Interview by John Parks/ Legendary Rock Interviews
Okay, sue me…. KISS is my favorite band. If I hear that a past or current member of KISS is doing interviews I will cancel a doctor’s appointment, miss a dinner, and so on. I put the band on a level that noone could touch (even Cheap Trick!) and I grew up in the 80s so you understand my devotion to the Gene, Eric, Paul and Bruce era. I was very, very pleased to field a phone call from Bruce recently about the new Eric Carr collection and I threw as many questions at him as we had time for. We covered a lot more ground than our previous interview and he was very gracious to this particular rabid KISSfreak, read on….
LRI: We’ve talked with Eric Carr’s sister and webmaster about the new Eric Carr collection that recently came out but we were wondering how you got to be involved?
BK: Well, you know, a lot of people think I was one of the creators of this project but really I wasn’t. I was one of the people behind Eric’s last album ROCKOLOGY which was obviously a lot of the material that was left behind that he and I were working on. I did as much as I could to improve those tracks for release but I didn’t do TOO much, I didn’t add other artists or get too adventurous. I was happy with the results of ROCKOLOGY and there were a few little things left over that I chose not to use but I think Eric’s sister Loretta was always thinking “There’s more here, we should really find something else” and she contacted a lot of Eric’ friends and basically she kept digging and putting things together. She would tell me about it and I would always be like “Well, I’m really happy you’re doing it” and obviously I played guitar on some of it but I kind of felt like I didn’t have that much to do with it. Then as it started taking shape and I started hearing MP3s it started to become a lot clearer to me how she put together “Unfinished Business“ which is actually a great title. Now that it’s out I am actually really pleased with it and obviously I am always happy to be talking about Eric. It’s been twenty years since his death and it’s just unbelievable to think it’s been that long.
LRI: As an artist with tons of studio experience you have to be amazed at how these posthumous Eric projects have turned out, especially given the quality of some of the original source tapes.
BK: Yeah, absolutely and I do feel the same way about ROCKOLOGY. Things were all mastered really well and preserved in the best way possible for the final listening product. I’m also really impressed with the packaging, I think that KISS fans will really enjoy that, it’s very good.
LRI: You worked with both Eric Singer and Eric Carr. What are some of the biggest differences musically and personally between the two “Erics”?
BK: Well, certainly Eric Singer came into KISS at a real turning point for the band with getting ready to record with Bob Ezrin again for REVENGE was a really exciting, big step for the group especially considering the success that Bob has had with the band before. Ironically, Eric Singer realized that that was kind of an awkward thing. At the time Eric Carr was sadly lost and gone and that was Eric Singer’s role to take over and be the drummer in the band, that was his job and Eric Singer did his job. Playing wise they are a little different but they are both really strong rock drummers. Eric Singer has not always wanted the biggest drum kit in the world but he always still had a really big sound. Eric Carr had a much different approach and would say “the more drums the better, I don’t care if they can’t see me” (laughs). I still think there were some REALLY funny things about Eric Carr’s approach, especially his approach to stage gear, he really liked a big, big, big, BIG drumset. As far as personal differences there are many but the most important thing for me was that I really enjoyed playing with them both and I think that both of them absolutely did exactly the right thing for whatever record or tour they were asked to be a part of.
LRI: It was nice for us diehards that KISS recently dug a little bit deeper into the songbook for the set they played on the KISS KRUISE but for the most part are still not playing much of your material from the 80s or 90s. I understand that the today’s “makeup” KISS really has to focus on that original era material but one of the most awesome things about YOUR live shows are that you actually do all of that material we grew up on in the MTV era. Do you have plans to keep doing those kind of KISS focused solo shows that we’ve seen on you tube?
BK: I have to do it around the Grand Funk Railroad schedule but I’m going to Brazil in a couple weeks for some shows like you’re describing. Those gigs I really do concentrate for the most part on my era of KISS. I do “Tears are Falling”, Crazy Nights“, “God Gave Rock and Roll To You” and some stuff that I realize that occasionally the “modern” KISS will do but I also get into material that KISS has RARELY played live like “You Make Me Rock Hard” or “Turn On The Night”. These kind of shows I will of course do some stuff from my solo records but I really tend to focus on that era of KISS material I was a part of. Gene, Paul, Tommy and Eric obviously focus on that vintage era of the band which is great but yeah recently they did dip into the well for some of the less obvious songs and that is great. They should really CONTINUE to do that because KISS has such a great catalog when you think about all those great years and decades worth of music.
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