Your average rock fan might put on Kiss’ new album Monster, and specifically the track “Outta This World, and fail to hear how the Beatles and Journey impacted the band.
But drummer Eric Singer, in a new talk with Rock Music Star, says the tune was influenced first by George Harrison’s drone-rock tune “It’s All Too Much,” issued by the Beatles on 1969′s Yellow Submarine, and then by a subsequent cover version by Journey.
The second take, included on Journey’s 1976 sophomore release Look into the Future, pre-dates Steve Perry’s arrival. Gregg Rolie handles the vocals in a lineup that included current Journey stalwarts Neal Schon and Ross Valory, as well as Aynsley Dunbar on drums.
In both instances, though far more prominently on the Journey cover from the mid-1970s, “All Too Much” ends with a trippy echoing effect. Called “flanging,” it was first developed by Abbey Road engineer Ken Townsend in 1966, as part of the Beatles’ on-going experiments with sound.
When Kiss convened to work on Monster, its long-awaited studio follow-up to 2009′s Sonic Boom, Singer remembered how cool it sounded.
“That was a suggestion that I had made,” Singer tells Rock Music Star. “I basically got that idea from the Beatles song, “All Too Much,” where at the end of the song, it goes into a flanging thing. On one of the early Journey records — before they had Steve Perry — they did a version of “All Too Much,” and on the outro, they elaborated further on the whole flanging thing, and I thought it was a cool effect. When they (Journey) go into the outro of the song, they go into double time on the drums, and it goes into this flanging effect on the whole mix.”
Singer says the band employs a number of these kind of subtle influences across the new album. “I think we always take our influences from different things,” he says. “It could be a style of a song, it could be a particular band, or it could be a production idea or an arrangement idea, that we remember that we like.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean that the end results on “Outta This World” will ever be confused with the Fab Four.
“What we did was based on a production thing that I heard when I was a kid, that I thought was cool,” Singer tells Rock Music Star. “I thought it would really suit the song, because the outro section (from “Outta This World”) reminded me of that Beatles song. Not that we sound like the Beatles, but I’m just using that as a point of reference, of an arrangement of a song.”