Gene Simmons Addresses The Impact Of Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ On KISS

KISS’ Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley recently talked about their lesser-appreciated album ‘Music from ‘The Elder” on Yahoo Entertainment. Simmons stated that the album was created during a self-deluded time, and they thought they could make a concept album that included operatic elements like Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall.’

‘The Elder’ was KISS’s first and last concept album, where they tried to shift from their usual pop-rock style to a more instrumental album with orchestral elements. It was the first album with the drummer Eric Carr who replaced Peter Criss in 1980. The band had a huge success, and they were touring arenas and stadiums at the time, however, the lineup changes and their delusion with money and fame led them to make a lot of ‘mistakes’ in the production of ‘The Elder.’

The album was initially considered as an album to show the audience that they are capable of more than just making a regular rock album. Apparently, Gene Simmons had a story, and they decided to craft the album based on that story. The band started to work with the famous producer Bob Ezrin who worked with Alice Cooper and Pink Floyd in their most successful album, ‘The Wall.’ Paul Stanley talked about these times and criticized himself and his band for being ‘comfortable in a rich lifestyle.’

Here is what Stanley stated about their 1981 album:

“We were lost. We were delusional. We had become complacent and kind of ungrateful for the success that we had and what it was based on. So, we were lazy, and I think we had all become very comfortable in a rich, so to speak, lifestyle, and became more concerned with how our contemporaries viewed us rather than our fans. And I think the fans were forsaken. We couldn’t make a rock album. We had no teeth. We were gumming at that point.”

The album was released in 1981, around the same time Pink Floyd’s movie ‘The Wall’ came out. The movie was based upon their 1979 album, ‘The Wall,’ which was a concept album that brought the band huge success throughout their career. Their most acknowledged and appreciated song ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ is also harbored in that album.

The interviewer asked KISS bassist Gene Simmons if they were inspired by ‘The Wall,’ as it was a successful concept album that included operatic elements and wasn’t straight rock and roll. The interviewer also suggested that KISS might have been influenced by Pink Floyd since ‘The Wall’ movie came out in the same year. However, Simmons stated that they were more inspired by the Who’s concept album ‘Tommy’ which is a rock opera based on a boy named Tommy who is ‘deaf, dumb and blind.’

Here is what the interviewer asked Simmons:

“I always wondered, because right around the same time that Music From the Elder the album came out, there had been The Wall movie, and Bob Ezrin had worked on The Wall. So I always wondered if Pink Floyd’s The Wall, was that all an inspiration for you to have your own Wall?”

Simmons replied:

“Well, the real story behind ‘The Elder’ was this kind of self-deluded notion: ‘Hey, the Who had Tommy! Let’s have our own Tommy!‘ And why do you need that? You know, it’s like, Zeppelin didn’t have Tommy. And they did fine.”

Unfortunately, due to their poor way of creating ‘The Elder’ album, it wasn’t very much appreciated. The band couldn’t sell a lot of records and therefore couldn’t afford a follow-up tour after the release. The album was partially a falling point for KISS although they worked with ‘The Wall’ producer Bob Ezrin, he couldn’t help them gain success as he helped Pink Floyd.