Spin #71 : KISS : Love Gun
SUNDAY DROP - SPIN #71
Welcome to our 71st Sunday drop from the R'nR with Rylo collection! We have chosen the hugely successful '77 album 'Love Gun' by a little band called, KISS to spin on this wintery weekend. If you feel the need to paint your face as you listen along, I'd like some images sent our way but its really not a prerequisite to follow along. I can honestly say that I haven't had the need to paint my face like Gene, Ace, Paul or Peter just yet but now that we have two little children, it might just be an idea for our next Halloween family costume. What was the first album that got you into this band? I remember hearing a few songs from a greatest hits through my ipod as a kid but it wasn't until I heard 'Dressed To Kill' from my parents record collection that I really could say I'd become a fan. That is the album cover where they are dressed up in suits but have their faces still painted.
There are quite a few things that stand out on this album that I wasn't aware of before writing this Spin. With the original pressing there was an included fold-out 'Love Gun' that you could build and it looks like the copy that I have has had this taken out. Fantasy artist Ken Kelly came back with another go at painting the four members of the band in a worship like pose and surrounded by a KISS face painted harem. He also did the artwork for their album, 'Destroyer'. I really like the artwork and reminds me a bit of the style used in the comics of He-Man: Masters of the Universe. It would also be the last album to feature the original four members of the band and first time that they would all have a try at singing lead vocals on the album. Something that I did know and didn't like was the tracklisting on the back of the cover is written in red text and not in album order which was a strange decision to be honest. Plus there is also NO lyrics insert!
Our son made me laugh the other night at the dinner table when he said, "oh my god, look at her butt". I was so shocked and couldn't stop laughing because I'm not sure where he picked that up from to be honest. Of course we then had to play Sir Mix-A-Lot's classic song and he danced straight away to it. Because he loves to dance, I have decided to play 'Love Gun' in our lounge room set up and see how they all enjoy this one.
ALBUMS OF NOTE (1977): Rumours - Fleetwood Mac, Aja - Steely Dan, Animals - Pink Floyd, Exodus - Bob Marley and the Wailers, My Aim Is True - Elvis Costello, Go For Your Guns - The Isley Brothers, News of the World - Queen, Sin After Sin - Judas Priest, Point of Know Return - Kansas, Motorhead - Motorhead, Let There Be Rock - AC/DC
Image : Ace Frehley (Spaceman), Paul Stanley (Starchild), Gene Simmons (Demon) and Peter Criss (Cat)
Even if you don't really like KISS, you have to give them respect for still being out their touring the world one last time. They must be doing something right and I will have to add a few more KISS albums to our collection in the future. If you have a copy of 'Love Gun', make sure you put it onto your turntable as It's time to #dropthestylus
When I listen to a KISS album, I do think of the movie with Paul Rudd and Sean William Scott called 'Role Models', as they do a good job including KISS into the storyline. If you haven't seen the movie yet, do yourself a favour and watch it in the coming week. There is actually a 'Love Gun' themed pinball machine that would be very cool to have in the man cave at home. If you could have a pinball machine in your home, what would be your choice? Mine would have to be something classic like 'Halloween' if it had to be a movie and maybe 'Michael Jackson' if it had to be a musician.
This album opens with the punchy and instantly likable track, 'I STOLE YOUR LOVE'. Although this album is over in around half an hour, the quality of tracks written by the band are of the highest. I haven't heard their Alive album on record but apparently there wouldn't be 'Love Gun' without it due to Casablanca records threated with bankruptcy. Similar to The Grateful Dead, Kiss was building themselves quite the following for their live show antics and decided to release a live album. It was a masterstroke, and they'd go on to release a couple more live albums over the years to positive reviews. Reminds me of something Ritchie Blackmore would be playing for Rainbow or Deep Purple as Ace Frehley and Stanley bring that quickness to the song. 'CHRISTINE SIXTEEN' is a bit of a weird song lyrically because it is talking about older men being infatuated with underage girl name Christine. Although it was quite a big track on the album, not one of my favourites as I feel it just plods along. It starts off with piano before the vocals come in and not sure why this track was released as one of two singles from the album to be fair.
The flow of the album picks up a lot with third song, 'GOT LOVE FOR SALE'. The bassline is more prominent of Simmons and Criss' drumming goes back to the swinging style of earlier KISS songs to great effect. The singing is gruffer, and I like that all members of the band sing on the 'Love Gun' album for the first time. Whilst this one is playing, I find myself thinking that the album cover would look awesome painted as a mural, slightly larger and some more groupies added all around the band. I like the chugging riff on this track and works well with next track which was written by Frehley in response to being electrocuted, 'SHOCK ME'. I didn't know that he was shocked on stage before a show and after a 30 minute delay, came out and played. He couldn't feel anything in his hands for the rest of the show and probably shouldn't have played but rock 'n' roll baby saved the day. He also sung the lyrics whilst laying down in the studio because he liked how it made his chest feel and sound heavier.
Our children are growing up so fast, but I am feeling lately that I'm not giving them enough moments and memories. Sometimes I just feel like Night Kat Kiz and I are just doing enough to get by or get through life without stopping and taking a moment. It's one of my constant fears that our children will grow up too quickly and I've missed that opportunity to give them the greatest childhood. The next song title keeps that thought of lost time and not capitalizing on it with them. I know that they are having fun but by the end of the weekend lately I know that we could have done more. I look at them sitting in the lounge room as this is playing and feel a bit sad, because it's another weekend over in their little lives. Its going by way too quickly. 'TOMORROW AND TONIGHT' is the last song on Side A and I know that they were trying to go for a bit anthemic song but falls a bit short. That is only because they have such high expectations now after hit songs like 'Rock 'n' Roll All Night' to name just one. I wonder what the members of KISS will be thinking once they call it a day on this final world tour, 40 years after starting out.
We had a nice family moment this morning when our daughter was struggling to fall back asleep, so we brought her into our bed for hugs. Our son then woke up and walked down the hallway into our room and started explaining a dream that he had. At first, we weren't sure if he actually hurt his toes because he walks in saying, "Dad, my toes are all crumbled". Once it was confirmed it was a dream, we laughed because it was the cutest way to describe your toes being hurt ever. Time to Flip the LP over and drop the stylus on Side B.
The biggest song on the album kicks off Side B and instantly gets the children up and about as the stylus moves its way across the wax. 'LOVE GUN' is funny because it is talking about the male appendage, but the mind makes you think they are holding a physical gun that shoots love. Easily the best song and one that you find yourself air-riffing along with or headbanging. Let me know which song has got you up and dancing about the room like it has for our children in the comments below. Next track is so much fun to listen along to and 'HOOLIGAN' has been selected as my favourite track. Picking the previous track would have been too easy and I told myself I had to select something else. The build up into the chorus is so much fun before you find yourself singing, "I got a '35 Chevy on a '55 frame, can't even spell my name. Dropped out of school when I was 22, What can I do to satisfy you? I'm a hooligan, yeah. Won't go to school again, (I mean, you know how cool I am). I'm a hooligan". I like the country style mixed with the rock 'n' roll on this one. Plus, who doesn't love it when the drummer gets a chance to sing and play. Really showcased his drumming ability and is probably my favourite song of his.
Up next is the darker and brooding sounding, 'ALMOST HUMAN' that gives me a bit of Queen vibes with Freddie Mercury strutting around the stage. There is a gong being hit at the very start before the intricate riff comes in over the top of the bassline. This is what makes Side B so strong and my favourite side of the album. I read somewhere that the next song is actually about a person who used to mold plaster casts of celebrity penises. 'PLASTER CASTER' is a funny song that always makes me think of Dr. Frank-n-furter chasing Rocky Horror around the laboratory in the movie. If you haven't seen it or know what I am talking about, do yourself a favour and add it to your bucket list of movies to watch.
We have now reached the very last song on the album and it's a different take on the song by the Crystal's. KISS swapped around the genders and almost sounds like a festive song for Christmas time on 'THEN SHE KISSED ME'. Probably a popular choice at the time because KISS was the hottest band in the world during the late '70s. Nothing too crazy musically and sometimes those are the best love songs. The guitar solo towards the end sounds similar to something that I listened to recently, but I can't quite put my finger on it. The stylus moves along to the dead wax and that lets me know that this week's spin has come to an end.
I hope that you enjoyed following along to 'Love Gun' by KISS this Sunday. Hopefully you are lucky enough to go see them perform live on their 'Final Curtain' tour too. If you have any KISS album recommendations that you think that we will like here at R'nR, please let us know in the comments below or on our social pages. I know that our children enjoyed dancing to this one too and hopefully danced all of their sillies out. Come back next week for our 72nd Sunday drop and get involved in the MWSP clues also. We have a lot more records to spin and appreciate you coming on this journey with us.
“Only true love can fuel the hard work that awaits you” – Tom Freston
Until our next Spin, be Kind to KISS fans and be Kind to your Wax!
KISS AND EDDIE KRAMER
SPEED PLAYED AT
ROCK AND ROLL OVER (1976)
DRESSED TO KILL (1975)
RATING OUT OF 5
WHAT'S INSIDE THE RECORD SLEEVE
1 X BLACK LP, NIL LYRIC SHEET. ICONIC ARTWORK ON COVER, TRACKLISTING IN RED AND OUT OF ORDER
"I got a '35 Chevy on a '55 frame, Can't even spell my name. Dropped out of school when I was 22. What can I do to satisfy you? I'm a hooligan, Won't go to school again. I'm a hooligan, Won't go to school again, won't go, no" ~ Hooligan - Side B
LP / SIDE
I STOLE YOUR LOVE
GOT LOVE FOR SALE
TOMORROW AND TONIGHT
THEN SHE KISSED ME
KISS on stage and will be performing this year in Australia for the last time