The album was released in october of 1974 and featured a garish and colorful Japanese influenced artwork, and the back cover showed individual band shots taken by Norman Seeff at a wild party, and a composite of all four band members’ makeup designs. Everyone present at the session (with the exception of Simmons) was drunk for the entire photography session. Stanley was so drunk he had to be locked in his car. Ace Frehley’s image on the front cover is actually airbrushed, as a side of his face was injured in a car accident and was without makeup on half of his face at the time of the photo shoot.
Gene Simmons: Norman Seeff was a very bright but strange guy who believed that photo session should be this other thing. So he would create a climate and bring down everybody and anybody. Girls who would blow you, anything that would happen just to get a sense of something. That session was one of the few times that I’ve seen Paul drunk. He was blitzed. There was a photo of him with a girl who had nothing on, sort of painted like “Goldfinger” with silver stuff. I don’t even think Paul was aware that there were forces of gravity. So he reached over and in one shot you sort of see him nuzzling with chickie and the next second he’s over the bed. He’d fallen over. At the end of the photo session I had to carry him to the car and lock him in the back seat. It was Norman Seeff’s idea to put the Japanese lettering on the album cover. The result of that was the Japanese instantly took to the band. We started reading cover stories about the band. Some people suspected we were Japanese. The Japanese thought we had taken the makeup from Japanese Kabuki theater.
Paul Stanley: I don’t know if anybody can make out the back cover of the album but we were having this wild, wild party with tons of people in weird outfits. Ten minutes after that picture was taken I passed out. I cut my hand, I don’t known how I did it. I was so drunk that they locked me in a car and I couldn’t find my way out. A lot of the pictures taken for the back cover have never seen the light of day because some people didn’t want to be incriminated by the pictures.
Peter Criss: It was a wild photo photo session for the back cover. I was sitting in the armchair there with this broad giving me head with this mask on. Paul was in bed with a bunch of broads and me in a robe over this big knight’s table’s chair. The photographer got us all drunk. That was the idea. He got us all loaded. Everyone was drunk except Gene but Gene had to be drunk on the whole room being drunk. Even the models and the people in the room were drunk. No one sober but Gene but he had to be intoxicated from just the intoxication of the whole vibe.
Ace Frehley: For the photo session we did for the “Hotter Than Hell” album, the doctor told me I could only put makeup on half of my face. So all the shots were profiles [laughs]. I got into a car accident. I got drunk one night and I kept driving around the Hollywood Hills. I kept going around the same block faster and faster until I lost control and hit a telephone pole. I think I was testing destiny. I got out the car and I had cut my head. I walked back down to the hotel and I knocked on my road manager’s door and there’s blood running all down my face. He said, “Oh God, what happened to you?” I go, “I wrecked a car.” One of many, it was like the beginning of the saga.
Norman Seeff for you: I had just come back from Japan and met one of the great Japanese artist, Tadanori Yokoo. I think the way Kiss were dressed and who they were suggested to me that Yokoo’s work would be an ideal direction for them. As we went further, I thought “Why not put the title in Japanese as well?” I called in a brilliant designer, John Van Hamersveld, to do the design.