Kiss’ new album Monster features a song called “Freak” that band co-founder Gene Simmons says connected with Lady Gaga, starting a chain of events that nearly led to a duet.
Simmons, in a new interview with Billboard magazine’s Christa Titus, says their vocal approach to the track — part of Kiss’ 20th studio recording — went through several incarnations.
In its initial planning stages, the tune was to be a duet between Simmons and fellow Kiss co-founder Paul Stanley, then the thought was that Simmons would sing it himself. Once the band learned of Lady Gaga’s interest, there was even talk of a shared vocal between Stanley and the outlandish performer.
Ultimately, Simmons says the group decided to stay away from duets of any kind, keeping Monster as a band performance. Stanley handles the vocals on the finished product.
Still, even the possibility of a collaboration between Kiss and Gaga is bound to pique long-time fans’ interest — though, perhaps, not in a good way. Simmons holds firm.
He says Lady Gaga first became intrigued by the theme running through “Freak”: “It espouses her emotions about being comfortable in your skin and all that stuff,” Simmons tells Titus. “And that’s a healthy message for everybody.”
Anyone that questions such a duet, Simmons says, is misunderstanding Lady Gaga — who, “in my estimation, is the only rock star out there.”
[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: ‘Monster’ is what every Kiss fan hopes it would be: a scary-addictive combination of metal bombast, eye-popping stage theatrics and serious fun. In other words, party music for the horns-throwing set.]
He adds that she is filling a role very similar to the one Kiss did back in the early 1970s: “Talks about self-empowerment, all that stuff; we made our imprint and stuck our foot firmly into the ground almost 40 years ago and said, ‘This is who we are, take it or leave it.’ So in the days of tie-dyed shirts and hippies and anti-war stuff and schools being closed down, we didn’t care. … We’ve never looked over our shoulder to see what’s in fashion, what’s not, we don’t care. And Kiss continues today.”
Monster is the quartet’s first album since releasing Sonic Boom three years ago. It again features Tommy Thayer on guitar and Eric Singer on drums.
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