By John Jeffery/Rock Music Star
Eric Singer is one of the most honest, straight forward interview subjects that one could have the pleasure of speaking to. Never shying away from any question, Singer tells it like it is, not sparing any details. Being the drummer for KISS (on and off) for over 15 years, over the span of three decades, Eric knows what it takes to get the job done, and has never lost the appreciation of being part of one of the biggest bands in the history of music. When RockMusicStar recently spoke with Eric Singer, he reflected on "The Tour" with Motley Crue, the writing and recording process of "Monster" (Singer's fourth studio record with KISS), the misconception people have about his approach to drumming in KISS, and also responds to the comments Peter Criss made about him in Criss' autobiography, "Makeup to Breakup."
RockMusicStar: Could you tell us what "The Tour" was like for the band, and did it exceed your personal expectations?
Eric Singer: Well, it was a very successful tour, and for me, I think it was a great package. I can only speak for my own point of view, but I think most people would have to concede that it was a good pairing. If I was a fan, I would want to see that tour. Even if I wasn't in KISS, I'm a fan of both bands, I'd wanna see KISS and Motley Crue together. People had been saying for years that it would be a good package (to see happen again), and I think it turned out to be. Of course, you're gonna have people say, "Oh, I'd rather see KISS do their own show, or Motley Crue do their own show," because they want to see a band play longer. But for me, if I was going as a fan, to see each band play at my age now, seeing each band play for 75-80 minutes, that would be just the right amount for me. Just enough, without being too short or too long.
RMS: How do you respond to those who say that "All For the Love of Rock and Roll" is just an attempt at mimicking or copying a Peter Criss song?
ES: Here's the thing John, I'm 54 years old and this is the way that I sing. Those type of comments seem to come from the same people who question why I play (the drums) a certain way. You know somethin'? I play for the song, and I play for the band. That's what I play for first. Not for myself, not to appeal to a drummer in the audience. I play to appeal to the song and the band, and what the band does in that format. I always point back to people, listen to "MTV Unplugged." That's the best example that shows where I'm coming from, as a drummer and singer in KISS. I played very simple, very straight ahead, more closer to an earlier KISS approach, to the arrangements and the style of the songs. I made the conscience effort, from that point on, I made the concerted effort to play more simple. So I find it interesting that when I come back to play in the band in 2001, all of a sudden, just because I have makeup on, people are asking, "Why is Eric playing more simple? They're telling him to imitate Peter Criss." Gene and Paul, for the record, NEVER ONCE...EVER...(told me) to ever play anything like Peter Criss. NEVER!!!
RMS: While we're on the subject of Peter Criss, Peter recently released his book, "Makeup to Breakup." He pretty much makes negative comments about every member of KISS, past or present, with the exception of Bruce Kulick. I wanted to give you the opportunity to respond to the comments that he made towards you, as he calls you a "schlep" and claims the story of you suggesting for Peter to play at the 1995 Los Angeles KISS Konvention was disingenuous.
ES: That's funny because it wasn't disingenuous. At the time when that happened in 95, Gene asked me, saying "Eric, Peter Criss wants to come down to the expo and bring his daughter. Do you have a problem with that?" I am the one that actually said, "You should have him come up to play." Let's just put it this way, Peter doesn't know me. Peter's met me a couple of times, through all the years that I've been around. It was literally like, "Hi. How ya doin'?" Other than when we did "MTV Unplugged," where we were at rehearsals on and off together, that one week. Other than that, Peter does not know me. He doesn't know my character. He doesn't know what type of person I am. If he wants to take it that way, then that's fine. That's his prerogative. I don't have nothing against the guy, he's done nothing to me personally. I may have my own personal opinions of how I feel about him as a drummer, or how he's conducted himself, that I may or may not agree with everything, but that's really their (Peter and Gene & Paul's) beef.
For some reason, Peter really hates Tommy Thayer. Why? I don't know? All that Tommy ever did was try to help the guy. When Peter came back to the band in the very beginning, for the Reunion, Tommy's the one who that sat in a room with him and Ace, teaching them the songs, and working them through the routines, before they even got together with Gene and Paul. He put the time into helping the guy, and now for some reason, he's got some real venom towards Tommy, and I don't know what that's about.
The sad thing is that the fans who like a particular person, or a particular band member, they're going to believe everything the person says, whether it's true or not. You gotta remember, this is Peter's chance to get some more attention for himself. Because, he really hasn't done much since he's been out of KISS. Obviously, Peter has his point of view on his time and his experiences, on what he feels and how he feels about his time in KISS, and all of the players that are all part of it.
I think the ultimate good way is to take the high road in life. We've all had good and bad things happen in our lives. A lot of times, when things don't go our way, it's understandable why people become negative, or bitter, or cynical about something, but hopefully, they say that "time heals," and I do believe that's true. Hopefully, we all get to that place in our lives when we look back at our experiences, and we try to remember the positive and the better things about them, rather than the negative and bad things about them. We do get affected by what happens in a given situation, but we make the conscience choice about how we wanna deal with those experiences. If we want to turn them into a learning experience, and be able to look back on the accomplishments and things we've done in our lives, and maybe crack a smile, that's hopefully what we should ALL be able to do. We're supposed to learn from life and learn from our experiences. I think everyone who's been involved with KISS has done some pretty remarkable experiences that they should be able to be proud of, and look back and smile on.
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