KISS Live in Japan 1977

You wanted the best, you got the best!  It’s KISS!  At the height of their powers in 1977!  With all four original members! Performing live in Japan!  .. (exclamation points officially ending here) … This was recorded for HBO and I remember seeing this very concert during the summer of 1979 when me and my brother went to visit my Dad in Northern Virginia.   Two of my Dad’s female neighbors in their early 20s invited us all over to watch the concert on their TV since they had HBO.   I can’t imagine my Dad’s neighbors were particularly interested in KISS … or my brother and me, for that matter … but I’m not going to complain that they used my interest in KISS to get to know my Dad better.  It was doubly cool because I was now able to see my favorite band at the time life, I also got to check out this thing called HBO that I had seen advertised on TV, but wouldn’t be available in my neighborhood for two more years.  As always, Paul Stanley doesn’t disappoint with his stage raps here.

“The Decline of Western Civilization II: The Metal Years” (1988) dir. Penelope Spheeris

Video

“The Decline of Western Civilization II: The Metal Years” is Penelope Spheeris’s follow-up to her groundbreaking documentary on hardcore punk from 1980 (“The Decline of Western Civilization”). “Decline II” chronicles heavy metal, circa 1988 in Los Angeles, predominately glam metal, which was the rage at the time.

“Decline II” is often cited for being extremely funny because many of the participants seem absolutely delusional about their prospects at future success in music … and in life. There are interviews with stars (Ozzy Osbourne, Steve Tyler, Joe Perry, Poison, Dave Mustaine, Lemmy, Alice Cooper, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Chris Holmes) and interviews with up and comers, most of which you’ve never seen nor heard from since this film came out.

However, the most compelling part of the film is arguably the interview with Chris Holmes of W.A.S.P. Lying in a pool chair, literally pouring vodka down his throat, explaining he’s a piece of s–t, while is mother is sitting next to him, trying to put on a good face, but looking like she wants to cry. One of the saddest and most disturbing scenes from a documentary ever.

Despite this, the humor outweighs the pathos.  One of the best scenes in the film comes near the end where legendary club owner Bill Gazzarri hosts his annual “Miss Gazzarri Dancer” contest and Gazzarri tries to get everyone excited about a band called Odin, which he claims are going to be the next big thing.  Needless to say, they fell far short of this goal.  I’ll let you be the judge as to whether the public was ignorant in their mass rejection of Odin through this clip:

Spheeris later hit the box-office jackpot as the director of “Wayne’s World” in 1992, a job she got in no small part due to her success with “Decline II.”