Intervju med Bob Ezrin om Destroyer: Resurrected:
Bob Ezrin: The KissFAQ Interview By Tim McPhate
Upon preparing to enter the studio in 1975 to record the follow-up to the successful ”Alive!” album, KISS knew the creative ante needed to be upped considerably. KISS wanted to reach a new level, one that would seal their status as larger-than-life superstars. But they would need some assistance to attain their goal.
Enter Bob Ezrin, an erudite producer/musician who was fresh from masterminding Alice’s Cooper’s ”Welcome To My Nightmare.” One-part collaborator, one-part musical wizard and one-part drill sergeant, Ezrin’s songwriting input, sharp arrangements and studio prowess helped transform rough gems such as ”Detroit Rock City,” ”God Of Thunder,” ”Shout It Out Loud,” and ”Beth” into shining diamonds.
Though initial reviews were mixed after the album’s release, after KISS appeared on the ”Paul Lynde Halloween Special” and ”Beth” shot into the Top 10 in late 1976, ”Destroyer” had surpassed platinum sales. Peter Criss, Ace Frehley, Gene Simmons, and Paul Stanley had reached a new level, one they would elevate throughout the remainder of the ’70s.
More than 36 years later, the double-platinum ”Destroyer” still stands as a classic benchmark in the KISS catalog. However, technological limitations and lingering sonic deficiencies had always irked Ezrin. True to his storied reputation, it’s fitting that Ezrin got the proverbial ball rolling on ”Destroyer: Resurrected,” a project that saw him remix the entire album with the aid of the ”magic of modern technology.”
With the rebooted album now confirmed for an Aug. 21 release, KissFAQ has your exclusive first preview of the resurrection of ”Destroyer” and reflections on the making of the album that was, straight from the legendary producer himself.
Greetings, Bob. Let’s get right to it. How did ”Destroyer: Resurrected” get off the ground?
I started the project. I basically wrote Gene and Paul and said, ”What are we doing for [”Destroyer'”s] 35th anniversary?” And there was a sort of collective blank stare. I said, ”Why don’t I remix it? And let’s bring the album up to modern standards, sonically, and also look to see if there’s anything new we can discover in the vaults.” Everyone thought it was a really cool idea. So we got to work and the folks at Universal, as well as the KISS guys, were digging around in their vaults and archives. It was hard at first to find the original multitracks for the album. But finally they were located and once we knew we had them, then we got to work. It was so much fun to do, I cannot tell you, Tim.
Can you tell us about the contents on this new edition?
In terms of what they’ve put into the final package, I honestly don’t know. I just did the remix, and I did write the liner notes for the package.
Bob, the late Sean Delaney, who remixed songs for KISS’ 1978 compilation, ”Double Platinum,” once remarked: ”He’s probably one of the most amazing producers in my lifetime … because I produced ’Double Platinum’ with Mike Stone and we had to remix all of the tracks and Bob records with all of the special effects and everything on the tape. You cannot change anything Bob Ezrin has ever done — there it is, like it or not.”
So, how does Bob Ezrin go about remixing Bob Ezrin?
(laughs) That’s a great question.
The fact is we did this on 16 tracks back in those days. And we were a little bit limited because we had to commit sounds to tape. We had to put all of our effects on at the same time that we did the original tracking, and so on. There were things I would have liked to have been able to do at the time, certainly after living with it for a few years. There were some things that still made me cringe because I wish I’d had a little more control. Sixteen tracks was … 16 tracks is very limiting.
So what was great for me was to dig into the 16 tracks and, with the magic of modern technology, I was able to separate stuff out and deal with individual elements within these tracks and really work on making them sound great, in and of themselves. What I was trying to do was to get it to be a little more present, defined and slightly more modern sounding. Not quite as wet as it was originally, but without sacrificing any of the integrity of any of the parts. And I was very faithful to my original mixes. I kept flipping back and forth to make sure I wasn’t losing anything and that I was still retaining the balances that I had before. But I was really trying to augment things, and in having a little more control I was able to bring some things out of the original 16 tracks that I didn’t have the technology to do back then.
I think the end result is the same ”Destroyer,” but it’s a little more in your face and it’s a little more sonically powerful. And I think it stands up to modern records, acoustically.
How long did the remixing process take?
It was a period of a few weeks. It took quite awhile to get the material organized and into shape. From when we found the tapes until when they were actually remixed was probably a period of about three weeks. It was longer than I had to do the original album.
You mentioned there were some things you’ve always wanted to sonically address. Can you name an example?
There were snare drum sounds that I wished I could have extracted from the 16 tracks. But they were mixed into the drums because I didn’t have enough tracks. On the drum tracks that I had, I wished that I had a dry snare that was slightly more present, but it already had been mixed in with all the reverb.
Now with modern technology, I was able to isolate the snare hits, dry them up, and bring them forward. And I was able to EQ them separately and compress them separately so I could make them more present, and less buried in echo as they were in the original mix. And there were some vocal sounds that I thought could have been slightly more present, and I thought there were some things that were a little bit dull sounding, but that was the nature of the technology at the time. And [we recorded] on tape. And tape would get dull over time as you played it over and over again. And we had limitations on tape with the amount of top or bottom end, where as digitally those limitations don’t exist.
In listening back to the album throughout the remixing process, can you share any new things you discovered?
I did find an old Ace solo that we hadn’t used.
Really, what song?
Name the song titles for me, quick!
Flaming Youth,” ”King Of The Night Time World,” ”Sweet Pain” …