Spin the Bottle
A Tribute to Kiss
As a Kiss fan, but not a fanatic, I enjoy this tribute album. Generally, there are two approaches to tributes: the extremely faithful to the original and the completely different interpretations. Fittingly, with many of the performers being alumni of hair bands from the ‘70’s and ‘80’s, most of the tracks are faithful renditions. As a whole, this is a tribute album that most Kiss fans would want to pick up, I think, especially with the long list of contributors whose musical pedigrees range from Styx and Vanilla Fudge to Twisted Sister and Cinderella to Testament and The Melvins.
The high points include the opening “Detroit Rock City” by the ubiquitous Dee Snider (I swear, I see and hear him more now than when Twisted Sister was putting out records), “King of the Night Time World” by WWE wrestler and part-time rock vocalist (Fozzy) Chris Jericho and a surprisingly gravel-voiced Mark Slaughter on “Cold Gin.”
The let-downs include Tommy Shaw singing “Love Gun” as if it were a Styx song and “I Want You” – Kip Winger just doesn’t really seem to click with the song. Granted, neither of those are my favorite Kiss songs, so it isn’t much of a loss to me.
My two favorite songs are “Shout it Out Loud,” with Lemmy on bass and vocals, backed by Jennifer Batten on guitar and Samantha Maloney on drums and “I Stole Your Love,” with Robin McAuley on vocals. The oddity of the “Shout it Out Loud” combination is how effectively it works. Lemmy remains Lemmy, growling out the Destroyer-era lyrics as if they were in a Motorhead song, and the ladies ably back him up, producing one of the truly unique covers on the album. The high point of “I Stole Your Love” rests completely in McAuley’s vocals. He starts the song off as a traditional Kiss version, but proceeds to hit notes that Paul Stanley couldn’t dream of hitting. If nothing else comes of this album, maybe some listeners will seek out some of his MSG work. The stale C.C. DeVille guitar solo in the middle only marginally takes away from the enjoyment of the song.
In the end, you have to ask yourself if you want to give Gene and Paul any more of your hard earned money for yet another version of music you probably already own. Nothing on this album screams, “OH MY GOD! YOU MUST BUY THIS IMMEDIATELY!” for a fan of any of the individual contributors. None of these tracks even come close to my personal favorite Kiss covers from Skid Row (“Come On And Love Me”), Anthrax (“Parasite”) and Pantera (“Cold Gin”). But, there are enough high points for a Kiss fan to get some enjoyment out of it. My advance copy did not come with the behind-the-scenes DVD that retail versions include. That alone may be enough to sway some potential buyers. If you are a Kiss completist, go ahead and buy it blind. If you are a fan of several of the artists who contribute to the album, feel free to pick it up. But if there are only one or two song/artist combinations that sound interesting to you, it’s probably not worth your investment.