1983 was a great year for rock albums. In 2023, we find ourselves 40 years away from that era. With “On Fire At 40,” we take some time to speak to artists and band members about their albums celebrating this significant anniversary. Each month, we’ll speak to a different artist or band member about their album. This month, we speak with Paul Stanley of Kiss about their album “Lick It Up” turning 40. The album was released on September 18th, 1983.
One of the main differences from earlier Kiss albums to “Lick It Up” was that the band dropped their signature makeup. Paul said it was exciting at the time. After releasing their album “Creatures Of The Night” and not achieving the expected commercial success, it became clear, particularly to bassist Gene Simmons, that it was time to drop the makeup. Paul spoke about how he had hoped they would have dropped it before the “Creatures” album. He mentioned the power of Gene’s on-stage character was tough to give up.
Paul felt people were listening to Kiss music with their eyes and that they didn’t like what they were seeing. Paul was clear in saying that he felt “Lick It Up” was not as good an album as its predecessor “Creatures Of The Night.” Despite his personal opinion, “Lick It Up” outsold “Creatures” five to one. “Lick It Up” experienced brisk sales from the get-go, and to Paul, it showed the band was “back in the game.” Rounding out the band for this outing was Vinnie Vincent on guitar and Eric Carr on drums. We also discussed how Vinnie Vincent was a large part of the songwriting for the album. Paul even commented that Vinnie was “fun to write with” and that “the results were terrific.”
You can’t discuss albums that were released in 1983 without talking about MTV. The band famously appeared for the first time publicly without their makeup on MTV. Asked about the difference in crowds with the title track video being in regular rotation on MTV, Paul said, “The difference I saw was that there were people in the audience.”
We discussed a guest appearance on the album by guitarist Rick Derringer. In speaking of that, Paul mentioned that they “were already having difficulties with their new guitar player,” meaning, of course, Vinnie Vincent.
Watch the interview below and check out a couple of videos from the album below that. See the rest of the “On Fire At 40″ series here.
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