SOUNDTRACK: KISS-Alive III (1993).
Kiss put out Alive! after just three albums. Alive II also came out after three albums. Alive III has 14 albums between it and Alive II (if you count the solo albums as 4). I guess poor sales and poorly attended concerts don’t really suggest live albums. But Revenge revitalized them somewhat so it was time for a new one–their first with no makeup! And it’s a pretty good one.
But it’s also like Kiss has forgotten all about being Kiss. There’s no “You wanted the best, you got the best, the hottest band in the world…Kiss” (which would have been untrue at the time anyhow, but since when has that stopped Kiss?) The tracklisting is pretty darn good though. For Alive II, the band didn’t want to repeat any tracks from Alive! (that’s such an endearing thing to say about the band with 400 repackaged hits records). Since there are tons of records since Alive II, you’d assume Alive III was all 80s songs. But that’s not the case. There are a few inevitable duplicates (how could there not be–all their biggest hits were from the 70s), but I’m surprised they didn’t throw more current stuff on the disc.
It opens with “Creatures of the Night” a great heavy version. Then they go way back to “Deuce” which is a cool surprise. Since this was the tour for Revenge, you’d think there might be more songs from it, but there’s only three: “I Just Wanna” “Unholy” and “Domino.” “I Just Wanna” was perfectly crafted for Paul to banter with the audience and get them to sing “I just wanna fuck” (which was edited from the album I understand). And in this live setting “Unholy” sounds great.
“Heaven’s on Fire” works well live, even if I don’t really like the song–but the band can really ham it up here. The big surprise has got to be “Watching You,” a totally unexpected song form the past. And even if it was on Alive!, this version is quite different (no Peter Criss cowbell). I don’t think much of “Domino” anyhow (well, the music is great but the lyrics, ick), but in this version Gene just seems kind of bored.
Another surprise comes in “I Was Made for Lovin’ You” true it’s one of Kiss; biggest hits but they often try to distance themselves from the “disco” era. Nevertheless this version sounds revitalized. And since there were no live albums in the 80s, there’s no official live recordings of it. “I Still Love You” is another great chance for Paul to shine. “I Love It Loud” sounds great (although the harmonies get a little sketchy at times. But it’s weird to hear “Rock N Roll All Nite” in the middle of the set instead of at the end. It’s also odd to start off this song with “It ain’t bullshit when you say rock and roll all nite and party every day.” The intro to “Detroit Rock City” is also very strange “It doesn’t matter where you’re born ,it doesn’t matter where you come from, it matters where your head is at. This one;s called Detroit Rock City.” Huh.
There’s not much you can do with a dreadful song like “Lick It Up,” and ad-libbing “I wanna lick you” doesn’t make it any better. The disc ends with “God Gave Rock n Roll to You II,” which I don’t like, but which sounds good live, a lot of energy. And it wraps up with a very odd thing–a guitar solo version of the Star Spangled Banner. It doesn’t compare to Alive! or Alive II, but Alive III is a good live album from a good live band.
[READ: August 15, 2012] “From the Pencil Zone”
This is a review of the microscripts of Robert Walser, an author whom I have never heard of. Walser was born in Switzerland in 1878 and he published several shorts and several novels (which were admired by Kafka!).
As the market for shorts dried up, so did his career, and he moved into smaller and smaller places. Accordingly, his handwriting grew smaller and smaller, too. Eventually he cheeked himself into a series of mental institutions.
Walser’s early novels dealt with everyday life, like the “young boyish man” who wants to become a bookshop proprietor in The Tanners. The character (whose name we don’t learn for a long time) is effusive, praising the job to the heavens as a divine calling! And lo he is given the job. A week later he declares, “the entire book trade is nothing less than ghastly.” Wasler himself had a multifaceted career: butler, inventor’s assistant, clerk, journalist. But he was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia and is responsible for this quotable quote: “I’m not here to write. I’m here to be mad.”
After Walser died, people discovered a treasure trove of 526 pages of “microscripts.” The writing was so small that these 526 pages, when written in book form came to six VOLUMES of books. They were released as Aus dem Bleistifsebiet (From the Pencil Zone). Galchen’s review here is for the short one volume New Directions collection called Robert Walser: Microscripts. Interestingly, most of the stories have no title and some seem unfinished. New Directions (and Harper’s) include images of this man’s microscopic writings (all done in pencil of course). He wrote in Kurrent, a widely used script at the time which was a version of medieval shorthand and which dramatically reduced the number of strokes per character. His letters were often one or two millimeters tall. He was able to fit six stories on a postcard received from a newspaper editor. (more…)
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