Song Writing

Take It Off: KISS Truly Unmasked - An Excerpt

by Greg Prato

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While the majority of KISS books are focused on the iconic makeup era, the non-makeup years (which saw the band reestablish themselves in arenas, on the charts, and via MTV, and yielded some of their most popular songs) are ripe to be explored in book form. And a book by little old me, Take It Off: KISS Truly Unmasked does just that.

The book zeroes in on the 12 albums KISS issued during this period - including such gold-and platinum-certified hits as Lick It Up, Animalize, Crazy Nights, and Revenge - as well as the resulting tours, videos, and other escapades. One section of the book features the band's guitarist from 1985-1996, Bruce Kulick, giving his thoughts on all of the quartet's non-makeup era's MTV videos. Here, are the 10 most memorable clips of the Bruce era.
Tears Are Falling (1985)
In which Bruce plays the solo in what appears to be a rainstorm.

I have to admit, I really thought that was good. I loved that I had a very clever way of being featured, and I really felt like much more of a real member of the band, by that happening. So, I liked it.

Uh! All Night (1985)
It could only have happened in the '80s (part I).

All of the Asylum videos I enjoyed, and I thought they were well done. I think we went to England for that one. I liked it. I thought no matter how flamboyant the band might have been, we were cool. They were definitely representative of the Asylum era, and I thought they were colorful and entertaining - totally.

Crazy Crazy Nights (1987)
KISS mime and strut their stuff ... before Paul walks on hands.

That was exciting. I had my 'radioactive' BC Rich. We were introducing a new stage.

Reason To Live (1987)
In which Bruce can be spotted playing keyboards, and Paul's female friend seeks revenge.

Another good live video - US-made, though, as opposed to the British ones we were talking about. We wanted to make it a little more credible - like the way Van Halen did "Jump."

Let's Put The X In Sex (1988)
It could only have happened in the '80s (part II).

"X In Sex" was interesting - with all the models and using a building down in the Wall Street area that, architecturally, had an X in it. I will say that the person that did it probably was too much of a fashion video director for my taste - but that's what Paul was looking for.

Forever (1990)
One of KISS's most tasteful clips of the non-makeup era.

I'm not in it enough, but I do really like it. OK, the camera can turn around one more time over here... hey, it's me playing the solo. Hello! I think the vibe that it puts you in was very pleasant. That song is still super-important.

Rise To It (1990)
Featuring Gene and Paul back in makeup at the start, and with just the back of Bruce and Eric's noggins shown.

They realized that it was too awkward to do anything other than have Eric and me as we're there, but we're not in any kind of character or doing anything. It was up to them to do their thing. I know [then-KISS manager] Larry Mazer was involved in choosing that. I don't know if it was the right thing to do or not, but that was what they were thinking.

God Gave Rock And Roll To You II (1991)
Eric Carr's final music video with KISS.

I certainly was glad that Eric did that, and that he was included. It really meant a lot to him [Eric was battling cancer at the time, and would pass away just a few months after this video was shot]. He had more energy than me - quite honestly. I think the video is good - stomping around on the wet floor.

What a terrific song. And maybe even more could have been done, but it's a great track. I don't think you can ruin it in any way - no matter what you do.

Unholy (1992)
Very creative, I thought - to set the mood for something dark and crazy. It's a good video. I look real intense in there, and I'm really a puddycat. [Laughs] I guess that's movie magic right there.

Rock And Roll All Nite (Unplugged, 1996)
A seated/acoustic rendition of KISS's top arena anthem.

Really, one of the last things I did with the band, if you think about it. I was very happy with it.

November 1, 2019

Here is the ordering info for Take It Off: KISS Truly Unmasked.

Further reading:
Gene Simmons interview
Paul Stanley interview
Ace Frehley interview
Richie Wise (Kiss producer, Dust) interview
KISS: Fact or Fiction
KISS Songfacts
Director Paul Rachman interview

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