November 09, 2012
"This is the best KISS: we are eternal, we are gods."

In Mexico, "Clarín" interviewed the band, which soon will be 40 years old and has just released "Monster", their 20th studio album. On Wednesday KISS plays River Plate Stadium and promises a perfectly "monstrous" show.

By Fabricio Soza
Translated for KISSonline by Jill Cataldo

Talking to the four members of KISS after they've already transformed into the super heroes of rock is a different experience than doing so to washed faces. With their stage clothes and war paint, and in the roles of Starchild, The Demon, Catman, and Spaceman, the situation is filled with extra adrenaline, both for this writer and the band.

KISS is about to turn 40 years old, and Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, along with drummer Eric Singer and guitarist Tommy Thayer, are synonymous with music and show, but also marketing and business. And they know how to do both well. They know the game, and they play it with kindness. As I exchanged apologies for this bad English chronicler, I also received an apology in kind for their bad Spanish. There was both willingness and humility from the band, although the subtitle of the article might suggest otherwise.

In the minutes before taking the stage at the Arena Monterrey, KISS professed that they only wanted to have fun.There were no serious questions and no claim of depth to answers. Similarly, noticing that the interview was for a written publication, without cameras, the band's serious effort emerged. Or at least, they gave answers with sincerity and broke through a little of my preconceived characterizations.

After nearly 40 years of Kiss, how is the band?

Simmons: We are in excellent shape, better than ever, as you're going to see. No matter what they say, people are already waiting to check that out at the stadium. This is the best KISS: we are eternal, we are gods.

What should fans of this new show expect?

Thayer: They can expect it to be big, as always, a monstrous show. It is over the top, bombastic. Whenever we go out on tour, we try to make it larger, stronger and better than the last.

Clarin witnessed the latest and powerful show of Kiss in Mexican lands, prior to the concert at River Plate on Wednesday. Our interview coincided with the days prior to the release of their 20th album, Monster. It was released in October and, with just a few days on the street, was already the best-selling of the label, according to Universal Music. It hit thes Top 10 in twelve countries, including markets such as the USA and Canada (3 °), Mexico (4 °), Germany (6 °) and Japan (9 °), where the band re-entered the Top 10 after 35 years. The first single, "Hell or Hallelujah," became one of the most downloaded items on Amazon in the first days of its launch.

Before "Monster" you said that you didn't want it to be just another album, but a great rock album. Do you think that's what you made?

Stanley: It is the most important album we've done, because this is the best KISS. It's why we can do things that we had never done before. The music is the best, and we called it "Monster" because it is so powerful, it has so much strength... It is an album that we wanted to do, thinking of the height of all the heroes we have and which have influenced us. We did an album in the style of the old KISS. We wanted to make a disc that had a new focus, which says: "This is KISS today. "Thank you for yesterday, but look at tomorrow."

What feelings are reflected in this work?

Stanley: For us, the album was like a monster that lives and breathes. We got together in a room and we wrote together. We went to the recording studio and we sat down to play with everyone in a circle. We didn't want perfection, we wanted passion. Today's albums are made with computers, looking at the screen to see if everything is OK. But... does that make us better? Does it make you move your feet? That's what makes a band and their music. I saw that it was special...

Thayer: I feel that it is actually the band's album. We met in our homes, in rooms of hotels during the tours, where we got to compose. We did not do demos; we wanted to test directly after composing, arranging, going to the studio and laying down the material. Very organic, very simple, very from the heart, very direct and forward. That's what I liked about this work. We were all very involved, very determined to make a great album in a very organic way.

Simmons: It is very real, as we assumed that the band should do these things: Gather, rehearse, get into the studio and record. And that's all. That's it. No turns, no nonsense, no computers.

As our meeting unfolded, the Mexican stadium had filled to hold about 10,000 souls. In this country, fans are very passionate, but in a different way than the Argentines. Minutes after the interview, watching the show metres from the stars, this journalist noted that Mexican fans have tattoos, they say "I live for KISS" and follow them all over the world. But when it comes to the show, their attitude is a little more passive. It's no less loving, but just a little more calm.

What expectations do you have for playing Argentina?

Stanley: We have always done impressively well there. They are fans, and they are friends, both when we're onstage, and when we're not. Buenos Aires has always been a fabulous city with a very high cultural level. People are passionate and sophisticated at the same time. It's an excellent combination. You should have fire, passion, but you must also know and enjoy life, have those great experiences of life. That is what makes Argentina so great.

Simmons: Its history, multiculturalism, the gauchos, the pampas, Tango...

Singer: Tango!

Do you know Tango?

Stanley: The Tango is beautiful because it is subtle. The Tango is control, it's passion and sex, but it's not dirty.

At this time, the crowd began to cheer, and our conversation was distorted from the noise. It was time for KISS to take the stage.