Kiss has never worried about being upstaged by an opening act.
"We've always believed in letting the best bands available go out there and do what they do because it only fires us up that much more," original singer/guitarist Paul Stanley said in a mid-July phone interview. "Our track record is pretty stellar, whether it's, my gosh, Bob Seger, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Bon Jovi, early (Mötley) Crüe, John Cougar Mellencamp, AC/DC... The list just goes on and on."
On one of this summer's biggest tours, Kiss will close out an evening that also includes a 90-minute set from co-headliner Mötley Crüe and England's The Treatment. But Stanley knows his band will deliver as well.
"Kiss today is Kiss as I've always wanted it — four guys who get along great, who play fiercely, and are proud of who we are."
Kiss also knows a thing or two about putting together a spectacular live show.
"It's a whole new show, a whole new stage," Stanley said. "Everything is brand new. We will have a brand new show and a brand new stage and just some pretty amazing visuals. This whole summer is giving new meaning to bang for the buck. If anybody's expecting high-tech subtlety, forget about it — what we're trying to do is build a bigger bomb."
The band's recently completed Monster — which will be released in October — finds Kiss experiencing a rebirth that few would have predicted when the new century rolled around.
"[1998's] Psycho Circus was such a debacle and such a distortion of what making an album should be," Stanley said. "You can't make a Kiss album without a band, and we didn't have one. If people had any inkling of what was going on behind the scenes, it's a miracle that we even got an album done."
When guitarist Ace Frehley and drummer Peter Criss (both original members) departed the lineup for good in the late '90s, the replacements — guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer (who had been in the band in the late '90s, prior to Criss' return) injected new life into Kiss as a band. Sonic Boom, Kiss's 2009 album, was widely hailed as the best Kiss recording in years and a return to form for the group. Now three years later, Kiss has Monster ready for its October release.
As with Sonic Boom, the new album is produced by Stanley and written and recorded entirely by the current Kiss lineup.
"Monster is far, far, far beyond Sonic Boom," Stanley said. "It's a much more focused, a much bigger sounding album. The songs are better. And everybody's playing more assuredly. We clearly established on Sonic Boom who we are now. Monster just reinforces that like a sledgehammer."
Doors at 6pm Sun, Aug 5
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