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Under The Radar: Michael James Jackson & Adam Mitchell

There is no doubt that Kiss has left its mark on the music world. The band has been around for over four decades and has sold 100 million records around the world. Throughout the band's ehm, Kisstory there are some names that have no doubt helped Kiss achieve world domination- producers Eddie Kramer (Alive, Lovegun, Alive II), Bob Erzin (Destroyer, Music from The Elder, Revenge), guitarist Bob Kulick (Alive II, Unmasked, Killers, Paul Stanley) and songwriter Desmond Child (I Was Made for Lovin’ You, Heaven’s on Fire, Hide Your Heart).

But there are a couple of names that tend to get overlooked like producer Michael James Jackson(MJJ) and songwriter Adam Mitchell(AM). These two men kept Kiss “Alive” and helped them bounce back from a commercial tailspin.

By 1981, the Kiss was in disarray, the band’s last three studio albums (Dynasty, Unmasked, Music From The Elder) had failed in getting the band to reach an even larger, mainstream and family-friendly audience, which in turn brought the internal tensions between Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Peter Criss and Ace Frehley to an all time high.

MJJ and AM were brought in to help with four new songs (I’m a Legend Tonight, Down on Your Knees, Nowhere to Run, Partners in Crime) that were to be included on Killers. The band’s latest Greatest Hits album. The album was originally released outside the U.S. and sold reasonably well. But it looked like Stanley and Simmons weren’t pleased with the results and retained MJJ and AM services in order to work on the bands tenth studio album, Creatures of the Night.

Creatures of the Night was released on October 13,1982. The album represented a conscious effort by Kiss to return to the hard rock style that had helped them achieve commercial success in the 70’s. The band's tenth album showed a strong return to form and new levels of song writing, arrangement and performance skill. Despite mostly positive reviews, Creatures did not give Kiss the commercial success they were hoping for, attaining only a gold certification (500 000 units). But the album sent out a clear statement- Kiss is back, and they mean business. It would take about twenty years, but Creatures has been getting the recognition it deserves.

MJJ would go on and produce Kiss’ follow-up record, Like It Up. The album would return Kiss to the mainstream and give the band a solid start to its second era known as the non-make up years. AM would return to Kiss and contribute songs on the 1987 album Crazy Nights.

MJJ and AM brought Kiss back from the brink and gave the band a solid foundation to the non- make up era of the group, and for that they deserve a big thank you for keeping one of the Aroundtables favourites bands “Alive”.

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