By MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER
Critics who have dismissed modern-day Kiss as nothing but a cartoonish merchandising machine take note: the band has proven that there is some rock and roll left in the tank, and this week celebrates the highest charting release in its history as "Sonic Boom" landed in the No. 2 slot on the Billboard charts.
Rock Music Menu caught up with drummer Eric Singer after the grease-painted foursome played an explosive, career spanning set at the Wachovia Center Monday night and talked about what it is that makes the new album so appealing.
"Everyone knew what the task at hand was," Singer said. "We all got on board in the same vehicle heading down the same road and we knew what are destination was."
Singer joined Kiss in 1991 initially as temporary substitute for drummer Eric Carr, who was battling heart cancer and subsequently passed away later that year. He played on the 1992 record "Revenge," which, like "Sonic Boom," is seen as a touchstone in the band's catalog and a return to form after many had left them for dead."
A friend of mine said, "It's kind of ironic how two of my favorite Kiss albums are two that you played on,'" Singer said. "I'm not gonna take the credit for it, but I do believe that sometimes a certain chemistry with people at a given time contributes a lot to a band's sound and a vibe and an energy and a direction that you may have."
"It's like baking a cake; you can make the same cake over and over, but sometimes it just tastes a little better, especially when people make things from scratch rather than follow exact directions."
To start from scratch, Singer, guitarist Tommy Thayer and Kiss co-founders Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons went back to their roots, not to find the sound, but to look for inspiration.
"We weren't trying to make a '70s record," Singer said. "We we're trying to make a record in the spirit of the '70s where a band went in, worked on riffs, and recorded them live. Paul said, "I want to make this record like we did when we started out.'"
"We really created more of a unified sound where everybody contributed, it wasn't like one guy was the main writer and he does everything; we wanted to do everything organically like the way we do live."
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