Ex-KISS Manager On How He Managed To Bring Gene Simmons Back To The Band

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Former KISS manager Larry Mazer recently appeared as a guest on Artists on Record hosted by Stefan Adika and reflected on his determination to have Gene Simmons in the band again.

In 1983, KISS members decided they needed a change in their career direction and put their traditional makeup and costumes aside. During that period, they also released their eleventh studio album, ‘Lick It Up,’ and went on a tour with unmasked members to promote the album. In the following years, the subsequent records, ‘Animalize,’ ‘Asylum,’ and ‘Crazy Nights,’ also arrived.

However, during that time in the 1980s, Gene Simmons distanced himself from KISS because the bassist was occupied with other businesses like pursuing a film career, managing Liza Minnelli, and handling his label, Simmons Records. Thus, during those years, Paul Stanley played a more active role in the band. During a recent interview, ex-KISS manager Larry Mazer explained that he tried really hard to get Simmons back in the band in that period.

He told him to stop everything outside of KISS and refocus his music career with the band. Mazer also advised the bassist not to stick out his tongue since it would make him seem foolish without makeup. The manager stated that KISS needed Gene Simmons to play a more prominent role in the band during those years. Finally, with the album ‘Hot in the Shade,’ the bassist was back in the band. Mazer described achieving to bring Simmons back into the band as his most significant accomplishment during his tenure with KISS.

Larry Mazer said the following about Simmons during the conversation:

“At the very first meeting, I made this whole thing, and I focused mostly on Gene at the meeting, and I said, ‘Look, you got to get back in the band.’ During that period, he had gone into movies. He was managing Liza Minnelli. He had Simmons Records, so I said, ‘For me to do this, that’s got to stop. No more Simmons Records, no more Liza Minnelli,’ and then for last, I said, ‘And you got to stop with the tongue.’ I said, ‘It is one thing with makeup on but without the makeup on, you look silly.'”

He then continued:

“That meeting I went in and I had a plan. And either they said, ‘Yes, we’ll do it’ or ‘No.’ They wouldn’t do it. They did it. God bless. I was doing well with Cinderella. I wasn’t worried about my next meal by any stretch. So, luckily, they said, ‘We get it.’ I don’t know if Gene or Paul was a thousand percent excited that I’m focused on Gene, but KISS was made up of two distinct images; the Starchild and the Demon.

And to me, that what was missing in the non-makeup years up until ‘Hot in the Shade’ was the Demon had disappeared and needed to be brought back. And I think I did that. Besides getting their first top ten single ‘Forever’ and having two amazing shows with ‘Revenge’ and ‘Hot in the Shade,’ I think my greatest accomplishment was getting Gene Simmons back in KISS, and I take pride in that.”

You can watch the rest of the interview below.