INTERVIEW AND PHOTO BY MARKO SYRJALA
Legendary U.S. band KISS started its long awaited European leg of the Monster tour in Friends Arena, Stockholm on 1’st of June. The band introduced in front of 30 000 fans, its new spectacular stage set called the “Spider”. Two days later, KISS landed in Finland and played a sold out show in the Hartwall Arena. I met the band’s drummer, Eric Singer, the day after the gig at the hotel in Helsinki. Eric was really excited about the new tour and because of his very good mood we then had a long conversation about the Monster tour, the Spider, KISS fan-dom, the future of KISS, and various other topics. Read on !
NEW STAGE SHOW
Marko: First of all Eric, I have to say that the new Spider stage is amazing!
Eric Singer: It’s going to get better. We are still working it out and it will take more, like maybe about eight or nine shows, until it’s ready.
Marko: So you are going to add more elements and parts on it?
Eric Singer: You’ll see, yeah we are. We didn’t get to rehearse, we tried to rehearse with it and the stuff wasn’t working. So, on the first day we only played music. First show was first time we were doing this thing. We came in that day to practice the beginning. So, it will get better. Paul and Doc saw the stage when they had built it, because they designed it, Paul designed it, but I did not see it until we came to Stockholm, I only saw… I didn’t physically see it with my own eyes until we came. I saw the videos when Paul first came, he sent me video clips showing me how it looks, how some things moves and things like this. I saw just a video clip where he went to the place where they built it and the way they designed it. So, he went there and my drum tech, the tech, that production man, they all went there. I didn’t go. I only saw it when we got here. And then my drum tech, he told me, “Here is how it’s going to look, your drum riser is going to be this big.” Because the crew put this together with Paul, Paul designed and the crew built it and then they tell them what we need. Like my drum tech for example would say, “Eric’s drum set is going to be this many pieces. If it’s this big, we need this size of drum riser. Because originally they want to make it smaller, I said, “No, I need it big because I have more than like 3-4 toms.” I have a lot of drums, I’ve got seven tom tom’s, so.
Marko: Would you tell us something about the drum kit you’re now using on this tour?
Eric Singer: I used that set last year just for a couple of shows, we played one festival in Norway and one show and in London. I used it for that and I used it on the KISS Kruise. So, it’s a brand new set but I only used for a couple of gigs last year. Just for basically like three shows. So, this kit is the one for Europe and then when we go out to Canada and the rest I’ll go back to the mirror-ball kit that I had last year. The mirror-ball kit is supposed to be on this tour, because it looks, that kit looks amazing with the lights and so on. But this kit looks pretty good too. I think this kit looks nice because it’s white. It’s actually not white, it’s called like a silver or white bubble rub but it’s kind of silver white. And it has a, if you look at the texture it’s a special finish. It looks very similar to the drum kit that Peter Criss had on DESTROYER. It’s almost as, not the same because his was I think was more like a grey color.
Marko: I think this one is more like pearl-colored?
Eric Singer: No, it was like a light grey but this kit is whiter but it’s a similar type finish? A friend of mine builds drums in Cleveland and he showed me… I saw his website, I saw a picture of these colors and I was like… ”I love this color” He said, “I can get it for you.” But then Pearl made it for me, but the guy in Cleveland is when they did the mirror-ball kit, called fortune drums that guy, name Dale Flannigan, he built that drum kit, the mirror-ball one. The mirror-ball one is the one that Paul did like, I build the mirror-ball kit because Paul Stanley actually asked me. He always said, “I wish you could do like a mirror-ball kit, I love that kind of look.” I said, “Okay.” So, I finally did it last year. So, that was really Paul’s idea. I always liked it because Alice Cooper did it first, on Billion Dollar Babies -tour, and KISS had it. But the KISS one was very small little mirrors, like this one. The one I had is bigger. So, I think the white reflects better off the bigger glass tile, but its real glass.
Marko: So, overall the new stage looks amazing. I have seen tons of shows and I have to say this was really unique. So how does the stage look from your point of view and isn’t a little scary to play there because there are so many moving parts etc. in there?
Eric Singer: Yeah. But the thing is it’s a… Don’t forget, we just only have done two shows, when we got over here, it was the first time. We came over a day early, to try to do production rehearsal. But they have… All the moves, anything it does, has to be programmed on a computer. We’re having some problems getting the programs and everything to work right, so right now it’s a work in progress. I think that’s what I said. I think if you see the show, another maybe four or five shows from now. I think you are going to notice a big difference from the first time you saw it. You’ve been to two shows?
Marko: Stockholm and Helsinki, yeah.
Eric Singer: Okay. After you’ve seen a few more shows later on, I think you are going to look back. Remember our conversation, you are going to say, “Yeah, I kind of remember you told me that, wait till it’s about six or eight, maybe ten shows in.” And we really work all the moves in order. Because you have to remember, even these guys are techs, all of our technicians are great. They are professional guys, they are great and they are the best in the business. But they are not always, they are not musicians or not necessarily musical. So, when we are playing or performing we do something, I can right away look and say, “Okay. This is not coming down the right spot or it’s going to slow, we need to do this and this.” We know right away, I right away when I’m playing. Same thing for Paul or Gene or, we know, Doc McGhee, he’s very good creative like that. We know when we want to change something or what we think it should look like. So, as soon as we see something. We go back, we will look at the video and then we’ll go, “Okay. You need to change this or can you do this?” And we ask them to make the changes. And then it takes a show or two for them to make the changes, get the timing down and make sure it’s the right looks, the right moves, the way we want it to be. It takes time for all of these to happen. So, that’s kind of what we process and figure it out.
THE BIGGEST FAN OF KISS
Marko: I went to see Gene to Hard Rock Café earlier today and he said there that he has plans to make Spider “walk” and even come over to the audience in the future etc. That sounds quite utopian to me, but have you heard about plans like that?
Eric Singer: I have no idea. Let me just tell you this, I’ll call Paul Stanley. Gene always says a lot of things and I’m not saying, no disrespect to Gene. But Gene always says a lot of things and this is the first time, I’m hearing from you. So, I have no idea. Is it possible? Of course. But do I know about it? No. So, the best one to ask is either Paul or Doc. I’m not saying that Gene doesn’t know, but Gene has, he’s always workaholics. So, he always has a lot of ideas, a lot going on. Maybe this is an idea that he’s talking about doing and I just don’t know about it. But… I will leave it at that, Gene is crazy. You know Gene is crazy?
Marko: I know. “laughs”
Eric Singer: Just look at him on stage, isn’t that the look of a crazy person. Right? But he is fun to watch.
Marko: He’s a true entertainer.
Eric Singer: Oh my God, he’s fantastic. Let me tell you, there are times when I’m playing and I’m looking at Gene and I just watch him. I start laughing because he’s just so funny, he’s really great to watch and he is a lot of fun. I love it, that he gets so… He really, really loves being in KISS. He loves KISS, he’s the biggest KISS fan. I know that all these guys, KISS fans, are thinking, “This guy is the biggest fan or this guy is the bigger.” But they’re all wrong. The biggest fan is Gene, seriously. He’s like a kid when it comes to this.
Marko: I think there would not be KISS anymore if he wouldn’t be like that?
Eric Singer: You are right. We are all fans, honestly, we are all fans of the band. The unique thing is look at, I know I’m not an original member of the band. But the one thing is, and I do mean no disrespect to other people that were in the band. When Vinnie Vincent, Eric Carr, Mark St. John or Bruce Kulick. They were not fans of KISS when they joined KISS. The difference between Tommy and I is that we both really were genuine KISS fans when we were growing up. We were influenced by KISS and we were genuinely fans of the band. That I really believe is the difference, and I mean no disrespect to any of the people that have been in the band because they are all great musicians, they are all great players. But the difference that I feel is that I don’t believe those guys were fans of KISS. I think they joined the band because it was a good gig or a good opportunity.
Marko: Right. I do remember that Bruce was playing totally different music before his KISS gig and…
Eric Singer: Or Vinnie Vincent or even Eric Carr?
Marko: Yeah Vinnie did music for TV series music and some pop and Eric…
Eric Singer: Eric Carr was in a cover band. Eric Carr came from playing in the cover band, there is no disrespect to it because Eric was a great musician and talented guy. But I don’t think he came from his roots of being like “Yeah, I was influenced by KISS. I’m really a fan of the band kind of thing.” I don’t think he had that in his DNA, if you know what I mean? In his blood, in his roots. And I’m not saying that you have to be a fan or being grown up or influenced by a band to actually be able to play with a band. Because many musicians play in all kinds of bands that didn’t necessarily grow up with it. But I think having that added ingredient brings a different kind of approach to being in the band and to the music, than a guy that wasn’t a fan. That’s what I’m saying. Like… I’ll give you an example. I’m a huge Black Sabbath fan and I’m a huge Queen fan. Queen is my favorite band. I’ve got to play with Brian May with Roger Taylor. I got to play with Tony Iommi. So, me getting to play with those guys, I remember it’s the same thing playing with Gene and Paul or playing with Gary Moore. All these people, I was a fan of their music. I bought those records, I went to the concerts. I really genuinely loved what they did. So, me getting to play with them. My passion for the music and everything comes from different places as opposed to some guy that just got hired to be the drummer for the job or for the tour. I actually was a fan of all these music, of their music. And I think that that’s… I’ve always been very proud of the fact that those people that I played with, I was influenced by and a fan of it as well. It was never just a job, Alice Cooper same thing. I remember being a huge Alice Cooper fan on Billion Dollar Babies tour, wanting to see this, my mother wouldn’t let me go. So, getting to play with that, the same thing with Alice. Look, I can only give you my own point of view obviously. But the way I see it, when you are genuinely influenced and a fan of music that you play with, those artists. I think that gives you a different kind of… Maybe a little more passion about it that another person might not have. Okay. And I’m not saying Bruce Kulick for example, Bruce is my good dear friend. And I know Bruce loved being in KISS and he cares about the fans but Bruce was not a KISS fan before he joined the band. He didn’t grow up on that kind of music, that’s my point. That’s what I believe is the difference.
Marko: I think I got the point of what you mean here, it’s not just about knowing the songs and be in a band but it’s about passion as well.
Eric Singer: You have to enjoy what you do. It is a business, there is always going to be things about every band that you may not like certain aspects about it, certain parts about the business. We all cannot like, because the fact that it is a business isn’t always such a great thing. But that’s what it is, it’s called the music business. And so, you have to accept that, understand that and I think embrace it and realize that that’s part of being in the band. And it’s okay.
MONSTER TOUR AND SET LIST TALK
Marko: The album MONSTER was released in October 2012 and you been doing a few tours after that. I was going to ask, why it took so long until you now introduced this new stage?
Eric Singer: The reason why was this. We were going to do the tour of the MONSTER, when the album came out, and then the opportunity to go on tour with Motley Crue together as a co-headline bill came up, the offer. And Gene and Paul and Doc and Motley Crue guys, everyone decided like….They thought was a cool thing and a good idea, they said, “Okay, let’s do that.” So, they decided to call it The Tour and instead of doing a KISS Monster tour they decided to do a co- headline special tour together and said “We will do a proper Monster tour later. We will go to new stage and do it for that.” So, that’s the reason it happened.
Marko: So, this current one is the actual Monster tour?
Eric Singer: So, this is now the Monster tour because. Like said, we did the Motley Crue thing. And then they asked us to go down to Australia with Motley Crue again, they wanted us to do I think more days here, but Motley Crue really decided they want to go do Canada. We came over here to do this instead and then will go to Canada. So, now was the time. Then they said, “Okay, now will go to new stage with new Monster tour.” And now it’s the Monster tour.
Marko: On new set list, there are only two songs included from MONSTER. Isn’t this tour purpose to promote the new album?
Eric Singer: Why, how many do you want?
Marko: I would like to hear something like four to five new songs?
Eric Singer: You can’t do that, you can’t play four or five songs off the new record. Nobody will care. I’m not saying look at, I know that people can make the argument, “Why do you make new records, so then?” Let me tell you. The business has changed…Here is the thing. People used to tour in the old days to support records, now you make a record so you have a reason to tour. It’s changed, it’s exact opposite of what it used to be. Because of the record business… You know, people don’t buy records like they used to, they just don’t. They download for free, they steal it and they just don’t buy it. You don’t have record shops like all those big record shops where we used to go and go through the records and look at the albums. That whole experience has basically kind of gone, it’s turned to something else. So, now most people will tell you, you have to have some story, otherwise, “Why are you touring?” You have to have a story. So, there has to be a new show or new album, something, the reason why you are touring. Otherwise what are you going to say, what you are touring for this year. So, what are we doing now? Last year it was the tour with Motley Crue, this year it’s the Monster Tour with new stage show. Last year we did have a new record. You have to keep having new things or some new product. And it could be KISSOLOGY IV, it could be any reason that you are coming, we did UNPLUGGED before, MTV UNPLUGGED. There is always some reason, you have to keep reinventing a reason to tour. And the thing is you do these things, so you have a reason to go out and then you go out too. So, you have a reason to tour. It used to be that you toured only to try to support records, but it doesn’t work that way anymore.
Marko: But still, as a buying fan, I would like to hear more new stuff on live shows. The oldies have been heard many times during the years, you now?
Eric Singer: I don’t know what to tell you, they don’t want to play. Hold on… I’ve been in new bands, I’ve been in bands where they had a new record. They didn’t play a lot of songs, they would only play like three songs. I’m trying to think when I played with Gary Moore, Wild Frontier -tour I did. I think we only played like three songs off the record. It’s kind of the way with every band, I’m trying to think. With Black Sabbath, we did the SEVENTH STAR. We did the song “Seventh Star”, we did “Turn to Stone” and then we did “Danger Zone”. We did three songs, same thing. Most bands, that’s what they do. That’s kind of been… I don’t know why everybody seems to somehow, when they want to single out KISS, somehow what KISS does is the only one that’s guilty of doing something that they think is wrong. But they forget like… See, if I was only in KISS and that’s the only band I knew and they only had one point of view or should I say, one perspective. Then I could go, “Okay, maybe they have a point.” But I’ve been in a lot of bands and I know that that’s kind of the way it is in every band. You play using only two to three or four songs off the new record. Because I’m telling you, I’ve been seeing a Rolling Stones, in fact we played with Alice Cooper and we opened for the Rolling Stones. When they would do a new song, here is what the crowd would do. Sit back down and go like this, because they didn’t know it. I’m talking about the majority of the crowd, I’m not talking about people that might have bought the record. Let’s say there is 15,000 people at a show, maybe 2,000 people bought the record. Let’s just say, making up a number trying to… I’m not saying you shouldn’t play some of the new music, but if there is 15,000 people what about the 13,000 and they have never heard the songs, they are sitting there going… Are going to play a bunch of songs that they never heard. For all these people going, “What the fuck is this?” Then they go home and go, “Yeah, I saw KISS first time. They were good, but they played a bunch of songs I never heard before. The fuck is that all about?” Then it’s the other way, you can’t win. Like Gene said, you can’t win. So, you are a man on one hand, but the people that don’t know…. If they didn’t buy the new record or they don’t know newer material, they don’t care. So, do you see my point?
Marko: Yeah, I do, but do you see my point?
Eric Singer: You are both right and you are both wrong. So, which means you can’t win no matter what. In other words we can do everything exactly the way you want it to be from your point of view as a KISS family, you like what you would like to see or you’d like to hear. And we could do a set list what you want to hear but the guy next to you is going to go, “Yeah, but they didn’t play this song and this song. I can’t believe, I fucking hate that song.” You can’t win.
Marko: But don’t you ever think your long-term fans who have been around like 15, 20 or even 35 years and they have seen the show several times. They would like to hear something else but the standards on the shows? Okay, you have the KISS Kruise but…
Eric Singer: I was just going to say, that’s what the KISS Kruise is for.
Marko: I know I’m repeating myself here but there are so many great songs in the history of KISS and…
Eric Singer: They are not going to play those obscure songs, because nobody cares. I understand, don’t think that I don’t understand or they don’t appreciate your comment or your point of view. I do. Look at it, if it was up to me, I always wanted to play “Love Her All I Can” or any stuff off those…. Anything off the first three records as far as I’m concerned, I love to play. I would love to play, because those are the records I personally like. When we did the first KISS Kruise, we did almost the whole DRESSED TO KILL album except for one song. For me that was great, because that’s the stuff that I like. Everybody has their particular era or songs or record that they like. For me, it’s those first three records, not saying I don’t… Like I don’t want people to think like the quite essential KISS album is, for example maybe in their minds is DESTROYER or LOVE GUN or ROCK AND ROLL OVER. Whatever you want. For me it’s the first three records but everyone is different. Believe it or not, there are people that their favorite stuff of KISS is 80’s KISS. ASYLUM and stuff like that.
Marko: You know, I’m one of those people “laughs”
Eric Singer: Really?
Marko: And personally, I would like to hear more songs from the 80’s era. ASYLUM and LICK IT UP are some of my favorites. I would like to hear songs like; “Tears Are Falling”, “Exciter”, “And on the 8th Day”…
Eric Singer: “Singing” “And on the 8th Day God created Rock N Roll”. Yeah, I know, I get it. But I know if you play it, there is going to be a few people will go, “I can’t believe they played that song.” 40 people on some Internet site are going to say that.
Marko: That’s true.
Eric Singer: The thing I find amazing is that people. I’m a watch fan, I go and watch blogs and read comments. I don’t join any of them, because I don’t want to get involved in that way. But I have a passion about watches. I read the comments people say, I see how some people are all passionate or crazy or obsessive, and a little bit overlay they are about something. So, that’s what the word fan means, fanatic. I understand how people that are fans of a band, but some of the people go in the KISS boards and they complain about anything that matter, what the band does. They find something wrong, that they don’t like it and they want to complain about it. So, it’s like, you got to be fair. The band has been around for 40 years, come on. The fact that KISS still goes on and puts on the show, and still does this. Gene is almost 64 years old, Paul is 61. If anyone thinks that Gene or Paul is going to be Gene or Paul from 1975. It’s like… Do you think you are the same person you were at 17-20 years ago?
Marko: Mental-wise yes, but physically not so much. “laughs”
Eric Singer: No. Can you do the same things now that you did as a teenager?
Marko: No, of course not.
Eric Singer: No. And that’s the same thing with an athlete. When a basket player can’t jump as high or run as fast, they can still play and they can still be good. Are they going to be the superstar that we remember, like when Michael Jordan was in his prime? No, that’s impossible because you’re a human being. Your body breaks down, you get older, and it’s just part of life. But the thing is if people can want to still perform and enjoy it, and people still want to go and see it and enjoy it. You can’t keep measuring something against… It’s like everybody wants to keep measuring every basketball player against Michael Jordan. Can’t do that, that was a certain era that happened at a certain time and he was fantastic. But it’s a different era now, there is other great players now. And the same thing with music, you can’t base what a band does on one period or on time frame. The Rolling Stones are still out there at 70 years old. Do you think they look the same or sound the same as maybe in the 60′s or 70’s? No. But guess what? People still want to hear the songs and go see him and enjoy, and they just celebrate the fact that the band still exist and goes out and performs. I think that’s to me what it is about a lot of the bands that are still around today. Be glad that they are still there. If you don’t like, fine, then don’t go. But to sit there and just keep comparing it to something that doesn’t exist anymore is really unrealistic, it’s completely unrealistic. We are not in a time where… The funny thing is all the same people that complain, they are not the same person they were when they were a teenager. They’ll be like, “I have been a fan for 30 years or been a fan for 37 years.” It’s like, “Yeah, guess what?” Now you are an older guy too, you are not a real thin in great shape and look the same as you did when you were a teenager. But yet somehow you want to hold a band to us, a different standard than you hold your own self. It’s not realistic. I get it they are fanatics and I understand they have passion, but it’s like. If you are just going to just keep complaining and hating on something then…. Like, if I knew you had a restaurant, if I don’t like the food. I wouldn’t keep going there and eat the food and keep complaining about it, and then go back again the next day and order the same thing and go, “Yeah, how comes this doesn’t taste. It tasted great last time I was here or two years ago?”
Marko: But isn’t like that if you don’t complain about anything then nothing changes. I think that Gene is like the person who really listens to what fans do say. And if you don’t say anything, then nothing changes for sure. Right?
Eric Singer: Okay. Fans are going to do what they want no matter what. Because it’s like you own a company or you have your house. Are going to let somebody tell you what furniture to buy and how to set your house up? Are you going to let somebody come in and tell you, “I don’t like you sofa, it’s the wrong color. I was thinking you should have a leather couch. And your TV is too small, and you need to move this chair over there because I don’t like the way it’s set up. Because I can’t see the TV.” You’ll be like, “Fuck off, it’s my house.” I’m happy with the way it is or this is the way I want it. When you have a band, you have the right to do it the way you want. If people don’t buy it or don’t support it, then you have to go. Okay, people aren’t supporting what we are doing, so we have to maybe rethink things. Being in a band is like a rollercoaster, it goes up and down and up and down. And this is true, almost every career of every band, there is highs and lows and highs and lows. If you look through the history of KISS, KISS band going up, going down, it goes up and down. And we, I say we because I’m part of it, survive, so it’s something. If they didn’t care we wouldn’t still be here doing. If nobody cared, if I didn’t care about KISS or Gene and Paul didn’t care about being in KISS. I wouldn’t be sitting in here in Helsinki, Finland doing an interview talking about KISS. Because we all care and we still want to do it and enjoy it.
THE FUTURE OF KISS
Marko: There’s one thing which really confuses KISS fans now and it’s the talk about KISS version 2. So, I was going to ask, have you seriously been talking about it within the band?
Eric Singer: You know something? I always find it very interesting when people do interviews or now do a show for example, I’m going to play it and will be like, for example last night. At the show, just played, people would say, “When are you guys coming to Helsinki again?” It’s like; “We are here right now. Why are you worried about the next time?” In other words it’s simple as that, in my opinion, maybe I’m being too simplistic about it. But you can’t change what’s already done, and you don’t know for sure what’s going to happen tomorrow. So, to me you have to kind of take things one day at a time and just try to… Everybody worries about, “What about tomorrow, what about the next thing?” Or talking about what happened or what may happen, instead of thinking about. How about some times we learn to all just take a moment to live in the here and the now and the moment now. And enjoy the fact. Okay, right now you are here going to some KISS shows, KISS is on tour, just enjoy it for what it is. Make the best of it, because there is going to be a time when it’s not there anymore. And even if whether some people may say, that’s fine. But there will be people that will miss the band, will be sad when it all ends. And will come a time when it will all end. What happens with future? I don’t know. Whether there is going to try to be some other kind of KISS the next generation or some other version of the band, I can’t worry about that. I can only worry about what’s going on today and that’s what happening.
Regarding your question that you asked me about KISS or other versions of KISS or next generation, any of the stuff. I know Gene and Paul say whatever they say, and maybe at some point that might be how they feel. They may decide that to just call it a day and that’s how it ends, they may decide like, “No, we think that we want to have some kind of version of KISS going. So, we are going to try another angle or approach.” I have no idea, I don’t have any involvement in those kind of decisions. And if you asked me how I personally feel about it, I’m not a 100%. I have to be honest, I don’t really know, really totally how I feel. I have mixed feelings. Sometimes I think, “Is it possible?” If it’s possible and it would be successful and work, then okay, it’s cool. But I just don’t know how you can make something like that work. That’s to me the question, is how?
Marko: But if that’s going to happen in one form or another would you and/or Tommy be involved with the thing then?
Eric Singer: Would it be Tommy and I with other two other guys or would it just be a whole new group of people, I don’t know. I don’t think that. My personal opinion, I don’t think that just Gene or Paul can leave and still… I’m not saying you couldn’t have some version of KISS like that to do KISS on scale, how it still does now, like this. I don’t know how to do that, other than. One thing that people forget and this is no disrespect, because we all know that the reason we are all here is because of what the original four guys created. And I am always respectful of that. It’s because of Ace, Gene, Peter and Paul. There is no denying that, I know that, we all know that. So, there is no argument. No one is ever trying to say that somebody is replacing anybody, it’s not about that. The bottom line is, the band has come and gone with different members but it’s always been Gene and Paul. They always wanted to start the band, they wrote the majority of the material and they sung most of the songs. They’ve always been the leaders of the band, it’s basically been their band from day one. Regardless of what people want to accept. Maybe KISS was an equal partnership in the beginning when they started that way. But you got to remember those guys either left or are thrown out at different points. And Gene and Paul always been the one mainstays of the band, and they’ve rode that success and failures up and down. Like I said it’s a roller coaster, they have ridden that through all those changes, through all those years. So, they deserve a lot of credit for being able to keep the band alive.
It’s like the same with Alice Cooper, look at how many people have been in his band. Now he’s considered more like a solo artist, but originally Alice Cooper was the name of the band, it was a band, those original guys. And eventually he became the solo artist, and he was able to do it on his own. And he still can go out and tour every year. And no disrespect to anybody in Alice’s band, because I was one of those guys in that band for many tours. Alice loves having guys that are really good players, are good musicians and guys that are, name guys from other bands and all that. But at the end of the day, people go to see Alice Cooper. They don’t give a fuck, not saying that some of them don’t enjoy or are fans of some of the members of the band, they don’t care who is playing drums. They might say, “It’s really cool, because Eric from KISS is playing drums.” When I was playing with them. But I think most of them really, they don’t care.
They are like, “Okay.” Because guess what? If I am not there, they are still going to go, they want to see Alice. And I think the same thing, as long as you’ve always had Gene and Paul in the band. People have always wanted to see KISS, because they want to see KISS with Eric Carr with Bruce, with Vinnie Vincent, Mark St. John never really got a chance to be in the band. They saw it with all the different versions of the band. And every fan depending on when they became aware of KISS grew up with different versions of KISS…. To many people, they grew up with a different version of KISS. To some people, believe it or not, its REVENGE was the KISS version that they grew up with. Or maybe it was CRAZY NIGHTS or ASYLUM, maybe it was CREATURES OF THE NIGHT with Vinnie and Eric Carr. And when I’m saying this, all of the versions of the band have validity. Because to some people that was their version of KISS, but we all know that without the original band none of us would have story to tell. It’s because of that. But unfortunately the way it works in life, it is like a marriage. Sometimes people get married and your grandparents might have been married for 50 years, and they stayed together forever. Some people get married in one or less a year or two or last ten years, and they have a couple of kids and it’s great for a few years. And then it goes bad and they split up. It’s the same thing with the band, sometimes they have a couple of great years or a good one and then it’s over. And some bands are able to go, “Okay. I still want to do this. So, I’m going to find somebody else that wants to do it or somebody else I can do it with.” And that’s what they do, and they move on. And some people don’t understand how that works.
Marko: Actually, so many musicians have said that playing in a band is sometimes like being in marriage. You love the good times, but want to forget the bad times.
Eric Singer: Well, it is. But here is the thing, now you are dealing with four personalities and you are dealing with people with very big or strong egos many times. Sometimes MEGA egos, control issues, there is all these things. The same thing that goes on in their relationship, it could be the same as you and your parent. Maybe you get along with your mother better than you do your father, or maybe you get along with your brother but you don’t get along with your sister. It’s the same thing. We all live in the same household when you are growing up. Being in the band and you are on tour together, it’s like being in a household together. So, I know some people don’t want to… They have a hard time, it’s real easy for people to say. It’s like on Monday morning after you watch a football game, everybody… They call it Monday morning quarterback. Everybody can tell their opinion of what they think somebody should or shouldn’t do on the team, “They should have done this, they should get rid of this guy. They should do…” Everybody thinks they know what to do. But they are not in the band, they are not in the business dealing with it. Everybody could say things they know what it’s all about. No disrespect, most of the fans don’t have a fucking clue about what it’s like to be in the band, how the business works, how it is to deal with it all. They think they do, and they have all these opinions about how somebody placed something the right way or the wrong way. It’s like, “You ain’t got a fucking clue, you are playing in your fucking bedroom or you are playing at some local band.” Guess what? We all start the same way.
I started playing in my father’s band as a kid, we all start at some place and many of us played in those kinds of bands. But the difference is. We do this for a living, we professional. We are doing this for touring for almost 30 years now. It’s like some guy just sitting in his fucking bedroom or online on his computer that has all these opinions. He’s entitled to his opinions and they are valid to him. But I think the reality is a lot of times they don’t really know what really goes on or how it works. They think they do but they don’t, and the reason I know that it’s because I know what it was like before I knew what was going on. Before I had the experience, before I did any of this, I know how I used to think. Once I got in the business and did this, now I know what it’s like to make records, what it’s like to tour, what is like to travel, what it’s like to be in a band. Playing in a big stage, playing in a small clubs. All the different aspects, every different environment, every different situation. I’ve experienced probably just about every kind of a thing you can experience. The only way you can do that is you have to do it for real, you can’t just fantasize about it or read about it. You have to do it to know how it feels like. I can tell you the fire is hot, don’t put your hand in it. Guess what? Some people have to physically touch the fire to go, “Fuck yeah, that’s fucking hot.” And get burnt. So, I’m not saying you have to put your hands in the fire, but my point is that sometimes you have to do something to know what it really is all about, to fully understand what the experience is. Many times you’ll have a different point of view in a different perspective and opinion, after you’ve actually done it. I know I did.
Marko: Right. I do have lot of personal activities like hunting and many people do have their opinion about it even though they have no clue about it. It’s really easy to talk crap about things you don’t know about.
Eric Singer: Everybody has their opinion about something. Some person likes a Mercedes, somebody likes a BMW and somebody likes a Chevy. The reasons we have options in life, cars come in different colors. Why? Because you might want a blue one, I want a silver one. Life has many options and it’s the same thing with music and clothes and everything. If I like something, I like classical music. So, I usually mostly listen to classical music, Mozart is my favorite. So, most people think like, “Really?” But yeah, but that’s what I choose to listen to. And the beautiful thing is that there is so much out there of the variety in life of everything, of food, of clothes, of cars, of homes, of music, of art, of everything. So, if you like something and you be compassionate about it. Like you enjoy KISS, you are a big KISS fan, that’s great. I understand what it’s like to be a fan, because I’m a fan of all the music of many bands and music. But I’m a big fan of like watches, I know what it’s like to be fanatical about something and have a lot of passion for it. But I also many times, if I’m discussing with another person with watches then will discuss and give opinions. But I never try to force my opinion on anybody, but I know what I like and I’m comfortable with. Same thing with music, if I don’t like something I may have a high or strong opinion about something. I’m not trying to change your opinion. If you like a certain KISS record, great, go ahead. You don’t have to be like, “Maybe I don’t like that particular one.” That doesn’t matter. Guess what, there is a lot of records to choose from. There is all the eras of the band to choose from. You should like whatever you like, and if you don’t like something, fine that’s your choice. But I just don’t understand the people that complain and complain. It’s like, “Really?” It’s like those people, seriously, they need to get a life. They need to get a fucking life.
Marko: I totally agree, and like you said, usually people who complain most are the ones who are just sitting behind a computer, right?
Eric Singer: Of course, but they should get a fucking life. It’s like, your opinions are valid to you and that’s great. And you are entitled to your opinion, and if you want to go on a blog or some place and make your opinion heard. That’s okay, fine. I guess that’s what it’s all about. But it’s like, if you really are that disenchanted or disappointed by something that you supposedly have a lot of love and passion for. Then eventually you would think like, “Okay, I’m over it.” And you move on. That’s what I do. If I don’t like something I don’t buy it, I don’t support it, I don’t buy it and I don’t keep going to complain about it. Just like complaining about your ex-wife over and over again, it’s like she’s your ex-wife. You are not married to her anymore, the only time you had to stay involved with like things that you don’t want. Is if like for example, you are married and you have children then the children tie you to that situation to that person, whether you like it or not. But when it comes to music nothing ties you to it. Don’t listen to it, change the genre. It’s very simple.
Marko: We have talked almost one hour. I think this is enough by now.