40 Years Ago: Kiss Refuses to Die Quietly With ‘I Love It Loud’
The Vinnie Vincent era of Kiss did not start quietly.
"I Love It Loud," co-written with Gene Simmons by the man then known as Vincent Cusano, was the first single released from Kiss' 1982 album Creatures of the Night and one of three he helped pen for the album. (The others were "Killer" with Simmons and "I Still Love You" with Paul Stanley.)
Ace Frehley was still technically part of Kiss at the time; he was even included on the cover of Creatures of the Night, but his ouster had already occurred. He didn't play on the album, but Vincent, as a session player, was featured on six of the album's nine tracks, including playing all of the guitars on "I Love It Loud."
Neither the song nor the album was a hit, but they marked a turning point for Kiss. After alienating their audience with pop-friendly albums such as 1979's Dynasty and 1980's Unmasked, the band returned to hard rock with Creatures and began the long process of pulling out of a career-threatening tailspin.
Vincent met Kiss through Adam Mitchell, a Scottish singer and songwriter who co-wrote two new songs with Stanley for 1982's Killers compilation, stayed on board for Creatures of the Night, and later returned for 1987's Crazy Nights and 1989's Hot in the Shade. Vincent's band Warrior was rehearsing at the Record Plant in Los Angeles when Kiss was recording Creatures of the Night there with producer Michael James Jackson.
Watch Kiss' 'I Love It Loud' Video
"I Love It Loud's" starting point was a song Vincent had called "Loud and Proud." Simmons told a Vault Experience audience in Nashville in April 2018 - where he and Vincent reunited for the first time in 20 years - that the two wrote the song at Diana Ross' house while Simmons was living with her. "We're sitting around ... 'What do you want to do?' What do you want to do?'" Simmons recalled. "So [Vincent] shows me stuff that he likes: 'How about this? How about that?'" Simmons, meanwhile, showed Vincent the guitar riff from the Who's "My Generation," which, he said, inspired lyrics like "Stand up, you don't have to be afraid / Get down, love is like a hurricane."
The "hey, hey, hey, yeah" chant, meanwhile, was taken from a bridge Simmons had offered to one of Stanley's songs on Killers, but "he didn't like it. So I said, 'OK, bitch. I'll put it in "I Love It Loud." "So 'I Love It Loud' started with an idea that I had and then a melody kind of thing, and I came up with the chorus: 'I want to hear it loud, right between the eyes,'" Simmons said. But he did credit Vincent with writing "all those lyrics you know, like all that cool stuff - 'Stand up, you don't have to be afraid' - Vinnie's word. 'Love is like a hurricane,' 'Street boy, no, I could never be tamed.' He wrote every one of those words. When it's good, you can hear it. ... It comes fast."
Even though it quickly became a concert staple, "I Love It Loud" - whose recording did not include Stanley - didn't exactly get Creatures of the Night off to a fast start. It didn't crack the Billboard 100, stalling at No. 102 as a Bubbling Under track. It didn't make it onto the rock chart either. Creatures of the Night eventually went gold, and while its No. 45 peak on the Billboard 200 was seemingly unremarkable, it did mark a 30-point improvement over its predecessor, 1981's disastrous medieval-themed concept album Music From "The Elder." The band's career turnaround gained even more momentum the following year as the members removed their face paint and released Lick It Up.
Creatures of the Night was the last Kiss album to feature the band in makeup until Psycho Circus in 1998. Vincent remained with the band for three years, leaving in 1984 and being replaced briefly by Mark St. John and then Bruce Kulick.