Sunday, December 9, 2012

Gene Simmons Interviewed By Rock Hard Magazine

 By Morgan Rivalin | Rock Hard Magazine (France) | # 125 October 2012. (Translated)

Sometimes perseverance pays off. Gene Simmons was finally able to catch us on the phone. The main disadvantage of a phone call interview,you do not know if the musician is kicking us while answering our questions ... Frustrating.

Rock Hard: Let's talk about some of your songs that appear on Monster. How did the song "Back To The Stone Age"?

Gene Simmons: What was produced with "Back To The Stone Age" already happened before, but only rarely. It all started when Eric and I talked the group MC5 (American rock group of the 60's considered a precursor of punk). He said they had very good energy, but their songs were not as effective as they should be. Eric said that he loved their approach to rhythm, which gave off a very special energy. Paul, Tommy and I started playing on a riff and within hours, "Back To The Stone Age" was born. That same day, the music was composed and recorded. A few days later, I came to the studio with a concrete idea of the lyrics. I had that phrase in mind: "Back to the Stone Age, back where I belong, back to the Stone Age, back where I come from." Yes, the song is that sometimes, we need to return to fundamentals. Problems aside, climb to the top of the mountain and breathe deeply, in all freedom.

What's "The Devil Is Me", a song that would fit your character like "Almost Human" or "I'm an animal"?

"The Devil Is Me" was based on a song I wrote and recorded in Vancouver, Canada. I played all the instruments and a local drummer followed me. At the time, the lyrics were different and the song had another title, which I can not remember. When we went into the studio, we were faithful to my first demo. We kept the same feeling and the same arrangements. Then Paul told me that the song had a darker side and was more powerful than the other songs on 'Monster', a bit like "God Of Thunder", and it would be good to stick to that theme. And what you hear is the result.

Sonic Boom was written in part from demos made in the 70's. Does Monster contain any old ideas?

No, the album only contains new songs. Yet it is true that in 1978, The Starz drummer recorded a demo where he again played all the instruments called "Eat Your Heart Out". The drummer was Joe X Dube. It was a song different from those on Monster. The words of the chorus saying: "Eat your heart out, my revenge is sweet, eat your heart out, my revenge is complete". Yes, the simple story of a guy who takes revenge on his girlfriend. But as for the new "Eat Your Heart Out", the group proposed a composition that was accepted immediately for the album. Everything worked fine except the words. They decided not to beat me and find something that worked. Suddenly, the chorus of that demo came to my head. "Eat Your Heart Out" worked much better, in terms of sounds and syllables. Then we rewrote all the lyrics and vocal melody.

In an earlier interview with Rock Hard, you mentioned a box set "100% Gene Simmons", bringing together a number of previously unreleased demos. Is the project still on?

Yes, I still intend to finish this project which would include 150 songs I've never recorded. But too many things happen when I'm working with KISS so you need time to deal with it. We remain very active! We put out the Monster Book, the new edition of Destroyer. KISSology IV, a 10-hour DVD that will files ranging from 1973 to today, many unpublished documents that many people have not even seen backstage videos , etc. I start work on it when the KISS Monster tour ends.

You just mentioned a remixed version of one of your best albums, Destroyer (1976). Can you explain the reasons for this re-issue coming out this month?

Destroyer is a record that Bob Ezrin and ourselves are really very proud. We wanted to publish this alternative because originally, the album must have had a different cover. It was the same artwork, but we had the same costumes. At the time, once the album, we started to tour with the new costumes we carry out to Love Gun. So the cover was changed, and no one saw the original. This new version allows us to reveal to the world the first version of the artwork. There is also an alternate version of "Sweet Pain", with a different guitar solo.

Have you considered including demos and other rarities like "Is not None Of Your Business" for example (song performed by Peter Criss)?

Indeed, we have considered. Even if we have not chosen to include "Is not None Of Your Business" in that re-issue, we retain the original tapes and someday we'll do something with them.

Will other discs of the 70's will also benefit from this special treatment?

We think about it, but right now we are very busy and particularly requested. We will do things one by one.

How does it feel having Paul Stanley as a producer?

It's great. He's my oldest mate within the group. We have already produced several albums together, and we have also produced other albums separately... but today, I would not have the patience to sit in a studio for three weeks. I'd eventually commit suicide! There are too many things to do. In addition, it makes me focus on the same thing for a long time. I like hanging out writing songs and working with the group, but I also need to have clear ideas. Working in the production of an album requires you to be there most of your time. In fact, Paul assumes a dual responsibility: in addition to producing the album, he's part of the group, writes songs and is very open to hear our ideas. Sometimes, I say that a certain lyric is not good, you should opt for a different arrangement or dispose of the introduction of a demo to try another guitar riff is a very pleasant working experience. So I think Monster is, as it should be, a better album then Sonic Boom.

Do you think you have improved your way of working in a group?

I think it's more a matter of concentration and involvement. The lyrics depend on what we feel, what's going on in our lives at that moment, at that particular time. It is so hard to write a happy song when you're sad - and vice versa. You can not force yourself to write an energy song when you are relaxed. You have to find that connection, that particular line between emotions and melodies. I think on Monster, we did it very well.

The mixing and mastering of Monster ended in February 2012. Why did the album not come out earlier?

Because too many things happened and our planning was saturated. And that tour with KISS and Judas Priest ... Uh, I mean Mötley Crü requires a lot of work for many people. First we will draw the Monster Book market, followed by a tour of the United States, then we get the disk when it begins the second part of the tour, the Monster Tour. The scenario in the European tour will be amazing. The screen is big as a football field. We really put the technology to service the show. Everything is there to make the concert more than a KISS concert, will be a most extraordinary experience ever. It will be "monstrously" large.

Will Monster be the last KISS album?

No. We already have some ideas aside and we've started writing in view of the next album. We'll return to the studio just after the tour of 2013. It is an exciting time for the group. With Eric and Tommy, KISS has a new rebirth."

Do you have unreleased songs that have not been published on this record?

Yes, everyone wrote extensively for Monster. Personally, I have fifteen or twenty more demos, I do not plan to use. Whenever I write- I write a lot. Every time we make a record, I propose an average of 25 demos to the group.

You also have reactivated your record label. What's new in Simmons Records?

I always love finding new talents. As you know, I discovered Van Halen and Cinderella, among others. I was also manager of Liza Minelli, etc.. Discovering new bands and new music styles has always interested me. One day, someone gave me a chance and I shook hands, and I want to return the favor. Simmons is a label that is part of Universal. The last group I was signed Kobra And The Lotus. The singer, Kobra Paige, has just over twenty years. She is the leader of the group and writes all the songs. His music is pure metal as the groups were "classics" of the 80's, in the style of Iron Maiden in its infancy. They have already played many festivals and have opened for Judas Priest and Guns N 'Roses. It is a group with great potential that will go far. The other group of my label called The Envy. Their album is in preparation. Their style is more of U2 and Bon Jovi.

During the 80s, you said you would never get married. What made you change your mind?

I married for the first time in my life on October 1, 2011, at the age of 62. You know, men are still kids throughout their lives. Never mature ... In fact, as we approach the end we started to grow in wisdom. And when I realized that my children, Nick and Sophie, respectively 23 and 20 years, were already fully adult, with their careers and their responsibilities, I realized that Shannon was the one that always stood by me. I told him about the thousands of girls that I slept before her. Know the whole truth. So, I thought that, before anything else, was a lucky man. What could want more? Shannon. An amazing woman who never complained about anything. It was time for me to grow and take a step forward.