'Completely self contained': Paul Stanley on why Kiss will never use outside writers again

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There was a time in which outside writers made huge contributions to the music of Kiss, but Paul Stanley says that time is done — and the band’s forthcoming album Monster is more cohesive for it. Kiss became known for bringing in well-known composers in the 1980s, during a period in which fellow band co-founder Gene Simmons seemed to be preoccupied with outside projects.

The most consistent contributor was Desmond Child, who co-wrote “I’ve Had Enough (Into the Fire)” from 1984’s Animalize, “King of the Mountain” from 1985’s Asylum, “Bang Bang You” from 1987’s Crazy Nights, and “Hide Your Heart” from 1989’s Hot in the Shade. Meanwhile, Diane Warren co-wrote “Turn On the Night” on Crazy Nights, Russ Ballard contributed to “God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll to You II” for 1992’s Revenge, while Michael Bolton (yes, that Michael Bolton) even has a songwriting credit on “Forever” from Hot in the Shade.

[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: Kiss’ rollicking new single “Hell or Hallelujah” captures their ’70s spirit, adds a bit of ’80s glitz and tops it off with some ‘Revenge’-style grit.]

By the time the sessions began for Monster, however, Kiss had regained its creative footing, Stanley says in a new talk with Marko Syrjala of Metal-Rules.com. He put his foot down, upon assuming producer duties: “No outside writers.”

“It’s very easy to in some cases to have somebody to write a song for you and you put your name on it and you have very little to do with it or maybe you’re doing something else instead of writing songs,” Stanley says. “And, you know, you come up with the songs that really are not yours. I wanted to make sure that every song was worked on by the band. I love Desmond; I love writing with him I love Diane; I love all those people. But the band is also different now; the band has the ability to be completely self contained. Maybe that’s why it’s important that we do it like that.”

Monster, set for release on October 15, 2012, eventually emerged as something refreshingly underivative, Stanley says — an album that sounds like Kiss, but doesn’t mimic their earlier triumphs. Just as important, he says, it reflects their own thoughts and feelings, rather than someone else’s.

“I just know it’s a very, I would say a cohesive album,” Stanley told Syrjala. “It feels like an album; it feels like every song that’s on there, belongs on there. It got a focus and a point of view. That’s what I wanted the album — I didn’t want it to be a scattered. I wanted something that felt like a work, a body of work.”

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A look back at our recent thoughts on Kiss. 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.

KISS – DESTROYER RESURRECTED (1976; 2012 reissue): The longer I listen, every time, to this whole album, the more I just want to go and dig out Alive! — the up-against-the-wall double-live concert document from the year before that conveys all of the force, and humor, of Kiss in a way this often over-wrought studio effort just never did. First-time Kiss producer Bob Ezrin, and therefore Destroyer, just keeps screwing around — even on this new remix, dubbed Destroyer: Resurrected. When it’s good, there’s fun to be had … and, especially on tough groovers like “God of Thunder,” it almost gets there. When it’s not, though, the project is weirdly disconnected, like it’s trying to sound interesting, but instead just sounding silly.

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:

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

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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.
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  • Don

    I can’t wait to illegally download an advance copy of it and give it away as a beer coaster to all of my friends, and heck anyone who wants one really.