Friday, November 10, 2006


Friday Morning. Time again for the Friday Silly Movie Of My Youth Of The Day. Let's get to it.

KISS Meets The Phantom Of The Park

Let's set the scene: 1978. Kiss is about as huge as a band can be, as the popularity of disco, the emergence of punk, and the bloated excess & corporatism of mainstream rock have split the music scenes into subcultures. It seemed that every kid between the ages of 8 and 18 was completely obsessed with Kiss. The makeup, the spectacle-filled concerts, the merchandizing.

And their horrible music.

Say what? That's right. I was not a Kiss fan, and I hated them in fact. Most of my friends loved them. I owned a cassette version of Rock n' Roll Over, which one of them gave me for my 10th birthday in December 1977. I secretly liked the make-up and the over-the-top image. But even at 10, it was about the music. And on that count, as we all know today, Kiss sucked.

Just awful. Beth was, and remains, one of the worst songs I've ever heard. It's unlistenable, except as comedy. All of my friends loved Destroyer, and insisted on playing it at ear-shattering volume every time I went to their houses. They were all completely nuts about Detroit Rock City, which while a fantastic title for a song, was not actually a good song to listen to. I liked the Beatles, and declared that the Beatles were better than Kiss to any-and-all who listened.

Where are those who argued with me today? Huh? HUH???

Anyhow, I started a new school, in 5th grade, which represents a story in its own right at another time. (For instance, that's where I began to follow a sport I hardly knew about before then -- NHL Hockey, and the Rangers in particular -- one of my late-70's and early-80s obsessions. I actually ended up attending all Ranger home games in the 1994 Stanley Cup playoffs with a friend I met in 5th grade.) And, more germane to this tale, every freakin boy in my class was a Kiss fanatic. Fanatic! And . . . new kid in school, everyone liked the same thing which I hated, I wanted to fit in . . . Do the math.

I still never liked them, and still never added to my one album collection. But I became more superficially open-minded. I joined the teeming masses in drawing the "Kiss" logo, with the vaguely Nazi-ish, jagged "SS" at the end of the name.

(Which reminds me. Remember in 1980-81, when the Jim Morrison bio, "Nobody Gets Out Of Here Alive" and The Doors Greatest Hits came out, starting a Doors renaissance? I remember everyone drawing the "Doors" logo, with the weirdly-formatted, two-part letters, on notebooks and textbooks all the time.)

Return to scene: Spring of 1978, flying back from great-grandmother visiting in North Miami Beach with my mother (on the now defunct National Airlines), trying desparately to find something listeneable on the in-flight music. One of the loops was called "Contemporary Hits," or something along those lines. Among other "hits," it featured Evil Woman, by Electric Light Orchestra (Bloated Excess & Corporatism alert!), Slip Slidin' Away, by Paul Simon, and wouldn't you know it, Shout It Out Loud, by none other than the glam boys from NYC.

{Whispering} And I liked it.

And told no one. Oh well. And then KISS Meets The Phantom Of The Park came out on TV the following autumn. As usual for the FSOMYOTD, I remember absolutely nothing from the movie. In fact, until I looked it up today on IMDB, I thought it was a cartoon movie. I mean, it was, in a way, but it wasn't an animated movie. That should tell you something about the relative quality of today's movie, as well as most of the FSMOMYOTDs. I can remember particular songs from a flight 28 1/2 years ago, but I can't remember anything about this movie, which if you were alive & sentient in 1978, you'll remember was quite hyped up.

And I guess it marked the pinnacle of Kiss's popularity. After 1978, they were never the same cultural icons. Dynasty, with the dreckish I Was Made For Loving You followed in 1979, the year of the disco crossover hit: Blondie with Heart Of Glass, the aforementioned ELO with Don't Bring me Down (Bruuuuuuuuuuuce), and many, many others (recall others off the top of your head?). In fact, by 6th & 7th grade, the "music wars" were rock vs. disco and classic rock/hard rock/new wave vs. punk/glam (the ever-reliable Beatles now facing off against The Ramones & David Bowie, and I have to hand it to the two kids who supported the latter: not bad for 6th grade!!!). In my school, none of the boys liked disco, and only one or two girls liked rock at all.

And Kiss was nowhere to be found in any of the battles.


Blogger Ed in Westchester said...

It is taking all of my will to keep "Beth" from playing over and over in my head right now.
You bastard.

I too was not a fan of Kiss. A bunch of guys wearing make-up? No thanks. I credit my dad, who raised me on the Stones, Doors, Who, Zep, Clapton (insert band here), Yes, and the like.

I had an ELO 8-track tape I'll have you know.

I also had my share of bad hair bands to like, like Loverboy. You know Loverboy don't you, Working for the Weekend, Only the Lucky Ones, Hot Girls in Love.

May "Turn Me Loose" run through your head the rest of the day.

9:49 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

May "Turn Me Loose" run through your head the rest of the day.


Being Friday and all, Workin For The Weekend will have to do in the Vancouver's finest category.

And you know what, Beth is so un-tunely, so croaky and awful, that you can't get it in your head. You need MELODY for that.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Smitty said...

This is so awesome. Last year, I decide to go public with my general disdain of Kiss.

For years of my life, I had to hear people drone on and on about Kiss's contributions to the rock world and about what a pviotal band they were.

But no more. They sucked. Their music was either dull or unlistenable. And now Gene Simmons is on a VH-1 show teaching British Prep School kids how to rock?? Fuck that. He's a weenie.

Lick it up, bithces.

10:27 AM  
Blogger Otto Man said...

I always liked KISS, but then again, I have a track record for "enjoying" things in a deeply, deeply ironic way.

Anyway, if you loved/loathed the movie, you should check out the greatest clip ever from the Family Guy cartoon -- their spoof called Kiss Saves Santa.

"Someone kidnapped Santa? That does NOT rock!"

11:07 AM  
Anonymous John Royal said...


Now I've got "Beth" and "Turn Me Loose" stuck in my head, alternating. Bastards. Bastards.

I've got to admit to liking ELO. And you've got to find away to stick Xanadu into your cannon of movies -- Gene Kelly, Olivia Newton-John, disco rollerskating, and ELO. What more can you want?

Meanwhile, I've just got to do something about this Beth who I hear calling who wants to turn me loose.


11:08 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Lick it up, bitches.

Would the bitches in question be Gene & Paul, the Kiss Army, or one of Gene's 10,000 conquests? I defend none of the above, just wondering where to file it.

I have a track record for "enjoying" things in a deeply, deeply ironic way.

Some kids liked The Ramones in 6th grade, you had a well-developed sense of irony. Man, some folks develop faster than others. I'm envious.

Now I've got "Beth" and "Turn Me Loose" stuck in my head, alternating. Bastards. Bastards . . . I've just got to do something about this Beth who I hear calling who wants to turn me loose.

Bwahahahahahahahahahah!!! My eviiiil plan for world domination is going just as planned. First the US Congress, and now the double-barreled Kiss-Loverboy weapon. Monday, the banks and markets, and I'll RULE THE WORLD.

11:44 AM  
Blogger DED said...

Cool. I thought that I was the only guy who didn't like Kiss back in the day. While "Slow Gin" crept up on me thanks to Death Angel's cover in the 90's, I've pretty much steered clear of them.

12:50 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

"Slow Gin" crept up on me thanks to Death Angel's cover in the 90's

Whoa. If this was written in Bulgarian I wouldn't be any more unclear!

I assume "Slow Gin" is a Kiss song, and Death Angel is a speed metal band (guessing on the genre from the musical tastes of the comment's author)?

1:00 PM  
Blogger Ed in Westchester said...

John Royal - thanks, now I have "Xanadu" running through my head. At least "Beth" is gone.

*runs to get I-Pod to listen to CSN&Y*

That's better.

Oh, and if you think Loverboy is bad, I've got tons, I mean tons of worse bands and songs.
Final Countdown by Europe
Here I go Again by Whitesnake.

Mike, together you and I could rule the world. We could unite all behind us in wiping all the bad music off the face of the earth.

1:53 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

*runs to get I-Pod to listen to CSN&Y*

Yeah, a little Country Girl would be nice right about now. Deju Vu is one of those albums I never updated from LP to CD back in the day, so I haven't listened to my own copy since college I'd guess. Too bad, hell of an album.

Though I never actually liked Here I Go Again, I have to admit it was sorta catchy. But Final Countdown is a freakin horror show.

God, what an awful band Europe was. Being lame & named for a state, like Kansas, wasn't enough for them. They had to go all out: totally sucking & blowing right past states and even countries, ultimately going with a CONTINENT!

2:16 PM  
Blogger Ed in Westchester said...

I can top Europe -


The biggest continent. The biggest suck. Yet, the tunes were catchy.

Dust in the wind. All we are is dust in the wind.

C'mon, the only thing "catchy" about "Here I go Again was Tawny Kitaen. Who then went on to "catch" her heels in the head of Chuck Finlay.

Speaking of 80's hot babes, did you see the new commercial for Trivial Pursuit totally 80"s with Kelly LaBrock? God, she looks AWFUL.

And yes, I am aware that I know too much useless information.

2:41 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Asia was overrated at the time, that's for sure. But they weren't horrible. A few catchy tunes. I'll admit to liking Heat of the Moment in 9th grade.

Tawny was hot. Ever see The Perils of Gwendoline? Not a lot of clothing in that one.

I haven't seen the Kelly LeBrock commercial, but Simmons said something funny about it a few months ago, right? She's gained a pound or two . . . hundred?

3:04 PM  
Anonymous John Royal said...

A few comments:

One, Kelly LeBrock. How do you expect her to look? The woman was married to Steven Segal. I'm surprised she still has the will to live.

Two, what better way to pass a Friday than to talk about what I call the geography bands -- more known for putting out crap than for talent. And don't forget Boston.

Three, take it easy on Kansas. After all, without "Dust In The Wind," how else do Bill and Ted communicate with Socrates?

And finally: "Xanadu. Xadanu. Now we are here. In Xanadu. Xanadu, your neon lights really shine."

3:12 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

John, you're an evil man. But you will not get Xanadu in my head . . . because Heat of the Moment is already there.

Good one on LeBrock & Segall. Though I'm surprised not to see you chiming in on Gwendoline which, with its combo of camp, cheese, comic-bookishness & also bare-nekkid titties, seems to have "John Royal" written all over it.

Maybe it does, but with "Mike" and "Ed" also inscribed, perhaps I just can't read it.

And call me a cheese merchant if you must, but I like Boston's first album. Did then, did in 1987, and still do now.

3:39 PM  
Anonymous John Royal said...

I never saw Gwendoline, thus, I don't have much to say.

Did just see Tawny on The Surreal Life last year. She hasn't aged that well, either. She had a little feud going with Carol Brady. And when C.C. DeVille is the sane person of the show, you know that the "stars" have some real issues.

4:06 PM  
Blogger Ed in Westchester said...

Geography Bands -
The Georgia Satellites

"Keep Your Hands to Yourself"

John Royal - darn you. darn you straight to heck.

I must now reply in kind.

hmmm, so many to choose from

well, you mentioned the guitarist so

"Every Rose Has its thorn.
Just like every night has its dawn
And every cowboy sings a sad sad song
Every Rose has its thorn."

Take that.

Now, I need a drink, cause I am sad that I remembered that much of that song.

4:14 PM  
Blogger Ed in Westchester said...

I never saw Gwendoline I am sad to report.

4:15 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

First of all, you guys are scaring me. CC DeVille, Every Rose Has Its Thorn lyrical expositions.

This is a NO HAIR BAND ZONE. Do I need to put up a sign?

Secondly, neither of you saw Gwendolin? Oh my stars, you missed out on a Skin-a-max classic from back in the day.

5:17 PM  
Blogger Ed in Westchester said...

Sure, now you put an end to the fun.

Fine then.

"We can dance if you want to
we can leave your friends behind
cause your friends dont dance and if they dont dance then they're no friends of mine."

Safety Dance - Men w/o Hats

Have a nice weekend Mike.

5:22 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

There's no joy being killed here.

I'm pro-joy.

I just fail to see teh relationship between Skid Row (Warrant?) and joy.

Nice weekend yourself, Ed.

5:40 PM  
Anonymous John Royal said...

Well, here's to bad hair bands...

"Wanted, wanted, dead or alive."

7:01 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...


7:48 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Otto Man, that Family Guy clip was great. I love the imitation of their speaking voices, especially Paul Stanley's.

1:21 PM  
Blogger DED said...

I assume "Slow Gin" is a Kiss song, and Death Angel is a speed metal band (guessing on the genre from the musical tastes of the comment's author)?

Yes and yes. Actually, Death Angel was more of a thrash metal band at the timem they did the cover.

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

I'm openly showing my ignorance here, but my curiosity must be met: how do you distinguish speed metal and thrash metal?

10:53 AM  

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