© (P) 1974 Casablanca Records; © 1997, KISS Catalog Ltd.
Written by Gene Simmons during the winter of 1972 as Wicked Lester finally transformed into Kiss. Thus it is a pre-KISS song in one sense and post-Lester in another, though the band would be referred to as Wicked Lester into January 1973. Regardless, the song became a piece central to the band for the rest of their career and one of their signature live pieces. According to Gene, the "Basic lick came as a bastard - it came to me fast... A bastard son of 'Jumpin' Jack' meets 'Bitch' - lyrics came at the same time as melody" (First KISS, Last Licks liners).
The song came together quickly taking less than half an hour to complete. With some seemingly nonsensical lyrics it was, "More concerned with conveying attitude than making sense" (Guitar World, 8/92). As was the case with many early KISS songs, Paul Stanley had a hand in the creation song, contributing the intro section. He'd borrowed part of a Raspberries song, "Go All The Way" (Sharp, Ken - Goldmine) and altered it to suit the song. For those who have wondered about what "Old Jim" refers to: "Old Jim (referred to in my lyric to "Deuce") is as real as Eleanor Rigby or Jumpin' Jack Flash. None of them are real" (GeneSimmons.com). In other words, it's just something that worked with the song's lyrics.
The history of "Deuce" includes the then new song being performed by Peter, Paul, and Gene at the Don Ellis showcase in November 1972. That performance finally killed off the band's prospects with Epic and what little name value "Wicked Lester" still had to Gene and Paul. More importantly, "Deuce" was the first song Paul "Ace" Frehley played during his audition with the band during December 1973 (Gooch, Suhs - KISS Alive Forever).
"Deuce" barely changed when recorded for the first album from the demo that had been recorded months earlier indicating that it hadn't required any further refinement and had already evolved to its final form with the addition of Ace. Essentially, the song had been polished up both in terms of arrangement and execution. For the first album, a slightly longer version was recorded, nearly matching the original outro solo on the demo. It was shortened having the fade-out begin just after Gene's final scream. This resulted in the song being shortened by some 15 seconds. A more complete recording of the song was released 15 years later on "Smashes, Thrashes & Hits" as a remix version.