All posts tagged: Gene Simmons

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Kiss Go Through Hell For “Hotter Than Hell”

It is nearly impossible to imagine a world without Kiss at this point. Whether you are a full-on soldier in the Kiss Army or you can’t stand them at all, you are always made aware that they exist even now. Gene Simmons’ combination of business savvy and brazen brand-whoring assures that. In October of 1974, however, things were much more tentative. A small group of fans had gravitated to that weird first album of theirs, more than a passing nod to one of Simmons’ idols The Beatles. The demonic kabuki makeup and glitter-bomb logo told a different story. Even in the rough ‘n ready world of hard rock in the early 1970s, the eponymous debut rougher, which is a polite way of saying it was recorded on the relative cheap and sounded that way. Even with the benefit of a little more money and a better recording studio, 1974’s Hotter Than Hell still wasn’t going to become an audiophile’s demo disc for their “killer stereo setup.” The material that would comprise Hotter Than Hell would …

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MOVIE REVIEW: “Sample This”

Quality documentary about what could be considered the musical flashpoint to hip-hop’s rhythmic beginnings.  Narrated by Gene Simmons, Sample This is the story of how Michael Viner, a music industry insider in the late ’60’s/early ’70’s, gathered studio musicians for a soundtrack project (“The Incredible Bongo Band”), released a quickly-forgotten album and wound up creating the foundation for hip-hop via one track.  The album’s version of “Apache” has been sampled by countless hip-hop/rap musicians over the decades, starting in the mid-’70’s and has become the most revered of pieces in the community.  A fascinating look into the background of the creation of the project and how it became this vital cornerstone.

CD Review: Kiss, “Sonic Boom”

Any good label manager would tell you: don’t name your album something a reviewer could turn into a catchy, snarky counterpoint. But as we know far too well, most of the labels are hanging by a thread, the management inside reduced to bean counters versus quality controllers and, heck, if Hollywood keeps naming their movies in blindly self-insulting ways, why can’t the record industry follow suit? Besides, we’re talking about Kiss here, who have built an iron-clad and insular fanbase that views such flaunting of common sense as an act of rebellion. Who cares if the new album Sonic Boom, the first since 1998’s Psycho Circus, opens itself up to opening paragraphs such as this, begging the question, “Boom or Bust?” What really matters is if the band has spent the decade-long downtime productively or not, and luckily for you, the Popdose staff has gone through the work of sussing it out so you don’t have to. Strap on your steel dragon-face boots, smear on your kabuki greasepaint and shake off your love gun. It’s …

The Friday Linkfest: 3/20/09

Topless Robot counts down the 13 greatest Garbage Pail Kids and — oh happy day — the 10 best movie games for the Atari 2600; The A.V. Club finds 20 examples of TV shows that mutated during their time on the air; Popular Science wonders if the iTunes App Store can be saved; WebMD teaches you how to make your own sports drink; Slashfood shows you how to turn an old wine bottle into a terrarium; Bob Lefsetz gets into a slapfight with Gene Simmons, and the Internet goes wild; Michael Jackson’s run of “comeback” concerts sells out lickety-split; Cahl’s Juke Joint reviews the least funny Bill Cosby album ever made; Jeff Vrabel explores the seamy side of quilting (get it? Ha, ha, ha!) Something Else! surveys the latest from Mike Marshall; Stereogum unveils the artwork, track listing, and story behind Ben Folds’ latest, University A Cappella; In its latest installment, the Boston Globe’s Big Picture documents some scenes from the recession; Ickmusic’s latest Ick’s Pick looks at the latest from Black Joe Lewis & …

Death by Power Ballad: Paul Stanley, “Hold Me, Touch Me”

I’ve long had a man-crush on soft spot in my heart for Paul Stanley, Kiss’ lead vocalist and most musical member.  He’s the best singer in the band, a commanding stage presence, and his songs are the best things on every one of the dozens of albums the band has shat out since their 1974 debut (sure, Gene Simmons might claim to have written 300 unreleased songs, but they all doubtless suck, just like most of the ones that got released).  And at age 57, he can still bring it live, whether in seven-inch leather heels with Kiss, or in more modest foot apparel in his solo shows.  Check out his DVD One Live Kiss for a primer on playing great rock and roll well past what most people consider an acceptable sell-by date.  Seriously, he’s only six years younger than my father, and Dad had to give up playing to sold-out stadium audiences in his early 40s.  It’s exhausting. Stanley’s put out two solo records in his career—1978’s Paul Stanley (part of Kiss’ stunt …