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Posted on 06/11/2012
Hi there, the legendary songwriter Russ Ballard talked about his relationship over the years with KISS in an exclusive interview with Rockpages Web Magazine in Greece. Here's an exerpt: May I ask you to describe to us the period when you suffered from depression but especially the time when you finally recovered and wrote “God Gave Rock N’ Roll To You”? Russ Ballard: Yeah, it’s strange but I knew what I was doing when I wrote it…I remember that I wrote a song called “I Don’t Believe In Miracles” when I was going into the period of my depression. When I look back and I listen to that song I know exactly that it refers to what I was going through at the time and how I felt. In 1971 I started to feel very kind of low, you know…for some reason. I haven’t experienced that feeling before in my life but at the same time I was writing songs that reflected my depression which –from an artistic side- was good. So, I sat at the piano and I wrote “I Don’t Believe In Miracles” which was really all about my depression. I remember finishing the song…it had such an effect on me that by the time I finished it, I started crying…I felt so emotional about it. I remember I didn’t stop working…at the time, I started a tour with Argent in America. The doctors recommended that the best for me to do is keep on working, keep on being busy because there is absolutely no hope for cure if you stay at home. So, that’s what I did…I went to America with Argent and I didn’t cancel any show. The problem with being a depressed man is that you feel unstable and you can’t really control your emotions. It took nine months to get totally out of depression. Let me tell you this: one day I woke up and I felt reborn! It was the most incredible feeling and having said that I want to point down something to all those people suffering from depression…it’s something that it doesn’t stay there; it’s not something permanent. It goes away and one must be strong until that time. You know, Sakis, what’s the great thing that you realize afterwards about depression? It’s an illness that becomes, in retrospective, a unique and rewarding experience. You suddenly get in touch with very deep emotions that you didn’t know that they even existed. For me personally, being an artist, it was a fascinating experience because as you probably know there were many artists through the centuries that produced their finest works when they were suffering from depression. So, the first song that I wrote after my depression was “God Gave Rock N’ Roll To You”. The lyrics were all about that optimistic feeling that I had at the time. Of course, when KISS did another version of the song, they changed some of the lyrics because they didn’t fit with the overall image of a rock band in America. Every single song I wrote during my depression was sad but it was also natural. “God Gave Rock N’ Roll To You” was my first happy song after the depression period. Over the years you had established a business relationship with KISS, a band whose members have used songs of yours let alone the fact that they achieved great success with a rendition of “God Gave Rock N’ Roll To You” in 1991. What’s your comment and have you met them? Russ Ballard: I think that KISS did a great job on covering the song…they got the tempo right…they sped it up a little giving the song the right edge, a rockier edge. I wanted the original version to be faster…KISS is a bunch of great guys. We did quite a lot of gigs together when they started back in 1973 and I was totally into their show because I haven’t seen anything like it before. Read The Full Interview Here:
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