Paul Stanley: Boom Times
GW How did you and Gene come to drift apart in the early days?
STANLEY We always had somewhat different approaches to songwriting, but that was what made those early songs special. I think at some point we both decided that we wanted things our way. We were big kids with big egos. We just decided to go off on our own and do it exactly the way we wanted. We didn’t want to compromise, didn’t want anybody else’s input. And those are the songs that came later in Kiss.
But the two people who wrote those original songs were still capable of writing with that same chemistry. The chemistry didn’t go away. We just had to push away a couple of roadblocks. It would have been insane not to take advantage of that chemistry.
GW You’re lucky. Not everybody can get back to that place. Sometimes great songwriting teams reunite after many years and it’s just not happening anymore.
STANLEY I think part of the reason, again, is that you have to be selfless. Writing a great song has to be a bigger priority for you than getting your own way. Once the ego is out of the way, the potential is unlimited. I think there was a great sense of group unity and purpose on this album. It wasn’t about promoting any one person in the band; it was about waving the flag of a great band.
GW Do you actually remember writing “Rock and Roll All Nite”?
STANLEY I do, absolutely. We had had a meeting with the [Casablanca] record company president at the time, Neil Bogart, who said we needed an anthem. The whole idea of a rock anthem was strange to us, because it wasn’t common back then. We asked him what he meant. He pointed to Sly and the Family Stone and said that their song “I Want to Take You Higher” is an anthem in the sense that it’s a song the fans can rally behind, one that speaks to the common experience between the band and the audience.
So I kind of went, “Got it!” I went back to my hotel room, picked up the guitar, played an A chord and sang, “I wanna rock and roll all night and party every day.” It came really easily. I then knocked on Gene’s door and said, “What do you think of this?” He thought it was great and said, “I have a song that isn’t finished.” It was called “Drive Me Wild.” So we put his verses for his song “Drive Me Wild” with the line “rock and roll all night and party every day,” and that was the song. I remember it as clear as yesterday.
After that, “partying” became a commonly used term in the English language. I just thought it summed up the idea of having a great time. It got all kinds of other connotations with time, but the essence of what we were, and certainly the life we were living on tour, was rock and rolling all night and partying every day.
GW I think Kiss can take credit for turning the noun “party” into a verb.
STANLEY Yes. We wanted “to party,” as opposed to going to a party.
GW But Gene always says, “Oh man, I never did drugs.”
STANLEY And that’s true. To us, “to party” meant to have a great time. I can remember clearly people would say “sex, drugs and rock and roll.” And I would say to them, “You keep the drugs, just give me the sex and rock and roll. Whatever I’m gonna do tonight, I want to remember tomorrow.”
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