Revenge (Kiss album)
|Studio album by|
|Released||May 19, 1992|
|Recorded||February 1991 – March 1992|
|Singles from Revenge|
Revenge is the sixteenth studio album by American rock band Kiss, released on May 19, 1992. It is the band's first album to feature current drummer Eric Singer, following the death of former drummer Eric Carr in November 1991, and is the group's last album to feature musical contributions from Carr. Marking a stylistic departure from the pop-influenced glam metal sound which characterized much of the band's 1980s output, the album reached the Top 20 in several countries, though it failed to reestablish the group back in the mainstream and its sales were equal-to or less-than its predecessors, ultimately only being certified gold by the RIAA on July 20, 1992.
The album was dedicated to Carr, and the closing track, "Carr Jam 1981," is a demo the drummer had recorded soon after joining the group in 1980. One modification to the song was the dubbing of Bruce Kulick's guitar over Ace Frehley's original work. The main riff of the song was used as the basis for the Frehley's Comet song "Breakout", from the 1987 album Frehley's Comet.
In February 1991, Kiss was asked by the producers of the film Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey to record the song "God Gave Rock 'n Roll to You II", (a remake of the song "God Gave Rock 'n Roll to You" by the English rock band Argent) which would be produced by Bob Ezrin. The band agreed and reunited with Ezrin after 10 years and the debacle they had with Music from "The Elder". Gene Simmons was not sure it was the right move, "especially after the bad experience of The Elder". Simmons, Ezrin and Paul Stanley rewrote the song, which they recorded with both Eric Carr and Eric Singer, with Singer playing the drums while Carr (who was not able to play the drums due to health problems) sang the a cappella line "...to everyone, he gave his song to be sung." The song was featured in the sequel Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey with a 40-second-long Steve Vai solo instead of the Kiss intro found on the album. It was a major success, breaking the Top 30 in seven countries, including United States (on Mainstream Rock Tracks), United Kingdom and Australia. It was good enough for the band to continue with Ezrin on a Hot in the Shade follow-up.
Carr went to the hospital and was diagnosed with heart cancer. He underwent open-heart surgery in April 1991 to remove tumors. Shortly after the surgery, Carr joined the band to perform in the "God Gave Rock 'N' Roll to You II" music video. According to Simmons, Carr had lost all his hair due to chemotherapy and had to wear a wig for the shoot. After the shoot, Paul and Gene persuaded Carr to take care of his health and not worry about the band. Kiss's original plan was for Singer to play drums with the band until Carr was healthy enough to return. However, Carr's health continued to decline—and he died in November 1991. Kiss officially hired Singer to replace Carr.
In December 1991, Kiss and Ezrin returned to the studio to work on a new album. In a surprising move, they sought help from former guitarist Vinnie Vincent. According to Simmons, "Vinnie Vincent came up to me and apologized for causing the band all the grief while he was a member. He wanted to patch things up and wondered if I would consider writing some songs with him. 'Sure,' I said. I wanted to let bygones be bygones. I called Paul and told him that Vinnie had apparently changed. Paul wrote songs with him as well. But before the album was released, Vinnie was up to his old tricks again. He reneged on a signed deal we had made and decided that he wanted to renegotiate. He eventually sued us and lost. As far as I was concerned, he was persona non grata forever."
Stanley wrote a song, "Do Ya Wanna Touch Me Now," with Dave "The Snake" Sabo of Skid Row. Stanley said about the exclusion of the song from the album: "It's a great luxury to have an album that's so good that another song is only going to detract from it rather than make it any better. As good as the song is, we didn't need it." The two met when Stanley was on the phone with Nikki Sixx, who had Sabo on the other line. They later discussed Stanley's possible appearance for Skid Row's recording of Kiss's song "C'mon and Love Me" for an-all covers EP B-Side Ourselves. That was never made, so the two wrote a song in L.A.. Stanley also worked with Jani Lane of Warrant on a song, "If You Could See Through My Eyes." The collaboration started before the recording sessions for "God Gave Rock 'N' Roll to You II", and during the recording sessions for Warrant's most successful album Cherry Pie. Stanley also penned "Take It Off" with Kane Roberts (formerly of Alice Cooper), which was featured heavily during the tour for the "Revenge" album.
Simmons went to work with Bob Dylan. The music was written at Simmons's guesthouse, and while Simmons was to write the lyrics to the song, he thought they were not completed and asked Dylan to write them. Dylan insisted that Simmons write the lyrics. Simmons explained the meeting with Dylan: "I wanted to write a song with Dylan. So, like most things I do, I bullheadedly picked up the phone, tracked down his manager, and said, 'Hi, I'm that guy who sticks his tongue out, and I wanna write a song with Dylan,' or words to that effect. The results could only be 'yes' and 'no.' Dylan said yes. He came over to my house a few years back, and we sat down and started throwing ideas around. Bob came up with a melody/chordal pattern... I chimed in with a melody/chorus idea and voila, we had a song. Lyrics weren't written as yet. I demoed the track with Tommy Thayer. Bob came down to visit and listen. When the demo was done, I asked Bob to write the lyric. He said no, why don't I write it. I have tried to write a meaningful lyric, but it has eluded me. I've bumped into Bob a few times... in Tokyo, while he was on tour, and every time I ask him to write the lyric, and he always says, 'Mr. KISS, you write it.' The song, originally titled "Laughing When I Want to Cry," was later renamed to "Waiting for the Morning Light" and released on Simmons's second studio album Asshole.
The recording of the album was finished in March 1992. Additional personnel include Dick Wagner of Alice Cooper band on guitar solo on "Every Time I Look at You" (Wagner had previously performed as a ghost player on Destroyer), Kevin Valentine on drums on "Take It Off" (Valentine later performed drums as a ghost player on Psycho Circus), Jesse Damon, Tommy Thayer, and Jaime St. James on backing vocals (Thayer later became the lead guitarist for the band, replacing Ace Frehley in 2002 after Frehley left the band after rejoining Stanley, Simmons and original drummer Peter Criss in 1996 for the Reunion Tour). The songs "God Gave Rock 'N' Roll to You II" and "Carr Jam 1981" were not planned to be featured on the album, but after the death of Eric Carr, the two were included, and the album was dedicated to Carr. During the Kissology Volume Two: 1978-1991 special aired on VH1 Classic, Simmons stated the importance of the song "God Gave Rock 'N' Roll to You II": "It's not just a cover song for a soundtrack, but a testament to Eric Carr, and I think a lot of people don't realize that."
The first single released from the album was "God Gave Rock 'N' Roll to You II", which was a big hit in the UK and Switzerland, reaching #4. It peaked at #21 on the US Mainstream Rock Tracks Chart and #18 on the Australian Singles Charts. "Domino" was the next single from the album, peaking at #26 on the US Mainstream Rock Tracks Chart. The third was "I Just Wanna", which peaked at #34 on the US Mainstream Rock Tracks Chart. The last single was "Every Time I Look at You", charted only in Sweden, reaching #31. "Unholy" was promotionly released in the USA, but it was released as second single in other countries. It reached Top 30 in five countries: United Kingdom and Germany, where it reached #26; Netherlands, where it reached #28; Sweden, where the song reached #19 and Norway, where "Unholy" reached its highest, #2. Music videos were made for each single, with Revenge being the Kiss album with the most produced music videos.
"God Gave Rock 'N' Roll to You II" and "Unholy" have remained regular Kiss live staples. The songs "Domino" and "Take It Off" were also performed during the Revenge Tour and Kiss My Ass Tour. "I Just Wanna" was only performed during the Revenge Tour, while "Every Time I Look at You" and "Spit" were, along with "Domino", performed during the MTV Unplugged show.
The album received mixed reviews. John Franck of Allmusic said: "Some of the cuts are excellent, delivered with conviction and panache, but for all the hype, the album is also tainted with filler." He gave the album three out of five stars saying that Ezrin made Kiss sound "fresh again". Rolling Stone's review was harsh, giving the album one out of five stars.
Erik Rupp of Vista Records gave the album 4.5 stars out of 5, saying: "Sonically, Revenge is outstanding as well. The drums are mixed just right—not too big and boomy, but big enough to sound right with these songs. The snare drum has a snap to it to go along with the depth and presence that gives each song a firecracker-like energy. The guitar tones are not super distorted, and they aren't as up front in the mix as on an album like, say, Asylum, but when the complementary rhythm parts are played together they sound big and bold anyway. They cut through. And the bass sounds both fuller and punchier than on any previous Kiss album."
Revenge debuted at number 6 on the Billboard 200 and was the band's first Top 10 album in the United States since 1979's Dynasty. The album reached the Top 10 in Australia (number 5), United Kingdom and Sweden (number 10), Switzerland (number 6), and Norway (number 4). Despite the high debut, the album quickly fell off the charts, but sold enough for gold certificate in the United States and Canada. As of February 12, 2007, the album has sold over 596,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen Soundscan.
|1.||"Unholy"||Gene Simmons, Vinnie Vincent||Simmons||3:40|
|2.||"Take It Off"||Paul Stanley, Bob Ezrin, Kane Roberts||Stanley||4:50|
|3.||"Tough Love"||Stanley, Bruce Kulick, Ezrin||Stanley||3:44|
|4.||"Spit"||Simmons, Scott Van Zen, Stanley||Simmons, Stanley||3:32|
|5.||"God Gave Rock 'n' Roll to You II"||Russ Ballard, Stanley, Simmons, Ezrin||Stanley, Simmons||5:18|
|7.||"Heart of Chrome"||Stanley, Vincent, Ezrin||Stanley||4:02|
|8.||"Thou Shalt Not"||Simmons, Jesse Damon||Simmons||3:59|
|9.||"Every Time I Look at You"||Stanley, Ezrin||Stanley||4:38|
|11.||"I Just Wanna"||Stanley, Vincent||Stanley||4:07|
|12.||"Carr Jam 1981"||Eric Carr||(instrumental)||2:46|
|Australia ARIA Album Chart||5|
|Austrian Albums Chart||14|
|European Albums Chart||25|
|Finnish Albums Chart||15|
|Germany Top 100 Albums||16|
|Hungarian Albums Chart||27|
|Japanese Albums Chart||14|
|Netherlands Mega Album Top 100||46|
|Sweden Albums Top 60||10|
|Switzerland Albums Top 100||6|
|UK Albums Chart||10|
|US Billboard 200||6|
|US Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks||21|
|Australia ARIA Singles Chart||18|
|Switzerland Singles Top 100||4|
|UK Singles Chart||4|
|Germany Top 100 Singles||9|
|Sweden Singles Top 60||24|
|Ö3 Austria Top 40||16|
|UK Singles Chart||26|
|Sweden Singles Top 60||19|
|Dutch Top 40||28|
|Germany Top 100 Singles||26|
|US Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks||26|
|US Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks||34|
|Sweden Singles Top 60||31|
|Canada (Music Canada)||Gold||50,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||500,000^|
^shipments figures based on certification alone
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