Peter Criss Solo Albums Revisited
I was, like many other KISS fans, totally shocked when I heard Peter's 1978 Solo album effort for the first time. The style was something completely different from that which we had come to expect. Then, while browsing through a junk shop in Singapore, I came accross his other two early post-KISS efforts: Out Of Control (1980) and Let Me Rock You (1982). Up until that point I'd heard of them, but didn't really think that they existed. I was in heaven! Not only were they unopened, one had a picture of a bearded Peter on the cover. That was reason enough to shell out US$2 for them both. When I got home all I though was, "PLEASE! Don't let them sound like '78"! I was not let down. I read recently that "Out Of Control" pretty much sums up Peter's life at the time. Well, I believe that artistically these are both strong albums. They rock, they roll, and there's a touch of the "Beth" style on a few tracks too.
First, Out Of Control: This kicks off with "By Myself", a totally brilliant track for Song 1 Side 1 of Solo Effort 1! As a song it's nothing special, a bit too manic for my tastes, and quite similar to '78. The other tracks, "In Trouble Again", "Where Will They Run", and "I Found Love", are better, but I was starting to get nervous about the way this album seemed to be going. Then came "There's Nothing Better" - cool, I dug it, the best song so far (now, I prefer the demo to this song!). Side Two starts of pretty mellow too. "Out Of Control", and again I now prefer this in demo form, was much more of an autobiographical mid-tempo rocker. "Words", never did a thing for me. Then the good stuff! "You Better Run", from the first time I heard this I was hooked. The guitar is excellent and the song really works. Next, "My Life", another seemingly autobiographical tune, rocks as well, great guitar! The album closes to "Feel Like Letting Go", which isn't brilliant, but not bad either. All in all I rate Out Of Control 7/10.
Let Me Rock You is an interesting album. The song writing is more like a KISS reunion, with tracks from Vinnie Vincent and Gene Simmons! This album improves on Out Of Control, content wise, with a harder edge. "Let It Go" pretty much tells the listener that this IS NOT 1978! Peter's gonna rock you on this. "Tears", the VV song, sounds more like it should belong on Happy Days - I just don't like it. "Move On Over" seems more R&B; influenced, and is very cool. "Jealous Guy", covered from John Lennon, one of Peter's idols (and recently murdered at the time), is a touching tribute. Peter does a nice job on the song. "Destiny", picks the tempo back up - another cool rocker! Side two: "Some Kinda' Hurricane" is an excellent song, by Russell Ballard, which seems more in a KISS style. "First Day In The Rain", argh! Peter should have dropped this one - 1978 revisited! Then Gene's "Feel Like heaven", very different from the rude version circulating! Extremely cool and very similar to some of Gene's 1978 material. And finally, rather aptly, "Bad Boys", a cool way to end. I rate this one 9/10