Shockrock-comparing Alice to Kiss

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Shockrock-comparing Alice to Kiss

Post by recoop » Wed Sep 24, 2008 4:09 pm

In the mid 1970s when IMO Alice verged towards MOR..i listened a bit to kiss but couldn't get into...I have seen videos of Kiss shows but I wouldn't have classed them in Shock Rock...ok theres blood but were there any executions/violence etc..granted they were huge in US and poss needed a category to themselves...I dunno flashrock/explosion rock/ merchandise rock but I never seen them as horror which I relate to shockrock...glad to hear other opinions and info re stage show re shock rock.

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Post by Shoesalesman » Wed Sep 24, 2008 4:17 pm

Just my opinion.... Alice challenged the norm of society in the early 70s and shoved it back in our faces, while KISS focused on putting on a good show with bells and whistles.

Don't get me wrong, I love KISS, but I think Alice went for the bigger picture than KISS did.
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Post by Shoesalesman » Wed Sep 24, 2008 4:32 pm

Somewhere on the net I read an article where Alice rated KISS out of ten as...

Scary: 0
Marketing: 10

Not sure if this is exactly what I read, but I think it's close.
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Post by Marcelocooper » Wed Sep 24, 2008 4:51 pm

I think the only reason why KiSS is taken by shock rock is because they use make-up. Their show is great (I've seen one when they came to Brazil in 1999 and altough I was only 9 I still remember it), but they aren't shocking, only the blood and fire thing can be a little shocking, but nothing compared to a straight jacket or executions. So, I guess that's only because they have a little moviment on the stage and use make-up... Just guessing...
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Post by SKULLBOY » Thu Sep 25, 2008 12:16 am

The thing that I never understood about KISS was that their lyrics really never matched their image. It's not that I don't like KISS, it's just that when I was a kid and saw their album covers they looked scary, but when I heard their music I was like "Huh?". It wasn't what I expected.
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Post by daytripper63 » Thu Sep 25, 2008 2:04 am

I love Kiss too. It takes me back to Jr High in school. They are great fun , and I like a lot of their songs....they just couldn't keep writing . It got old to me. I still think they are great. But not on the same wave level as Alice.
And not scary. More funny. :laugh:

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Post by Marcelocooper » Thu Sep 25, 2008 3:02 am

Totally agree, Kiss is way more funnier than scaring. I can't think about only one song that has the same kind of cruelty Alice has.
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Post by Maurice » Thu Sep 25, 2008 7:59 am

It is probably not right to generalise; (but I will anyway!). The way I see it, is that Alice introduced what appeared to be a 'planned theatrical element' to rock'n'roll, that often had a loose story-line sometimes with some kind of moral (or even immoral) content.

I think this gave him 'licence' to 'thrill' and 'shock' by linking a useful array of songs from his repertoire which would 'fit' - or be arranged to fit - into each show. The usefulness of the songs was - I feel - totally due to the written content, a majority of which have been written in the 'shock rock' or 'story-line' mould.

Therefore his stage show reflected his song-writing and vice versa.

The trouble is, the term 'shock rock' is somewhat outmoded these days, (as we all know), we can see far more shocking stuff on the daily news broadcasts, but going back to the day when this was groundbreaking, it really was 'news' in itself, even if only for a short while, but it paved the way for others, including Kiss.

It is interesting to read the comments of both SKULLBOY and Marcelocooper, both of whom I would agree with - although my experience of Kiss is really quite limited which is why I have had to generalise - but I would suggest that as a show - or performance - the 'hair metal' period that they worked, sans make-up, appeared to me to work just as well for them as when they were in full regalia. In fact I would suggest that this was probably more indicative of their 'brand style', being performance orientated rather than shock or theatre.

Probably. everything I have said here could be diluted down to Shoeys' first post, but in addition, I think the writing (and content) of the songs and the way the songs work with the shows, is what makes the genre, and so there is little, or no comparison, in my view.
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Post by Jumping Jack » Thu Sep 25, 2008 9:20 am

Rock died when image and spectacle became more important than song writing. I'd rather spend my money on a Cirque show if I want to see a spectacle. The effects are more impressive and the soundtrack better than Kiss.
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Post by Gunner » Thu Sep 25, 2008 12:41 pm

Personally I could never get into KISS, their music and lyrics are too 'basic' for my tastes; just simple riffs, hooks and melodies. They really were nothing special; they never had hit singles like Alice. It was their image and ‘electric’ stage show that made them popular essentially. They never had any interesting, thoughtful and imaginative concepts and their stage sets never reflected any thought or imaginative concepts either....just drums risers and flash bombs. I don't really know how anyone could mention them in the same breath as 'Alice' except to say that they wore make-up too and were a dumbed down 'alternative'?? Also, I agree with an earlier post where someone didn't think the image matched the music, it didn't; a star child, demon, cat and space man sing 'I was made for living you', 'Christine 16', 'Do you love me?' etc????? How basic and pathetic!

With respect to KISS being categorised as 'shock rock', where is the shock element in KISS? Oh sorry, of course there is, it's highly shocking that they became so huge with that brand of very ordinary music!

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Post by Wicked Little Lady » Thu Sep 25, 2008 1:09 pm

They only real “shock rock” aspect of KISS is that Gene Simmons’ character was a demon personified and spewed blood and fire. I have seen a video in which Gene was interviewed and attempted to act like a demon during the interview. It didn’t go over real well and ended up being kind of awkward. On the same basis, I think KISS could be classified more as “glam rock” because of Paul Stanley’s rock star character, which I think is probably more accurate given that only one character had a scary theme—I agree with Gunner, what’s so scary about a kitty cat on the drums or a space man on guitar?

As a young teen, I had two cousins that where huge KISS fans and we would constantly bicker over who was better, KISS versus Alice. How do you compare dragging about a coffin to a stage that rises into the air and rotates? Where in Alice’s props looked as if they were cobbled together from a thrift store, KISS had huge lighted signs and more pyro than the U.S. Army. I usually lost the battles with my cousins and would tell them “Go play with your KISS dollies” as a last shot in.

I never actually thought KISS sucked and I played the heck out of my Love Gun album. Musically, KISS was way more mainstream than Alice. Lyrically, the young fans that listened to KISS in their heyday could barely fathom what was meant by half the songs, since many were sexual in content. I couldn’t really say the same for Alice’s lyrics at the time; I did understand the meaning of I Love the Dead and the whole Welcome to My Nightmare themed performance and the cohesive storyline of the Constrictor album. Although KISS was entertaining, their music had less depth than Alice’s did. Again, careful marketing made them what they were.

Today my local station will play at least one KISS tune a day—nothing from Alice; at least not until they picked up the Nights show again (within the last 2 weeks). Now they make sure they play one or two Alice tunes a day (School’s Out or Poison) a few hours before the Nights show airs. I suspect this is probably part of the agreement the station has with Alice’s powers that be in connection with airing Nights—if not, it will probably be short lived. Glitz and glamour sold KISS to the U.S. and to me that is what they qualify as, the same as Bowie and his Ziggy Stardust character. They were good at it. They made “fame and fortune and everything that goes with that,” so they are the “champions” though for those that prefer something a bit more subtle, more like an uncut gem, Alice wins hands down.
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Post by Maurice » Thu Sep 25, 2008 2:24 pm

Wicked Little Lady wrote: They made “fame and fortune and everything that goes with that,” so they are the “champions” .
Good post WLL, sounds like you are quoting a bit of Freddie there too! :grin:
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Post by Shoesalesman » Thu Sep 25, 2008 3:03 pm

Wicked Little Lady wrote:They only real “shock rock” aspect of KISS is that Gene Simmons’ character was a demon personified and spewed blood and fire. I have seen a video in which Gene was interviewed and attempted to act like a demon during the interview. It didn’t go over real well and ended up being kind of awkward.
Is the video the one on the first KISSology DVD? On that interview Gene makes reference to eating audience members and the older lady beside him makes fun of his nose. He snarled and hissed during the program and it basically was ignored by all those in attendance, including the audience.
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Post by glamprincess » Thu Sep 25, 2008 5:16 pm

Note to moderators: it seems that when I edit one of my posts, it double posts now.
Last edited by glamprincess on Thu Sep 25, 2008 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by glamprincess » Thu Sep 25, 2008 5:19 pm

The reason that Kiss are labelled Shock Rock is because everyone (unfortunately) lumps Kiss with Alice Cooper. Because of the makeup and theatrics, a lot of people mistakenly lump the two rock acts together and both are thrown into the same category. Alice Cooper pushed the boundaries and generated controversy back in the early 70s. Alice Cooper was truly shocking back then. But as Rolling Stone said, "Kiss made it on a trail blazed by Alice Cooper". And due to this, people lumped the two rock acts together even though Kiss were never really shocking. By the time they followed in Alice Cooper's footsteps, there was nothing new or shocking about men wearing makeup and black leather and being theatrical on a rock music stage. Old news, so not shocking. By then, parents were not really outraged anymore and accepted their kids being into Kiss and even went out and bought their kids Kiss lunch boxes.

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Post by Shoesalesman » Thu Sep 25, 2008 5:27 pm

glamprincess wrote:Note to moderators: it seems that when I edit one of my posts, it double posts now.
Will let admin folks know. :)
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Post by Marcelocooper » Thu Sep 25, 2008 6:14 pm

By then, parents were not really outraged anymore and accepted their kids being into Kiss and even went out and bought their kids Kiss lunch boxes.
As I'm only 18 I can't tell much about it, but here in Brazil what I aways hear, even my teachers said that, is that kiss was forbbiden, when they came here in 1983 the principals of most school's told the children not to go to their shows, and stuff like that. Maybe that's because we lived in an "closed world" of dictatorship. Probably was, I've heard some thing about Alice's carrer that are totaly not true if you take it worldwide, but here it really happened that way, must be the same with kiss.
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Post by cooperrocks » Thu Sep 25, 2008 7:54 pm

I just could never get into KISS even during their heyday. They always seemed too much of a cartoon character for me. Musically I found everything they did to be too generic and simple. One of the great things about Alice is his lyrics. I used to get annoyed when people gave Pat Benatar credit for doing a song about child abuse (Hell is For Children) and consider her a pioneer, when Alice and the boys had done "Dead Babies" years before. KISS pretty much can only do party songs. However, I give them credit for being master marketers.

Musically I like bands that have compelling lyrics and guys that can really play. I just never got that with KISS, but respect those that like them. I do have this perhaps irrational fear that KISS are going to somehow got into the Rock N Roll Hall of Shame before Alice.

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Post by Maurice » Thu Sep 25, 2008 8:07 pm

glamprincess wrote: And due to this, people lumped the two rock acts together even though Kiss were never really shocking.
Except perhaps when Gene Simmons dated Diana Ross? :/
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Post by Gorehound » Thu Sep 25, 2008 8:41 pm

I'm not a Kiss fan and I certainly wouldn't class 'em as shock rock, for the same reasons mentioned already. I dunno how people can compare 'em to Alice; yeah they also use make up and theatrics but it's completely different to what Alice does.
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