KISS Frontman On 'Monster': 'I Wanted To Make An Album That Has Vitality And Passion'

Marko Syrjala and Petteri Limnell of recently conducted an interview with KISS guitarist/vocalist Paul Stanley. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. First of all, the "Monster" [album] is finished and it's ready to roll, it's ready to go. How do you like the results at this point?

Paul Stanley: I think it's terrific. I mean, I have said it so many time already. You know, the idea wasn't to make an album that sounded like we once sounded; it was to make an album that sound like we have never sounded. The idea of making of an album that is a retro album… I wasn't interested in that. I wanted to make an album that has vitality and passion and that's a great rock album. I don't want to make a great KISS album. I don't want to be judged by other KISS albums. It's OK to judge KISS by KISS, but it's also nice to open up the gates and say not how good is this compared to KISS albums, but how good is this comparing to the albums that I love. "Monster" is the number twenty in the KISS studio album catalog. At this point of your career, when you've already reached almost everything, what kind of goals do you have with that album?

Paul Stanley: I would be lying if I say I don't want it to be successful. But I don't expect success. I succeeded because of the album I wanted to make. Would I like the other people to like it? Sure. Everybody wants validation. But if you try to second-guess people — what kind of album do they want? — and then you fail, you kick yourself and say, "I should have done it my way." I did it my way and whatever is going to happen is going to happen, but I stand behind the album. The album is now coming in October, although it's been ready for a long time. Originally it was supposed to come out earlier, like in May. What's the reason for that delay?

Paul Stanley: The reason it didn't come out… I mean, it has been done for a while. We wanted to have a different type of setup in terms of a distribution. We wanted to go with a label this time. So the legalities of working out a contract take a long time. So, you know, by going back to Universal, with a company that has our whole catalogue, so for a lot of reasons it made a lot of sense. Plus they were very "come home," very committed to the album. So had we wanted to do it a different way, we would have had it out in May. But this made more sense and will make more sense. You know, doing the Walmart deal was great in one way, but in another way, if you didn't have a Walmart near you, or if you didn't have iTunes, if you couldn't get it from iTunes, so it was very limited how you could get the album. So, we tried that once and now we said let's do it this route. But Universal, they very much wanted us back. And they have all these other albums, so it's a good agreement. Can you tell me something about the creating process of the album? How long did it actually take this time?

Paul Stanley: It really didn't take that much time at all. The funny thing is that the album has been done for a quite a while. It's just that we decided to go with a major label and it took a long time to negotiate the contract. The album has been done a long time ago and it didn't take any longer than "Sonic Boom". So we had the album done for a long time. I think that if you spend too much time on something, it loses its emotion and its passion. If it comes out perfect, that's nice, but a rock and roll album? I don't know whether it should be perfect. During the '80s and '90s you did most of the writing with outside people like Desmond Child, Diane Warren, Adam Mitchell, etc. How it was different to work on within the band members only for this album and "Sonic Boom" as well?

Paul Stanley: I think it's important that the band stay within the band to write. And one of my rules, when I said I would produce the album, and everybody went along with the idea, [was] no outside writers. It's very easy to in some cases to have somebody to write a song for you and you put your name on it and you have very little to do with it or maybe you're doing something else instead of writing songs. And, you know, you come up with the songs that really are not yours. I wanted to make sure that every song was worked on by the band. I have always included the band. I love Desmond, I love writing with him. I love Diane, I love all those people. But the band is also different now the band has the ability to be completely self-contained. Maybe that's why it's important that we do it like that. You have produced the latest KISS albums and your solo album by yourself. Is it easier to work when you're having the full control for everything?

Paul Stanley: Yes. I didn't take that role on lightly. You know, I did it because I knew I could do it, and because I didn't think anybody else could do it as well. I knew that the answer wasn't for the band to do it because there is no focus. Then everybody is doing it the way they think it should be. And then you have people getting songs on albums that may not belong on the album but just because they like them. So there is a responsibility but it makes it easier for the band. The band will tell you that the last two albums were just fun to make. It's not a matter of being a dictator in a studio. It's a matter being a coach, a captain, the leader, not telling everybody what to do but being the person that keeps the eye on the ball and the vision.

Read the entire interview from

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