Former KISS Manager LARRY MAZER - "My Goal Was To Bring Back The Heavier Side Of KISS, And I Think I Achieved That"
June 20, 2022, 6 months ago
VWMusic caught up with former KISS manager Larry Mazer to discuss his tenure with the band. Mazer was brought on board in 1989, six years into the band's unmasked era and just as the Hot In The Shade album was being finished. Following is an excerpt from the chat.
Q: Hot in the Shade featured a noticeable back-to-basics approach. Do you feel that KISS had gone too far down the glam rabbit hole, so to speak?
Larry: "Yes, and no. I mean, Paul Stanley had always written pop songs. If you go back to the '70s with Rock and Roll Over or Dynasty, Paul was always a pop singer. Look at songs like 'Sure Know Something' or 'I Was Made For Loving You'; those are pop songs. Paul was a rock guy on one hand, but when it came down to it, he always had that pop sensibility. Then you have Gene, who for lack of a better term, was the 'heavy metal guy' in the band, with songs like 'I Love It Loud', for example. So, to me, that element was gone, and KISS needed to have both elements to make it fully work as a complete package. I think they had two very distinct fan-bases that blended together and crossed over. There’s a heavier side, which I felt was represented by Gene, and then there was a more commercial pop side, which was Paul’s deal. If you look back, every record had a Paul Stanley pop-type song, so I don’t think anything changed except that Gene Simmons was missing from the mix. I think a portion of the audience – Gene’s portion – wanted to see a KISS that featured both sides of the band, not just the more pop-leaning side."
Q: Would you say that Gene Simmons asserted himself more on Hot in the Shade?
Larry: "Well, my record was Revenge, because Hot in the Shade was mostly recorded by the time I was hired. In most ways, it was already a finished record, so there’s not much I could do there. I will say that to this day, I do not think Hot in the Shade is a great record. I think there are three great songs, and the rest of it is filler. The album that I really stake my reputation on is the Revenge record, because that was me forcefully putting my foot down as far as Gene coming back into the mix was concerned. I said, 'Guys, if we’re going to do this and do this right, Gene needs to be up front. We have to get heavier.' And we led off with a Gene Simmons song for the first time since the Creatures Of The Night record, and that was a Gene Simmons song called 'Unholy'. We had another track in 'Domino', that I wanted to go second, but I got voted down, so 'Domino' ended up being the third single. Again, my goal was to bring back the heavier side of KISS, and I think I achieved that."
Read the complete interview here.