Call it a clash of egos, a publicity stunt or merely one more battle in the long-running war between Boston and New York City, but Aerosmith’s recent dismissal of KISS as “a comic book rock band” has prompted a response from KISS singer-guitarist Paul Stanley.
Last week, for no apparent reason, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith decided to denigrate KISS on Florida radio station the Bone. Responding to a question about the 2003 KISS/Aerosmith tour, Tyler fired this shot: “Kiss is a comic book rock band and they got a couple hits, but they’re more of a comic book. You see them in their spackled faces.”
Tyler continued: “We were always a band that had something to prove. We always wanted to blow off whatever band it was, and I remember when we went out with KISS in ’76 or something, one of our roadies got into a knife fight with their guys. So I hated them ever since.”
He then compared KISS’ guitar work with Aerosmith’s, calling them “two different worlds.” The distinction between the two bands, he concluded, was that “we really do take ourselves seriously.”
Perry was equally dismissive. “It’s two different animals. They went the theatrical way and used rock and roll kind of as their soundtrack, and for Aerosmith, the music is our show. From that point of view, it’s apples and oranges,” he said.
(Perry, it should be noted, is good with analogies. In 2010, he was critical of his bandmate taking a judging gig on “American Idol,” calling the televised competition “a reality show designed to get people to watch that station and sell advertising. It’s one step above '[Teenage Mutant] Ninja Turtles’.”)
Enter Stanley, a.k.a. the Star Man of KISS. The band just released a shockingly good hard rock album in “Monster,” which was produced by Stanley and features four men in a studio making basic but magnetic rock. Stanley’s response, originally given on Bob Coburn’s “Rockline” show on Monday, was released by KISS’ publicist Tuesday. Speaking to Coburn, Stanley said he loved Tyler and Perry, and he called Aerosmith “a great band.” He then continued:
“Maybe Steven’s feeling a bit full of himself because he’s got an album coming out. The reality is, in 2003, we did a co-headlining tour and everything was 50/50, but Steven wanted very much and insisted that they close the show. I really don’t care, because as far as I am concerned, one way or another, you’re going to have to come up on the stage, so you can go on before us or after us. And that being said, he certainly had a chip on his shoulder back then. There is some sort of ambivalence or looking down his nose a bit towards KISS."
Stanley then described his recollection of Aerosmith’s sets during that tour: “I have to say that seeing him go on after us, to play to an underwhelmed audience and see people walking out, didn’t feel too bad to me. Well, no matter who you think you are -- don’t wish for something that may come true.”
Aerosmith’s album, “Music From Another Dimension!,” comes out Nov. 6 after being pushed from Aug. 28. Two serviceable but one-dimensional songs have thus far been released, and thus far the album title’s promise of music from beyond the realms of human understanding remains unfulfilled.
Aerosmith’s previous album, the unfortunately named “Honkin’ on Bobo,” was primarily a collection of covers and the band’s first record in 15 years to not go platinum.
But realistically, no one should take this war of words seriously until both bands write dis songs. Maybe Aerosmith can rework “Same Old Song and Dance” as a slam toward KISS’ stage show; KISS, in response, might re-record “Lick It Up.”
Follow Randall Roberts on Twitter: @liledit