Tuesday, March 15, 2016

40 Year Itch : 5 Facts About Kiss Destroyer

On March 15, 1976 Kiss released Destroyer, one of the band's best known and best selling albums, despite the fact that its running time barely squeaks past 33 minutes and that's with at least two and a half minutes of sound effects.

 Here are five more facts about Destroyer.

1. Lou Reed and Alice Cooper producer Bob Ezrin came in to help make the album. He had seen the band play live in front of 15 and 16 year old boys and no girls. He told the band they needed to be the kind of bad boys the girls could love.
   “The whole idea of the album was to show some sensitivity," Ezrin tells Music Radar." It wasn’t going to all be cock and balls. One of the first songs to come up was Do You Love Me? For me, that was the best symbol of what I was hoping to do with the record. As it turned out, that one never became a hit single, but it did inform the project.”

2. Another Ezrin touch was stealing a little of Beethoven's Pathetique for the ballad "Great Expectations". ("I laugh every time I hear it," he told Kisstorian Ken Sharp).

3. Ezrin replaced guitarist Ace Frehley on two tracks, "Flaming Youth" and "Sweet Pain". Dick Wagner, who toured with Lou Reed's "Rock and Roll Animal" tour plays on both of these tracks. It's something that bothers Frehley to this day.

4. Ezrin takes a great deal of credit for the Top 10 hit "Beth", the last minute addition to the album that became the band's best selling single of all time. 

“When the song Beth was first played for me, it was bouncier, with almost a country or rockabilly vibe to it. It was also a little chauvinistic, like they were saying, ‘Me and the boys, we got something going on. You can sit there and wait.’ It was also called ‘Beck.’

 “I asked them if it was OK for me to take it home to mess around a little bit, and Peter [Criss] said it was fine with him. I came up with the piano thing, which started to define it as more romantic and sensitive, so I changed the lyrics. First, I called it ‘Beth,’ and then I added stuff about ‘our house is not our home,’ along with a sense of sadness and loss about the death of the relationship. But that line ‘I hope you’ll be all right’ – that was important.

 “I played it for everybody, and they thought it sounded good and that we should try it. I don’t think they realized how important it would be for them until they heard it being recorded during the orchestra date. I played piano on it – they’d heard my piano part before. But the orchestra really made them think, ‘Wow, this is going to be important.’

5. Ken Kelly, a cousin of the legendary fantasy artist Frank Frazetta, painted the cover. Casablanca Record execs though the original version was too violent and too apocalyptic so Kelly repainted it. In the midst of his second rendition, Kiss manager Bill Aucoin told Kelly the band had just updated their costumes and he would have to start over one more time. The end result probably sold as many albums as the music within...and Kelly was hired again to paint the Love Gun cover.

1 comment:

  1. I discovered this album in my cousin's collection back when I was in my teens. There's something about early Kiss records that I just cannot seem to hate. I should, I really should, but to me there's something so fun about it all. I put Detroit Rock City on a compilation of random stuff for the car recently. Gtreat tune.

    (*but don't tell anyone...*)