KISS co-vocalist and guitarist Paul Stanley last week (July 2) apologized for calling Bob Ezrin, the producer behind the classic rockers’ pivotal Destroyer album and other releases, a “functioning addict.”
The musician made the remark identifying Erzin as an addict in A&E’s two-part KISS documentary, Biography: KISStory, which premiered on the cable network last month (June 27-28). In addition to Stanley’s commentary, the doc featured insight from fellow KISS co-founder Gene Simmons and additional interviews with Dave Grohl, Tom Morello, KISS manager Doc McGhee and Ezrin himself.
But after KISStory first aired, Stanley followed an urge to atone online for what he indicated was a conversational gaffe while recalling the making of the influential rock album — the LP that elicited memorable KISS singles such as “God of Thunder,” “Detroit Rock City” and “Beth.”
“Words Hurt,” Stanley said on Twitter. “In our documentary I spoke of my dear friend Bob Ezrin as a ‘functioning addict’ while we made Destroyer. The impact of that word was lost on me. Although not intended, the hurt and stigma attached is far reaching. That statement was inaccurate, not true and I misspoke.”
After Destroyer, Erzin returned to handle production duties on KISS’ Music From “The Elder” (1981) and Revenge (1992). The producer is also known for his work with other top rock acts such as Aerosmith, Deep Purple, Deftones, Jane’s Addiction, Pink Floyd and Lou Reed.
In 2016, Stanley told Rolling Stone that the making of Destroyer was a “glorious, exciting time because [Erzin] was the camp counselor, the camp director. He wore a whistle around his neck and called us campers. You have to understand that, at this point, we saw ourselves very much as ‘rock stars’ and didn’t take crap from anybody. But we buttoned our lips and bit our tongues with Bob. He was the voice of experience and clearly knew more than we did.”
The KISS rocker added that he thought of Erzin “as a mentor, and he really raised the bar for us in terms of lyrics. Up until then … we were writing ‘fuck me, suck me’ songs. Bob wanted none of that. He wanted more of an experience of the psyche, and the mentality of youth and what we were about, as opposed to the physicality of it. He would nix lyrics, and send us back.”
KISS head out on the concluding United States leg of their End of the Road World Tour later this summer. Last month, the band lent their name to a libation named after their tune “Cold Gin.” Before that, Stanley pondered what actor should play him in the upcoming KISS biopic, a movie project that’s separate from the KISStory documentary.
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