1975 Studio Outtakes And Demos
(57:27) Larrabee Studios January 1975; Burning Up With Fever, Anything For My Baby, Rock And Roll All Nite, Mistake. Magna Graphics Studios August 1975; Doncha Hesitate, God Of Thunder (Paul Vocal), It Ain’t The Smoke That Burns Ya, Detroit Rock City, Love Is Alright, Bad Bad Lovin’, Man Of 1,000 Faces, Don’t Want Your Romance, Burning Up With Fever, Rock And Rolls Royce, Mad Dog, Night Fly, I’m A Star, Howling For Your Love, True Confessions
The latest batch of KISS studio material focuses on an important year in KISStory, 1975, the year when the band went from a strong and up and coming live act to larger than life superstars. After the lackluster sales of Hotter Than Hell Casablanca owner Neil Bogart decided the band needed a new record and one with a hit. While the record was recorded in early February 1975 at Electric Lady Studios in New York City, the band did do some initial work at Larrabee Studios in Hollywood, California from January 1975 and is the source for the first four songs on this set. The sound for all four songs is excellent soundboard, a little dull sounding but consistent throughout, the inside cover lists them as being from January 3 where the excellent KISS alive forever places them from January 24-25.
Burning Up With Fever: A different version than the one found on Not For The Innocent (The Godfatherecords G.R.141), duller sounding but musically much fuller. Ace plays a smoking solo and one can only wonder why the band elected not to use it for Dressed To Kill, although Simmons would use it on his 1978 solo record.
Anything For My Baby: A more stripped down version of the song, as Paul Stanley has said he was looking for more of a BTO sound and the band would use acoustic guitar to make the sound fuller, none of which is found on this version. Clocking in at 2:02 much shorter than the Dressed To Kill version.
Rock And Roll All Nite: The ultimate KISS anthem, this outtake is a great version, more powerful than the official version, Gene has a slightly different vocal delivery and the vocals have more echo on them and the song has a “live” feel to it.
Mistake: A different version than the one found on Drive You Crazy (The Godfatherecords G.R. 554), the chorus has a stronger chorus, the sound does not sound compressed and it is about 8 seconds longer. Nice guitar playing from Ace, one of those songs if you played it for someone they would never guess it’s KISS.
1975 was a whirlwind year for the band, they achieved a bit more momentum with Dressed To Kill and the single Rock And Roll All Nite, thankfully mid year the decision was made to try and capture the band where they were most at home, on the concert stage. The band would record shows in the midwest during May – June 1975 and the live tapes were given a studio polish in August 1975 and be released September of the same year, Alive! would be the breakthrough the band had been working toward since their inception. Within days of completing the studio work on Alive!, the band would be back in the studio to begin what would become the seminal Destroyer record. The initial studio work was done at Magna Graphic Studios in New York’s Greenwich Village and is reportedly the source of the remainder of the songs on this disc, sound quality is excellent throughout, Paul said in a latter interview that the band members would work up song demos individually then bring in to the group, a fact that is corroborated by these versions.
Doncha Hesitate: Originally released on the 2001 KISS box set, the some is typical KISS and sounds like they were building on the lyrics of C’Mon and LoveMe. The music has a funky bass live and musically is a real up tempo rocker.
God Of Thunder (Paul Vocal): A great outtake, while the song will be forever linked with Gene it was in fact written and initially recorded by Paul. It is much faster in tempo and the drumming and chorus gives it a disco sound, very dynamic and a highlight of this release.
It Ain’t The Smoke That Burns Ya: Another one from Drive You Crazy (The Godfatherecords G.R. 554) but in far better sound quality than that release. Another Paul demo of a song that did not make the cut, apparently Bob Ezrin thought this was the type of song he did not want for Destroyer.
Detroit Rock City: Same version as found on Nuits Parisiennes (The Godfatherecords G.R. 662) but with slightly crisper sound, great Paul demo of a classic song. The lyrics are a bit different but the chorus is all there as well as the classic riff.
Love Is Alright: The music sounds a lot like Rock Bottom, a real basic Gene demo with no real lyrics just a chorus of “Love is alright…alright”.
Bad Bad Lovin’: An early version of the song that would ultimately become Calling Dr. Love and originally released on the bands official 2001 box set, another excellent outtake.
Man Of 1,000 Faces: Gene’s love of vintage horror movies is well documented, this song takes inspiration from Lon Chaney who’s diverse work in the genre gave him the name. This version was also found on Not For The Innocent (The Godfatherecords G.R.141) and officially on Gene’s first solo album. I love Gene’s vocal, he has a soft tone and it really shows his ability to really sing, a fully realized demo with great guitar solos and overdubbed vocals.
Don’t Want Your Romance: A different version than the version on Not For The Innocent (The Godfatherecords G.R.141), a more stripped down version of the song and with less of the female backing vocals, the lyrics would be later used for Ladies Room on Rock and Roll Over.
Burning Up With Fever: Again not the same as the version on Not For The Innocent (The Godfatherecords G.R.141), a Gene demo that is more musically stripped down but lyrically about the same, he obviously did not give up on the song and it would eventually be found on his first solo record.
Rock And Rolls Royce: A bit more of a polished version of what was found on Not For The Innocent (The Godfatherecords G.R.141), a Gene demo of a song that would be drastically re worked for Love ‘Em Leave ‘Em on Rock And Roll Over, sound quality is much improved over the previous release.
Mad Dog: A song that was also found on the 2001 Box set, the riff would be refined and become the basis for Flaming Youth on Destroyer, lyrically nothing really there although Gene does do a nice sleazy vocal.
Night Fly: An early version of what would eventually become Sweet Pain from Destroyer, there is a bit of hiss at the beginning of the song but quickly clears up, great guitar playing and the chorus sounds very close to Mad Dog.
I’m A Star: Quality is not as good as the other songs from this series, thankfully it is on a song that there is not much happening. It does have the same basic sound as the other Gene songs on this set as they were recorded together.
Howling For Your Love: A different version from the one found on Not For The Innocent (The Godfatherecords G.R.141), a more stripped down version with no female back up singers, the song would be musically reworked for Plaster Caster on Love Gun.
True Confessions: A different version from the one found on Not For The Innocent (The Godfatherecords G.R.141), a more stripped down version with no female back up singers. The song would eventually be included on Gene’s 1978 solo album.
As with the Daisy show from 1973, this collection of outtakes began circulating on a few torrent sites, there has been another release of this same material on Studio Demos 1975 (Zodiac 054). The packaging for this new Godfather title is the usual trifold sleeve with photos from the Dressed To Kill cover photo shoot, the one on the inside of the band going into a phone booth in suits and coming out in the stage attire ala Superman is great. There are nice liner notes written by Paul’s high school friend Binky Philips that are well written, although a booklet with additional information such as the one found in the Not For The Innocent package would have been greatly appreciated. While I do not casually listen to studio outtakes much, this is certainly a comprehensive look at a specific period in KISS and it is nice to have it all in one package.