The day after their shed show with MÖTLEY CRÜE in Toronto (September 14th), all four dudes in KISS threw a small Friday afternoon get-together for their label, Universal, to celebrate the imminent release of their HEAVY new album, Monster.
In attendance were mostly folks from the label, plus radio personalities from around town as well as a few invitees at the behest of the label. Food, drinks, a chance to get a picture with the guys, autographs, chit-chat... it was a well run soiree, 4:00 to 6:00 at the newly constructed Noble Studios on a dark and rainy day in west-end Toronto.
Apparently the meet-and-greet was a hastily assembled affair, but all went without a plan. There were album flats of the new album cover on hand plus a handful of silver sharpies which were put to use as the band milled about after the talk. A powerful set of studio monitors blasted a selection of new songs plus many catalogue favourites. A few beers all ‘round, some industry gossip... and then in came the guys to a round of applause, to the front of the studio, to two mics and repeated snaps of the official photographers documenting the event.
“This band has been around for 40 years, since before electricity,” cracked Paul, who went on to sincerely sing the praises of what is a bold and bravely rocking record, one that had people in the crowd favourably comparing Monster to VAN HALEN’s comeback, contrasted disconcertingly against the other record talked about on the night, AEROSMITH’s Music From Another Dimension!, which is looking not to be the balls-out ‘70s rocker promised at least at the beginning of the process a year ago.
Gene, after a few jokes with label legend and ersatz MC Ivar Hamilton over the various formats in which Monster will be released, went on to add a few words designed to connect with this particular audience. “ We’re going to pay a lot of attention to Canada this year. We want this to be a long project; we’re going to play places we've never played before, Fort McMurray, Fred McMurray, Moose Jaw, Lockjaw... The first tour we ever did was of Canada. Our first concert on tour was in Edmonton, in a cafeteria with cafeteria tables. We didn't know what the hell we were doing.”
Eric said a few words as well, and then Paul introduced Tommy with a comment that he’s actually been in the Kiss family longer than “some original member” noting that they’d at least been associated with Tommy since Gene produced BLACK ‘N BLUE’s last two albums In Heat and Nasty Nasty back in the mid-‘80s. Tommy went on to say, “We did this album analog, to analog tape. I've been on a lot of albums, but this was about the most fun. I don't want to say it's ever all that easy, but this was really easy (a comment seconded by Eric). Sonic Boom was more like testing the waters, while on Monster, we raised the bar in terms of writing and production, everything. But as far as the process, it was similar, but it went surprisingly smoothly.”
Also at the party was TSN executive Phil King and, milling about outside, band manager Doc McGhee. But the most distinguished guest of all? That would be the Monster album itself. Now, the band only played four tracks for us, but since the previous day (or earlier that day), 30 second snippets from the entire album had been posted on iTunes. We at bravewords.com are please to report that the entire album rocks from start to finish, no ballads, no outliers really, just a great mix of heavy modern stadium rock mixed with a number of intriguing tracks that touch upon the unique boogie and glam stylings of the band’s first six studio album up to and including Love Gun.
Monster will be issued on October 5th in Europe and October 7th in North America.
As Paul Stanley related, in closing, to the press and Universal staff at the party, “We can’t do this alone. In order to make this one of the biggest albums for Kiss in years, or maybe even the biggest ever, it takes a team, and you are part of that team. So lets all pull together and make this a big hit. We love this album; we’re very proud of it.”