The wit, wisdom, zen, and philosophy of Paul Diamond Blow.

Classic KISS reviews: KISS Exposed (video) and KISS Alive II (cd)
The must have video and CD for any authentic KISS fan!

by Paul Diamond Blow

Photo credit: Fanskissmyass (wiki commons)

I have been a huge KISS fan for most of my adult life, and a big fan of Paul Stanley (one of my rock idols). In this article I am reviewing two stand out, must-have releases from KISS: the "KISS Alive II" album and the "KISS Exposed" VHS video, both of which I proudly own, as should any authentic KISS fan. Let's rock, dudes! Let's party down with KISS!


KISS Alive II (the classic album)
KISS Alive II is the ultimate KISS album, yeah. This is the KISS I grew up with, this is the KISS that I know and love -- loud, raw, and crankin' out the heavy duty party Rock! This is the KISS album cover that gave me nightmares when I was a kid (I thought Gene Simmons, with his spewing blood, was a real monster). I usually don't care much for live albums, but for some reason KISS come across a lot better live. Let's face it, most of their studio recordings from the '70s (their heyday) are, well, weak. I'm not talking about the songs, I'm talking about the recordings -- wimpy sounding drums, weak guitars, too much overdubbing... Thank God for the live album.

KISS Alive II is packed full of energy and contains their greatest hits: Detroit Rock City, Ladies Room, Love Gun, God of Thunder, I Stole Your Love, Christine Sixteen, and my two personal favorite KISS songs -- Shock Me (sung by Ace), and Shout it Out Loud (the ultimate, ultimate party song). It also has live versions of the big hits, Beth and Hard Luck Woman (for some reason, this song has always reminded me of Rod Stuart). Sheesh, there's not a weak song on this album. It just rocks on from start to finish, every song a KISS classic, full of all the power and energy of a live KISS concert. You can almost smell the smoke from the stage, you can almost taste Gene Simmons' fake blood, you can almost reach out and touch Paul Stanley's hairy chest -- that's how good this is. In fact, what I like to do is set up my KISS action figures on a small stage, dim the lights, crank this CD at full volume, and shoot off bottle rockets (kids, do not try this at home) for a full-on simulated KISS concert. It works for me...

If you only have money for one KISS CD, this is the one -- this album captures the essence of KISS. "KISS Alive" is also a classic album, but I prefer this one just 'cause these are my favorite KISS tunes. This is party rock, baby -- pure, unadulterated party rock, as only KISS, the gods of Rock, can perform.

KISS Exposed (the VHS video)
Now this is what I call a rockumentary! The KISS Exposed video is freaking hilarious, in fact it's funnier than Spinal Tap -- mostly because this is full of campy humor and involves a REAL band. This video runs like a feature length movie, at an hour and a half, and is the most entertaining music video I've ever seen.

This rockumentary, if you will, stars Paul Stanley (the hairy-chested one) and Gene Simmons (owner of the world's biggest ego). Paul and Gene, after all, are KISS, at least they were in 1986 when this video was released. Eric Carr and Bruce Kulick make brief cameos (about 10 seconds worth), but Paul and Gene are what it's all about, and they know how to entertain, let me tell you.

Here's how the video plays out: A nerdy interviewer and his camera man go to the KISS mansion to shoot the video. A red-eyed Paul Stanley gives us a tour of the house -- scores of scantily clad women passed out every where -- "Leftovers from the party last night," Paul explains. We enter Gene Simmons "room" -- a dungeon, actually -- complete with live women with their heads on trophy plaques. A caped Gene Simmons sits on a throne, surrounded by -- you guessed it -- scantily clad women. This is hilarious stuff.

Paul and Gene lead us down to the bowels of the KISS mansion, to the archives, where everything related to KISS exists. This is where all the historic live concert footage is kept, and we are treated to scores of live KISS tunage. This is some fantastic footage: some of it is very early KISS, filmed in black and white, and other footage is from the huge concerts KISS have been known to play. All the KISS hits are included in these archive tapes: "Love it Loud," "Christine Sixteen," "Deuce," "I Wanna Rock and Roll all Night," and the best live versions of "Strutter" and "Detroit Rock City" I've ever heard! Paul and Gene treat us to lots of footage never seen before, some footage even with axemeister Vinnie Vincent on guitar. There's many a post-makeup video here, also, some of those videos that were hits on MTV in the '80's, featuring some of the most atrocious costumes I've ever seen (and hordes of scantily clad women, of course.)

The music aside, it's the total camp humor that makes this video. When the interviewer asks Gene about a scantily clad woman tied to a stick like a roasted pig, carried by two men, Gene replies "That... is my lunch." Paul Stanley shows us his secret to maintaining a healthy rock and roll lifestyle: granola cereal with root beer (instead of milk). "It's all natural," explains Paul, "made from roots." Those are just two of my favorite chucklers.

Yep, this rockumentary has it all: Rock and roll music, scantily clad women, campy humor, scantily clad women, Gene Simmon's big tongue and bigger ego, scantily clad women, Paul Stanley looking pretty, and one topless woman scene. Did I mention the scantily clad women? If you're a KISS fan, or if you loved Spinal Tap, you've got to watch this video. I've watched it about a hundred times, and it still makes me laugh. And of course, the music footage is very cool. This is a must have for KISS fans, period. I give it three thumbs up.

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