Prime Cuts: Kiss
"GOD OF THUNDER" (Destroyer, 1976)
SIMMONS: "By the end of our third record [Dressed to Kill], we had gotten very used to each other's songwriting styles. Paul's songs were always a little snappier and happier, and mine were always darker and gloomier. So we'd poke fun at each other sometimes, and Paul once said to me, "Anybody can write a Gene Simmons song." To prove his point, he came back the next day with "God of Thunder." I changed some of the lyrics, and sang it.
When I first heard the song, I immediately had visions of the scene in Fantasia where the mountain top opens and this big winged thing is standing there—something from the dark shadows. But Paul's "God of Thunder" lyrics totally missed the point—they were all about Aphrodite and love.
The sound effect of the little kid was actually done by Bob Ezrin's two sons, who ran into the studio wearing toy helmets and carrying walkie-talkies and ray guns. The weird voice on the song is one of the kid's voices coming through a helmet, which we miked. It wasn't planned, and we had no idea what it all meant, but it seemed right. It's real Twilight Zone stuff—very weird.
STANLEY: I won't say that Gene is lying about "God of Thunder," but maybe he was trying to entertain you. It's in Gene's nature to glamorize a story and make it more interesting than it really is. Here's the real story: I wrote that song about myself, and the original lyrics were almost identical to what was recorded. "Hear my word and take heed" was originally "We make love 'til we bleed," but that was the only thing that was changed. When I wrote it, I had every intention of singing it, but Bob Ezrin thought that it would be more appropriate for Gene to sing. Although it became known as a Gene Simmons song, it certainly wasn't written for him or as a joke.
"DETROIT ROCK CITY" (Destroyer, 1976)
STANLEY: From the very beginning, the people of Detroit took us in as one of their own. While we were still an opening act in most parts of the country, we were headlining there, and I wanted to write a song about that. Then someone was hit by a car and killed outside one of our concerts in Charlotte, North Carolina. I found it very strange that somebody on his way to see something that would have been so much fun, something that was such a testament to being alive, would get killed—which is where the song's car crash intro comes from. The whole song is really about somebody getting ready to go to a concert to have a great time, and ending up dying.
"SHOUT IT OUT LOUD" (Destroyer, 1976)
SIMMONS: Before Kiss started, Paul and I had a group called Wicked Lester, which recorded a never-released album for Epic Records. We already had "She" and "Love Her All I Can," but the producer was screaming that we didn't have any singles and suggested that we find another song at a publishing house. When we did, we heard a Hollies song that wasn't quite good enough to record. It had a chorus that said, "We want to shout it out loud, but we can't let people know." I thought the idea of shouting out loud was great, so I ripped off the title.
"CALLING DR. LOVE" (Rock and Roll Over, 1976)
SIMMONS: This is gonna sound warped, but "Calling Dr. Love" started off with the title, which I stole from an episode of The Three Stooges. I also had that silly little word rhyme, "They call me Dr. Love/I've got the cure you're thinking of." I went into the Record Plant in New York and recorded the song as a demo, playing all the instruments myself, and then I took it to the band—and that was it.
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