Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Today In KISStory - 1977


Today In KISStory - October 14, 1977: KISS release their second live album "ALIVE II".
ALIVE II is the second live album (and eighth overall) by KISS, released in 1977. The band had released three albums (Destroyer, Rock and Roll Over, and Love Gun) since the previous live outing, the seminal 1975 release Alive!, and the band drew upon the variety of new tracks, with Eddie Kramer producing. Coming off of a period of extensive touring, Alive II received a huge fan response and critical acclaim, reaching the number seven spot on the Billboard 200 chart. Reviewer Greg Parto of All Music Guide praised the "adrenaline-charged" vibe of the heavy sounding tunes, particularly citing tracks such as "Detroit Rock City", "Shock Me", and "Shout It Out Loud".

The origins of ALIVE II go back to early 1977 when the band's manager Bill Aucoin suggested that Kramer record a live album during the evening show at Budokan Hall in Tokyo, Japan on April 2, 1977. The plan was to release a live album to give KISS some much deserved time off before recording the album that would become Love Gun later that fall. Kramer finished work on the album, but Casablanca Records and Kiss deemed it unusable, and the band forged ahead with the Love Gun sessions.
Most of the live tracks on ALIVE II were recorded during the band's August 26–28 shows at the Los Angeles Forum while on their Love Gun tour. The 3 p.m. soundchecks at the August 26 and 27 shows were recorded, and later used on the album (i.e. "Tomorrow and Tonight") with crowd noise being dubbed in later. "Beth" and "I Want You" were lifted from the aborted Japanese live album and used on the finished ALIVE II. As the band did not want to duplicate songs included on Alive!, the songs chosen for the three live sides of the album were all drawn from Kiss' three preceding studio albums: Destroyer, Rock and Roll Over and Love Gun.

On the original double album, the songs on side four (tracks 6-10 on the second CD) are studio tracks. Although Ace Frehley was originally credited for lead guitar on the studio tracks, the remastered version released in 1997 confirmed what had been speculated by Kiss fans for years: Bob Kulick actually played lead guitar on three tracks ("All American Man", "Rockin' in the U.S.A." and "Larger Than Life"), not Frehley. Frehley's sole involvement for the studio songs was "Rocket Ride" (originally written for a solo album), on which he sang lead vocals and played both guitar and bass guitar. Paul Stanley played all guitars on "Anyway You Want It", which was originally recorded by the Dave Clark Five in 1964.
The original vinyl issue of ALIVE II was a 2LP set with a gatefold cover and picture inner sleeves. Continuing the Kiss tradition of including promotional items with their albums, ALIVE II was packaged with a full-color booklet titled "The Evolution of Kiss" and a set of temporary transfer tattoos in a cartoon style. The tattoos depicted the band logo, Kiss Army logo, band member heads, member signatures and symbols. The symbols were meant to represent the four personas of the group and included a skull and crossbones for Gene Simmons, a rose and star with eye for Stanley, a Saturn-like planet and block print-style "ACE" for Frehley, and a drum and cat's head for Peter Criss. The rose and "ACE" are copies of Stanley and Frehley's actual tattoos, respectively. A merchandise order form was also included with the album, listing an array of official Kiss merchandise as well as a chance to enlist in the Kiss Army. The inner sleeves depicted crazed Kiss fans in a confetti storm and the band's album discography to date