Dressed To Kill is one of those funny KISS albums that I always dug but never owned on vinyl! I originally bought it decades ago on cassette and as the late 80’s approached and Record Companies were putting out anything remotely on CD to make a buck I bought Dressed To Kill on CD. Course back than no liner notes in the CD just a quick throw together by the suits to cash grab suckers like me! There plan worked!
Well if wasn’t for good ol fashion plain luck when my daughter Lauren and myself spent an early October Saturday afternoon hitting pawn shops and up on the rack at one of the shops was a sealed copy of Dressed To Kill for $10! The 2014 reissue 180 gram copy of this record. The original price in marker on the outside cover was $27.95 while a smaller sticker had the number 10!
I asked the fella behind the counter if it was actually $10 bucks! He said ‘You Bet’ I said ‘Sold!’
So that night for the first time in many years perhaps a few decades I listened to Dressed To Kill from opening track ‘Room Service to closing track ‘Rock N Roll ALL Night’.
Dressed To Kill is an album that succeeds on all levels! It seriously does. Look at the time line for this album! 1975. KISS is making headway on the concert scene but the records this being the third album (after the self titled debut and Hotter Than Hell) didn’t really catch on sales wise.
It took the live version of ‘Rock N Roll All Night’ from late 1975 KISS Alive for KISS records to finally start moving out the door!
The great thing about Dressed To Kill is KISS was broke at the time, No money means no funny they say and look at KISS on the cover wearing suits all belonging to their manager Bill Aucoin as drummer Peter Criss was the only one who owned a suit at the time!
Neil Bogart the President and Owner of Casablanca Records produced the album as the Record Company was about to go bankrupt so they couldn’t even afford a producer for this record!
See where I’m going with this Folk’s! A band with Nothin to Lose and everything to gain.
Love the fact that its just the four KISS guys that are on this album. No studio guitarists/drummers/outside songwriters to dilute and pollute an evolving sound!
10 Song’s=30 minutes!
The songs featured are classics that many of you have heard many times over so instead of going track by track I’ll just talk about each KISS Guy’s contribution!
Peter Criss- Believe it or not the Catman plays some brilliant drums on this album. Petey knows his place and provides a straight ahead beat keeping everyone in line. Criss always had a raspy Rod Stewart like vocal vibe with his singing and on this album Peter sings his ass off on ‘Getaway’. Give it up for Peter Criss and say what you want about him but read the official KISS Book Nothin To Lose: The Making of KISS(1972-1975) and hear about the fact that Pete’s drums are the only recorded Live instrument on KISS ALIVE! Yeah…No Shit!
Ace Frehley- Man his solos on here are brilliant! Not your usual flash n pan wank fest. These solos sound like Ace just pulled them out of his back pocket when the red light for recording went off in the studio! Ace actually wrote ‘Getaway'(speaking of broke just read the lyrics to Getaway)and co wrote ‘Rock Bottom’. Must mention that throughout the album you can hear acoustic guitars mixed under the electrics! Give it up for the SpaceMan who doesn’t have to play a million miles per hour to make his guitar work memorable! Considering Ace was juiced up here on whatever was floating around for him to consume the solo’s are downright timeless gigantic riffs!
Gene Simmons–I always like Mean Gene the Demon’s voice on these earlier albums as he sang with a chill like vibe that even though he doesn’t do drugs you think he was hitting weed quicker than Cheech can say Chong! Gene sings what he knows best and that topic is surprise surprise …. Women! ‘Ladies In Waiting’ ‘Two Timer’and what could possibly be the Greatest Tune about Hookers that the Demon wrote called ‘SHE’. I dig that part of ‘She’ where the Bass grumbles and Drums hook up before Space Ace lifts off the solo.I have to add that Simmons is a great Bass Player as he never gets credit for as everyone was focused back than on the fire-breathing and the blood like crap dripping from his mouth! Course Genie Gene also co wrote the biggie track which would become the biggest track ‘Rock N Roll All Night’.
Paul Stanley- Opens Dressed To Kill with ‘Room Service’ which is a great fun rocking track! Stanley knew how to write straight ahead simple but very catchy rock tracks. Those being the co write in ‘Rock Bottom’ and the co write in ‘Rock N Roll All Night’. Where Starchild excels is in the songs he wrote himself. ‘Love Her All I Can’ the excellent ‘C’mon and Love Me’ and especially ‘Anything for my Baby’ which should have been a single as the first time I heard Dressed To Kill I was drawn especially to this track! Paul knows his deal and thats writing tunes with Hooks! Hooks indeed!
I love writing KISS reviews as they have been part of my listening habits for basically 40 years now! Why not as everyone has a opinon of KISS wether it be good or bad but an opinion no less!
Sure KISS has recently announced there 3 year Farewell Tour which to be honest I couldn’t care less about as it’s hard for me to keep wrapping my head around the replacement guys acting like the original guys and basically doing the whole schtick that has been done to death already.
If you catch KISS ten times on their Farewell Tour and write about it you can bet your KISS Cassette Tape Collection I’ll read about it. Even if they doled out a new studio record I would buy it as there last studio album back in 2012 ‘Monster’was quite good.. Kinda of a mixed bag of thoughts when it comes to what Gene and Paul are doing with the KISS brand nowadays but they deserve and have earned it to do what they want…
Good on em! Having said that….
What a great reconnection with ‘Dressed To Kill’ as I really do love broke and poor KISS.
If you’re a reader of this Blog thanks for reading and as you would have read by now my Top 3 KISS studio albums over the years have been…‘Rock N Roll Over’ Creatures of the Night’ and ‘Alive’.
But in the last year knocking on the door of my Top 3 would be ‘Lick It Up’and now ‘Dressed To Kill‘…
Better make it a Top 5 from now on!