Slideshow: Motley Crue, Kiss at Klipsch
Lora Olive shot Motley Crue and Kiss at Klipsch Music Center on Saturday, September 1.
KISS drummer Eric Singer had several pieces of good advice for me about bands. And life. He was just full of pearls of wisdom when I spoke with him in late July about KISS' most recent tour. Gems like, "You've got to keep your head together, keep it on straight, keep your nose clean, stay out of trouble." "I always look at music just like life. It's like a roller coaster. Sometimes you get to ride the ride and sometimes you're chugging up the hill." Of course, tonight KISS and Def Leppard hit the stage at Klipsch where Singer won't be giving any advice, but instead just laying waste to his massive kit.
Here's my Q&A with Singer.
NUVO: You were last here with Motley Crue, I believe, two years ago. What are some memories of Indianapolis from previous shows here?
Eric Singer: I've been to Indianapolis many times. Because that's the heartland of America, but it's also one of the main heartlands of KISS. I always tell people, Indianapolis, Detroit and Cleveland are the three cities where KISS Alive I, II and III were recorded. All three of those albums return to those three cities and they use whatever individual performances from whichever night, which compiled those albums. It's always been one of the bases of our KISS Army fan base, big time. And as you know, there's always a KISS fan expo put on in Indianapolis. That is the premier and number one KISS fan expo. Like I said, we have a lot of connections to that city, personally, as well as professionally as a band.
NUVO: Whenever I interview a classic rock act, I ask to talk to the drummer. I love the drummers.
Singer: I don't know if you saw, but there's a study that claims that drummers are actually — now mind you, I'm paraphrasing — that drummers are usually of a high intellect. … People think drummers are stupid because they hit things and it shakes their brain up, but like I said, this study claims otherwise.
NUVO: Deen Castronovo of Journey told me that the band that made him want to be a drummer was KISS. He says KISS was his Beatles, the reason he became a musician. He saw you and thought, “That's what I want to do forever.” Who did that for you?
Singer: Well, it's hard to say just one individual person, but I would say that everybody of my generation was definitely influenced by the Beatles. I was 6 years old when they were on Ed Sullivan, and they definitely impacted everybody. It wasn't just Ringo, as the drummer; it was the whole Beatles phenomenon. Everybody wanted to look like them, they wanted to grow their hair, they wanted to play guitar, or drums or both. I remember picking up tennis rackets and mimicking it. We thought it was the coolest thing. I've have to say probably [in terms of specific drummer inspiration] Ringo Starr, and Dave Clark and the Dave Clark Five. He had this red sparkle Rogers drum set, and I thought that was really cool – and the band was named after him and he was the drummer. I liked a lot of big bands, like Buddy Rich and Louie Bellson, were definitely two major guys. … I could name a whole slew of guys who either, at different points, impacted or influenced me either because of their drumming or the band. I find myself more influenced by the music and the band than the drummer that is in that particular band. So a lot of times it's more about the music and the band than just the drummer, per se.
NUVO: Who are some modern drummers that you follow?
Singer: I'll tell you, with YouTube, there's a lot of little kids that are out there, like 7 or 8 or 9. There's a kid named Avery Molek. I think he's 7 and that kid is amazing. There's a little girl, a Filipino girl named Alexey. She's amazing. There's a kid who goes by the name Jonah Rocks, he's from Canada and he's amazing. Those are just three little kids that I'm totally impressed by. I mean, these kids are at a level that is so frightening at a young age. Most of them have only played like three or four years, some of them five years maybe. They're better than most … I'm not exaggerating. If you go watch them, you're going to go, “Oh, my god.”
Thomas Pridgen (The Memorials, Suicidal Tendencies), he's a great drummer. Of course everybody is going to say, the Foo Fighters and Dave Grohl, but Taylor Hawkins or Dave Grohl, both those guys who played on the (Foo Fighters) records. I like the band Muse and the drummer of Muse (Dominic Howard). I'm thinking of more. The Foo Fighters, they're not a new band, but they're a newer generation of [guys] than what I grew up on. Those are just a handful of guys. To me, like I said, I'm always more impacted by music more so than the individual player. I've always been more of a guitar freak … not just the guitar as an instrument, but also as art. I love the way that the instruments look. There's a beauty just in the instrument. I've always been attracted to bands that are guitar-driven. If you look at my career, most of the bands that I've played with … those bands were definitely guitar-based and guitar-driven. But they all write good songs. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how great you play, initially; if you can't write a song, you're going to have a tough time.
NUVO: KISS just announced a Las Vegas residency. Tell me about that.
Singer: I don't know much about it, really. We just know we're going to be there for three weeks. Basically, you do three shows a week for three weeks, and they call that a residency. I'm not going to stay there and live there during that time. [People say], “Oh, so you're going to be here for three weeks,” and I'm like, no! We got there and play and go home, because I live in LA and it's an hour flight. But I don't know what our plans are, regarding that with production, what the setlist is going to be. I'm already in the works about getting a drum kit built so I can have something, a different look, something unique or special for that particular run. I was just on the phone with the drum company an hour ago expressing that very stuff.