Paul Stanley works to recapture early Kiss music's glorious 'lack of restriction'

Paul Stanley has learned, over the years, much about the craft of songwriting. And he’s tried to forget most of it, in service of making better records for his fun-loving band Kiss.

Stanley and Co. are set to release the new album Monster in October. It is the group’s initial project since Sonic Boom three years ago, and will again be produced by fellow Kiss co-founder Gene Simmons.

They have promised a lean, hard-rocking affair, in keeping with Kiss’ earliest, career-making efforts — something that grows ever more difficult to do with age, Stanley admits.

[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: Kiss’ new single “Hell or Hallelujah” is indeed a nod to the past — a rocker in the spirit of their 1970s work, but with a little ’80s glitz and that ‘Revenge’ grit, too.]

“As you live, your experience is enhanced and influenced,” Stanley tells Classic Rock Magazine. “The danger is you can find yourself a more adept songwriter, but not writing better songs.”

In keeping with that throwback theme, Kiss has already commenced a co-headlining tour with Motley Crue, as well — the first time these two heavy metal icons have shared a stage since 1982. Simply called “The Tour,” it features each band playing a 90-minute set.

“I don’t believe the key to great rock ‘n’ roll is honing your songwriting expertise. Sometimes that can get in the way. You have to make an effort to deprogram yourself and unlearn things,” Stanley adds. “The beauty of some of the earlier material is its lack of restriction, a lack of understanding. As you continue, you learn a craft that may get in the way of what rock ‘n’ roll is meant to be.”

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A look back at our recent thoughts on Kiss and Motley Crue. Click through the titles for complete reviews …

SOMETHING ELSE! FEATURED ARTIST: KISS: News that Kiss is back in the studio, working toward the 2012 release of a new project called Monster, got us scurrying back to our old album collections. And not just because of those fond memories of playing air guitar with former guitarist Ace Frehley during Kiss Alive. Bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons said something interesting about the sessions: “This new record feels heavier than (2009’s) Sonic Boom. It feels like a connection between Destroyer and Revenge. Those were but two of the favorites we discussed here.

FORGOTTEN SERIES: MOTLEY CRUE – MOTLEY CRUE (1994): John Corabi, former vocalist of The Scream, brought a second guitar and a gruff, ragged edge to the vocals. It was a stark contrast to Neil’s high-pitched tones, and though I may earn the ire of many Motley Crue fans — one that lives with me, included — by saying this, Neil’s vocals can’t touch what’s on this record. Corabi’s voice also brought a rougher, heavier edge to the music. Though many Motley Crue fans dislike the album because of Neil’s absence, no one can deny that it’s the band’s heaviest and most mature record — mature, of course, being a relative term where Motley Crue is involved. Lyrically, the songs are still littered with drug references and party themes, but musically, there’s a definite growth.

FORGOTTEN SERIES: KISS – REVENGE (1992): There is one non-makeup Kiss record that certainly belongs in the conversation with the band’s best work. Released in 1992, Revenge came on the tail of two snoozers — 1987’s Crazy Nights and 1989’s Hot in the Shade — that were completely lost in the keyboard-laden, ballad-heavy 1980s radio rock sound. Revenge, though, was a different beast. There were still plenty of mindless sex and party anthems. It wouldn’t be a Kiss record without those. But there was a darker, heavier edge to the album, which was loaded with Gene Simmons’ gruffer vocals.

Remaining dates for 2012’s “The Tour,” featuring Kiss and Motley Crue:

Aug 14: Irvine, CA – Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
Aug 16: Concord, CA – Sleep Train Pavilion at Concord
Aug 18: Auburn, WA – White River Amphitheatre
Aug 19: Ridgefield, WA – Sleep Country Amphitheater
Aug 24: Grand Junction, CO – Rock Jam
Aug 26: Tulsa, OK – BOK Center (on-sale 3/30)
Aug 27: Maryland Heights, MO – Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
Aug 29: Minneapolis, MN – Minnesota State Fair (on-sale 3/31)
Aug 31: Cincinnati, OH – Riverbend MusicCenter
Sep 1: Noblesville, IN – Klipsch Music Center
Sep 2: Pittsburgh, PA – First Niagra Pavilion
Sep 4: Nashville, TN – Bridgestone Arena
Sep 5: Clarkston, MI – DTE Energy Music Theatre
Sep 7: Tinley Park, IL – First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
Sep 8: East Troy, WI – Alpine Valley Music Theatre
Sep 11: Allegan, MI – Allegan County Fair (on-sale 5/5)
Sep 12: Cleveland, OH – Blossom Music Center
Sep 13: Toronto, ON – Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
Sep 15: Darien Center, NY – Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
Sep 16: Mansfield, MA – Comcast Center
Sep 18: Scranton, PA – Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain
Sep 19: Camden, NJ – Susquehanna Bank Center
Sep 21: Holmdel, NJ – PNC Bank Arts Center
Sep 22: Wantagh, NY – Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
Sep 23: Hartford, CT – Comcast Theatre

Something Else!

The Something Else! webzine, an accredited Google News affiliate, has been featured in The New York Times and NPR.com's A Blog Supreme, while our writers have also been published by USA Today, Jazz.com and UltimateClassicRock.com, among others. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
  • kimberly reyes

    I love kiss sooo ****ing sexy