Conduct a casual poll of the hardy troops that make up the KISS Army as to their favorite KISS songs; I’d wager you’ll hear a lot more votes for “Strutter,” “Detroit Rock City,” “Rock and Roll All Nite,” or, hell, even “Lick It Up” than you will for Peter Criss’ 1976 power ballad “Beth.” KISS fans don’t exactly know what to do with “Beth,” a syrupy piano number (with flute!) about puttin’ in those long hours in the studio that was the biggest his KISS ever had, clocking in at #7 on the Billboard Singles chart. No other KISS song ever cracked the top 10 until 1990’s “Forever” (which I wouldn’t be able to hum for you on a bet).
Director Brian Billow of Anonymous Content has brought to life a short script by Bob Winter, an advertising creative director based in Miami, that asks the compelling question, “But what of Beth’s side of the story?”
As with any undertaking like this, the trick is nailing the details. Beth’s colorful frock and wood-paneled kitchen accurately capture a certain 1970s je ne sais quoi that permits “Beth,” however brief, to be placed honorably alongside Boogie Nights and Almost Famous and The Last Days of Disco and 54 and all those other movies about the 1970s that came out in the late 1990s. The concept of KISS laying down tracks in full costume is just the right preposterous touch—but then again, maybe it isn’t that preposterous. This picture comes from the Destroyer sessions—the same album that “Beth” is on!
For the record (the movie has no credits), Criss is played by Steven Olson, and long-suffering Beth is played by Lilli Birdsell.