You had written with Bryan Adams two tunes ("War Machine, "Rock And Roll Hell") which ended up on KISS's "Creatures Of The Night" album. You had stated in past interviews some details on these two songs. In retrospect, do you think that this was a misjudged move from you two?
Do you mean, was it a mistake to work with KISS? I don't think it was a mistake. Bryan and I were young, we wanted to be successful song writers, and we got a call from KISS, one of the biggest bands in the world. Of course you're not going to say "no thanks".
I was slightly disappointed that we had to share credit with Gene on Rock and Roll Hell, but it was also a good lesson for us. Gene's a smart guy. I respect his intelligence.
Gene Simmons had said in various circumstances that he had written the basic riff structure of "War Machine" and then came you and Bryan and offered some lyrical solutions. Is this the truth behind this or do you have another story?
Believe me ... after 25 years, sometimes you don't remember all the details. I've read the interviews where Gene says he sent us a riff, but I don't remember it happening that way. Plus, I keep EVERYTHING, and I don't have a tape from Gene in my collection. I'm not saying my memory is right, and Gene's is wrong. I'm just telling you what I remember.
But here's an interesting clue. Checking my files, I see that Gene only claimed a 10% share of "Rock And Roll Hell" (for the single verse of lyrics he contributed). On "War Machine" he claimed a full one-third share, the same share that Bryan and I received (one-third each). That tells me that Gene believed -- and perhaps Bryan and I believed -- that Gene's contribution to "War Machine" was more significant than I remember!
"Rock And Roll Hell" was first included in BTO's "Rock N Roll Nights" record. KISS altered it quite a bit by adding also another verse (for the well-known reasons). Having listened to both of them, which one do you think comes close to your initial thought of when you wrote it?
I originally wrote the song for Fred Turner to sing (BTO). I was trying to tell Fred's story. In fact, the lyric grew from some conversations I had with Fred. He was at a point in his life when he was burned out and discouraged, and not interested in touring. That's what the original lyric was about.
When Bryan and I wrote the new lyric for KISS, we were thinking about a young guy who WANTS to be in a famous band, and can't wait for the chance to do a tour. In other words, the opposite situation from Fred's. You can see what we're trying to say in the first two verses of the song. The third verse was written by Gene.
Were you approached to write again for KISS after the "Creatures" record?
Having been a gifted songwriter (among other things) who had given songs to various artists, what is your opinion on KISS?
I have to admit, I'm not the biggest KISS fan in the world. Right this minute, without hesitation I could name 100 Beatle songs, or 50 Rolling Stone's songs. As I sit here, I can only think of three KISS songs: Rock and Roll All Nite, I Was Made For Loving You, and Beth.