Classic Rock Magazine
When it came to recording KISS's new, 20th album, Monster, Paul Stanley was wearing a big hat with the word 'Boss' on it. Metaphorically, anyway.
"I wasn't interested in making an album unless I was in charge and no one agreed to it half-heartedly," says the singer and guitarist, taking a break from co-producing the record at Conway Studios in Hollywood. "The band's all there, all the time, and we cut the tracks all facing each other in the same room. Chemistry and camaraderie, that's essential. That's what made Sonic Boom so great, and this album is thunderously better."
Firm but fair, we say. And if Stanley is to be believed, then their late-career hot streak shows no sign of fizzling out anytime soon. Which is why we've asked him to take us through Monster's key tracks. Take it away, Mr. Starchild...
"IT'S A LONG WAY DOWN"
"It says that those who reach heights and don't appreciate them fall mightily -- it's a long way down from the top. It's a defining track in the sense that it's very up-tempo and very much a signature song. Eric's [Singer] drumming is incredible on this."
"BACK TO THE STONE AGE"
"One that Gene sings. It's exactly what you'd expect it to be from the title. I come from a school where you write a verse, a bridge, a chorus, and then you go back. That's in my blood. It's in Motown, it's in The Beatles, it's in Led Zeppelin, it's in The Who, it's in all my favourite bands."
"That's a great track. There's a lot of tracks that could start the album, and this is one of them. I like to think that the opening song is a declaration of what the album really is, whether it's a Love Gun or a Detroit Rock City. It's important to start with a song that defines what you're gonna be getting."
"OUT OF THIS WORLD"
"That's one of Tommy's [Thayer, guitarist.] He really pushed the limits. His playing is phenomenal. It has the kind of excitement that I like to hear where you're not quite sure if it's gonna go off the rails or not. That's what makes great rock n' roll."
"WALL OF SOUND"
"We're not trying to reinvent the wheel here; we're at our best when we don't over-think. It's not a Rubik's Cube, it's a song, you know? This one is absolutely, immediately recognisable and identifiable and true to being KISS. I put the blinders on us to keep us from being derailed or the attention span broken by things going on around us."
"HELL OR HALLELUJAH"
"Another up-tempo song, and it's very definitive. That's what I think is so great about this album: every track is quintessential. No one does it better -- and many have tried. When we hit the bulls-eye, we hit it full on. We've cut 14 tracks. How many we'll use or how this will play out will be interesting, but there's no filler."