Paul Stanley Looks Back on Five Key KISS Albums
by Rod Yates / Rolling Stone
Legendary rockers Kiss kick off their Australian tour in Perth this Saturday. Vocalist Paul Stanley took some time out to re-evaluate five albums from the band's back catalogue.
Dressed to Kill (1975)
"Dressed To Kill was an interesting album because at that point we were still trying to break nationally, and with each album that didn't do it we quickly went into the studio to do another album. And Dressed To Kill was done under duress in terms of needing to get another album out, and we actually went into the studio without all the songs completed or written. Gene [Simmons, bass/vocals] and I would go in the morning sometimes and write songs and when Peter [Criss, drums] and Ace [Frehley, guitar] would come in we'd tell them today's song is called "Two Timer", and we would teach them the song. I think the songs are better than the sound. I have an issue with a lot of the early albums because they didn't sonically represent what the band was. If you ever saw the band live early on we were bombastic, and those albums don't sound it."
"Unmasked I know was very popular in some countries including Australia, but it was an album for me where the band was in turmoil. Peter didn't play on the album, he didn't play on [1979's] Dynasty either, not because of personality problems but because the producer deemed that his ability was in question. So we were at that point where I think we had lost sight of why we started this in the first place, and that was because we loved rock & roll. At that point we had lost our teeth and were gumming the music instead of biting it."
Lick It Up (1983)
"Lick It Up was an interesting album because I had wanted to take off the make-up on [1982's] Creatures Of the Night because I thought that people at that time were listening with their eyes and didn't like seeing the band as it was anymore, and didn't perhaps believe in the band visually anymore, and it affected how they listened to the band. And as good an album as Creatures was, it was kind of overlooked, so I knew that when we took the make-up off that the next album would be better received. It sold multiple times what Creatures had sold. People wanted Kiss but they didn't want Kiss looking as they did."
Hot in the Shade (1989)
"Hot in the Shade was more than a little disjointed because by that point Gene and I were very much in our own camps so to speak and writing separately, and I think he may have been bringing in songs he had very little to do with because he was involved in other outside interests. I think that there are some good songs on there but overall it's a scattered album with no real focus to it."
"Revenge was a great album, in that we got back together with [producer] Bob Ezrin at a time when he was in great shape again. We tried working together earlier and it was a disaster, but Revenge was a time when the band was focused and Bob was focused and we turned out a great album."