Friday Night Concert: Kiss In The Makeup Years

Travel back in time with us to the pre-cable and VCR days when rock bands could only ever be briefly glimpsed on TV late on Friday nights, and if you were lucky, you might get to see a full show. Every week, I will be posting the kind of show that would have made me excited to stay up past 11, at some time between 1976 and 1984. So have a cup of coffee, eat some sugar, connect the audio output of your TV to your hi-fi system and play this Youtube video LOUD!

There may not have been much music on television during my childhood in the seventies, but any time it WAS on, Kiss was as likely as anybody to be a part of it.  They took the visual medium seriously, quite early on. The top posted clip is their first appearance on American TV in 1974, opening with a song that addresses the topic, “How do I convince my girlfriend to try it in the butt?” The visuals include a cutaway to what I believe is a still photograph of fireworks going off. Let it be said that they made the most of both a low-budget situation and a high-budget one in those days.

The final clip contains what may be the only live performances of songs from Music From: The Elder, concerning a Boy who has mystical powers to defeat evil, and does. If Kiss’ themes evolved through these years, their method of playing rock music while dressed in makeup remained consistent. That is, until they took the makeup off and began the Post-Makeup Era, during which many fans felt the magic diminish, as if we were little Jackie Papers making way for other toys, and that rascal Puff was going to do his fire-breathing tricks to himself in his lonesome dragon cave, forever.

I was clearly their target audience as I ate this stuff up for years, and still do. Here are a few televised clips from throughout their career that, watched sequentially, should make up a good couple hours of programming for your Friday night concert.

Kiss content can be seen at 25:38, at 41:26. Billy Barty and Betty White content is not indexed.

About Bob Lee

World-class drummer and writer. Bob Lee started interviewing bands while working in college radio and later contributed to various publications including early issues of Ben is Dead. As a drummer and singer, he has toured and recorded with bands such as Claw Hammer, Jon Wahl & The Amadans, Mike Watt and the Black Gang, Backbiter, Crawlspace, Hot Damn and Fearless Leader. He is the quiet, sneaky one of the band. When writing, Bob’s credo is, “All we have is the truth.”

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