Turning it up to 10 just like a wartime novelty. In Asda.
“We were in the parking lot one day, and I said to Gene:”Look – you’re off doing all these other things while still reaping the benefits of this band, and I’m getting screwed. It’s not fair for me to put in this kind of time, while somebody else who is supposed to be my partner, is not.” And Gene looked at me and said: “That’s fair.” I could have used Gene’s input. But my attitude at that point was that I certainly wasn’t going to listen to a guy who’s off managing cabaret singers, and producing five bands, while I was trying to make an album” Paul Stanley
I’m not going to go into any of the issues highlighted above. It’s been well documented over the years (and in Paul’s recent autobiog.) about the absence of Gene during the 80s. Save to say Gene-o was out and about trying to be in films and Paul was left steering the good ship Kiss*.
Much of my early musical education was courtesy of friend’s older brothers. Being impressionable and wanting to be part of something, I pretty much took whatever they were listening to and adopted it as my own. And after badgering them endlessly they would record me tapes of albums by bands I requested. There’ll be a future post about these gents I’m sure but until then…. My first experience of Kiss was via the video Animalize: Live Uncensored. It was heavy (for me, at the time) it was bombastic and sold me on the notion of heavy music. Interestingly the bands that first captured my imagination were/are all bands known for their stage shows and showmanship (Kiss, Iron Maiden and WASP).
“This place looks like a damn zoo….. let me hear all the animals”
So when I was on one of my many frequent shopping trips with my Mum to the nearest Asda (Coryton branch if you must know…) I made a my usual beeline to the record section and saw the recently released 7″ ‘Crazy Crazy Nights’. What followed was, I think, a pretty regular scene between me and my Mum in Asda on an almost weekly basis:
ME: Please can I have this?
ME: Puhhhhlleeeeasssseee. It can be an early birthday present!
MUM: That’s 2 months away……
ME: I know!! But still….. *pause* Puhhhhlleeeeasssseee
MUM: *sighs* OK.
So off we went home in the car with me clutching my new 7″ with hot sweaty hands (my record you gutter-snipes). I have no idea or recollection of the first time I played the track. It’s so ingrained in my mind now that it seems like it’s always been there. Also ingrained in my brain is the ‘unusual’ choice of picture that Paul Stanley used on the back cover….
The song itself is pure pop rock designed for the radio (canny piece of lyric writing by Mr Eisen). It’s for those summer holidays when there is nothing to do but piss away the days with your friends. Many Kiss fans deride this album for it’s lightweight song writing (there’s certainly no War Machine’s or Unholy’s on here) and its shiny pop production. But for me, it’s a well crafted, well written album that desperately wants to be a Bon Jovi album. It contains one of my top 5 Kiss songs: Turn On The Night. Although I’d not shed a tear if No No No had never made it onto the album.
Metallica’s first video. The start of some “fans” calling them sell-outs (silly idiots). And the beginning of my lifelong love for the band. Again, this was a purchase from Asda involving much the same type of conversation as the Kiss single (and would happen again in the future). There’s a reason that this song is still in the band’s live set today having been played live 1313 times since it’s debut on 11/09/88 in Budapest. It’s simply a classic Metallica song. We’ve got dark lyrics dealing with paralysis and war, we’ve got a grainy, moody black and white video featuring grimaces and snarling and lots of head banging, a storming solo from Kirk Hammett and that riff. It showed a maturity in terms of lyrics and song writing that had started to show through on Master Of Puppets. It’s also (along with Harvester of Sorrow) one of the more straight forward tracks on …And Justice For All.
So two wildly different tracks but both had a huge impact on my musical journey. Both these bands still feature on my eyePod and get regular playing. Later, I’d obtain albums of both these bands from friends (my AJFA tape also had the Garage Days Re-revisited taped on the B side too) and would wear those tapes out too. Tape makers in the UK must have made millions from me during the late 80s into the 90s!