If you aren't a fan of KISS, then move along, fella, nothin' to see here.
Volume three of the mammoth KISSOLOGY series of DVD box sets has arrived, and it's a humdinger. Each box just keeps getting bigger and bigger - this one's a whopping five discs (if you buy now) and will give you more KISS than you can readily digest in one sitting.
Unfortunately, the set is somewhat marred by two things. First and foremost, I find it distressing that Gene and Paul have ratcheted up the dissing of Peter and Ace on the liner notes book to an even higher level of angst than ever before. After all the ridicule and insults heaped upon Peter and Ace in the KISS X-treme interviews, the box set booklet, the bonus material on the "Rock the Nation" DVD, and Gene's great book "Sex Money Kiss", you'd think they'd have gotten all the bitterness out of their systems. Not so. The Kissology 3 booklet features highly derogatory comments about the original band members on almost every page.
Gene now admits "I was against having Ace and Peter come back in the band" and goes on to say that every minute of having to deal with them again, from MTV Unplugged to the Farewell Tour, was "torture". Paul spends literally half of his introductory welcome message dwelling on how Ace and Peter won life's lottery a second time but "chose once again to throw away the winning ticket". Okay, okay, guys, we get it, we get it.
The other beef I have with Kissology 3 is that it's almost exclusively comprised of live shows, unlike the previous two sets that offered lots of peripheral material. Where's Tupac Shakur unveiling the reunited KISS for the first time at the February 1996 Grammy awards? Where's the April 1996 press conference with Conan O'Brien? Where's their appearances on "Millenium" and "MAD TV"? Where's the Fox Halloween Special? Where's "New Years Rockin' Eve" with Dick Clark? Where's the hugely-popular-on-YouTube footage of Paul calling a halt to a show in order to cuss out some geek in the audience who pointed a handheld laser at Peter? Where's the Osaka '96 show where Gene loses his voice and Paul has to sing his songs? Even just one song from that show would have made a fun Easter Egg, at least.
Instead of doing entire shows for this set and giving us seven versions of "Rock and Roll All Night", they really should have broken it down by song and given us highlights of the various reunion-era shows, most of which were videotaped. (Actually, they aren't even "entire shows" on this set - for some reason they've nudged out a few songs here and there, and in almost every case the songs they skipped ("I Want You", "Hotter than Hell", "Forever", etc.) would have been far better than giving us six versions of "Deuce".
There's two references in the booklet to this being the final installment of the Kissology series, ending with the year 2000. But... but... the best is yet to come! The current Tommy Thayer version of KISS is, says me, easily the pinnacle of the band's career. We literally live in the best of all possible KISS worlds, right here, right now, despite what the handful of nay-saying cranks think of all the merchandising. (As I've ranted elsewhere, I love all the over-the-top KISS branding and merchandising and hope they take it to even wackier heights in the future.)
The iluustration above, by the way, is a painting from my art exhibit "Fuel to Build a Fire" hosted by the band's very own KISS Coffeehouse in Myrtle Beach earlier this year.
- - JSH