Kiss: Gene Simmons (bass instrument); Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley, Peter Criss.
Personnel: Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley (vocals, guitar); Peter Criss (vocals, drums); Gene Simmon, Gene Simmons (vocals); Bruce Foster (piano).
Additional personnel: Bobby McAdams (hand claps); Bruce Foster.
Audio Remasterer: Joseph M. Palmaccio.
Liner Note Author: Robert V. Conte.
Recording information: Bell Sound Studios, New York, NY (10/1973).
Photographer: Joel Brodsky.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Richie Wise; Eddie Solan.
Kiss' penchant for make-up was inspired by their downtown New York neighbors the New York Dolls and by Alice Cooper, who was on top of the glam-rock world when Kiss' self-titled debut came out in 1974. Rather than dress in drag as the Dolls did, Kiss fashioned their look on a mix of sci-fi and horror films, and the rock & roll of their youth. They fashioned their music on willful hard-rock arrogance. Several songs on KISS became staples in the group's catalog. "Strutter," about a beautiful woman with a confident swagger, mirrored the attitude of the band, and it contained the first of many incendiary Ace Frehley solos.
The album also contains "Cold Gin," Ace's signature song; "Deuce," with its quintessential sexual posturing and fiery soloing; and "Black Diamond," Paul Stanley's epic tribute to a streetwalker with a hardscrabble life. Kiss' hunger to succeed resulted in some interesting recording choices, such as transforming teen idol Bobby Rydell's "Kissin' Time" into a stomper with singalong choruses typical of early-'70s pop. There's even an instrumental, "Love Theme From Kiss," a showcase for the quartet's musical synchronicity. It was the beginning of a long and influential career.