NJ T-Shirt Tuesday 119: KISS at Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City!

Today’s t-shirt memorializes the very KISS stadium concert at Jersey City’s Roosevelt Stadium in 1976! This tee is available at their official page KISSonline.com

Wow, we love demolishing stadiums in this state, don’t we? Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City was a baseball stadium that opened in 1937 and was demolished in 1985. Sure, it had its share of memorable sporting events and concerts, but one in particular featured my favorite band ever, KISS.

When you think of famed KISS concerts, you may think of Cobo Hall in Detroit, or even Madison Square Garden in New York City, but merely days after America’s Bicentennial 4th of July celebration, on July 10th, 1976, KISS played very first stadium show right in The Sexiest of all Armpits.

Headlining a big baseball stadium was no easy task. The band had to be louder and crazier than the crowd was, and naturally, KISS was up for the task. At the time, they were riding high on what would become their biggest album of all time, Destroyer, so they were properly equipped to blast everyone directly out of the stadium with their mammoth sound and explosions, and that’s exactly what they did.

For non-KISS fans, it’s easy to believe that if you’ve seen one KISS concert, you’ve seen them all, but I’m here to tell you that’s just simply not the case. There was a special kind of magic going on with the early KISS shows. A group of musicians with a wild idea to mix ghastly face paint, elaborate costumes, and an explosive stage show were still in their formative years as a band. Hell, much like some of their other early concerts, the Roosevelt Stadium show was filmed in black and white, lending it an even more macabre atmosphere. B&W is one quality that always intrigued me with early KISS shows and bootlegs, especially knowing that Gene is such a horror movie fanatic.

Many of you have lived through the many incarnations of KISS. For over 40 years now KISS has been evolving their music, their look, and their stage show. To me, nothing beats those early years. Their music was darker and more seedy, their look was more basic, albeit scary. I wasn’t lucky enough to live through their ’70s heyday, but I relived them on my own through VHS bootlegs as a kid. Now, all that footage is on DVD box sets and of course, YouTube! You can see footage from the Roosevelt Stadium show below.

*Opening for KISS at Roosevelt Stadium was The J.Geils Band and Point Blank. It’s a heinous crime that at of the time of this post this show was somehow not included in the notable KISS concert list on Wikipedia. That is totally insane. Someone please fix this!

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The Sexy Armpit’s Guide To The Best KISS Songs You Should Download Part 2

Welcome back to The Sexy Armpit as we examine the BEST KISS songs from their entire discography. And now for Part 2:

One of the most thunderous Kiss albums is Love Gun. It blasts your speakers apart from the onset with “I Stole Your Love,” which is perhaps the most underrated Kiss song. Take an unfiltered listen and momentarily forget Gene’s Family Jewels, and the umpteen farewell tours. Just listen to it. LOUD! By the way, loud is the only way to listen to KISS, and this album is a prime example. Ace’s classic “Shock Me” is an awesome track although to me, it always seemed like it needed some Viagra or a red bull. It has a plodding beat and it never reaches the its full potential. Sorry Ace fans, you can praise it on YOUR blog! And here’s one from bizarro world, KISS covers “Then He Kissed Me” originally performed by The Crystals except they change it to “Then She Kissed Me.” Genius! lol. It’s definitely worth a listen. BEST TRACKS: I Stole Your Love, Got Love For Sale, Love Gun

KISS Alive II features more blistering live KISS tracks. Here you go Ace Frehley fans: BEST TRACK: Rocket Ride. As far as the Kiss solo albums go, I’m recommending that you go in with an open mind. So you’re not too disappointed, start out with Ace and Paul’s since those albums feature music more in tune with the KISS music you’re used to hearing. BEST TRACK OUT OF ALL THE SOLO ALBUMS: New York Groove

Disco Kiss? Most people would say YUCK! while others may vomit upon just hearing those words. DYNASTY actually has some outstanding KISS tracks. Disco or not you can’t deny a good song. BEST TRACKS: Magic Touch, Sure Know Something (sounds like you can use it when you make your amateur porno), I Was Made For Loving You

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I’ll be honest, Unmasked is a tough listen unless you’re a hardcore KISS fan. They pretty much went into a complete pop direction and it didn’t work out too well. BEST TRACK: What Makes the World Go Round
Music From The Elder may possibly be the most panned, disappointing KISS album ever. The music on this album was supposed to coincide with a screenplay but it was never released. At one point there were failed talks of a Broadway musical as well. After the shift in musical styles that were featured on the last couple of KISS albums, they became even more experimental on The Elder. I give them credit for trying to stretch out creatively, but The Elder was pretty strange and it didn’t satiate KISS fans. Kiss was known for making pop oriented hard rock and The Elder only had one or two tracks that resembled that on this album. BEST TRACK: The Oath
Around this time a “Best of Kiss” compilation called KILLERS was released as an import and featured 4 new KISS songs but none of them are worth mentioning.
Aside from their debut album, CREATURES OF THE NIGHT perfectly captures what KISS is about. Not only does it evoke the style they created 8 years earlier, but it also introduces one of the hardest hitting drummers of all time, Eric Carr as well as new KISS guitarist and songwriter Vinnie Vincent. The addition of Eric brought so much life to KISS. They became more of the fire breathing band of yore and less of a cliche. Even their concerts got louder and more explosive thanks to Eric’s tank drum kit. The KISS army felt proud: “Don’t Fuck with KISS, cause we‘ll blow you away!” The entire Creatures album is the most accessible and hard rocking Kiss album that still holds up by today’s hard rock standards. Creatures is a serious album which lacks Paul Stanley cheesy rap solos and Gene’s constant sexual euphemisms. It’s a combo of great writing and Eric Carr’s thunderous drumming that solidifies this album as easily THE BEST KISS ALBUM OF ALL TIME.Try listening from start to finish and I promise you’ll truly get wrapped up in this album. I tend to play this album a lot in the fall for several reasons. Some of the songs have an ominous tone almost as if this should’ve been the soundtrack to a horror film. Also, the album was originally released in the fall and it rocks a spooky looking cover. C’mon, that title track almost begs zombies to escape from their graves. You can even listen to the album’s only ballad “I Still Love You,“ without feeling like a chick! BEST TRACKS: EVERY F’N ONE OF THEM!

After it’s release in ’82, Creatures was looked at as a failure for some God awful reason. Lick It Up ushered in the era of KISS without makeup. There’s a slew of awesome, straight up “glam metal” on this album. It maintains the optimum style of KISS just like Creatures did. As I mentioned Gene’s performance in “Parasite” in Part 1, you’ll notice some echoes of that song in the music and Gene’s voice on Young and Wasted. Rick Derringer even guest stars on Exciter! BEST TRACKS: Exciter, A Million To One, Lick It Up, Young and Wasted
You Wanted The Best and You Got The Best…Part 3 of The Sexy Armpit’s Guide to the Best Kiss Songs is coming tomorrow!

The Sexy Armpit’s Guide To The BEST KISS Songs You Should Download Part 1

Welcome to Part 1 of The Sexy Armpit’s Guide to the BEST KISS songs. While “best Kiss songs” is an oxymoron to some naysayers out there, it IS the premise of this article because Kiss is one of the most iconic and influential rock bands in history. Out of the “long and distinguished” KISS catalog of music, how were these songs chosen? Well, I’ve painstakingly hand picked tracks from each album that I think have withstood the test of time. Is there any personal bias involved? Yes of course. You would think Gene Simmons paid me off to write this entry, but actually, I had to pay him. I’m wiring him the royalties right now. When I finish handing over my bank account to The Demon, I will present you with the BEST KISS tracks in the most fair manner possible.

BUT JAY, there’s not enough Ace and Peter, what’s the deal yo? OK, let me get this out of the way right now: We all know Ace had the best solo album, so I won’t list any tracks from the solo albums here. And I enjoy Peter’s work especially Getaway, Hooligan, and various others. The fact that I’m not gushing about their “underrated” contributions to the KISS albums is just a personal preference. Believe it or not, there’s too many Gene/Paul songs that generally went unnoticed. Trust me…when you’re done amassing your new Kiss collection you’ll be pretending you’re Paul Stanley in front of your mirror pouting your lips and fluffing your hair. Step aside Starchild, it’s time for the countdown…

KISS’ self titled debut from 1974 captures the essence of the band the way they were originally intended. It’s sort of like the first installment of Nightmare on Elm Street, although it didn’t make nearly as much of an impact. 34 years later I can proudly say that you should buy, download, or borrow this album because it will seduce you into the world of KISS. When people hear the band for the first time they are often surprised at some of the melodies, sing along choruses, and hooks. The first album features a lot of that, but also some plain old grungy New York Rock and Roll. Some of the greatest KISS songs of all time are on this album. BEST TRACKS: Deuce, Strutter, Black Diamond

The same year KISS followed up their hard rocking debut with Hotter than Hell. If there was such a thing as “alternative” music in 1974 this album would be considered just that. The music on this album is dark and grungy while still keeping that rock star flair. If you know Gene Simmons from his Family Jewels reality show, you would barely recognize him from listening to him sing on Parasite. This guy sounds so guttural it’s like he’s a crooning werewolf. It’s awesome. Sure, maybe he doesn’t have the greatest “singing” voice, but he’s got a great ROCK voice. He makes you feel the music. Trust me, there are much worse singers out there. The truth is, his voice matches their type of music. It went well with their hard driving, sexual tunes. Paul’s voice went better with the fluffier, pop geared tracks. BEST TRACKS: Hotter Than Hell, Parasite, Got To Choose

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1975’s Dressed to Kill features one of the most offbeat Kiss album covers. After seeing the band flaunt their out of this world costumes on the cover of Hotter Than Hell, here the band is dressed up in suits and standing on a street corner. Dressed to Kill presents Kiss in a much bigger light. It shows a bit of a departure as they seem to go for a trumped up rock star sound. Maybe the album doesn’t have the most thought provoking lyrics, but hey…it’s KISS: “She’s a dancer, a romancer, I’m a Capricorn and she’s a Cancer” need I say more? Personally I love the euphemistic language on “Room Service.” Paul Stanley even helped Anthrax cover “Love Her All I Can.” You also might try to dig up Sebastian Bach’s cover of “Rock Bottom.” BEST TRACKS: Ladies in Waiting, Rock and Roll All Nite (c’mon, it’s a classic!)

Even though KISS ALIVE! was the album that really put them over the top popularity wise, I’m going to skip it since there’s no new material on the album. Although it’s a must have if you’re a fan of live music.
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Destroyer, (1976) showed that KISS could truly create fine pop oriented rock songs. There’s plenty of upbeat, hard driving music on this album which was produced by the late Bob Ezrin. ***(BOB EZRIN is not dead, he let me know that in the comments. Sorry Bob! I confused you with Bruce Fairbairn) With Destroyer, Kiss was solidified as larger than life superheroes. This album also introduced a couple of KISS concert mainstays. BEST TRACKS: Detroit Rock City, King of the Night Time World, God of Thunder, Beth
Also in 1976, Rock and Roll Over, contains the most genius lyric in any song ever created at the start of “Take Me.” We hear Paul Stanley commanding a girl (hopefully) “Put your hand in my pocket, grab onto my rocket.” If I could write stuff like that I wouldn’t be on blogger blogging…I’d be a gazillionaire rock star. BEST TRACKS: Calling Dr. Love, and Mr. Speed (which could easily be covered by Big and Rich or Toby Keith nowadays.)
Come back to The Sexy Armpit tomorrow for the next installment of our Guide to The Best Kiss Songs!