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Kiss Army Argentina interview with Adam Mitchell:

"Paul Stanley, Eric Carr and Bruce Kulick told me that I should be teaching songwriting"

Adam Mitchell and Kiss Army Argentina.

Kiss Army Argentina: Adam, How did you decide to start your new web site about teaching songwriting and why? Adam Mitchell: I started this website because a lot of people like Paul and Bruce Kulick and Eric Carr and so on had always told me that I should be teaching songwriting. I've had a lot of my songs cut by artists in every genre of musicheavy rock, pop, punk and even country. So, I started asking myself why. Most successful writers usually right in one style of music and that's it. What I realized is-and this is the difficult thing for young writers writing in heavy rock to grasp-it's not about the guitar part. Sure, guitar licks are important but the reason that "Enter Sandman" is a masterpiece isn't just about the guitar part. Yes, it's a phenomenal guitar part. But it's a brilliant IDEA. As it turns out, songs are about ideas first and then the music supports those ideas in an emotionally appropriate way. So how do you get ideas and how do you develop ideas, those are the things that I like to talk about. Kiss Army Argentina: Do you also teach about guitar technique in the web site? Adam Mitchell: Yes, I also talk about guitar technique and so on but songs are ideas first. Kiss Army Argentina: What can you say about the song, incluiding the ones you write? How can we write a good song? Adam Mitchell: Even although most song titles are in the present tense, most songs are not in the present tense. Most songs are journeys from the past to the present, from the present to the future and from the past, through the present, to the future. Most rock songs, however, are mostly in the present tense. Like "Crazy, Crazy Nights." So, how do you write a rock song in the present tense where you don't have the dynamic of change through time. We can talk about that. How to write a dynamic rock song Kiss Army Argentina: Adam, going back in time, how and when did you meet a KISS member/former member for the first time? And how did the songwriting process for KISS start? Adam Mitchell: I had known KISS producer Michael James Jackson for five or six years before I actually met any of the guys in the band. I didn't meet them until roundabout 1981. Michael had said they would like to do some writing with me so Gene came over to my house and we wrote two songs. They weren't really KISS style songs at all. More experimental, really. One was called "Chrome Goes into Motion." I can't remember what the other one was called. But, in any case, they both turned out pretty well. Gene seemed to like them so Paul came over and started writing with me a few days after that. The first record we wrote

for was Kiss Killers. "Partners in Crime" and "I'm a Legend Tonight" were the two songs we wrote for that record. Sometime around then I also met Eric Carr but that was a couple of years before Bruce was in the band. Gene and I actually wrote a lot of songs together but they were usually for other bands like "Black and Blue," which Tommy Thayer was in, or like "EZO," a great Japanese band we worked with, and other groups like that. I was also writing a lot on my own at the time for other bands like "King Cobra", Bob Kulick's band, "Skull" and others. Kiss Army Argentina: What can you tell us about the meeting between Vinnie Vincent and KISS that you arranged so many years ago? Adam Mitchell: I had met Vinnie through another band I knew called Sue Saad and the Next - a New Wave band and not my style of music at all. But Vinnie and I got together and wrote what turned out to be a big hit song for John Waite, called "Tears." I knew Vinnie was a pretty good guitar player and Kiss had used a number of different guitar players on the "Creatures of the Night" record, including Steve Farris, Bob Kulick and even me, briefly, on "Creatures" itself. They were now looking for someone permanent. Gene and I were writing at my house one day and Vinnie stopped by and I introduced them. That's how it happened. How it turned out after that, well that's another story! Kiss Army Argentina: Regarding KISS, you have written songs with Paul Stanley, Bruce Kulick and Eric Carr. Whom did you feel most comfortable with at the time of writing songs for KISS? Why? Adam Mitchell: Well, I wrote with Paul mostly for KISS records. I wrote with Gene for other bands and Bruce and Eric for Eric's Rockheads project, plus "Little Ceasar" on the KISS "Hot In the Shade" record. They were all fun to write with because they're all basically great guys. We did laugh a lot. If you go on my websites, or I'm going to have a lot of stories on there about KISS, Eric Carr, Mick Jagger, Johnny Cash, Sylvester Stallone and a thousand other crazy things that only seem to happen in the music business. In fact, to answer your next question I'll tell you a quick one about Jimi Hendrix. Kiss Army Argentina: The list of your works and collaborations is really long and impressive: besides KISS (obviously our main interest here), you have worked with none other than, among others, Jimmi Hendrix and Mick Jagger; like you mentioned before, you have written songs that perfectly fit different styles. Please tell us about some of these different experiences. Adam Mtchell: Okay, so here's a quick one about Jimi. When I was in the my band, the Paupers, the band was managed by Albert Grossman, who was also Bob Dylan's manager at the time. Since the moment wed opened up for Jefferson Airplane at the Caf a Go Go, the Paupers had quickly developed a reputation as

one of the hot, up-and-coming new bands. That, and Alberts considerable clout, earned us a spot at the Monterey Pop Festival, in June of 1967. Monterey was the first real pop festival, the highlight of the Summer of Love, and in many ways, the zenith of the Sixties, musically, culturally and otherwise. Consequently, there was tremendous anticipation to hear the big stars who were going to be playing there. And none was more eagerly anticipated than Jimi Hendrix. His debut album, Are You Experienced had only been released the month before and already was storming to the top of the charts. It was a true masterpiece in an age that took masterpieces for granted and exuded all the power and command of the instrument that made him the legend he came to be. I was as anxious as anyone to see him and on Sunday night, June 18, right before he went on to deliver the powerhouse performance that would go down in history, he approached me as I stood at the edge of the stage. To my surprise, I realized he was very nervous. He stopped right in front of me and asked me in a very quiet voice Do I look okay? He was wearing what the whole world now recognizes as that classic Hendrix outfit: the orange, ruffled shirt, the black and gold, braided vest, the red velvet pants. He was about to play music no one had ever heard before, light his guitar on fire, set a new standard in music performance and, forty five years later, his set that night would still be the stuff of legend. I said, "Yeah, you look fine, Jimi". Then he went on and blew away the world. Right now, there's another great KISS story on about how we used to go bowling with KISS. I'll change those stories every few weeks. Or, anyone who joins my with Adam Mitchell will have access to a whole lot more stories. They're all pretty funny! Those who join will also have access to all my teaching, plus I will critique two of their own songs also. Anyone who wants to learn how to write a great rock song, come on and join!


Interview by: Marcelo Garca and Diego Ferreyra (July 2013)