We all know KISS is my favorite band in the world, so what better way to usher in the return of Klassic Albums than a look at the 1985 masterpiece that IS Asylum? There are ten tracks on this record, and each one of them reminds me of being thirteen years old and spending that summer in Belfast, Northern Ireland. I was at my favorite record store Golden Discs when I saw Asylum on tape. Now, truth be told, I was hesitant, only because part of Side Two of Animalize was kind of lacking. But I said, “Fuck it!” and plunked down my 5.99. I was NOT prepared for the onslaught that would assault my ears not only that day, but for the rest of my two-week stay in Belfast!
As soon as “King of the Mountain” started in earnest I knew i was in for something special. This was Bruce Kulick’s recording debut and he knocked it out of the park on each and every track. He is still to this day THE best guitarist that ever was in KISS, and his contributions to this record are the stuff of legend. “Any Way You Slice It” showed me that Gene Simmons could still write fantastic songs when his head was in the game. It’s funny because Mini-Amps LOOOOVES the Gene songs on this album. Just last night he had an evil grin during this tune and several others.
“Who Wants To Be Lonely”…I mean, what can I say about this one? It has the kinds of grooves that make you want to fuck for days on end and then go back for more. “Trial By Fire” is another Gene song that only proves my earlier statement. A dirty, sexy, fast-paced song shows up at the end of Side One in “I’m Alive”. When I first heard it riding around in my cousin Renee’s car I was like, “Fuck yeah!!” and I may have rewound it a couple of times, just sayin’…
Side Two opens with Gene Simmons kicking fucking ass and taking fucking names. “Love’s a Deadly Weapon” shows him snarling in a way he didn’t in the 70’s and that is A-OK with me. I love the fact that my boys took so many chances in the 80’s, I really do. Hell, the next song and album single “Tears Are Falling” was unlike anything they had done before and when the Z-Morning Zoo played it I lapped it up like a kitten with a saucer of milk. And as soon as that’s done here comes Gene again with “Secretly Cruel”, a song about a dirty girl who teases so bad your head might explode.
I remember sitting in my Uncle George and Aunt Nora’s house in Belfast after a shopping trip and “Radar For Love” came on in my Walkman. When the chorus kicks in and Paul goes “Fuck Yeah!” I knew I was all in! This album was and is what got me through all the shopping and I do mean ALL the shopping at Marks & Spencer and other places with my mom, Renee, Aunt Nora, etc...BUT...everything pales in comparison to the final track on the disc and perennial favorite “Uh! All Night”. This fucking song has been in my ears for thirty years and it won’t go away anytime soon. THIS is one of my favorite KISS songs ever, and it is just fucking awesome!! Bruce’s solo is especially tasty because he totally captures the essence and dirtiness.
When I was thirteen years old the last thing I wanted was to be away from my friends/girlfriend and be stuck in Belfast. But Asylum is the record that I went to during all those shopping trips. And I put that bitch on REPEAT every chance I got. Even when I met a girl who could possibly be more than a friend I was like, “You like KISS, right?” She was all, “I don’t really know them…” SEEYA!!
I have flown the flag for my favorite band for years, and I will continue to do so till the day I die. KISS and Belfast are forever entwined for me because I bought most of my records while I was over there and my family always encouraged me to perform in front of the fireplace and air jam to my favorite songs because they knew something…they believed in me. I thank each and every member of my family in Ireland (living or dead) for that. Asylum from KISS is not only my favorite non-makeup album, it’s in my Top 5 from KISS…PERIOD. ~dc