Earlier this year, KISSFAQ‘s Tim McPhate conducted a comprehensive interview with producer/engineer RON NEVISON in celebration of the 25th anniversary of KISS‘ Crazy Nights album. Never-before-heard audio from the interview courtesy of the interview’s official trailer is available below:
Acting as a companion piece to their respective fully transcribed interviews, KISSFAQ interview trailers cull audio from the Interview Series archive, offering fans tasty excerpts of the discussion. An excerpt from the transcript is available below:
After recording was completed on Crazy Nights, the band thought they had hit a home run. “Everybody was really excited,” recalls Nevison.
While Crazy Nights would ultimately yield platinum-plus sales, the hit single to catapult the album to multi-platinum status in the United States eluded KISS. The aforementioned ‘Reason To Live’ only managed No. 64 position on the Billboard Hot 100. Fan opinions of Crazy Nights varied across the board, with detractors criticizing Nevison’s polished, keyboard-friendly mix. Even Stanley put on a pair of hindsight headphones. “I think it’s a bit plastic-sounding,” he once remarked. “The material, and what it could have been, was better than what it turned out to be.”
When peppered with questions on Crazy Nights a quarter century later, Nevison stands by the album and offers no apologies. Nor should he. The fact is that Crazy Nights cracked the Top 20 in five countries, hitting No. 4 in the UK, KISS‘ highest-charting album there ever. The title track matched the album’s performance, climbing to No. 4 on the UK singles chart.
As far as Nevison is concerned, he delivered exactly what was asked of him. And the only thing that got in the way of that home run, multi-platinum album was … KISS.
KF: Getting into the album, what was the process of going through the material and deciding what would be recorded or worked on during the sessions?
RN: “Gene just gave me everything. (laughs) He loaded me up with 20, I don’t know, 25 songs. And Paul was much more discerning in terms of what he let me hear. Gene just let me hear everything. And I told him what I liked and what I didn’t like. There were some odd songs – there was one song I remember called ‘I’m Going To Put A Log In Your Fire Place’ (laughs). And Paul, to my recollection, wanted to make a different kind of album. You know, with the success that BON JOVI was having in writing with Desmond Child and other bands – I had taken OZZY down that road with his first hit single in years, if ever, ‘Shot In The Dark’, in 1986. And of course, HEART. I was actually very pleased with the material on Crazy Nights. And I took some heat after that album because of the keyboards.”
KF: Ron, you touched on one of my questions. In 1987 rock acts such as HEART, POISON, DEF LEPPARD, BON JOVI…
RN: “They saw what they were doing with ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’ and all that. And I wanted to get KISS that same level of – you know, instead of selling 500,000 to 700,000 records, which is respectable, especially these days – I wanted it to be bigger than that. I was impressed with the stuff that Paul brought in. You know, Gene’s stuff was Gene’s stuff. Gene wrote rock stuff, but not commercial really, but KISS fans love Gene’s songs.”
KF: In terms of the album’s sonics, I think you’ve admitted, in hindsight, that you would have mixed the synthesizers down a bit and that it might be too “slick” or “soft” sounding.
RN: “I wasn’t that happy with the final mix. But I wasn’t that unhappy with it. I have to tell you, Tim, I’m not happy with any mix that I’ve done. I think I could have made it a bit more powerful sounding.”
KF: Some of the album’s detractors have commented that the sonics are too similar to HEART‘s 1985 self-titled album and OZZY‘s “The Ultimate Sin” album.
RN: “There you go. That’s the type of album I make. That’s what I do.”
KF: Exactly. In that sense, you delivered. KISS wanted Ron Nevison. They wanted that sound at the time and you gave it to them.
RN: “Yep. I have to say that I think as time goes on it will be more accepted and more liked because it has great songs. I think, song-wise, it really stands out as one of the best KISS albums ever, song-wise.”
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