I don’t like Kiss. Never have. Never will. But I did like at least one song, “Lick It Up.” Notice the past tense; “did like.” In 1983, this song seemed catchy, with a good pop-metal hook. Now it seems insipid.
The video, though, is hysterical. In the early 80’s, the video was kind of cool and had a tough-guy rock vibe. Now it’s comic genius. When the band walks down the street singing and flexing, why are there human skills on the ground? The band had “unmasked” several years before this. Their make up and costumes was replaced with huge hair, tight jeans, ripped t-shirts, belts, bandanas and all the other trappings of hair bands. They look like Flock of Seagulls meets New Jersey housewives.
Vinnie Vincent, Ace Frahley’s replacement on ax, is in all his gender-bending glory, with his pink guitar and soft feminine features accented with more blush, mascara and eyeliner than you could find at an Avon party. I remember thinking, “Dang, he looks like a girl.” And he did.
Why are they guys drinking out of plastic gas cannisters? At one point, one of the savage girls and later a guy on the band look like they are drinking out of a mustard squirt bottle. Crimped-haired dolls feed the band like they are starved savages.
Not surprisingly, the video more or less ends with the band “performing” on a stage beset with fire. The whole set looks so post-apocalyptic.
Paul Stanley couldn’t be bothered to actually play the guitar he’s holding. He’s too busy swinging an thrusting his pick hand in the air. Ditch the guitar Paul. It’s an instrument, not a prop.
No Kiss experience would be complete without having to see Gene Simmons’ slithery snake-tongue. Sadly, I think Gene has always believed that is sexy to see.
And just what are we supposed to “lick up”? What is the “it”? They don’t really tell us. But we do know that “it’s only right now”. If you take anything away from this masterpiece — and my ramblings about it — remember this: “it ain’t a crime to be good to yourself.”