The KISS DYNASTY is a KISS fan/musician who creates music to KISS music. I met him on MySpace and I am very excited to bring his story to you. Be sure to check out his music at his MySpace page at: http://www.myspace.com/thekissdynasty
How long have you been a KISS fan?
Sorry if I get all nostalgic in answering this question. It’s more like a story.
To be very honest, I haven’t always been a true KISS fan. I’m a person who’s life doesn’t mean much without music. KISS entered my life in a very early stage. I was 9 so I kinda grew up with it. Not because of my parents or any other relatives liked KISS… Nope, it was just me. As it turned out, there was one other guy in the street I grew up in, that liked KISS too. I accidentally met him when I was hanging around, looking for something to do, and he was playing a tape, repeating ‘I was Made For Loving You/Hard Time’s over and over again. He only had the single… He was 15, what was a big age difference: I was thinking about comic books, while he was worrying about his acne and what girls would think of that. You know what I mean? And I was the proud owner of Destroyer, so I shared that one and KISS made us spent a lot of time together, despite the fact he was 6 years older than me. We used to make our own magazines, drew about a zillion Pauls, Genes, Aces and Peters… I guess every KISS fan has similar memories. Due to that KISS obsession I started dreaming about playing music myself. We even rehearsed our show with tennis rockets and sticks. If only people could have seen us making fools of ourselves, a 15 and a 9 year old, head-banging on ‘Shout it Out Loud…’
At some point I gave up on the band (seriously… ever since Creatures Of The Night, I never listened to another KISS album). I guess it became something that belonged the memories of my childhood and I sold all my KISS albums and stuff like the rest of my ‘toys’.
I started to listen to whole other kinds of music. I became a New Wave addict (what that first girlfriend can do to a person…) so listening to ‘metal’ bands like Poison, Def Leppard, Guns ‘n Roses was like so BORING! I heard KISS tried hard to become one of those metal-bands (I guess they succeeded, I never had any interest in that), even if it took them two of the founders. So with Ace & Peter gone, to me the myth and magic was completely gone too. Until KISS MY ASS, an album that made me curious again since it was all about the ‘classic KISS songs’ and Lenny Kravitz was on it. But again, the interest faded away.
In 1996, I heard about the first reunion on MTV and I thought: well, that must be great for Peter and Ace. I never expected a friend telling me a couple of months later, KISS was going on tour in full make-up with the original 4 members. I even wasn’t all that enthusiastic when they planned a concert here in Belgium. But I thought I owed it to that little child of 9 I used to be, buying KISS albums while everybody else was having fun at the carnival and I wouldn’t waste any money…
The day of the concert, I must have been standing there like that 9 year old boy again. With a stupid grin on my face and overloaded on adrenaline. Every fantasy on how a KISS concert would look like came true. I guess kids today, in times of internet and multimedia, can’t understand that feeling anymore. In those days in Belgium, (I’m talking late ‘70’s) finding a real picture of KISS was like finding a treasure. Looking at that concert was like finding the city of gold. I‘ve seen over a 1000 concerts in my life, but that one will always be one of the most cherished. I was surprised to find out how many songs I still knew by heart, even if it was like over 15 years ago. So in some way the band always stayed present in my mind, inactive, but still... That concert made it clear that I never stopped being a KISS fan and that’s about 30 years now.
You made a really cool version of "Only You" from THE ELDER, I loved it with a dance beat, what inspires you to remake a KISS song?
Thanx! Pitty, it’s no longer on my profile for now since I had to make room for some other songs. But it will return later.
I never had the intention to make it more like a ‘dance version’ by the way. I heard some kind of Massive Attack arrangement in it and started dropping my bass strings as low as possible. On a certain level (around A) the human ear can no longer identify tones, so I had to stop before I started making music for whales or so.
Anyway… It wasn’t very easy to keep everything in tune. It was a bit of a challenge.
What brings me to the other question: what inspires me?
Hmm… That’s a bit different with every song. It just kinda hits me and I need to be challenged. I took up remixing songs as a hobby. And at some point it took a turn to KISS songs.
What does it take to go in and rework a KISS song?
It’s more like a combination of things. First of all, there’s the ‘hitting me’ factor: do I hear a complete different arrangement or not?
To my opinion, in remixing (I know some people think remixing songs is like playing with some samples and beats – but if you really want to do it right, there’s a whole lot more to it) you have to get a grip on the ‘soul of the song’ (so it stays the same song but in a different suit) OR you have to turn it into a complete different tune that appears to be remembering people to another song they know. Am I talking bullshit? Wait, I’ll try to explain with an example. Don’t shoot me for this…
You probably know the song ‘Hung Up’ by Madonna. Yes? Well, then you definitely know the melody the keyboards play: yeah right, the song from ABBA, Gimme Gimme Gimme. Now that’s an example of turning a well know song into something else.
In the case of remixing KISS songs, I choose the other way: I literally try to jam with the members of the band, using the original basslines, drums, guitars, vocals,… and add something new to the picture. I personally like my version of Love Theme very much. The tune is still Love Theme, but I’ve approached it in a totally different angle (I think…)
And that is what I try to do: get into the song, skip the obvious touch (like making a dance version of I Was Made For Loving You… that’s easy… don’t mind me saying so) and turn it into a more ‘up to date’ but still classic KISS song while I fantasize being there with them (sometimes on stage, like in She’ mpansee… ;-)
Have you tried it with other artists?
I certainly have! I started to use my pc as an instrument about 3 years ago. Remixing was more like a process to learn about the software I had to use. I’ve started recording and composing songs at home, but somehow that remixing thing kept on coming back. I’ve remixed a bunch of songs by different artist, just for myself and a few close ones to get some feedback. Picking up KISS was more like a favour I wanted to do for a friend of mine who’s a real ‘die hard’ KISS fan for years. I wanted to surprise him by giving him something no-one else had. And, well, I did surprise him and it turned out to be surprising the other way around too: he liked it so much, he didn’t wanted to keep it for himself. He told me about the loyalty of KISS fans, the bond KISS Army’s have (I thought: there we go again, the man who’s life is called KISS) and that I should try to get these remixes out in the world. So I did.
‘The Kiss Dynasty’ profile went on-line about 3 months ago with an idea behind it to create something special for all KISS fans all over the world. I wasn’t really sure about it: I expected reactions like ‘Okay, nice try’ or ‘BOOOOOORING’ or ‘Get these freaking songs off-line or the KISS army will hunt you down!’. After about a week, I really started to believe in the fact that KISS fans actually liked my ideas. And now, after 3 months, over 4500 hits, at least 350 KISS related My Space Friends, I’m positive: I’m really sure that the KISS Army’s will be pleased about what I’m holding up my sleeve! It’s amazing how tight KISS fans are. It’s definitely unique! So all those remixes I’ve made from other bands… really… don’t matter anymore. I’ve found my mixing destiny… ;-)
What instruments do you play?
Well, I’m mostly a live bass player for about 20 years now (no I don’t have a tongue like Gene). I started out back in 1986, buying an electric guitar because I didn’t knew the difference between a 6 string and a bass. Imagine that! I went out to buy a guitar (I figured it would sound as deep as Stings guitar, who was my hero at the time), but came home with a 6 string. It took me about a week to find out I’ve bought the wrong instrument. But I had it in my hands and at home, people weren’t actually cheering to buy another one. So I had to learn how to play a 6 string. Since then I got the hang of playing some keyboards and drums, experimenting with some specials like a didg and a harp… And off course: the bassguitar! I’m not saying I’m some sort of multi-instrumental talented guy! I guess every musician knows the basics of several instruments and if not, well, you should!
What are your favorite KISS songs that you've reworked?
Like I said before, I really like my version of Love Theme. Recently I’ve finished a ‘Saturday Night Fever –ish’ version of Easy As It Seems. I like that one too! But my true favourite isn’t on-line yet. I’ll tell you about it when it’s there!
What KISS songs you haven't reworked but are planning to do?
You’re way to curious LOL! Definitely some tracks from the solo’s, specially the Ace Frehley album. Rip It Out is growing in my head and so is Ozone. Got a very weird thing going on about that last one. And I really want to take a look at the possibilities on Radioactive by Gene. I always liked the intro… but what happens than? I mean: it’s like fireworks before the start of the show, expectation growing like… WTF is going to happen next! And then… well… sorry if the DIE HARDS are angry now, but it’s like a very sexy woman getting ready for some great sex and you having an orgasm before your pants are down… I’d like to try to pump it up to real Radioactive sex!
Besides that, believe it or not, a couple of My Space friends have send me some requests. Maybe I’ll pick up some of those. What else? Really, I don’t know yet.
Has anyone from the band heard your remakes?
As far as I know, I don’t think so. I haven’t made any efforts to get in touch with the (ex) band-members yet. I’d like to wait a while until my idea is finished and on-line. After that, I’m gonna try to get in touch with them.
For now I’m trying to ‘collect’ as much KISS related profiles and comments so everything becomes some kind of package to show to them if they’re ever interested in listening to my remixes. I guess the four originals have so much more on their minds then surfing My Space looking for their own songs in different versions. So if I ever want them to take a look, I’d better make sure it’s worth it.
If you ever got a call from Gene or Paul about your music, what would be your first reaction?
If that would ever happen, I really hope they try to contact me by e-mail so I’ll be able to prepare myself. I think I would be nailed to the ground and speechless if I would pick up the phone and somebody would say: Hi, this is Gene Simmons.
I would really like to make it clear to them that I don’t have any wrong intentions with my ‘work’ and that it’s nothing more than a tribute to KISS. No, I’m not taking this on stage like other tribute bands, I’m using the internet as a stage. I’m not trying to sell these versions, I just like to do this as a dedication to the band that made me pick up a guitar and learn how to play it.
Of course, if Gene would say: listen man, we really like this stuff and we think you should release it, or even better: we’d like to release it ourselves(yeah right, like that would happen)… I would be … nailed to the ground and speechless LOL.
Serious, I would be so honoured. As a matter a fact, getting any reaction at all from one of the four (positive or negative) would be such a big compliment since they would find it worthy of taking time for it. You know what I mean?
Any final thoughts about your KISS inspired music?
My biggest wish is to get personal permission by Gene, Ace, Paul and Peter to make my versions downloadable for free.
Considering the quality of some available stuff, I’m pretty sure that at some point some-one will pick up the tracks and starts bootlegging them to make money. I only hope every KISS fan will remember where they heard it first and before buying the versions, they try to get in touch with me for a free copy.
Unless of course the KISS members would have other plans. If they would believe that my project could actually become part of the KISS legend… I’d die a very, very happy man.
So for now, I hope you all keep on enjoying my versions and please don’t stop visiting my profile to hear the latest tunes!
No, thank YOU for the interest and giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts.