TO ROCK UTAH NEXT WEEK
September 16, 2010
KISS' 'Rock and Roll All Nite' is now 'family-oriented'

By Scott Iwasaki, Deseret News

Photo by Barbara Caserta

When Eric Singer joined Kiss for the first time back in 1991, he knew he would be under scrutiny.

But he didn't feel the pressure.

"I think, in life, you're thrown into situations when you're ready," said Singer, who replaced the late Eric Carr, the man who replaced original drummer Peter Criss. "You're given opportunities. Sometimes you're not ready for it."

However, sometimes you are ready thanks to personal preparation.

"When you audition for a band, you have to make sure you know the material," he said. "And while people say I'm lucky, I would say I'm blessed and fortunate. I don't believe in luck. You have to be prepared to take advantage of opportunities when they manifest.

"I'm not trying to get too spiritual or analytical here, but I believe that's how life works."

Singer, who spoke by phone from his home in Los Angeles, will play at Sandy's Rio Tinto Stadium on Sept. 22 with a band that has been around since the early 1970s.

Singer's first album with Kiss was "Revenge," back in 1992. The band consisted of Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Singer and guitarist Bruce Kulick - back when they weren't wearing makeup.

"I like to think that I have some kind of talent and ability," said Singer, who had previously toured with Alice Cooper, Lita Ford, Black Sabbath, former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Jake E. Lee and Kiss' own Stanley. "But I'm not delusional. I feel honored that when Gene and Paul needed a drummer they chose me, because they could have chosen anybody."

In 1996, Kiss did a full-on reunion with the original lineup that included Criss and guitarist Ace Frehley.

"I was out, but back in during 2001," said Singer, who was the drummer when Kiss played the closing ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

After Criss returned and left again, Singer rejoined the lineup in 2004.

The current lineup as it has been since Singer returned is Stanley, Simmons, Singer and former Black 'n' Blue guitarist Tommy Thayer, whom Singer has known since the mid-1980s.

"It's interesting how you can be in a band with a group of guys and you're from all other parts of the world," Singer mused. "I mean, Tommy's from Portland, (Ore.), Paul's from New York. Gene was born in Israel, and I was born in Cleveland, but we're all in the same car going down the same road together."

Singer is psyched up for the concert, dubbed "Hottest Show on Earth."

"We recorded the 'Sonic Boom' record last fall. And the tour has morphed from 'Sonic Boom' to the 'Hottest Show on Earth,' " Singer said. "We keep making the show bigger, adding more to the spectacle of what Kiss is."

In 2001, Singer had the opportunity to put on and play his first show in the iconic cat makeup, which was made popular by Criss.

It was a night that will always remain special, Singer said.

"The first time I ever wore (the) makeup was for a photo session, but the first time I played in it was in Japan," he said.

"It was pretty surreal," he said. "I remember it so well because it was so weird, but not in a bad way.

"I'm on stage, and Ace was still in the band. I remember having this out-of-body experience. Here I was, playing on stage in Japan and looking at the band, seeing Ace, Gene and Paul in front of me. I said to myself, 'Wow, this is weird. I'm on stage. I'm seeing Kiss with makeup, but I'm playing drums.' "

What: Kiss

Where: Rio Tinto Stadium, 9256 S. State

When: Sept. 22, 7 p.m.

How much: $30-$115

Phone: 801-727-2700

Web: www.riotintostadium.com