Kiss: 'Monster' Has More Feeling, Less 'Cocksmanship'
Gene Simmons Talks 'Monster,' Vows Band Will Tour 'Everywhere'
Gene Simmons says fans will hear a slightly different tact from Kiss when its new album, "Monster," is released Oct. 16.
"A lot of the lyrics and points of view have less to do with sort of the cocksmanship, craftsmanship -- 'Hey babe, I'm gonna rock you all night long,' and are more about sort of primal notions about who we are and how we feel," Simmons tells Billboard.com. "So something like 'The Devil is Me,' for instance, is more confessional; you can keep pointing your fingers at all the evil in the world, but you've got some of it and here's the Lord's decree -- the devil is me. Maybe there's a little devil in all of us."
Simmons considers "Monster" to be "one of the best or the top three albums we've ever done." Like 2009's "Sonic Boom," Kiss kept the 12-track "Monster" raw -- "Just guitar and drums, nothing else," Simmons says -- and singer-guitarist Paul Stanley again sat in the producer's chair. "In both instances he put aside everything else in his life and was there," Simmons says of Stanley, who co-founded Kiss with him in 1972 and stood up in his 2011 wedding to Shannon Tweed. "I no longer have that patience or the temperament to be strapped in the studio for three months. There's too much going on outside, and who better to trust than (Stanley)? He's a very good team player and isn't afraid to say, 'Yeah, maybe I'm not right? Let's try this' or 'Let's try that.' We'd go in and just try anything. It's really a band effort, like four guys in a car but somebody's got to be driving and everybody else is going, 'No, turn right here, turn right there!' Ultimately we're all going to the same place, and Paul got us there."
Kiss has released a first single from "Monster," "Hell or Hallelujah," which the group is already playing during its current tour with Motley Crue. "Paul came in with a guitar chordal pattern, and it was originally called something else," Simmons recalls. "Then a few days later he came back in and said, 'What do you think of 'Hell or Hallelujah?' and we all just sparked to it and went, 'Yeah, that's right.' " Some of "Monster's" other songs, meanwhile, have a bit of history. For instance, Simmons says he wrote "Eat Your Heart Out" during the 70s but made some significant changes for the version that appears on the album.
After "Monster's" release, Simmons says Kiss plans to "go around the world" in support of it. Following the tour with Motley Crue, which wraps Sept. 23, the group will hit the high seas for the Kiss Cruise Oct. 31-Nov. 4, then plans to head to Africa, Israel, Asia, Europe and, Simmons promises, "everywhere." Meanwhile, he says being on the road with the Crue has been "really phenomenal. The Motley guys put on a great show. We took them out on their first tour, and they are a more proficient, professional band now. We did the same thing for AC/DC and Bon Jovi and Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Rush, you name it. At some point somebody gave us a chance, so we should give other people a chance, too."
Besides "Monster," Kiss will release "Destroyer: Resurrected" on Aug. 21, restoring the landmark 1976 album's original cover -- which was deemed too violent at the time ("The buildings lay in ruins, which was too much for the mom and dad and kids-friendly places," Simmons recalls) -- and featuring an alternate version of "Sweet Pain" with a different guitar solo. Simmons says Kiss is also releasing a fourth volume of its "Kissology" DVD series with "everything you haven't seen before -- archival stuff, backstage (footage), going all the way back to 1973." The group has also published a limited edition, deluxe "Monster" book that's five feet wide. "You don't need the coffee table," Simmons says. "It IS the coffee table."
The Full Tracklist for "Monster":
"Hell or Hallelujah"
"Wall of Sound"
"Back to the Stone Age"
"Eat Your Heart Out"
"Long Way Down"
"The Devil is Me"
"Outta This World"
"Take Me Down Below"
"All For the Love of Rock & Roll"
Bonus Track: "Right Here Right No"