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Legendary Producer BOB EZRIN: KISS Appealed To "Pimply" 15-Year Old Boys "And No One Else" At The Start

Ezrin produced the Destroyer album


According to producer Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Jane's Addiction), Kiss had a bit of an audience problem in the mid-70s. And by audience problem, we mean no woman would be caught dead listening to them. At least that's what Ezrin, in so many words, told the Rockonteurs podcast, which is hosted by Pink Floyd/David Gilmour bassist Guy Pratt and former Spandau Ballet-now Nick Mason guitarist, Gary Kemp.

Ezrin was the producer of the 1976 Kiss classic LP, Destroyer and said "The purpose of Destroyer, from my point of view, was to take them from being a cock and balls rock band that appeals to 15 pimply year old boys and no one else. When we first met I said to them, you know there's a there's a famous movie in the 50s called The Wild One with Marlon Brando and Lee Marvin. There were two warring motorcycle clubs. Bad guys – all bad guys. 

Ezrin continued, sating "The thing is that Lee Marvin was monochromatic, dressed in black, a bad bad bad guy. Lee Marvin was just nasty. Whereas Marlon Brando: there was something about him that was a little vulnerable, a little more humane, and the girl, the pretty daughter of somebody important – a tightly wound good Christian, lovely girl, you know, virgin, whatever – she saw something in Marlon Brando's character that she fell in love with.

"So I said to them: 'Right now you're Lee Marvin. And that's a glass ceiling. We'll never go wide with that. It'll just be the 15 year old boys who go 'Oh, that's cool'. But we want to expand…. "

I'll tell you this for free: I'd have loved to be fly on the wall during that conversation. Can you imagine the members of Kiss sitting and listening very intently to this somewhat random analogy?

Elsewhere, Ezrin explains how the album's classic track "Beth" evolved from a kiss-off song (no pun intended) to a heartbreaker ballad.

"It was a little more, sort of cock and balls, kind of arrogant," says Ezrin. "A guy saying basically 'Screw you, you know, I'm not coming home. Me and the boys are more important' and all that stuff and it was a little bit bouncy.

"I went back to my apartment on 52nd Street and I sat at my piano, and I don't know where it came from, but [sings melody] just came out. I thought, 'This is actually a very sad song. Why isn't he coming home? He knows that he's breaking her heart. What's going on? 

"So we made it into a ballad, a really kind of sensitive, sad ballad. And Peter [Criss, drummer] just happens to have this kind of that smoky voice that lent itself to the song perfectly in that form. 

"I just knew that it was a hit, but the rest of the band didn't feel like it was representative of Kiss – and it wasn't, you know, not at the time. It wasn't representative of Kiss as people knew them. But it was representative of the Kiss of Destroyer."

Kiss recently announced their final UK tour dates for this summer. You can see all confirmed dates below.

6/3 – Plymouth Argyle Home Park
6/5 – Birmingham Resorts World Arena
6/6 – Newcastle Utilita Arena
7/5 – London The O2
7/7 – Manchester AO Arena
7/8 – Glasgow OVO Hydro

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