WITH A PICK ON THE TONGUE
October 10, 2012
By Sebastián Esposito
Translated from Spanish for KISSonline by Jill Cataldo

With a forty-year career, the band has a new album, Monster, and comes to River Plate on November 7

MONTERREY- If there is any more emotional experience than seeing KISS, it's seeing KISS in Mexico. The affinity that these four superheroes of rock have for their historic fan club, the KISS Army, is most emblematic when the band talks about their relationship with their "fu**ing" great Latin American fans. The adjective belongs to Paul Stanley and, though it wound our sensitivity up, it also made us walk taller feeling that we are the "best audience in the world." A few words from Gene Simmons affirmed the sentiment with elegance, joking "But the Argentine public is at the same height," adding, "It's very passionate."

Gene Simmons, the man with the longest tongue in rock, musician and businessman, will celebrate 40 years with his band this January - and after tomorrow, KISS will launch their twentieth studio album, Monster.

Last Monday, the painted faces landed at the Arena Monterrey. That was the end of a 40-date tour of North America with Mötley Crüe, playing earlier in Foro Sol in Mexico City. That show was about to be cancelled due to rain, which flooded the area adjacent to the stadium. That night, the doors opened at 9pm, and the night extended longer than planned, but the shows were not canceled and more than 50 thousand people enjoyed their prize. Here in Monterrey, the climate and the number of fans was different, but the end result was similar: a strong set with a good handful of classics, explosions, several surprises and this author located in the third row, that, on more than one occasion, had the feeling of enjoying a custom, personalized show.

After Paul Stanley (vocals and guitar), Gene Simmons (vocals and bass), guitarist Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer (drummer) left their personalities in the makeup room to become the Starchild, the Demon, the Spaceman) and the Catman, we met with them to talk about their new album -- its history and a fantasy that they themselves have already discussed publicly: a KISS after KISS, a formation that does not include Stanley and Simmons, but makes new chapters in its history.

The first thing the four KISS members say about "Monster" is that does not sound like any other album by KISS. But how does that a band that already recorded 19 albums make its mark? "First and foremost, we had to make sure that all the songs were new, not old songs," says Stanley. "In other words, we began to write from scratch, without ideas or anything that came from the past. If a song wasn't good enough for the previous album, why would it be for this? Songs are not like wine -- they do not improve with time. If they are bad today, they're likely to be bad tomorrow."

- Did the four of you write together exclusively?

Paul Stanley: We wrote all the songs together, without outside writers. We wanted to raise the bar in making this album. Many bands who have long careers fall into the temptation of repeating formulas. We wanted to record the album that we never made, which was in tune with our heroes, the bands and the artists who influenced us. It is no coincidence that Monster is called "Monster" - the name was chosen for a reason, and is it a monumental album from beginning to end.

-It sounds pretentious, but it's interesting to think that after almost 40 years, your best album has yet to come.

Gene Simmons: The soul of the band must continue, there must be a connection between the first album and the last one, but few bands have survived as long as we have, and unfortunately, their past albums were not so good. We hope to make the best of our albums at the end of our career. We still have no plans to stop playing, but we do want this album to be the best of all.

- They say that inspiration exists, but you must be inspired to work.

Stanley: You wake up every day, and the morning already inspires you. If that does not inspire your life, you're not living a good life. We wake up every morning and we are KISS! It is a great way to start the day and live great lives, not because we are rich, successful, famous. We live great lives because we live in the way in which we choose to live. We don't have to fight or rebel against anything -- ignore that. We don't have to fight against society, we run in our own direction, and in a while you'll see a lot of people who think like us. Life is inspiring. If it is not for someone, then he needs to change his life.

- Well, it is clear that all do not have your luck or outlook.

Stanley: Our job is to get you in the mood if you're not. Look at up the sky -- there's a better day and a better time than what you're living right now. You believe in yourself, live big and dream big. There is always bad news, but you have to think positive. Believe in KISS! (Paul laughs uproariously and his three companions join in laughing.) Life is a miracle even on the worst day. When things are very bad, the worst of the worst, get up and remember that you're part of a miracle.

- In Mexico, many people enjoy the luchadores with their painted faces, and few people came to your concert with bare faces.

Paul Stanley: That is what makes KISS unique. Fans dress up to look like us. Here in Mexico, a 6 year old told me that I was his superhero, and you could tell it was heartfelt and genuine. Those things give us strength to motivate us and inspire us.

- Someone imagined a KISS after KISS, continuing the story with other people.

Stanley: KISS should exist forever because people need it. When they go to a show they need to be treated with respect and receive something spectacular. We are on the team now, but it is a great team that can continue without the current stars.




KISS and a spectacular show in the city of Monterrey (sidebar)

"Ay, ay! ay! ay! Canta y no llores...." In Monterrey, we witnessed a segment added to the KISS show. The "element of surprise" consisted of a medley formed by two classics of the music of these lands, "Cielito lindo" and "La bamba", and the third song, the Cuban "Guantanamera." Thus they ended by "knocking out" the 10,000 people who came to the Arena Monterrey last Monday. They didn't have to wear the shirt of the national team or raise our country's flag to please us.

In little more than two hours, the quartet ran through its musical history with the initial "Detroit Rock City" (preceded by a video of the band walking from backstage, pumped up like boxers entering the ring) and other timeless gems of KISS' repertoire, such as "Love Gun" and "Lick It Up". Stage platforms that rose far beyond the platform shoes on the bands' feet; explosions from beginning to end, and the feeling that the band offers two shows at the same time: one for nearly everyone in the stadium, and another personalized show for those in the first rows. For example, the good Gene Simmons challenged this author, gesturing me to stand up instead of sitting down, and to cross my arms at attention. Sorry for the sacrilege!..