Monday, April 14, 2014

2003, KISS Behind The Mask, Alice mentions

KISS Behind The Mask
The Official Authorized Biography
by David Leaf and Ken Sharp

This is one of my favorite books that I wish
every band should follow. It covers album by album
track by track and getting in put by the band
and the writers who wrote that song.
They include the people behind the scenes that were there
during that period from roadies to studio musicians.

The following text is all Alice Cooper related and
a bit of Bob Ezrin. Even a quote from Dick Wagner.

KISS Behind The Mask
The Official Authorized Biography
by David Leaf and Ken Sharp

Pg 58

quote from 

...“Despite the flak, we went straight ahead with the makeup. For a while, we did
change Paul’s, because Neil thought the star was too feminine, too much like the
Dolls, and that could be confusing. The Dolls had already started downhill at that
point, and Neil didn’t want any association between the groups. He feared that might
bring KISS down to the Dolls’ level. So we changed Paul’s star to a raccoon-type
mask, which he hated. That lasted about two weeks before we went back to the star.

“It’s important,” Bill explains, “to remember that the original idea behind the
makeup was so that people would notice them, so they’d be of the same caliber as their
idols, the New York Dolls. But they wanted to look even more extreme. The makeup
KISS wears isn’t at all feminine. It’s a lot closer to the actors in Japanese Kabuki
theater than the Dolls’ drag queen look. [The makeup] coupled with their theatrics did
make people sit up and take notice. In spite of the abuse Neil took from the music
industry, he never wavered outwardly in his support of us. He might have had some
second thoughts, but he never said so.”

And really, by the time of the Fillmore East press party on January 8, it was too
late to turn back. Gene remembers that day spotting “the old Alice Cooper set from
his Billion Dollar Babies tour in the back of the Fillmore. It was almost like, ‘Here it
is. Carry on.’ ”

It has been suggested that the KISS-Aucoin-Bogart team designed their show to
fill the void that Alice Cooper had left when he retired from touring. Gene agrees
with that assessment. “There’s no hiding that,” he admits. “But isn’t it wonderful that
when a big band decides to take a vacation, there’s somebody new. The Stones didn’t
come out for two years, and they begat Aerosmith. Bad Company went off the road
and it begat Foreigner. That’s great.”...

Pg 62

...Some of the groups earliest tours were financed on nothing more than Bill Aucoin’s
credit cards. Nobody else had any money.

After the brief Canadian tour ended, KISS headed for California for the official
launching of Casablanca Records at a party at Los Angeles’s Century Plaza Hotel.
“That was the first real impact,” Gene believes, “because everybody was there. [Actor]
David Janssen and Alice Cooper and Iggy Pop and Michael Des Barres. And the
press. It was the introduction of Casablanca Records to the industry, and we did a very
loud, twenty-minute set. Everybody was cupping their ears. Needless to say, we did
not get an encore from the industry. Everybody said that we would last six months.

“After the show, we met Alice Cooper, and he was wonderful. He has a great
sense of humor. He had two comments: ‘Some people will do anything to make it
‘What you guys need is a gimmick.’ Obviously, he was kidding. Also, I finally met
somebody other than myself who was into horror movies, and Alice and I talked
about that stuff for a while. Three days later, we did Dick Clark’s [late-night,
music show] In Concert, and all of a sudden, people just knew who we were.”...

Pg 111

quote from 
I had no problem with KISS for one reason, it never touched on what Alice did. 
I always said that KISS were comic book heroes where Alice was much more 
Phantom of the Opera. KISS was another band that had a couple of good special effects. 
I thought the breathing of fire was a very good idea and some of the costumes were 
over-the-top. And I liked their music. I thought the music was pretty good. But they 
didn’t get involved in the actual psycho sickness that made Alice a
dangerous character. KISS was never nearly as dangerous as Alice. KISS were great 
merchandisers. They knew exactly how to merchandise themselves. They were smart.

Pg 135


PETER CRISS: We copied a lot of things. A lot of our ideas, the art of what we did came
from the Beatles, Alice Cooper, the New York Dolls. We sat down and said, “What
if all that was rolled into one? Four Alice Coopers, the Beatles, what would that be
like?” And it worked, it was brilliant. We went to see an Alice Cooper concert and I’ll
forget it. Gene and I sat in our chairs in the back and Paul and Ace literally ran
all the way down the stairs to be right up in front of the stage. That’s how impressed
they were. Gene and I kind of looked at one another and said, “Wow, this guy is really
good!” We got back to our loft that night and we played and we said, “Wait a minute,
what if there was four Alice Coopers?” Nobody else wore makeup but him. We did
some soul searching and became the characters we are today. We looked at our 
personalities and drew from it. Gene was always into monsters. Paul was the true rock
star and Ace was definitely from another planet. And I was the total cat.

Pg  180

excerpt quote from

...Here’s a funny story that happened during the tour.
We were really popular in the Midwest. Back in the very early ‘70s, it you were a rock band
no matter where you were people came up to you and asked you if you were Alice Cooper.
They asked you for your Alice Cooper autograph, thinking any band with long hair and looks weird is Alice Cooper [laughs]. This is one of my lessons that I told Paul [Stanley]. 
I told him, Paul, you’re going to have to pay tribute to the king.” And he said. Sylvain, what the fuck are you talking about?” I said, “Alice Cooper is the king, no matter who you are, people are going to come up to you and ask you for your Alice Cooper autograph.” So here we are in some airport lobby someplace and I’m hearing my name in the background, “Sylvain, Sylvain!” And it’s Paul Stanley running to me, all out of breath, and I said, “What?! What happened?” And he said, ‘I signed my first Alice Cooper autograph!” [laughs] And I could have fuckin’ peed my pants...

Pg 207


BROOKE OSTRANDER: Gene had a portfolio that he carried around and a journal. 
He had sketches of singing equipment. Gene became real fascinated with Alice Cooper
 and that’s when he started getting into the makeup concept. He came back with sketch
after sketch of this stuff. I loved the idea. I was sort of at odds with myself how to
maintain my teaching status and become some kind of rock n’ roll maniac. Gene
came up with the idea of makeup and stage names. Stan wasn’t initially too thrilled
with that but he got into it fairly quickly. ron didn’t like it and Tony hated it. That was one 
of the  contentions with the label because now Gene wanted to change the name of the band 
to KISS. The record company wasn’t too thrilled with it.

Pg 252

(Evenspotspeaks: the making of the Destroyer album)

PAUL STANLEY: I like Destroyer a lot. I’d give that five stars. It’s an ambitious album.
Working with Bob Ezrin that first time was like boot camp. We went in there kind
of green, and came out a lot smarter for it. It stands the test of time real well.

ACE FREHLEY: At that point in time, I was a party animal. I was hitting Studio 54 a lot.
A lot of times I’d show up late or with a hangover. There’s no secret about that. Bob Ezrin
would crack the whip and a lot of times he didn’t have patience. All the records he did
with Alice Cooper he used studio players. A lot of times for me to get a guitar
solo right I’ve got to get the right mood and I don’t like pressure. Sometimes Bob
didn’t have the patience that other producers that I’ve worked with in the past have
had. I’m not a schooled musician, if I didn’t have something pat, a lot of times Bob
would fuckin’ make me feel inadequate, which I didn’t find too thrilling. That was one
of the things about that record that I didn’t like. But there were some times that Bob
and I hit it off and we saw eye-to-eye. There were brilliant moments on that record.

ACE FREHLEY: I think that’s a great record. The actual finished product was very 
innovative and it showed growth for us. He made us look at things in a different light.

PAUL STANLEY: The Alice Cooper stuff was so brilliant that we needed a producer. Even
though we didn’t know half of what we thought we knew, we weren’t really ready to
listen to anybody. But Ezrin’s talent and track record was undeniable. It wasn’t
something that was left-field from what we were doing. It was very akin to what we had
done. What Bob taught us was discipline in the studio. For that first project
Destroyer, he wore a whistle around his neck and would blow it and call us “campers.”
He was not above pointing a finger in your face and yelling at you. That’s pretty funny
when you’re selling out arenas all over and you have somebody in the studio that’s
treating you like an imbecile. Really what it was, was musical boot camp. It was 
trying to get the best out of us and trying to get us to set a new standard for ourselves.

BILL AUCOIN: I got involved with Bob because he had done the [Alice] Cooper thing and he 
was also very excited. Bob had called me once because his son kept talking about
the KISS group. He figured that if his son kept talking about the group something
had to happen. So he called and I said, “Why don’t you come down and let’s talk
about it?” Bob is very bright. He was into it because of his son. He got caught up in
the excitement. Bob is very strong. I think Ace called him “The Dictator.” But I loved
him because he was bright and together and he really wanted to make a very success-
ful record. And he was good for them I thought. It brought them to another level plus
the fact that it was still a real rock ‘n’ roll record. I wanted to try to cut across a wider
range and show people that they could really do something more significant.

Pg 266

ACE FREHLEY: I had done a solo on “Sweet Pain” and it was okay I said. “Maybe I’ll
come in tomorrow and take another shot at it.” Dick Wagner, the guy who plays lead 
guitar on the Alice Cooper records was in town. He stopped by the studio and I’m not
sure exactly what went down, whether Gene or Paul said, “Why don’t we let Dick Wagner
take a shot at doing the solo?” Dick’s a very good guitar player. He just knocked out 
a great solo. They decided to keep it but they didn’t let me know about it. They didn’t
check with me or ask me if it was okay. When I first played the record back I go,
“That’s not my fuckin’ solo! What the fuck is this shit?” I called Gene and tore him 
a new asshole. He gave me some bullshit saying, “We tried to call you but we couldn’t 
find you.” One of many bullshit stories, lies, lies, lies.

DICK WAGNER: Bob [Ezrin] and I worked together on a lot ol projects including 
Alice Cooper. I was living in New York City and Bob would call me in to do sessions. 
He called me in to play on the Destroyer  album. I played guitar on a few songs on the 
record: “Sweet Pain,” “Flaming Youth,” and “Beth.” Bob likes my style. I guess I have 
a knack for finding the right solo to play. I wasn’t given a whole direction
of what to play, the direction was where to play. I loved playing on that album. 
Gene and Paul are great guys. I’ve gotten to be good friends with them over the years.

Pg 387

The first thing l did in the studio with KISS was “God Gave Rock ‘n’ RollTo You.” 
That was a way for them to see how the chemistry and vibe worked again with
Bob Ezrin. I was on tour with Alice Cooper while they were working on Revenge.
They tried working with a couple of other studio drummers, Aynsley Dunbar was one
of them, but it didn’t work out with them. I had literally come home from the airport,
walked into my apartment, and Paul Stanley was leaving a message on my answering
machine. I picked up the phone and Paul said, “We need you to help us out on the
recording of our new record.” The original intention was for me to only play on half of
the tracks and then have another drummer come in and do the remainder. I went right
up to Gene’s house and I was given a tape of some of the material to learn. That same
night I went into a rehearsal room with Bruce and he started showing me some of the
songs. We rehearsed three or four days and then we went into the studio and cut the
tracks for half the songs. Ezrin said, “You should just have Eric play on the whole
record because obviously the chemistry seems to be working.” They knew I had to go
on tour with Alice Cooper. Ezrin said they’d work on overdubbing on these songs and
when I came back we’d finish recording the rest of the Revenge record.

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