Ex Kiss Manager Staked His Reputation on ‘Revenge’
Widely regarded as the best LP of their unmasked era, the project came about after Mazer insisted that Gene Simmons concentrate more fully on the band than he had in recent years. He’d been working as an actor and artist manager among other side hustles, and Mazer wanted his full attention on Kiss.
“What attracted me […] originally was the fact that the band had multiple lead singers in Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons,” Mazer told VWMusic in a recent interview. “I just felt that if Kiss wanted to get back to where they were, Gene really needed to reassert himself as a songwriter, and as a second lead singer in the band. And that was the demand I made when I had my meeting to get hired for the job. I said, ‘Gene needs to get back at it, and be an equal creative member of Kiss.’”
He continued: “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 […] [T]o me, that element was gone, and Kiss needed to have both elements to make it fully work s a complete package.
“I think they had two very distinct fan bases that blended together and crossed over. […] 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.”
Mazer said he didn’t think much of Hot in the Shade, the album that was almost finished when he joined the organization. “I think there are three great songs, and the rest of it is filler,” he added. “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 upfront. 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 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. […] [M]y goal was to bring back the heavier side of Kiss, and I think I achieved that.”
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