No offense to replacement guitarists Vinnie Vincent, Mark St. John, Bruce Kulick or Tommy Thayer, but certain legions of the Kiss Army believe the band lost all its creative mojo when Ace Frehley left the group in 1982 (and again in 2002). Take the Kiss tribute act Ace’s High. Its members all dress like Frehley (with costumes from different eras) and only play songs that Ace either wrote or sang on. In a documentary, one band member who models himself after Destroyer-era Ace explains the devotion. “We all just wanted to be Ace, because he was the best, the most talented and our favorite member.”
In Pick Five, great artists pick five cover songs that matter to them.
Lou Barlow broke his collarbone.
That’s the sort of thing that would slow down most musicians, but not Barlow. He kept right on touring the UK with Dinosaur Jr. after the mishap this spring, posting a celebratory video when he made it the whole way through without the metal pin popping out. Now he’s about to embark on a June solo tour; hopefully the pin will stay in for that too. In April, he even released a new 7″ with a photo of him in the hospital on the cover. Watch the self-directed video for “Love Intervene”:
In the middle of all that touring and healing, he took some time out to tell us about his favorite cover songs. As anyone who’s followed his career with Sebadoh and Dinosaur Jr. will not be surprised to learn, he knows his stuff. From alt-rock peers like Mudhoney to more-unexpected personal favorites (an Ace Frehley solo cut?), Barlow digs deep. And, never one to do the bare minimum, he picked six cover songs for his Pick Five. We just hope he didn’t have to use his collarbone to write ’em.
In the Spotlight showcases a cross-section of an artist’s cover work. View past installments, then post suggestions for future picks in the comments!
In some respects, KISS embodies the quintessential American band, or at least the quintessential American four-piece rock group. You can take that assertion a number of ways, depending on how cynical you’re feeling. Perhaps if you’re not particularly a fan of the group – like many critics these days, one might guess – you could argue that their crass and unending commercialism speaks to American values in a way that no other act has mastered so purely. But that would miss two important points about this New York City foursome: one, that they’re a seriously important group that had a huge effect on the music industry and culture in general, and two, that a lot of their music rocks really, really hard.