WE WERE SCARED TO RECORD DESTROYER FOLLOW-UP
July 13, 2013
By G. Barton

KISS began 1976 with Destroyer, the most ambitious album of their career, with a lavish production from Bob Ezrin. How could they possibly follow it? Answer: they couldn’t.

Rock And Roll Over – released eight months later – was a no-frills hard rock album. This back-to-basics approach was born not only out of necessity, but also out of fear – as frontman Paul Stanley recalls in an interview in the next week’s new edition of Classic Rock.

The Starchild says: “Quite honestly, we were chickenshit. We were scared of where we had gone with Destroyer. We’d traded off the rawness of Kiss for something more cinematic. Bob Ezrin was a visionary. Without him, we were back to creating within our own boundaries. Rock And Roll Over was our 180-degree turn to get back to what the band sounded like live. It wasn’t rocket science.”

The idea was to recreate that primitive quality of Kiss Alive! (the live album that gave Kiss their big breakthrough in 1975) so the band recorded in a disused theatre.

Stanley continues: “Eddie Kramer, the producer, found The Star Theatre in Nanuet, New York. It was a theatre in the round that fit around 2,000 people, but it had gone under as a business venture. Eddie thought this place would give us the sonic ambience of a gig. We would rehearse in the theatre proper, but when we recorded we were not in the same room. Peter’s drums were set up in a bathroom upstairs and we’d be coaching him through a video camera. The live vibe had more to do with sonics than being in the same room.

“But to me, the album fell short. I don’t think Eddie delivered what the band was all about. The songs were great, but the album didn’t sound competitive to other rock bands out there, and that ultimately falls on the engineer – which was Eddie, although he was credited as producer. Fans have this idea of us all in the studio with our arms around each other, enjoying our camaraderie and playing music. It’s nice, but it’s kind of a myth.”

Read the full interview – part of a major feature which celebrates Kiss’ 40th anniversary – in the upcoming new issue of Classic Rock, on sale Wednesday, July 17.