"Let's just say that KISS was never the most original band in the world," Hammett reportedly replied.
This reply seems to be justified where a few years before that the band that Kirk Hammett was in, Metallica, had released a CD with the San Francisco Symphony.
Now with this in mind let us jump a head a little bit. I was watching an old Metallica live DVD and in the middle of this I actually asked myself this question:
When Did Metallica Become KISS?
Now hear me out on this before we all jump and fight about it. I have some very serious comparisons of the two bands. So here we go.
1) Former Members
It has been well documented that both bands have had to ask members to leave due to substance abuse problems. In Metallica’s case it was Dave Mustaine and in KISS’ case is it was Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. Ironically, in the case of KISS this was done twice.
It should be mentioned that Dave Mustaine and Ace Frehley have moved on and became very well respected musicians in their own right.
2) Replacement Members
At different positions both bands have had a revolving door of musicians. In the case of Metallica it is their bass guitarist, Cliff Burton (Deceased), Jason Newsted (Asked to Leave) and currently Robert Trujillo at that position. KISS has had more moves at lead guitarist, Ace Frehley (Left the Band), Vinnie Vincent (Asked to Leave), Mark St. John (Arthritic Hand Disease), Bruce Kulick (Left Due to Reunion), Ace Frehley (Asked to Leave) and currently Tommy Thayer. It should be noted that KISS has been around longer but I still would not feel comfortable if I were Metallica’s bass player.
3) The Triple Image Threat
During the classic era of both bands there were released that left people just puzzled. At their height, KISS went soft rock and disco with the releases of Dynasty, Unmasked and Music from the Elder. The costumes there were using also went under the knife to the point they were kid friendly. Metallica released, at their height Load, Reload, and St. Anger. All three huge departures from their aggressive sound. During this time, Metallica came out with a more stylish approach to wardrobe reflecting their success and that went against everything they represented in the beginning. Both bands released follow-ups to these that were an attempt to recapture glory and respect, Kiss – Creatures of the Night and Metallica – Death Magnetic. Though both were heralded as comebacks, it never did recapture what they once had.
4) The Classic Album
For each band’s fifth release, KISS and Metallica gave us classics that everything they would release after was compared to. KISS – Destroyer and Metallica – The Black Album. In this section it should be noted that after time underground it was their fourth albums that broke them popularity wise to the next level.
Now these are just a few examples of the similarities and this list can go on and on. We did not mention the business end, the concerts, the front men or the fact that the bands are really operated by two members. Before I leave you with the useless knowledge that I have now given you, I must say this. Procol Harum was one of the first to do a recording with a symphony and for my money; Tom Cochrane with Red Rider and Collective Soul recorded better versions of this type of live album than KISS or Metallica. In the end neither were that original but great music.