mess. We all evolve and change as we discover who we are as we get older and just like the bands we love, we struggle to find our words and personas. With bands and artists, sometimes that means a line up change, firing their manager, doing a questionable video but a lot of the time, it means trying something completely different. Here are a few bands that stepped out of their comfort zone and put on their dancing shoes.
30 years ago this week a little known punk funk band from Los Angeles named the Red Hot Chili Peppers released their self-titled debut album. Following its release….they remained a little known punk funk band from Los Angeles. Gradually though, over successive releases and tours, they built their fan base and finally broke big with their fourth long player, 1989’s Mother’s Milk. Few artists have a hit record straight out the starting gate, and some rather noteworthy bands didn’t see success until three of four albums into their careers. Read more…
Sex. Rock n’ roll bands have been singing about it since the beginning, when the term “rocking and rolling” was an actual euphemism for the act of, in Shakespeare’s words, “making the beast with two backs.” There’s no shortage of classic rock songs specifically about having sex, from Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” to AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” (actually there are very few Led Zeppelin or AC/DC songs that aren’t specifically about having sex). Without getting too graphic however, there are many different ways one can have sex besides the good old fashioned way we all know and love. Rock n’ roll being an innately rebellious form of musical expression has never shied away from talking about these…alternate means of getting one’s rocks off, as The Rolling Stones might say. Read more…