Kiss: Crazy Nights

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Classic Rock - - Contents -

“Any al­bum that pro­duces a song like Crazy Nights is good for me!” Paul Stan­ley talks about Kiss’s UK break­though.

in­osaur Jr’s self-ti­tled first al­bum, re­leased in 1985 and made for just $500, was noisy, un­re­fined and barely made an im­pres­sion. The Amherst, Massachusetts trio’s fol­lowup was an al­to­gether dif­fer­ent beast. By

1987, singer/ gui­tarist J Mas­cis had im­posed his iron will on the band, ced­ing bassist Lou Barlow and drum­mer Murph into sub­or­di­nate roles, which al­lowed his more clas­sic rock-minded ten­den­cies a freer reign.

Recorded largely in New York with Sonic Youth’s reg­u­lar en­gi­neer Whar­ton Tiers, You’re Liv­ing All Over Me sounded rather like an in­car­na­tion of Black Sab­bath in which both Ozzy Os­bourne and Tony Iommi had some­how been re­placed by a som­nam­bu­lant Neil Young.

All but one of its nine songs co­a­lesced around Mas­cis’s drawled vo­cals and his hur­ri­cane­force gui­tar, erupt­ing up from un­ex­pect­edly del­i­cate melodies through a pow­er­ful bat­tery of dis­tor­tion and ef­fects ped­als.

This quiet-loud-ex­plo­sive struc­tur­ing, sig­nalled on agen­daset­ting open­ing track Lit­tle Fury Things, had an in­stant and pro­found im­pact on Amer­i­can alt. rock go­ing into the next decade. In the Pa­cific North-West es­pe­cially, Mud­honey, Tad and an­other trio from Aberdeen, Washington

– a cer­tain Nir­vana – came right along in its wake.

Mas­cis, whose im­mense con­trol over his band-mates ex­tended to dic­tat­ing each drum beat to the cowed Murph, had just the one trick, but he was a such a mas­ter of it that he al­most sin­gle-hand­edly broke the warp-speed, noise-for-noise’s sake or­tho­doxy that then gov­erned the Amer­i­can rock un­der­ground. He him­self, how­ever, put Di­nosaur’s new­found looser, less reg­u­lated vibe down to an­other fac­tor. “We’d had sex,” Mas­cis rea­soned. “You lose the thrash­ing drive af­ter sex.”

The fol­low­ing year, Di­nosaur broke through into the in­die main­stream with their Freak Scene sin­gle. Barlow left soon af­ter in ac­ri­mo­nious cir­cum­stances and de­cided to con­cen­trate on his side­band, Se­badoh.

Mas­cis mean­while signed Di­nosaur to ma­jor-la­bel Warners Bros and en­joyed cult suc­cess, but noth­ing like the enor­mous lift-off of his grunge dis­ci­ples. He re­tired the Di­nosaur name in 1997, but the orig­i­nal line-up was re­united in 2005 and has con­tin­ued ever since plough­ing a dis­tinc­tive fur­row. PR

‘Lit­tle Furry Things had an in­stant and pro­found im­pact on Amer­i­can alt.rock.’

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