KISS bassist Gene Simmons was interviewed by Rolling Stone Magazine to share his ideas about KISS’ ninth studio album and admitted that he was responsible for the album’s failure.
As you may know, KISS released their ninth studio album entitled ‘Music from “The Elder”‘ on November 10, 1981. It was Eric Carr’s first and Ace Frehley’s last album until their reunion. The album was very different from the band’s original style, and it received very negative reviews from fans and music critics.
Furthermore, it was defined as one of the worst albums ever created, and thus, KISS never produced such a concept record again. During his interview, Gene Simmons revealed that he was the mastermind behind ‘Music from “The Elder”‘ as his motion picture scenario inspired it.
Simmons added that they thought it could be an exciting and creative project considering The Who and The Beatles’ concept albums’ success. However, they realized it was a huge mistake, and Simmons always regretted showing his scenario to KISS producer Bob Ezrin.
In Simmons’ words, he said:
“I take full blame. It was based on a treatment, a semi-script that I wrote called ‘The Elder.’ I was staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel at that point, and I wrote it on the Beverly Hills Hotel stationery.
When Bob Ezrin came back into the fold, he said, ‘What have you got there?’ I said, ‘I’m developing this motion picture. It’s called ‘The Elder,”… A mythological fantasy, which I’ve always been drawn to.
He said, ‘OK, we’re going to do a concept record, and we’re going to write songs based on your various premises.’ The decision was Bob Ezrin.
In hindsight, it was an interesting mistake. We all were sort of thinking, ‘The Who are the threat, and they have ‘Tommy’? Why can’t we have ‘The Elder!’ The Beatles had ‘Sgt. Pepper.’ This will be ours.’ Well, it wasn’t.”
Consequently, Gene Simmons accepted that ‘Music from “The Elder”‘ was a complete failure and blamed himself for being the inspiration source of one of the worst-rated albums in rock history.