Scene: Before-hours bar at what appears to be TGI Friday’s-type restaurant; items visible on the walls include a Radio Flyer Wagon with pink-and-orange flame decals, carousal horse repainted in pink camo motif, various hubcaps, and an inflatable sex doll with a fencing rapier duct taped to one hand. Kent Caudle and Paul Stanley sit at the bar, facing camera. In the background, a wedding rehearsal is taking place, the bride wearing her veil with an Eddie Bauer t-shirt and jorts.
Kent Caudle: “Hi, I’m Kent Caudle of The Pirate George Letters…”
Paul Stanley: “…and I’m Paul Stanley from the band, KISS! Welcome back to Cold Gin Time! Today we’re talking about the Martini, New Amsterdam gin, and the album, Dressed To Kill. Get ready to get classed up!”
KC: “I won’t lie, Paulie; you looked spiffy on the cover of this album, even though I know the suit wasn’t yours.”
PS: “Wow, how did you know? That’s some next-level Tim Gunn queer eye right there…”
KC: “…I looked it up. But the reason that I did was how ill-fitting Gene Simmons looks in his.”
PS: “Peter’s suit was his very own, but yeah, the other ones belonged to our manager. You know, my lawyer told me once that it’s best to get the secrets out on your own terms, so let me give ya’ some more dirt about Dressed To Kill.”
KC, with two martinis, each with three olives each, “Let’s hear it.”
KC hands PS martini; PS takes long sip
CUT TO: Cartoon drawing of a 33 1/3 record, with two bodybuilders tugging on ropes attached to space between two tracks, stretching the width.
PS, VOICE OVER: “One: the studio put extra space between the tracks to make the album sides appear more filled out…”
CUT TO: Cartoon drawing of the ghostly visage of Lester Bangs, typing on an old-fashioned typewriter the words, “Nickelback is Canadian Ear AIDS!”
PS, VOICE OVER: “…Two: Some of the songs we actually wrote in our first band, Wicked Lester…”
CUT TO: Cartoon of Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine, making random, arm-flailing motions on a vintage soundboard.
PS, VOICE OVER: “…Three: We were in the money toilet so bad that we couldn’t afford a real producer, so the head suit at Casablanca had to do it himself…”
CUT TO: Cartoon of the palm side of a human hand, with the ring finger folded down. The index and middle finger are covered in something brown.
SFX: AMBULANCE SIREN
PS, VOICE OVER: “…Four: it’s not so nutritious now, but back in 1975 there were enough milk solids in Nutella that making it come in contact with the mucous membrane of a lactose-intolerant Fan O’ Stan really ruined a rock-and-roll Tuesday…”
CUT TO: Cartoon images of a chess rook, an anatomically-accurate dildo, and the bust of Ronald McDonald.
PS, VOICE OVER: “…Five…”
CUT TO: Original scene at bar
KC: “…OK, Starman, maybe we’ll let the rest stay rested. Coming from a KISS outsider like me, this album has some hits and some weird misses. First a hit: ‘Rock Bottom'”
KC: “I love the acoustic opening of this track; it’s kind of an ‘Orchid’ and ‘Lord Of This World’ moment. I would have put that at the beginning of side two, but I would have been wrong. The beginning track off the second side, ‘C’Mon and Love Me’, was a big hit for you guys. I still like ‘Rock Bottom’ better, though”
PS: ” ‘C’Mon and Love Me’ was my baby: wrote it, sang it, even did the guitar solo work! It did ok for us as a single, but it was huge in Detroit. Man was I glad at first, so glad that I thought ‘Detroit Rock City’ would be a good idea… now schmoes think we’re from Detroit! Jeez, people, these are some New York Jews up in here!”
KC: “Let’s talk some bad news, Paul. Let’s talk… rhyme scheme. Now, I’m all for the out of the ordinary and the avant garde, but I really feel these songs would have benefited by having standard rhyming couplets in the verses, or at least something cohesive. The construction of the lyrics in ‘Room Service’, ‘Two Timer’, and ‘Ladies In Waiting’, not the content of the lyrics but the actual linguistic crafting of them, reeks of the musings of a syphilitic pervert with head trauma. Not to tip my hand about future episodes, but it wasn’t so bad in the previous album, Hotter Than Hell. Wha’ happened?”
PS: “Neil Bogart, the guy that wound up producing this album, wanted a clean sound. And it does sound clean, but he didn’t care too much about lyrics. Disco, toot-toot, and record sales? Yes. Lyrics, shame? Not so much. I’ll be honest, we were lucky to make it out of this album alive. Whatever fans we had won over with our live shows just weren’t buying the albums. It wasn’t the lyrics’ fault, or even the songs; we kill with songs from Dressed To Kill in our live shows.”
KC: “Sorry to be a downer. Hey, while our bartender makes our next martinis, let’s listen to another bit of good news: ‘Rock and Roll All Nite’, the album version that I actually prefer. I know that the live version was really the hit single that kept you in cold gin money, but I like the studio version. Hey, Justin, two with pearl onions this time!”
PS: “Well, are you gonna be Good News Bear or Bad News Bear about New Amsterdam gin?”
KC: “I’m pretty indifferent. To be honest, I bought this one for its cool, Art-Deco inspired bottle, but the label is a bit misleading. It says ‘straight gin’ on it, but gin can be flavored with stuff, and the citrus notes are too overpowering to use New Amsterdam gin in a cocktail. Drinking it straight is ok, but it kind of tastes like a weak mix of orange and lemon along with the juniper berry. Of all the gins we’ve drank, this was the only one to really keep me up– and I mean ‘awake’ when I say ‘up’. Not too bad, not too good, but ultimately not my style.”
PS: “Well, speaking of style, I feel fancy just drinking a martini. Like I’m gonna get it on with Marietta Fortune! Ess Aitch Eye Tut! Look at this swingin’ glass, the little onion; who knew you could put an onion in one of these!”
KC: “The classic martini recipe doesn’t say you have to use an olive; you could use a lemon peel if you wanted. There’s only two constants in a true martini: gin and vermouth”
KC: “… whoa, whoa; how did you know people called me ‘Kentcha’?”
PS: “Your Uncle Larry found KISS before he found Jesus. Anyway, what’s vermouth?”
KC: “Vermouth is a fortified wine. Take a classic white, add more alcohol and some herbs, and there you go.”
PS: “Wow! As soon as Justin rolls up that J, I’ll be vermouth!”
KC: “Anyway, there’s a lot of posturing about the ratio of gin to vermouth in a martini. Martinis were originally made with a one-to-one ratio. By the time The Sixties came about, people were making quips about ‘just whisper the word “vermouth” to the martini glass’ or ‘have some sunshine hit a bottle of vermouth on the way to the glass’ or some other nonsense about eliminating the vermouth from a martini. Which is fine. But it then it changes from a martini.. TO A FUCKING GLASS OF GIN…”
PS: “…my man!..”
KC: “… and not a cocktail. Well, we’ve got a bachelor party to get to..”
PS: “…and I have a pony to pick up. A… trick pony. Let’s just say I’m gonna name it ‘Hazelnut’. Next week we’re drinking nigronis made with Seagram’s gin…”
KC: “… and listening to Lick It Up. ‘Till then, keep it on the rock…”
PS: “… and on the rocks! Yeah!”