i played in a band from canada in the '60s called the paupers. we were managed by albert grossman who managed bob dylan and a whole bunch of other artists like janis joplin. we played the monterey pop festival. gene and paul knew about us and when i met them later on they told me about it. they had seen us in fan magazines and that sort of thing. i had a solo deal on warner bros. records in the '70s and that lead indirectly to my writing with kiss which i'll tell you about in a moment. most of the songs of my solo record had been cut by other artists and so i kind of got into being a songwriter by the back door as it were. i can remember all of the artists who have done my songs but here's a partial list of the ones that i can remember:
kiss: creatures of the night, crazy nights, i'll fight hell to hold you, danger, keep me comin', partners in crime, little caesar, when your walls come down, legends never die
john waite: tears
king cobra: i'm a legend tonight
skull: losers game
hurricane: ten thousand years
black'n'blue: gimme your lovin'
ezo: destroyer, kiss of fire,here it comes, desiree, i walk alone
bonnie tyler: matter of the heart
chicago: man to woman
olivia newton-john: dancin round and round
merle haggard: out among the stars
art garfunkel : french waltz
anne murray: french waltz, yucantan cafe, dancin round and round
nicolette larson: dancin' round and round, french waltz, fool for love
waylon jennings : out among the stars
patty smyth and scandal: tears
jennifer warnes: dancin' round and round
clare lynch: out among the stars
teresa: doctor, doctor, out among the stars
wendy o. williams: legends never die
joe sunn: out among the stars
doug kershaw: french waltz
seldom scene: out among the stars
jane oliver: french waltz
russ taff: love takes the wheel
little america: you were right
skull: loser's game
peter criss of kiss: tears
silent rage: all night long
johnny lee: fool for love
hazel dickens: out among the stars
randy kohrs: out among the stars
lynn anderson: fool for love
mckendree spring: cairo hotel
volunteer: queen of the night
good brothers: cowboy of rue st. germaine, we all get lost,
dancin' round and round
paul anka: i tried to get over you
stonebolt: queen of the night
betty bright: on a night like this
lisa lee: dancin' round and round
country gentlemen: queen of the night
commander cody: don't say nothin'
there have also been a lot of metal cuts in europe but its hard to keep track of them. the stuff i've produced i'll get to later on.
2.) you co-wrote many great songs with kiss. what was it like to write, play and sing with kiss?
we've spent so many hours, make that thousands of hours, over the almost 20 years that i've known them, making music one way or the other that i've really had a great opportunity to know these guys and i they are among my very best friends and they would be your's too if you knew them. the one thing that applies to all the singing, writing, and playing we did was it was always fun. some of the best times we had work when we were in the studio demoing the songs that we had just written, figuring out what worked, what could work better and so on. i don't know how many fans realize this but everyone in the band has a great sense of humor and we would spend a lot of time laughing about one thing or another, sometimes to the point where we were laughing so hard we couldn't play. gene and paul can both be very funny, and eric really had one of the best senses of humor i ever saw. so even when the hours got long, you could always count on someone to say something that would really crack you up. it was also great during the recording period of any record to listen to all the great music that was going down. this really is a band were each member contributes something special and unique. the other thing that has always been great is, after you write and record a song, it's even better to go to a kiss concert and hear it played live in front of the huge crowd.
3.) how did kiss first approach you as a co-writer?
i had met michael james jackson, the producer, a few years before, up in canada. then when i was in l.a. doing my solo record, he was in the next studio doing another band. he dropped in and heard my songs and liked them. fast forward two years, he's now producing kiss,and suggests me as a cowriter. gene came over to my house in hollywood and we wrote a couple of songs that turned out pretty well although they didn't end up on the first record but paul liked them and he came over next and i began writing with him. we all just hit it off right away, bruce and eric too, and started hanging out a lot even when we weren't recording. paul and i especially. in fact at one point we were going out with two models who were roommates so we were together, like all the time, either doing social things, or checking out guitars, going to movies, whatever. i remember one of my first impressions was that whenever we were out, let's say in paul's car, stopped at a stop light or something, man no matter where we were, he would be recognized. i mean there's famous and then there's seriously famous.
4.) of all your collaborations with kiss, what are you most proud of?
there are things that i like about all of them but i would have to say i probably have a soft spot for "creatures', because i think it was the first one we recorded, and we had a blast doing it. another reason i especially like it is that right after the record came out i was looking through the channels on the tv one day and i see this religious dude waving the creatures album cover and screaming about how this song was written by the devil. i thought "no dude, me and paul wrote that song in my kitchen".
5.) the "creatures of the night" album is considered by many kiss fans one of kiss' finest efforts. besides your excellent co-writing, what other aspects of the album did you play a part in?
i was probably in the studio for most of the recording, giving my two cents worth like everybody else. i'm sure i sang some of the backgrounds with paul and eric. we always had a good blend. i also played the riff that happens halfway through the song and right at the end. on my blue charvel for those of you who are interested.
6.) tell us about eric carr's rochead's cd.
the rockheads is an idea that eric had for an animated tv series and in fact it's one that may still happen because we've had so much interest since we decided to release the songs that he and i and bruce wrote for it. we wrote them about 1989 - four songs "tiara", "to cool for school", "nasty boys", and "can you feel it?". i'm really happy that this stuff is getting to be heard now because it's really good and eric would be very happy to know that finally it's coming out. if you're interested, you can order it from firstname.lastname@example.org which is eric's sister's website or link up with the rockheads site through kiss dominion.
7.) you co-wrote with eric carr on several songs on the rockhead's cd. what was it like to work with eric?
let me tell you flat out eric carr was one of the most hysterically funny people i ever met in my whole life. he was way into monty python and all kinds of other voices and you just couldn't spend time around eric for more than two minutes without him totally cracking you up about something. i really miss him. one night on the new year's eve before he died, he and bruce and i and our wives/girlfriends went out to a comedy club and i still have a picture of that night above my desk. it hurts to know he's gone. he was also, of course, and absolutely great drummer. i loved his drum solo and it was always my favorite part of the show. another great memory i have of eric is when we were cutting "keep me comin'" i think it was. anyway eric had his drums set up in what was really just a big storage room off the studio. the echo in there was incredible and i remember him sitting there just wailing away and how good it sounded. eric was the real deal, for sure and there's hardly a day that i don't think about him. i'm glad i knew him.
8.) how did you originally get involved with eric carr's rockheads project?
really just because we used to sit around and play not just kiss stuff but other stuff is well. eric new that i had written songs for a lot of other artists and since the rockheads stuff was a little different, he wanted to get me involved.
9.) what advice would you give musician's just starting out in the business?
it's all about two things - passion and hard work. if you slack off on either one of those, forget it. you want proof? go to a kiss concert. after kiss played in nashville a few weeks ago, gene and paul i were talking in the dressing room about how the show had gone and believe me, in spite of the thousands of shows that they have done, they still passionately care about doing their best. it was pretty impressive to see because they don't need the money and they can't get any more famous. but their fans still matter to them as much as they ever did and still really care about going balls to the wall to put on a great show. having known them as long as i have, it was great to see that that fire still burns so brightly.
10.) what other recording projects, past and present, have you been involved in?
well i've done a bunch of records with gene. anytime he's producing something, he usually calls me in to help with the cowriting like with black 'n blue or ezo. i've also produced and continue to produce a lot of records on my own. believe it or not i produced manhattan transfer. i even played on a lot of records like even peter paul and mary if you can believe it. i'll be doing a record sometime later this year with linda ronstadt.
anyway, since this is about kiss, i'll just say they years have gone very quickly and it was a blast. they really are great guys i'll always consider it one of the great lucky accidents that i got to work with them. say a prayer for eric, if you think of it.
- adam mitchell
limited eric carr's rockheads cd soundtrack.
eric sings all vocals, plays drums and guitars, except for leads which are played skillfully by bruce kulick. these songs are awesome.they have been remastered and are now being sold in cd form.
1. too cool for school
3. can you feel it?
4. nasty boys
usa---------$12.99 each plus $1.50 s & h ...usa. total $14.49
foreign.---$14.99 each plus $7.00 s & h ...foreign. total $21.99
15216 burbank boulevard
van nuys, ca 91411
please visit eric carr's rockheads animation website, come on and meet the band!