In an BraveWords exclusive, rock journalist Mitch Lafon conducted an interview with filmmaker Alan G. Parker, who is currently working on the official KISS documentary called You Wanted The Best ... You Got The Best, which is set for release in theaters in 2014.
Q: How did you become a KISS fan and what has the band meant to you throughout your life?
Parker: "I was introduced to KISS by a kid in the year above me at school, he played us the Love Gun album in the school record room and I can honestly say that album changed everything for me. Because I lived in a small town I went to buy it on the weekend and they had no stock! So I finished up with Alive 2. Which is still one of my favourite albums until this day. What they mean to me in life is largely that they are a constant, a lot of things in life come and go. But some things you can rely on."
Q: Vinnie Vincent, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss will not sit down with you for the movie. If they had, what would you have asked them, or at least, what would you like to have found out about them?
Parker: "The thing about being in a very successful rock band, at the top of it's game, is that every question you could possibly be asked has been asked already. So I knew we could always count on archive. Regarding Vinnie I never thought about putting him into the movie for one minute so far as a new interview goes... I know where he fits, and we have the footage. At the start I thought that both Ace & Peter would jump through a hoop of fire just to be in the movie, to put their side of the story forward. But after offering them both very good money for very little work it became obvious that just maybe a few of the thing I had heard might be true. All ten members of KISS will feature in the movie though."
Q: Will the new KISS movie be an accurate account of past events or will it be ‘based on a true story’?
Parker: "It's a 100% accurate account of past events, because it's a documentary. I guess 'based on a true story' is very much more a drama thing...
Q: Why do you think KISS has been able to survive 40 years?
Parker: "Having spent a long time in the music business myself, at EMI Records, I can answer that question quite easily. The cream always rises to the top! It's that simple. Anybody can be 'good' at something, it takes a select few to be 'perfect' at it."
Q: What is the purpose of the KISS film? And do you have complete creative control over its content or have you been told to expound a certain point of view?
Parker: "I guess the purpose is to celebrate 40 years of KISS. Although the group have never had a cinema released documentary before either, so that might very well be part of it too. We do have creative control yes, having done a number of these by now I think it's the only way you can approach them. You couldn't work very well based round a storyboard that says 'please skip 1966 it was a dull year!' you know what I mean."
Q: Growing up a KISS fan, what are some of the moments in the band’s history that have marked you personally? What are some of your fondest memories of the band?
Parker: "When the make-up came off for Lick It Up they also came to the UK more, so we got the chance to see them play live. And to meet other KISS fans in the various cities. I also remember joining the KISS Aermy at the age of 14, because some kid at the cinema (Phantom was playing) told me how you went about it. A lot of memories."
Q: The band has seemingly taken the position that Destroyer is the greatest album. Do you agree? If so, what makes it the ultimate KISS album? If not, what is the greatest KISS album and why?
Parker: "I love Destroyer, who doesn't right? My personal favourite KISS album is way too big a question. I could say Alive 2 because it began there for me. But then I hear my head saying what about Love Gun, Revenge, Crazy Nights or even Lick It Up. I guess I'm the wrong guy to just commit to one album. Although that just might be what got me the job in the first place.
Q: As a huge KISS fan - could you compare and contrast the make-up vs non-makeup years.
Parker: "Again, bit of a tricky one for me cause I love both. I made a 'best of' KISS on my ipod. And I noticed instantly that the music is practically 50/50 with regard to the make-up or non make-up years."
Q: Is this the be all and end all KISS movie or has there been talk of doing a part 2, part 3, etc? Also, do you know if the movie will be supported by a soundtrack album, tour, etc? Is the band recording any new music for the film or re-cutting any of the classics?
Parker: "As regards the movie it will be all in one hit, the full story. I have no plans for a You Wanted The Best 2 if you like. With regard to what the group will do both for and around it. Well, I'd say it's early days to really know what that might be."
Q: According to you what are some of the band’s greatest successes over the last 40 years and what are some of their greatest failures?
Parker: "Oh dear, loaded question. At the minute we are very busy on the movie. Just let's say that you'll know better when you see it."