KISS Destroyer Facts:

Kiss 1976
Kiss posing with the new "Destroyer" costumes, 1976.

Ace '76
Ace Frehley with an Ibanez Explorer, 1976.

Kiss 1976
Kiss Alive 1976

NYC 1976
An alternate shot from the famous Empire State Building photo shoot 1976.

(photo by Colleen Bracken)
"Kiss billboard on Sunset Strip Aug. 20, 1976. for the Anaheim show we won six tickets. The roof of the Continental Hyatt House (riot house) is below the billboard. The pool area is on the roof. Spinal Tap filmed on the roof there. John Bonham rode a motorcycle up and down the halls in 73 or 75."
-Colleen Bracken

Destroyer was released on March 15, 1976.

Destroyer was produced by Bob Ezrin, who was already famous for his work with Alice Cooper. Ezrin later became infamous for his work on Pink Floyd's "The Wall." Ezrin also worked with Kiss on their commercial flop "Music from the Elder" as well as their "Revenge" CD.

Gene Simmon's signature song "God of Thunder" was written by Paul Stanley. The children heard on "God of Thunder" are producer Bob Ezrin's sons David and Josh, who were nine and four at the time. The boys also recorded all the odd "monster" noises heard on the song.

kiss "I had little to do with the writing or production of 'Destroyer', but if I take a step back and try to judge it objectively, I'd have to say it's one of KISS's best studio efforts."
-No Regrets, Ace Frehley, p153

"King of the Nightime World" was oringally written by Mark Anthony of the band Hollywood Stars, but was never recorded by them.

"Great Expectations" featured the Brooklyn Boys Choir. For the recording of this song, Kiss and Casablance invited all the press and recorded the song in full Kiss make-up and costumes.

The main riff for "Flaming Youth" came from a demo that Gene had written and recorded called "Mad Dog." The demo later appeared on the Kiss Box Set. The song name came when Gene Simmons and Bob Ezrin were dicussing the band Flaming Youth that Kiss opened for on their first show at the New York Academy of Music.

"Sweet Pain" was written by Gene Simmons. Dick Wagner recorded the guitar solo on "Sweet Pain."

According to Gene Simmons, "Bob rearranged the song and Ace never showed up to play his parts so we brought in Dick Wagner to come in and play the solo." (p226, Kiss Behind the Mask)

According to Ace Frehley, "I had done a solo on "Sweet Pain" and it was okay. I said, 'Maybe I'll come in tomorrow and take another shot at it." Dick Wagner, the guy who plays lead guitar on the Alice Cooper records, was in town. He stopped by the studio and I'm not sure exactly what went down, whether Gene or Paul said, 'Why don't we let Dick Wagner take a show at doing the solo?' Dick's a very good guitar player. He just knocked out a great solo. They decided to keep it but they didn't even let me know about it. They didn't check with me or ask me if it was okay. When I first played the record back, I go, 'That's not my fu**in' solo! What the f**k is this?' I called Gene and tore him a new asshole. He gave me some bullshit saying, 'We tried to call you but we couldn't find you.' One of many bullshit stories, lies, lies, lies. (Kiss Behind the Mask, p.226)

According to Peter Criss,"Ace was drinking and partying with friends a lot, and he started missing sessions...Ezrin called one of his own ace session guys, Dick Wagner, who came in, nailed the songs, and left. The consummate pro, Wagner never got the credit, but it's him playing on songs like "Beth" and "Sweet Pain". Ace was furious he had been replaced and felt that Gene and Paul were traitors. (Peter Criss, Makeup to Breakup, p.129)

The orchestration on "Beth" was recorded on January 13, 1976 at A&R Studios. Dick Wagner plays acoustic guitar on "Beth."

The front cover painting was painted by Ken Kelly. Originally Gene wanted Frank Frazetta to paint the cover. Ken Kelly is Frazetta's cousin. Ken was paid $5,000 to paint the cover.

Bob Ezrin brought to the studio a song written by Michael Des Barres called "Ain't None of Your Business" that Peter Criss sang on. The song was dropped from the album and never released. (p.73 -Black Diamond)

The first single for Destroyer was "Shout It Out Loud" (backed with "Sweet Pain") and was released on March 1, 1976. "Shout It Out Loud" reached #31 on the charts. The second single, "Flaming Youth" (backed with "God of Thunder") tanked.

The third single released was "Detroit Rock City" (backed with "Beth") and didn't get much attention either, other than in Detroit and Atlanta. It was obvious why the single was getting played in Detroit. However Casablanca and Kiss' management (Rock Steady) decided to investigate why the single was doing well in Atlanta, but had died everywhere else. They discovered that a DJ in Atlanta had begun playing "Beth" on a regular basis. The single was selling because of the b-side. Casablanca owner Neil Bogart re-released the single soon after with "Beth" as the A-side (backed with "Detroit Rock City"). The song reached #7 on the Billboard charts and helped rocket "Destroyer" sales.

kiss "As a guitar player this is hard for me to admit, but the solo on 'Detroit Rock City' is one of the single best moments in any KISS song. And I had nothing to do with creating it. I always loved the song, and I would be the first to credit Bob Ezrin for writing the guitar solo. He came up with the melody, and I learned how to play it, and Paul figured out the harmony. It's a classic guitar solo, as good as anything you'll find on a KISS record. I wish I thought of it, but I didn't. It was all Bob's." -No Regrets, Ace Frehley, p153

"Beth" was the big hit single off the record, and ended up being Kiss' highest charting single. Orignally, both Simmons and Stanley didn't want "Beth" on the album. However, when "Detroit Rock City" failed to do much on the charts and "Destroyer" began falling off the charts, "Beth" became the album's surprise bullet. The song was originally written by Peter Criss and Stan Penridge when the two were in Chelsea, before Kiss. The song was originally titled "Beck." It is unclear who changed the name of the song to "Beth" as both Ezrin and Simmons have taken credit for it. However, the song was essentially re-written and orchestrated by Ezrin. Since Ezrin has a co-writing credit on the song, it's likely he was given that for the change in the title alone.

Kiss About Beth,"I was ecstatic. (Bob) Ezrin had taken Stan and my little song and had turned it into a masterpiece. Now I really understood why he was considered a stone cold genius." -Peter Criss, Makeup to Breakup, p. 131

"Beth" helped score Kiss a People's Choice Award on Feb. 10, 1976 as most popular song for 1976.

Kiss took third place as best artist behind Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith in Circus Magazine's annual "Modern Music Makers Award" in 1976. They also took second, behind Aerosmith's "Rocks" for the Album of Year for 1976. (Although they actually received the award for "Alive!" rather than "Destroyer".) They took first place for Best Live Act of 1976.


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