KissFAQ: Jeff, let's rewind to summer 1978. What are your recollections of coming onboard for Paul Stanley's solo album?
Jeff Glixman: Well, they're pretty clear. We had some huge success with Kansas with our album in fall 1977, "Point Of Know Return." The band had done a big tour and a lot of things had gone on and they wanted to take a break for a little bit. So we all decided, "Let's take a little break and go to Hawaii and take a few months off." I returned from Hawaii and my attorney called me and said, "Paul Stanley is in the midst of an album. I know you've got another album coming up, but there's a little window of opportunity, would you like to work on it?" I was thinking, "Vacation or work with Paul Stanley? I'm going with Paul."
KF: You came onboard for the album's sessions in Los Angeles. Do you recall being at the Village Recorder?
I remember working at the Village. We worked at the Record Plant too.
KF: Legend has it that Paul visited a studio in the valley and decided it wasn't up to par. Does that ring a bell?
He might have taken a look at Sound City, I don't know. I had produced out of Sound City, which was funky to look at but an awesome-sounding studio. As you know, Dave Grohl just completed a documentary film about Sound City and the history of that place. It was a funky place but a really good studio. I just remember the studios being tossed around but I didn't handle the bookings.
KF: Do you remember the type of consoles that were at the Record Plant and Village?
Sure, they were APIs at the Record Plant, either 550 or 500-A modules. And in Studio D at the Village there was a beautiful Neve 8078.
KF: Can you describe what you remember about the first time you met Paul Stanley?
When I met Paul for the first time, I was sitting there waiting and this gentleman walked in, in makeup.
No, just kidding (laughs). He walked in with like khaki slacks and a blue blazer with a little paper bag from a deli in his hand. I think he had just been to visit his mother. He was a very nice, refined gentleman.
KF: Was this in L.A.?
We met in an office in New York. I was working basically out of New York at the time. It may have been Bill Aucoin's office.
KF: And during your initial conversation, did Paul convey what he was looking to accomplish?
You know, he was far into this thing. I don't remember the reason, but he'd started cutting some of it in New York. I had a project coming up and I had only a certain amount of time I could spend on it. I believe Mike Stone mixed the record, if I'm correct.
KF: That's right.
I had been on a couple of dates with Kansas recording some live stuff where they had done shows with KISS in the early days. It was pretty interesting to see them at that point. Obviously, they were a big band destined to become one of the greatest and most successful bands in the world. I was excited to meet him and see what he was up to. He had a very definite idea of what he wanted to accomplish.
KF: When you were brought onboard, was it with the understanding you were going to produce the entire album?
(Pauses) Originally, I didn't have the time to produce the entire project. I had a time constraint because I had another record coming up that I had to get to that had a hard start date. As I said, I had planned to take some vacation time. It was my understanding that we'd certainly work on all the tracks -- that there were certain things that either needed to be recut or worked on or that we'd recut parts of, or whatever. And I never intended to get to the mix unless we went really fast.
KF: As you alluded to, the first four tracks on the album were recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York, prior to your involvement: "Tonight You Belong To Me," "Move On," "Ain't Quite Right," and "Wouldn't You Like To Know Me?" Paul has stated that the recordings in New York were designed to be demos and that they originally were going to be recut. Do you remember giving these tracks another go in Los Angeles?
No, I don't believe we did. "Ain't Quite Right," we might have given a shot. But from the start, I don't recall re-cutting any of those New York tracks. I wasn't around for the New York tracks, but what's interesting is those were the four songs I first heard. Obviously, as evidenced from my later production with artists like Georgia Satellites, I've got a real rock and roll edge to me. Those were the most rock and rolly of the songs; they were kind of blues rock. "Ain't Quite Right," I love that song. But I don't recall that we recut those tracks.
KF: So was there a decision made that the New York tracks were fine as is?
I think we recut bits and pieces on them. Basically, in my career I've never cut demos. I've cut songs that may have used part of a demo or something. I learned early on that it is hard to recapture stuff. Like "Keep Your Hands To Yourself" was part of a six-song Georgia Satellites demo. It was just a terrific cut that I did try to replicate because, in that case, two of the band members had left. It took three years to get the band signed and they wanted to recut it with the new band. But I never came close to topping the original demo, and that's the one on the album. It's hard to recreate something that you're excited about and when you first perform it. But I thought that those four Electric Lady songs sounded just terrific.
KF: So you were impressed by the material Paul had come up with?
Oh yeah, I really liked the songwriting.
KF: In listening to samples of those first four tracks, does anything stick out as being deficient?
You mean, would I like to go back and do them again?
KF: In other words, given that there were tracks cut in New York that were designed to be demos alongside tracks cut separately in L.A., is there a lack of cohesion?
I don't think so. There's a different vibe to them. But are we talking engineering or are we talking production? You know, a great song performed well could be recorded in any condition and it can sound great, regardless of the technical aspects. A poor song poorly played, no matter how technically well you recorded it, it will still sound like crap. You just won't go on listening to it. So, I think from my standpoint as producer the question is: Do you get off listening to the song or do you not get off listening to the song? And that's about it. You know, I just listened to "Ain't Quite Right" and it still sounds great!
KF: I should share with you that Paul's album is still highly regarded by fans even 35 years later. My question was coming more from an engineering perspective, as far as if there was anything glaring sonically.
You know, I'm not going to make that statement. Like I said, I try to look at the piece of work as a whole. I can look at every project I've ever worked on, and certain things were under duress. I've never had a project that was free from the limits and constraints of time and money so there's always compromises that are made and things that could be done differently. I think you can always look around and find things. But in my experience, I know it's highly regarded by fans and personally people have always said to me how much they enjoyed the record.
KF: Jeff, I feel obligated to ask this next question. There have been a few things I've read over the years about your involvement on this album. One quote from Paul Stanley I want to bring up was published in the authorized KISS autobiography, "Behind The Mask." Paul said: "When I started recording with a co-producer it wasn't what I hoped it to be and I went back to doing it myself." Jeff, you have the floor, how would you like to respond to that?
Okay, I want to say that there was a major misunderstanding going into this thing: Paul's idea of a producer and my idea of a producer. And this is something I'll share, I never worked in the studio as a studio engineer, I've never taken that role. For me as a producer, I've always been involved in determining the sonic landscape, the visual close-your-eyes aspects of how it was going to be done. I'm making this comment with all due respect to Paul. I believe what he really wanted was an engineer. What he needed was an engineer because he had very definite ways he wanted to do things. And that's not really the position I intended to be in. Paul said, "We're going to double-track every vocal." Well for me, when you double-track a vocal, your performance gets averaged out. He wanted to double things for effect and oversee how everything was going to be placed and everything was going to be done. So to be honest with you, Paul's really the producer of the record, regardless of what it says. I think his idea of producer was an organizational producer, what I might call an executive producer or a strong label person, not a creative person. And Paul had very definite ideas of what he wanted to do, how it was going to go. "This is going to go there. We're going to put this part on." I'm used to being more involved in the arrangement of the songs.
When I was very young, I spoke to Arif Mardin [Ed. Famed producer of numerous acts, including Aretha Franklin, the Bee Gees, and Phil Collins, who along with Tom Dowd and Jerry Wexler established the pop-soul style known as the Atlantic Sound in the late 1960's], who I was fortunate to meet because my manager was Jack Nelson, who was Queen's manager. Jack and Arif were friends. And I said, "What about songwriting?" He said, "Don't worry about taking a songwriting credit. You're going to get paid as a producer. And you'll find that if you assure your artist up front that you're not interested in taking a songwriting credit, they'll be very lenient in letting you get your ideas across." And so I'm used to co-writing a song, changing lyrics, moving melodies around, changing arrangements ... everything. For me, it was really odd to be in this situation, "I want this. I want more high-end on the guitar. I'm looking for this type of sound. We're going to double this track. We're going to do that." It was very much an engineering position. I don't know how Paul really looks at it. But to be honest with you, I've never been in the position where the artist, every single note that was played or sung, he said, "Let me hear it to approve it." I'm used to saying, "Okay, that was it. Let's move on." Do you know what I'm saying? It was a much different position. And I don't want this to come across negatively, because I just feel great about Paul's talents and abilities and what he does. But I was very young; I was only in my 20s. I come from playing in bands, writing songs and performing. So it was a very different situation for me. And going forward from that day, I never did another project without spending time in the studio with the artist before I accepted it.
KF: Well, to be honest Jeff, it's refreshing to hear your side of things. I don't know that the fans have heard your perspective.
I don't mean it in a negative sense, but it wasn't what I hoped it would be either. It was very much Paul as the producer, and he is quite capable in that role. He wanted to give the instructions, the direction. There was a point in time, I suppose, when the producer was the guy who had the money, hired the musical director, hired a songwriter, and this, that and the other, but this was not role that I assumed. After that, I was very leery of working with any artist who was successful before I worked with them. I loved working with Gary Moore in his formative days and taking him to platinum status. Same thing with the Georgia Satellites. The next time I worked with a really big band that had already made it was Electric Light Orchestra because I find that English artists, in general, are just great about, "Hey, your job is on that side of the glass and mine is out here to play." I worked with these guys and you never heard: "Let me hear that" before we moved on. If I said it was right, it was right. We'd line up to do millions of tracks of vocals and start at 8 in morning. Never once did they want to play something back until it was completed and we could review the creative aspects of the performance. I worked with Ritchie Blackmore, same thing. He might say, "Let me hear what I played." But if I said we needed to do it again or it wasn't really what I was looking for, I would never get that conflict. It was very different working with Paul. It really changed my approach. I think he made a good, accurate statement there. That's why he continued on his own. To be honest, he wanted to be the producer, he deserved to be the producer and he should have been. You know, I would have done loads of things differently, sonically and musically, had I had the opportunity, but this was Paul's album and his prerogative.
KF: That's all very interesting, Jeff. And I appreciate your honest thoughts.
Good. Because I'm very positive about the record. It was just different from what I anticipated. One of the records I did after that was with Gary Moore. He loved the first thing I said to him. He said, "What do you like? What's your approach toward recording?" I said, "Let's get the songs where we're happy with them. Once we're happy with the songs, I want to put you in a situation -- a room or wherever it is -- where you can perform at your best. I want to record this room. Paul's record was a much tighter approach, more recording parts to make up the whole. It's just a different approach. Mine's much more free-flowing. Mine is like, "Well, you didn't hit that tom-tom as hard in that place." "Well, that's because the drummer didn't hit it that hard. You don't even it out or work it over." I don't know how to explain technically what I'm trying to say any better than that. It's just a different concept all together.
So about the sonics of Paul's album, to me, the New York tracks sound better because they were done quickly in a demo fashion with the drums kind of loosely miked as opposed to all the care and attention that goes into, "Okay, we're in an expensive studio cutting the master, let's put a mic on everything and balance it out; we've got loads of tracks." To me, that's not the best decision-making process. Even when I record today in the day of 9 zillion tracks, I want to make the decisions upfront. We recently did a 40th anniversary reenactment of "Carry On My Wayward Son" for Kansas and I got a call from Sony. The guy was flipping out. He said, "I don't think these are the original tracks." I said, "Why?" He said, "Well, the drums are only on four tracks. They're premixed to four tracks." I said, "Yeah, Phil [Ehart] knew what he was going to play. I knew how it should sound. It's on four tracks, what's the problem?" So I think the demos, with all due respect, I think they're better. They just have a vibe, do you know what I mean? They're just, "Let's set up and play."
KF: That's the sentiment some of the musicians have expressed in describing the New York tracks. Bassist Steve Buslowe said there was a "vibe" that was missing from the L.A. tracks.
Yeah, the L.A. tracks were, "We're going to put it down then we're going to replace everything. Okay, we've got the drum tracks. Now we're going to put on the bass, now we're going to put on this guitar, that guitar and the other." It just didn't have the vibe, even the ones I worked on. We did some vocal work and some solo work on the New York tracks, but I just like them better [than the L.A. tracks]. They've got the vibe.
KF: In terms of the general process for the L.A. tracks, did the band play through the tracks and then specific instruments were replaced afterward?
Well, certainly reference guitar and bass and drums went down. But yeah, it was put back together. Paul was in the control room when we were cutting the drum tracks.
KF: So your preference would have been the band would have played the tracks down and captured a great take and, hopefully, the "vibe" of the song?
Well, my way of doing it, and I'm pretty consistent about this, I would have done it with a band playing and working out the arrangement and getting it all together. But typically I'm going to go into rehearsal and pre-production and everyone is going to kind of know where we're going. We'll sort out the arrangement and 19 different things. With ["Take Me Away (Together As One)"], Carmine came in and learned a drum track and put down the drum track with the bass and guitar. Carmine's great, I still have a relationship with him to this day. We still see each other at NAMM [Ed. National Association of Music Merchants -- mainly known for music related trade shows held in various locations]. But it's just a different approach that a lot of people have. You know, I've heard this argument where artists say to me, "I like the spontaneity of going into the studio." And I say, "I like the spontaneity of it too. But there's a big difference between getting down the hill without falling and doing some skiing. If you know how the skiing course runs, you're going to do some freestyle on the way down. If you understand the song and the arrangement instead of concentrating on how the song goes and where you're supposed to go to a chorus or verse, you're going to relax and you're going to do some playing. I like to go in having spent a good amount of time in rehearsal.
A great example of this is a record I cut with Saraya. I cut that record -- basically 80 percent of it, vocals included -- in a 10-day stretch at Bearsville where we would play most of the record before dinner. And then after dinner I would just pick the takes where they nailed it. In those 10 days, Sandi [Saraya] would sing it as it went down then we touched it up later. And the whole thing's got a tremendous vibe to it. So I prefer to be prepared and go in and get it. I think Paul, hearing the complexities of the music with Kansas, figured I was really used to doing this approach. But the odd thing is, and this is something that most people don't realize, the only Kansas track I ever cut to a click track was "Dust in the Wind" because there are no drums. Those songs were all played ensemble. The band played those songs; then we went back and added to it. So even with Kansas, the approach was still the same. So that's the real distinction.
KF: Staying with "Take Me Away (Together As One")," this song is considered to be the epic track on the album. It's got a lot of acoustic guitar, cinematic lyrics and dynamics galore. As a matter of fact, this tune has a strong Kansas vibe. Did you have any influence on the direction of this song?
That's the one I had the most input on because it was a big complex song. And I think that's the kind of song Paul was less familiar with.
KF: It was a departure for Paul at the time. He hadn't written a song like that, and I don't think he's written one like it since.
It was a departure. It was one of those songs that I liked. Of the songs I worked on, I was the most attached to it because I was very comfortable having a song that you could play on acoustic guitar or a piano that you expand into this bigger epic rock thing. That's always been my other stipulation, if you couldn't sit there and play the song on a guitar or a piano, and make it sound like a song, it really shouldn't be recorded. I was very comfortable in saying, "Okay, let's build this thing up and add various things to it." I think it came out well. I think that's the one where Paul was more open to suggestion because he wasn't used to working on a track like this.
KF: It's a wonderful track. The interesting thing about Carmine Appice is that legend has it that his timing was off for the fills at the end of the song and the drum track had to be edited. Do you recall this?
First of all, he was on the spot because he was just learning the song and playing it and trying to get through it. Timing's a funny thing because you get back into that whole click track [versus] we're doing it straight ahead [argument]. You're talking to me as a producer who is used to working across various time signatures with a band that really didn't even know that they were changing time signatures in the early days (laughs). I used to play with the guys in Kansas and we thought, "Well, that's great. Let's just drop a beat here." You have the song "Lonely Street" that had three bars of three and then one bar of two. It's (sings) 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2. We never thought about it. So I'm used to sliding across time but I'm also used to using tempo as a dynamic. I mean, Carmine was comfortable with it, too. I don't know if it was from his Vanilla Fudge days or whatever. But a lot of times people get caught up in the rigidity of that click track or being on time, do you know what I mean?
When you listen to epic pieces or classical music, tempo is one of the dynamics. You know: loud, soft; fast, slow. Things are constantly moving. In Kansas, "Song For America," the thing speeds up and slows down all over the place. You know, one can get really sterile with these things as well.
KF: For the rest of the L.A. tracks, there was a different rhythm section brought onboard. On bass was Eric Nelson and on drums was Craig Krampf. Do you recall why they were brought into the project?
These were all Paul's picks. Craig was great. I ended up keeping in touch with him after his move to Nashville. These guys were efficient. They were used to playing as hired help. But I want to go back to Carmine for a minute. One of the things I've also stayed away from in my career -- although I was early in my career back then -- I've stayed away from using studio musicians who had done lots of session work. Typically it's just the nature of the beast that people have a comfort zone. Anton Fig is a great drummer and a great friend of mine. He's very aware of this. When you approach a song and you have a huge repertoire of songs you've recorded, it's going to remind you of something you've previously recorded so you kind of tend to say, "I remember on this song, I did this." And you kind of fall into that routine. I always tried to look for unknowns that were taking their first real shot in the studio and work with them. A good example of how well this works is when I met Eric Singer, who plays in KISS. When I met Eric I was doing some pre-production work with Lita Ford. Although the label ended up dropping the project, I went on to work with Tony Iommi and I was so impressed with Eric that I said, "Eric, you've never been in a session? Come on; come work with Tony for me." He did Black Sabbath's albums for me. He went on to work with Gary Moore and tour with him. And he went on to join KISS.
I wasn't ever hampered working with Carmine. He was just the best. And I couldn't have been happier working with Craig. He was very proficient and professional. But Carmine was like a kid with the band recording his first song ... what enthusiasm! Craig was awesome. His timing was great. He was very comfortable. But he had a different kind of feel.
KF: Exactly. There are three different drummers on the album. I think if you listen closely, you can hear it. Switching gears to guitarists, Bob Kulick has been lauded by both fans and fellow musicians for his guitar work on the album. What are your thoughts on his guitar tracks in listening back to them with fresh ears?
Bob's a great guy. He's an A-plus guitar player. I don't care how many sessions he's been on, he was in his wheelhouse. He played some great stuff all the way around. He got the feel of the songs and the diversity. He's one of those all-star kind of players. I don't think he's known so much for being in any band but I thought he did an outstanding job all the way around. I've been fortunate to work with some absolutely killer guitar players and Bob is one of them.
KF: Paul has described his rhythm guitar philosophy as owing a lot to Pete Townshend. What were your impressions of Paul's ability as a rhythm guitarist?
I would say that his description is accurate. He's kind of a conceptualizer and a facilitator. I don't care who was producing the Who, I imagine Pete Townshend was doing a hell of a lot of that production. I think they may have given Glyn Johns a production credit but Glyn's an engineer, and a fantastic one. He came up as an engineer. There's a real distinction. As I said, I didn't come up that way. I came up from the band side, writing and playing. That was really the main thing about me working on the record. With all due respect, Paul was expecting and deserved to have a killer engineer who would take his instructions. Instead, he got somebody who wanted to put in his opinion.
KF: "Love In Chains" is one of the straight-ahead rockers on the album. A guitarist named Steve Lacey played on this tune. Do you recall why Steve was brought in?
That wasn't my call. But I like that track a lot. It's got that nice ascending riff. It's a good solid rock track.
KF: Paul has recounted an interesting tale about the final song, "Goodbye." Apparently, the musicians came to the studio one day and Paul said he didn't have a song so he told them to go out and grab a bite and come back. When they returned, Paul presented them with "Goodbye." Do you have any memories of this song coming together in this fashion?
I do remember Paul had some ideas and it was an unfinished track and that it kind of came together in the studio. He's dead accurate on his recollection. But it wasn't like he said, "I'm starting from air." He had thoughts in mind. He had bits and pieces but it wasn't yet a song. It was more of a concept of a song that needed arrangement.
KF: Given you said that you had a limited window for the project, would you recall how much time you spent in the studio with Paul?
I think we worked on it about a month. I had a project with EMI coming up -- I had Mother's Finest for Atlantic that ended up being delayed. At that moment, I had a lot of work that I was involved in.
KF: Jeff, what kind of interaction did you have with Paul regarding his lead vocals?
We did lots of vocals. But Paul said, "This is what I'm singing. We're doubling it." All of it was really his direction. I was recording the vocals.
KF: What are your thoughts about Paul Stanley's vocal performance on the album?
I think Paul accomplished what he wanted to accomplish with the vocals. Some of it has really stood the test of time well. He was comfortable with all the keys he wanted to sing in and he knew what he wanted to sing.
KF: Jeff, we've spoken about the difference in your definition of a producer compared to Paul's, but I feel I have to ask this question as well. I've heard that there was some tension between you and Paul during the sessions. Is that what you recall?
I don't know if tension is the right word. But yeah, there was definitely a conflict. Basically I wasn't prepared for it to be, "This is the way it is. Record it." I made a commitment and I wanted to fulfill my commitment. But as I said, I changed my whole interview process following that record. You know, Ritchie Blackmore was one of my heroes and I was hesitant to work with him. We had about six meetings and spent about four days in the studio and I told him I'd pay for it if we didn't continue just because I wanted to make sure that it was going to work. It worked beautifully but I've been very cautious. I've had at least three productions with Yngwie Malmsteen. I'm sure you've heard the rumors about Yngwie and how difficult he is. I don't find him so at all. I just think it is imperative to take the time to make sure there is a producer/artist match.
Paul knew exactly what he wanted and he was prepared for it. I was prepared to make a record where I had certain input. There was never, "Let's get together and you and I work over the songs. What do you think of these lyrics? What do you think about this for a melody line?" There was never, "Okay, but Paul, in that second verse, why don't you try going up to an A instead of down to the F#." It just didn't happen.
KF: In hearing your side of the story, I guess my natural question is: Why did Paul even bring someone in, in a production capacity, if he already had such a clear vision of what he wanted from a production standpoint?
Well, I think it was about the definition of producer. Because a lot of producers out there are engineers -- they are really fine engineers and they deliver. Not to sound immodest or anything, but in '76 and '77 the sound of Kansas was pretty strong on the airwaves. George Marino at Sterling Sound told me that he's had people for 30 years use "Carry On My Wayward Son" as a reference, "Man, this sounds amazing." Maybe Paul thought my position as a producer was to engineer those records. But I played with the guys in Kansas prior to those productions. Recently we were inducted into the state of Kansas Hall of Fame, which was really weird because you've got Amelia Earhart and Eisenhower and people like that in there. I was really humbled by the speech the guys gave and Kerry talking about how I was the real seventh member of the band and was integral to them. That's where I came from. I came from a position of having that kind of input. Was mine always considered and did I dominate the room? No. I've never been put in a position in any of my productions, except for this project with Paul, where we couldn't find a place where we were both happy. I think, in retrospect, had I been more experienced and understood more at the time, I would have just said, "Paul, you need an engineer." But I thought, "Well, it's just me adapting." I didn't have a lot of projects under my belt. You ask a very good question. In retrospect, I think Paul and I would say, "Hey, let's shake hands and be buddies." And I'd say, "I want you to have a great record but call up Paul Grupp or Keith Olsen, or one of the killer engineers of the time and let them do the record."
KF: Jeff, do you consider the "Paul Stanley" album a positive experience for you?
I'd say the result is a positive experience because whenever you can record something that does something for society that creates a positive social impact and pleases people, [then] yes it's a success. I would venture to say I do not think "Take Me Away" would have sounded like that had I not been involved. For me, there are two songs that are just classics on that record. One is "Take Me Away" and the other is "Ain't Quite Right." Those are my two favorite songs. I think they display the whole scope of the record. Yeah, it's positive. I was pleased to meet Paul. I have great respect for him personally and professionally. But I think we were both young and we both didn't have a ton of these situations under our belts. I think Paul's expectations were one thing and I my expectations were another. I think Carmine was outstanding and I'm very pleased to have worked with him and have maintained a lasting relationship with him. So yeah, it's positive.
KF: In September 1978, KISS caused a stir with the simultaneous release of the four solo albums. Of course, the project was accompanied by a huge marketing and promotion campaign. What do you recall the dialog to be in the industry about the solo albums?
It was a huge deal. I had just come off a record that out of the box sold 4 million copies. I cut "Dust In The Wind" in Nashville. At the time, the biggest-selling record in Nashville was gold, 500,000 copies. So we had the Attorney General of the State make us honorary members of the Tennessee State legislature. But the solo albums were a big deal. I had just come off that 4 million seller and I remember the buzz around L.A. was KISS, "What are they doing? There is no way this is going to sell. This is all overblown. They may ship a million but these are coming back." Everyone was talking about it. I recall Paul's album being well-received and I'm proud to have been part of it.
KF: From the L.A. sessions, the only track you are not credited on is the ballad, "Hold Me, Touch Me (Think Of Me When We're Apart)." That song was actually released as the single from the album.
Which I was totally surprised by. Because I thought we'd go with "Ain't Quite Right" or one of the rockers, even "Love In Chains." I was totally surprised that was the single. I think the world was expecting Paul to come out and show that he could rock.
KF: To be candid, that's probably the one blemish for a lot of fans who love the album. Some are not particularly fond of that track, let alone it being the single that represented the album.
That was the only other thing I remember at that time. "Why did he release that? He could have blown away 'New York Groove.' Paul really cut the rockin' album." It was like, "Why that?" But the buzz was huge on all the records.
KF: Have you run into Paul at all since working with him on this album?
Oddly enough, we've never crossed paths. The closest I came is Eric Singer called me when they were on tour and said, "Why don't you come to the show?" I couldn't make it to the show. At the time, I was working out of the country in the Caribbean. Eric and I were going to connect but we never got a chance to. Of course, I've followed his career and they've done great. Paul is a wonderful person, so don't get me wrong, I hold him in the highest regard. I think that he has his own vision of who he is, as he is entitled and should. It's funny because I always thought if Paul and I sat down, we'd go, "Well, that was a mismatch," and we'd have a little laugh about it. I'd go, "I expected this." And he'd go, "I expected that." But you do what you can do. More than anything, I think the best way to put it is we each had different expectations. There was no animosity, at least not on my part. I didn't feel like there was friction.
KF: An interesting aside is that KISS had just come off recording three studio albums, one with Bob Ezrin and two Eddie Kramer. As far as production style and philosophy, you'd be hard-pressed to find better polar opposites in terms of producers.
Yeah, Eddie's a straight engineer. At that time, Bob was coming into being a producer. But he has that same background. The guys in Kansas co-produced a record with Bob Ezrin [1988's "In The Spirit Of Things"]. So I have my own take about what that was like for them. But again, you're working with guys who were very open to input in the guys in Kansas. So maybe after that experience, Paul realized for his solo album that he knew exactly what he wanted.
KF: Jeff, I understand you are now affiliated with a learning institution in Pennsylvania. Can you inform us about this endeavor and what else you are up to these days?
Well, we're in the process of putting together a media arts college with a gentleman who was with Full Sail [University] and Phil Ehart of Kansas. We have been working on a different concept, kind of a next-generation [institution] that works with the new technology that's available. I've watched the world change and music is no longer an end result as much as it is a component to a multimedia experience. We're taking an approach that incorporates music as such but looks at the aggregation of multimedia content in this world and the delivery mechanisms, and the opportunity to develop the skills to create while also being able to have a sustainable career when you come out of this school. There are a lot of opportunities and it's kind of readjustment of thinking. It's not, "Let's go in and this is how you make a hit record." It's a real multimedia arts school that we're putting together. Now, the process of this is also a way to enable high-quality audio and video production to be available to artists now that the labels aren't funding it and there aren't big studios to do this. We've figured out a way to make this whole package work together to continue the art form.
In the meantime, I still continue to do some production. Phil and I were involved with a band that we didn't end up doing the production for, but we did some consulting with them -- a group called 21 Pilots that's just breaking out now. We're also consultants on a band in Trinidad. And Phil and I right now, we're working on a video book for Sony which is for the 40th anniversary for Kansas. It's a video book just as it sounds, deliverable online, that will have additional chapters as we go. We recently went down to the studio in New Orleans to do a reenactment of the mix of "Carry On My Wayward Son."
KF: As we've discussed, you've worked with some gifted artists in Kansas, Gary Moore, Black Sabbath, Styx, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Georgia Satellites. How about a great studio story to take us out?
I remember I was mixing a record for Yngwie and it was late at night and he goes in the back of the room and smokes a cigarette and has a glass of wine. This kid walks in and taps me on the shoulder and he says, "Hi, I'm Chris Impellitteri and you're going to want to work with me. I can play every one of his solos." And he points at Yngwie. Yngwie looks up with the cigarette dangling from his mouth and says (mimics Swedish accent), "Yes, but can you play any of your own?" (Laughs)
(KissFAQ thanks Jeff Glixman for his time and contribution to Back In The Solo Album Groove, our 35th anniversary retrospective dedicated to the 1978 KISS solo albums.)
About Jeff Glixman:
Jeff Glixman has produced and mixed albums for artists such as Kansas, Gary Moore, Yngwie Malmsteen, the Georgia Satellites, and Black Sabbath, among others. Combined sales for his projects have exceeded 30 million units. Glixman was a vocalist/keyboard player in White Clover, a band that evolved into Kansas. His first production was the 1975 Kansas album "Song For America." Glixman would go on to be a key creative contributor to Kansas, producing subsequent albums such as "Masque," "Leftoverture" and the quadruple-platinum "Point Of Know Return." Glixman helmed Kansas' classic chestnut "Dust In The Wind," which is one of the most played songs in rock radio history. His discography also includes Gary Moore, "Victims Of The Future"; Georgia Satellites, "Georgia Satellites"; Black Sabbath, "Seventh Star"; Yngwie Malmsteen, "Odyssey"; and Blackmore's Night, "Under A Violet Moon," among others. Glixman has also worked on projects for artists such as Allman Brothers, Eric Clapton, Ludacris, Marvin Gaye and Bob Marley & The Wailers. In addition to his production career, Glixman's love "of all things studio" led him to play an integral role in the development, operation and ownership of professional recording studios throughout the world, from Axis Sound Studios in Atlanta to Caribbean Sound Basin in Trinidad and Star City Recording in Bethlehem, Pa. In 2013 Glixman and Kansas were inducted into the Kansas Hall of Fame, an honor coinciding with the group's 40th anniversary. Glixman is the co-founder of Pennsylvania-based Producers Institute of Technology, "the new standard in next-generation media arts colleges."