By Jim Allen / www.udiscovermusic.com
In the early 80s, KISS was all over the musical map. On Unmasked, they were practically a power-pop band, while their ‘81 follow-up, Music from The Elder, was an epic art-rock saga. And they ended the previous decade by scoring one of their biggest hits with the rock-disco throb of “I Was Made for Lovin’ You.” But in 1982, Creatures of the Night brought them back to the hard-rocking basics that forged their legend.
For its 40th anniversary, they’ve unleashed a Super Deluxe Edition overflowing with outtakes, alternate mixes and takes, demos, concert recordings from the Creatures tour, and a plethora of memorabilia bound to make KISS Army veterans swoon.
We sat down with Paul Stanley to discuss where his band was at circa Creatures Of the Night and what the anniversary version has in store for KISS obsessives.
How would you describe the place the band was at during the creation of Creatures of the Night?
We were coming out of a coma. I think we suddenly realized how much we had veered away from what the band started as and what we believed in. We had really become complacent and more concerned with enjoying some vapid rewards of success than making great music and staying true to our roots. We were stumbling around, and suddenly, I think we just found ourselves going, “What the hell are we doing here? And look what we’re on the verge of losing.”
We had forsaken our fans, and we had, in a sense, betrayed the people who made us what we were. That’s a shock to wake up from. I think we had to go, “Hey, we f__ed up. We got lost.” We had this great [new] drummer, Eric Carr, and we thought, “For God’s sake, let’s make an album that’s rooted in the music we love and really make a declaration of rebirth.”
Eric was still new at the time, and now there was a new guitarist, Vinnie Vincent. How did they affect the sound of the band?
Clearly, Eric was a drummer in the tradition of a lot of British rock drummers, much more so than any American counterparts. It gave us the opportunity to tap into the roots of what inspired us. He was disheartened by what we had done. He thought he was joining a rock band, and we wound up doing The Elder. So, he was thrilled to be doing Creatures.
Vinnie wasn’t a member of the band when we did Creatures, so we were literally auditioning guitar players in the studio and having them play on different tracks. We had Robben Ford, who’s a phenomenal guitar player, play on “I Still Love You,” and Steve Farris played the solo on “Creatures of the Night,” which is one of the great solos. Vinnie co-wrote some of the songs and was a great person to co-write with, but he was never considered a band member until we were faced with a tour and had no choice but to grab somebody.