Songwriter Discusses Working With GENE SIMMONS On 'War Machine'

February 9, 2008

As part of Greek webzine Rockpages' ongoing feature celebrating KISS' 35th anniversary, Sakis Nikas recently conducted an interview with songwriter/composer/producer Jim Vallance, who co-wrote the songs "War Machine" and "Rock and Roll Hell" on the "Creatures of the Night" album. An excerpt from the chat follows: You had written with Bryan Adams two tunes ("War Machine", "Rock and Roll Hell") which ended up on KISS' "Creatures of the Night". You had stated in past interviews some details on these two songs. In retrospect, do you think that this was a misjudged move from you two?

Jim Vallance: "Do you mean, was it a mistake to work with KISS? I don't think it was a mistake. Bryan and I were young, we wanted to be successful song writers, and we got a call from KISS, one of the biggest bands in the world. Of course you're not going to say 'no thanks.' I was slightly disappointed that we had to share credit with Gene on 'Rock And Roll Hell', but it was also a good lesson for us. Gene's a smart guy. I respect his intelligence." Gene Simmons had said in various circumstances that he had written the basic riff structure of "War Machine" and then came you and Bryan and offered some lyrical solutions. Is this the truth behind this or do you have another story?

Jim Vallance: "Believe me ... after 25 years, sometimes you don't remember all the details. I've read the interviews where Gene says he sent us a riff, but I don't remember it happening that way. Plus, I keep EVERYTHING, and I don't have a tape from Gene in my collection. I'm not saying my memory is right, and Gene's is wrong. I'm just telling you what I remember. But here's an interesting clue. Checking my files, I see that Gene only claimed a 10% share of 'Rock And Roll Hell' (for the single verse of lyrics he contributed). On 'War Machine' he claimed a full one-third share, the same share that Bryan and I received (one-third each). That tells me that Gene believed — and perhaps Bryan and I believed — that Gene's contribution to 'War Machine' was more significant than I remember!"

Read the entire interview at

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