Today marks the sixth time I’ve owned the album.
Three times on vinyl in the 1970s, once on cassette, once on CD and coming full circle in the year 2012 with this new remastered edition on vinyl.
Destroyer is over 35 years old, but my earliest memories of hearing its tracks for the first time at the flaming youth of 7 will never be forgotten.
Todd Destroyer, Age 7
KISS Destroyer had been around for a couple years before I got my hands on it, and I know I was hardly alone in my late blooming fandom. 1978 was the height of mania around the band, cumulating in a penultimate cash-cow audience–kids introduced to the group in the form of action figures, comic books and, oddly enough, a Hanna-Barbera produced made for television movie called KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park.
We would stare at that album cover (designed by legendary illustrator Ken Kelly) and imagine this song was the soundtrack to the burning rubble and smoldering city in flames. While Ace, Peter and Chris wore sensible glam-rock platform boots, Gene’s demonic flats seemed to be an extension of his terrifying persona. It was the perfect combination of horror and fascination.
Songs like Flaming Youth, Great Expectations and King of the Night Time World were just pop-glam perfection. These were the songs that really got you jumping from your parents’ credenza onto a “house” of sofa cushions. By the end of side one, we were ready for a hard snack break. Fortunately, my friend and I had riders in our contract that required a plentiful supply of Tang and Nutter Butters.
Side Two of the album gave way to songs with themes and motifs brave enough for any naive 7 year old–the sex craving groupies of Do You Love Me?, the fight for your right to party (years before the Beastie Boys) with Shout it Out Loud and of course the dilemma of balancing your band with your woman in Beth.
I mean, my babysitter liked that song.
Yet, she was in the KISS Army, and had that one up on me. Some day they would make a movie about her childhood with that kid from T2 and nobody would see it.
Listening to the album now doesn’t just rekindle old memories.
I actually think it holds up, capturing that moment in Rock when the music took a back-seat to alter-egos and merchandising. Not a lot has changed in the music industry, and surprisingly KISS still kind of hung in there through the years.
I stand by my belief that this is their best album, having nowhere near the expertise to make such a statement.
DESTROYER RESURRECTED by KISS is available now on Vinyl, CD and Digital Download.