Friday, April 8, 2011

Eddie Trunk Talks Kiss

Eddie Trunk, host of "That Metal Show," Q104.3 Radio Host and author of ‘Eddie Trunk's Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal’ Talks Kiss

By Justin Tedaldi/

Here is an excerpt:

What do you think KISS should do next?

Do what they said they were going to do over 10 years ago: retire. I don’t think they need a full set, but maybe one show where you get all the surviving members of the band; get them out there to play; do a song with the original band. Somebody find Vinnie Vincent, somebody get Bruce Kulick. Sadly, Mark St. John and Eric Carr are no longer with us. Do a big celebration of the band’s history, one big show in New York or something, and end it. And then, I certainly think they could all go on and do things. Gene [Simmons] could do reality shows; Paul [Stanley] could do his art and still do solo shows, still make solo music. But to me, as a fan—and God knows I’m a huge KISS fan—it’s just been beaten up now.

It’s funny, you pull any press clipping from 2000 when they said they were doing their farewell tour, and they’re asked why. And the answer was always the same: “We don’t want to drag the band through the mud; we don’t want to stay at the party too long; we don’t want to have anybody blasting us with, ‘Why are you guys still doing this?’” And here we are, 11 years later, and I’m asking some of those questions because, to me, the band has become, in some regards, a tribute band—half the band are a tribute band. And I’ve been honest about what I’ve said about that many times; it’s how I feel as a fan. If they dressed those guys [Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer] as their own characters and let them be their own people, fine. It’s just hard for me to swallow. But for most people who are not nearly as passionate about it as I am, who just want to go see fireworks and hear “Rock and Roll All Nite,” they don’t really care, and that’s why they can still get away with it.

But above and beyond all of that, I’ve seen footage of the band; I’ve seen them in various versions of this lineup in the last few years. And this is the bigger issue: these guys, although they’re still in good shape, Gene and Paul, physically, they’re 60 now. You know, KISS isn’t the Eagles; they’re not Crosby, Stills & Nash—you can’t sit on barstools and strum acoustic guitars. No one in their right mind can tell me that the same energy is coming off of that stage at this age in these costumes and what they can do. The last time I saw them, man—it was a little boring, to be honest with you. There wasn’t a lot of that same energy and drive that I’m used to seeing on the stage.

And I can’t tell you how many e-mails I’ve gotten from people saying, “What’s wrong with Paul’s voice? What’s wrong with Paul’s voice?” I don’t know. I mean, I don’t go to [their] shows anymore; I don’t know. But when those sort of things happen—you’ve got new guys dressed up as other guys out there, people wondering, “Is the guy’s voice okay?,” ailments and hip replacements and you’re slowing down and you can’t move like you used to, that, to me, is when it’s time to figure something else out here.

Why do you think they’re still doing it? At least two of them are well-off financially.

Yeah, but it’s still profitable. They’re still playing casino gigs, they’re still playing festival gigs. Listen, one thing I’ve learned, and I don’t really blame anybody for this: most people who have a lot of money are the people that want to make money more than anyone. I’ve seen it with athletes, I’ve seen it with musicians, you know? It’s the old saying, “the rich get richer.” And I’m not knocking anybody for making a living and doing what they’ve go to do. I can’t [say] that I’d be any different if I was in those situations. But those two things, it’s the constant drive to make money, and really, it’s all they know—it’s all they do, you know? There’s the ego gratification, there’s the attention, and there’s the money. And as long as those things are still going on, some of these guys can’t let it go.

And I just think that, again, KISS fans get so upset with me; they’re super hardcore when I talk like this, but taking out all of the personal stuff, as a fan, that’s just how I see it. You know, I’m not a blind worshipper. I look at it as a fan and I’ve accepted it, embraced everything KISS has done in their entire history, and this is just the one thing, though—when it gets into this deceptive world, and who’s behind the make-up, and who’s doing this—this is the one thing that I’ve had a hard time with. And again, I think, physically, it’s very hard for them to uphold the level of the KISS standard, regardless of how well you take care of yourself….At that age, they’re not guys that can get away with that when they put on a physical show, like with other bands. That’s what makes them unique.

Did you catch their very first show with Eric Carr in New York?


What was that like?

Well, there’s actually a book out now that I just read called The Eric Carr Story that’s really good that I’m interviewed in extensively, talking about Eric and that show. What I remember at that time was that KISS were dying in the U.S. I mean, they didn’t play in 1980 in America outside of that show because they had no audience. Their career had fallen so hard. I mean, they were down and out. People have a hard time understanding that, but in the early ’80s, they were dead in the water. So I just remember Eric being a great sign of life and a big kick in the pants to the band. And I remember a lot of excitement from the diehards at the time.

That’s a perfect example of what I’ve talked about with my history supporting that band. I was there at that show; I embraced Eric Carr, you know? He was the Fox, he was a new character, he was new blood. If they had another guy at that time dressed up as [Carr’s predecessor] Peter Criss, I don’t think I would have been there. So that’s my point about what I was saying earlier. My book is dedicated to Eric, as well as Dio, and he was a great friend of mine over the years. And I miss him.
Read the entire interview here

Go to Eddie Trunk's Website to purchase his book, news and dates for book signings.

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