Friday, December 2, 2016

Forgotten Fridays: Kiss My Ass: Classic Kiss Regrooved

Forgotten Fridays is an occasional feature here at If It’s Too Loud... where we go back and find the lost records of our glory days. We played these on our college radio shows, put them on countless mix tapes, and then forgot they existed. Once a week we go back and remind you, and help decide if they were any good.

Last week while doing some Black Friday shopping (for myself) at a used record store, I came across Kiss My Ass: Classic Kiss Regrooved in the discount CD bin. I hadn't even thought about this album for about 20 years, so I figured I'd give it another listen.

Now, to be fair, I've always hated Kiss. While I gained an appreciation for classic rock bands in my 30s that I hated in my 20s (Bruce Springsteen, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC), the same can't be said for Kiss. Released in 1994, Kiss My Ass: Classic Kiss Regrooved now stands as a bizarre slice of 1994. The mid-90s was a time of bizarre tribute and compilation albums, and this might stand out as one of the weirdest. It doesn't really keep a main theme throughout and seems to be open to everyone. Lenny Kravitz does "Deuce," and if you can imagine what that sounds like you're probably dead on. No surprises there. Anthrax, with singer John Bush, do a great version of "She" that captures their 90s John Bush led sound. The Gin Blossoms doing "Christine Sixteen" is the biggest trainwreck in this trainwreck of a compilation. Two of the most pleasant surprises are Toad the Wet Sprocket's "Rock and Roll All Night" and Garth Brooks' "Hard Luck Woman." Both succeed in taking well known songs and making them completely their own while still being obvious covers. This might be the first time I listened to the Garth Brooks song all the way through, as doing so would have violated my high school/early college pledge to hate all country.

Kiss My Ass: Classic Kiss Regrooved also features four Boston (or at least Massachusetts) bands. Extreme (who I never would have guessed were doing anything in 1994) do "Strutter," and Extreme covering Kiss makes perfect sense. The Lemonheads donated their version of "Plaster Caster" which originally appeared on 1988's Creator, which might be cheating. But it's also one of my favorite Lemonheads' covers, which is saying quite a bit as Evan loves doing covers. Two absolute highlights of the album are Dinosaur Jr's version of "Goin' Blind," which is virtually unrecognizable as a Kiss cover, and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones' "Detroit Rock City." The former comes across as a legit Dino Jr song, and given their 80s hairband love, it's not surprising that there's no audible shred of tongue in cheek in this version. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones do a more core than ska version of "Detroit Rock City" which goes right along with the metal/hard rock covers they were doing at the time.

Kiss My Ass: Classic Kiss Regrooved somehow went gold even though it couldn't have appealed to Kiss fans and spread itself over a bunch of genres. It's not available on Spotify, and only a handful of songs are on YouTube. You can pick up a copy on CD for as low as 26 cents on Amazon. It might be worth it just for the novelty alone.

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