Hello all! Today I am pleased to bring you a Q&A with Guitarist Ruben De Fuentes. Ruben was a member of LA based band, the Hollywood Stars (with Kim Fowley), who originally wrote and recorded "King of the Night Time World," which later was re-written with Paul Stanley and Bob Ezrin and recorded by KISS for the "DESTROYER" album. Alice Cooper also re-recorded one of the Star's songs, "Escape," for his "Welcome To My Nightmare" album.
Ruben has played in various bands including Firefly 1, Blue Cheer, Steppenwolf, Secret Service (with former teen-throb Jimmy McNichol) and played on the Bay City Rollers album, "It's A Game."
Ruben now resides in Los Angeles performing and session/songwriting work. You can visit Ruben at http://www.rubendefuentes.com/index.htm where you can also hear the Hollywood Stars' original version of "King of the Night Time World." Thank you Ruben!
1) You were in band called The Hollywood Stars and as legend has it, the west coast's answer to the New York Dolls. Tell me a little about the band and the references to the Dolls?
It was Kim Fowley's & Rodney Bingenheimer's idea to start a West Coast answer to The New York Dolls.
2)Were the Hollywood Stars glammed out like the Dolls?
We never wore girls clothes like them. We had our clothes made at a place called "Granny Takes A Trip" on Sunset Blvd. We maybe wore a little eye makeup on stage and for photos.
3)When the Hollywood Stars played the Whiskey A Go Go in Hollywood, what was it like to have a huge musical guy like John Lennon come to see you and love every song you played? That had to be an experience of a lifetime?
Yes that was a memorial experience though it was during Johns dark & drunken period. I think he was having a rough time in his life then.
4)How did Kiss discover the Hollywood Star's "King of the Nightime World?"
Through Bob Ezrin & Kim Fowley.
5)What lead Kiss to re-record "King of the Nightime World?"
You would have to ask them that but I think it was because it fit them well.
During the Eighties I saw a special on the 700 Club. They had the top 10 "Devil Rock Songs" listed and album covers displayed on camera. To my amazement both Alice Cooper's "Welcome to my nightmare" (our song Escape) and Kiss' "Destroyer" (our song King of the Nightime World) were there. They claimed "King of the Nightime World" was obviously about the Devil. I rolled around laughing because I knew it was about a young guy going out to clubs in Hollywood on the Sunset Strip.
6)What was your experience like meeting Kiss for the first time?
It was at under the Forum Club (the LA Forum) after the show. They had very elaborate catering complete with huge ice sculptures of their band name. I saw Michael Jackson there but I've seen him a lot because we were neighbors in Encino, California.
7)Had you ever experienced Kiss on the west coast prior to their recording your song?
I was at my Friends house one day and he said he had an album by a group called KISS and it rocked. I liked the tough edge they had.
8)Two of your band's songs ended up on two Bob Ezrin produced albums, Kiss' "Destroyer" and Alice Cooper's "Welcome To My Nightmare" ("Escape"), what was your experience with Ezrin like?
We had worked with him in the studio on the arrangement for "Escape" the song that was covered by Alice Cooper. We were considering him as our Producer but he kept disappearing into the men's rooms and we all came to the conclusion he was into something that we weren't.
9)Is it safe to assume that you were compensated well for "King of the Nightime World?"
No it's not safe to say that. It was the wild and woolly days of Rock & Roll - sort of dog eat dog.
10)"King of the Nightime World" is one of beloved Kiss songs in their catalog. What memories do you take with you from that?
It feels good that at least one of our songs got out there especially from a band like KISS.
10)Ruben, you are still working in Los Angeles? What is in the future for you?
My latest gig was playing with Abraham Calleros (from the Mexican Super Group "Mana"). That engagement is now over. I have aspirations of working for Gene Simmons. He is definitely my Idol. My buddy Steve Delacy played on his solo album. We grew up learning to play guitars together and he got the job after I gave him his first album session credit on my album "The Hollywood Stars".
To me Gene is the poster boy for Rock & Roll success.
Bye for now