by Nicole Pajer, L.A./Billboard.com
KISS is celebrating their upcoming 40th anniversary in a big way, with the launch of a massive new photo book. Standing at 3 feet high and 2.5 feet wide, "Monster" follows the journey of the band through 127 rare and never before seen photographs taken from the Kiss archives. The book, which was printed by the same binder used by The Vatican, is limited to 1,000 copies and is hand signed, dated, and numbered by the band. Price tag: $4,250.
The rockers showed up, sans face paint, at the Viper Room in West Hollywood on Tuesday to debut their latest endeavor. After they climbed on stage, Paul Stanley told the media-centric crowd that the band really hasn't been in contact with former band members, implying that Ace Frehley and Peter Criss had little to do with the book.
Added Gene Simmons, "You've had girlfriends before, right? You're happy that you had the girlfriends and now you're happy that you don't have those girlfriends. That's our life too. They were fantastic for the formative years but not everybody is designed in their DNA to run marathons."
Stanley later told Billboard that the band's forthcoming album, also dubbed "Monster," out Oct. 16, is all original.
"I'm a big believer that when people recycle old stuff, they should leave it where it was," said Stanley, who produced the album. "When you hear bands that are lifting riffs that they had 15, 20, 30 years ago, I think, 'My God. Can't they come up with anything new?'"
Guitarist Tommy Thayer explained that Simmons tried to bring old riffs to the table, but Stanley was having none of it. "It was like, how about this one? How about no?" said Stanley, adding that, "you can't polish a turd."
As far as advice for aspiring musicians, Stanley said he'd recommend that they quit unless it's something that they have no choice but to pursue. "The industry is in such shambles that if you're doing it for any other reason than it being your quest, give it up because the chances are slimmer than ever."
Stanley touched on his relationship with Simmons after 40-plus years, referring to it as, "a marriage where thankfully I don't have to see him naked."
As Kiss approaches their 40th anniversary as a band, the members reflected on whether or not they have another ten years in them. Will they reach a 50th?
"All bets are off at this point. We're in uncharted waters. I never thought we'd be here today. Forty years ago, if you told me I'd be doing this now and loving it and doing it with pride, I'd tell you that you were crazy. What will I be doing in ten years? I have no idea," stated Stanley.
Added Simmons, "All I know is we're having the time of our lives getting up on stage and living up to our motto - 'You wanted the best. You got the best.' This is the hottest band in the world."