James Campion and Larry Harris discuss KISS’s Destroyer
In this exclusive interview excerpt, Shout It Out Loud author James Campion discusses the legal imbroglios that halted (and nearly derailed) the Destroyer sessions with Larry Harris, the Vice-President of Casablanca Records!
For more than 40 years, the rock band KISS has galvanized the entertainment world with an unparalleled blitz of bravado, theatricality, and shameless merchandizing, garnering generations of loyally rabid fans. But if not for a few crucial months in late 1975 and early 1976, KISS may have ended up nothing more than a footnote.
Shout It Out Loud: The Story of KISS’s Destroyer and the Making of an American Icon by James Campion is a serious examination of the circumstance and serendipity that fused the creation of the band’s seminal work, Destroyer – including the band’s arduous ascent to the unexpected smash hit, Alive!; the ensuing lawsuits between the band’s management and label; the pursuit of the hot, young producer, Bob Ezrin; a grueling musical “boot camp;” the wildly creative studio abandon; the origins behind an iconic cover; the era’s most outlandish tour; and the unlikely string of hit singles.
Extensive research from the period and insights into each song are enhanced by hundreds of archived materials and dozens of interviews surrounding the mid-’70s-era KISS and its zeitgeist. Campion’s new interviews with major behind-the-scenes principals in the making of an outrageously imaginative rock classic animate this engaging tale.
As Campion writes in his introduction, “Destroyer is the indisputable KISS mission statement—the realization of a dream that stridently reflects the extraordinary time from which it was fashioned. Destroyer is ’70s rock: loud, yes, and decadent, you bet, but mostly it is pompous, weird, and fantastical….It is a cartoon fantasy’s parody of excess. Its message is fun and doom all rolled up in a thunderous package of melodramatic farce.”
Shout It Out Loud is the story of how an underground rock and roll oddity became a cultural phenomenon.