Early Career: Kiss [Music History]

I find early careers of bands that later became big and filled arenas and stadiums very exciting. It’s fascinating to discover how amateurish they were or surprisingly professional even from the start. I would call it Music Archeology, where all of a sudden new details appear or rather been dug up by passionate fans to fill in the gaps of a bands earlier years.

Most people that are casual Kiss fans think that their classic appearance as guests on Dick Clark’s IN CONCERT!” is the first one filmed (see it further down on this page), although it’s the first one televised there are earlier one’s filmed as you see here down below.

My main inspiration and favourite podcaster when it comes to details and finding out what is what in “Kiss Archeology” is Alex Bergdahl the man behind the Swedish speaking podcast Alex Room Service. If I have a shitty day, I just listen to one of his episodes where he digs into a topic and get inspired.

Please notice that what I’ll present down below is early material when they had taken the name Kiss. The band before, Wicked Lester will probably be a later chapter.

VIDEO

(1973-12-21 Coventry Queens, NY, US) The earliest one filmed, is a part of a live set from Coventry Queens, New York on the evening, the 21st of December 1973. This is almost 9 minutes. But the first complete set is from the night after, 22nd of December at the same location.

(1973-12-21 Coventry Queens, NY, US) This is the first filmed complete set we know exists so far (I still have hope for Daisy footage in June 1973). It’s just amazing to see their homemade costumes and how they manage to not break their legs in this high plateau boots, is beyond me.

Information is from the uploader on YouTube:
As an article in Creem succinctly stated: “Now, Coventry features the Brats, KISS, and Teenage Lust off and on, with a string of mediocre Queens bands on the off-nights.” This December 1973 article by Dave Marsh provided an excellent view of the then current glitter scene in New York City. He was somewhat more mixed in describing the band: “This group looks as if it just stepped out of the underground movie Pink Flamingos, leading me to believe that I was right all along in thinking that the glitter craze was an ugliness contest. But KISS’ music sounds as if it is the most thought-out, controlled sound around, and the stage show is just as professional” (Creem, 12/73). – While this show was also videoed, like the 12/22 gig, only 7:22 worth of two songs has survived on the tape; these have yet to be released (yikes). A few frames of the overwritten tape show the unmasked band rehearsing (“Into the Vault by Jeff Suhs), though not enough to provide a moving image. – Guitarist, Ron Blanchard, had been a member of the Brats in early 1973 but left to form Rags with vocalist Joe St. John, Joe Valentine (guitars), Steve Fraser (bass), and Don De La Pena (drums).

Set List:
-Deuce
-Cold Gin
-Nothin’ to Lose
-Strutter
-Firehouse
-Let Me Know
-100.000 Years
-Black Diamond
-Let Me Go, Rock ‘N’ Roll

AUDIO:

(1973-06-16) Daisy, Amityville, NY, US) When this one came out in the end of 2013 I went bananas. I listened to it over, and over, and over again. This is simply amazing and the band I see before me is something completely different than what they turned out to be.

Information is from the uploader on YouTube:
This is one of the earliest possible audio recording of a KISS concert! This is KISS as raw as you could get! Until now only Acrobat was available from the show, but the full show, 2 sets, appeared in the bootleg scene in the end of the 2013! The show is a bit different from what a KISS show eventually would become a year later.

What is most prominent is Gene completely overdoing it in some songs, he probably was just too exited to play. Peter introduces 1/2 songs, doing what i think better than Paul did over the years, especially Peter screaming “Let’s take this place down!” when they go into “Firehouse”. Gene also introduces a song but uses that mostly to promote so people can get on their mailing list. But what has to be the most special about this gig is that they played a song from their Wicked Days, Simple Type, even though Gene was a bit too exited in his vocal parts. Also interesting is the band doing a very early KISS song that pretty much got dropped/forgotten completely (KISS played it by request on KISS Kruise II in 2012!) called “Life In The Woods”, even fans were allowed to sing along on the stage as you can hear! Set two only holds a few songs and is in poorer quality.

All the songs have been upgraded, a more clearer crisp sound, the most of the prominent hizzing noise has been removed as well and a small amount of bass has been added.

*The pictures used in the video are not from the Daisy June gig but from the Daisy gig in April of 1973! At that show, pretty much nobody showed up.*

Location: Amityville, NY Venue: The Daisy
No Opening Act
Promoter: In-house
Attendance: Unknown

Setlist:
1.Nothin’ To Lose
2.Firehouse
3.Life In The Woods
4.Simple Type
5.Acrobat
6.Deuce
7.100,000 Years
8.Black Diamond

Set 2:
1.Strutter
2.Watchin’ You
3.Let Me Know (rest is not available)

REHEARSAL

(1973-05 Rehearsal, The Loft, NY, US) Unfortunatly the vocals are extremely far back in the mix, but the guitar sound on these is just awesome. Raw and dirty, just as I like it. This version of “Strutter” is really cool to hear.

Information is from the uploader on YouTube:
Rare recording of Kiss rehearsing at their New York City loft (10 East 23rd Street) in May 1973. I cannot vouch 100% for the authenticity of this recording, but to my ears it sounds like the real deal. And if it’s not then, hey, at least you didn’t have to pay to hear it!

At the time this recording was supposedly made, Kiss had already performed their first handful of shows and were still taking up residence in local New York clubs (at least one reference to the Daisy (a club in Amityville) can be heard on this tape). They had not yet been signed to a record contract.

Setlist:
-Soundcheck
-Strutter
-Firehouse
-Watchin’ You
-Let Me Know
-Life in the Woods (false start)
-Life in the Woods
-Acrobat

FIRST TIME ON TV

KISS performs for the first time on national television on February 21st, 1974, as guests on Dick Clark’s In Concert. They performed four song, but only three song, Nothin’ To Lose, Firehouse & Black Diamond was televised. One cool thing about this is that all tracks have different lead singers. Read more about this apperence HERE!

BONUS

This track, “Acrobat” recorded in Long Beach, California 1974 never made it to an album in this form. I just love these 3 minutes of raw hard rock. Here we have something we can show these people that says Kiss only played kindergarden pop. This is some heeeeavy shit!

Visit my METAL/HARD ROCK channel on YouTube with different playlists.

Visit my MAIN channel on YouTube


Check out my 1970/80’s Heavy Metal Playlist on Spotify Here!
It’s recommended that you listen to it with “shuffle” so you don’t
have to listen to the same artist several tracks after each other.