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Kiss Army Argentina Exclusive Interview with Ken Kelly: Im working directly with Universal Music on Destroyer Deluxe

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KISS Army Argentina: Ken, thanks a lot for granting us this interview. It is an honor for KISS Army Argentina. As you can imagine our interest is focused on the works you did with KISS, but it is impossible to leave aside your vast and long career as illustrator of fantastic scenes. You have been a student of none other than Frank Frazetta. Please tell us how this interest in illustration came about in you, and how was your experience like in Frazetta's school. Ken Kelly: Ive always been interested in art as long as I can remember. It became more serious as I became an adult. Frank Frazetta was part of my extended family and a working professional at that time so it was very normal for me to ask questions. KAA: In your long career you have done great illustrations of Conan and Tarzan, among other great works, but as we said before, we would like to focus in KISS. How did that first contact with KISS happen? KK: KISSs agency sent their representative to scout out new talent working in the field at the time and I was one of those artists. KAA: How did the initial idea for you to work in the legendary Destroyer cover come about? At the moment you joined the project, was the name of the album already defined? How did you start working on that cover? KK: The art director hired by KISS to create the cover knew what he wanted on the cover which turned out to be the KISS BROWN cover. Yes, they called it DESTROYER from the very beginning. KAA: As for your work with the cover of Destroyer, did you work on ideas different than the ones we know and that you never made public? KK: I still have extensive preliminary pencil drawings from that era which were done to familiarize myself with the subject of KISS. KAA: By now we can say that the final cover of Destroyer is almost as famous as the previous

-2sketches and as the original illustration that you presented to Casablanca Records that was rejected at that time. What can you tell us about that first cover that has never been used until now? KK: Casablanca records label rejected my first cover, the BROWN KISS, due to what they considered very close extensive violence directly behind the group members in that era. KAA: What is the size of that original Destroyer cover? What technique did you use? Do you still keep that original design? KK: I cant remember exactly but 25 inches by 40 inches sounds right. The painting was done in oil paint. The original was accidently destroyed. KAA: Did you ever imagine that the Destroyer cover would someday become one of the biggest KISS icons? KK: I am delighted to know that the entire world still enjoys the KISS covers I did all those years ago. Absolutely fantastic! KAA: How did that chance of working again with KISS for Love Gun occur? KK: I sincerely wish I knew how that decision was made but OOOHHH am I glad that it was! KAA: As for the process of the Love Gun cover we know less than about the Destroyer cover. What can you tell us about it? What was the process for Love Gun like? Do you keep the original of the Love Gun cover? KK: They asked me to do a rough oil comp painting and then we all discussed in what direction they wanted me to go in so I gave them another rough comp and they agreed with my second drawing. Gene Simmons owned the original oil painting and sold it at auction for $ 87,000.00. KAA: In relation to our previous question, there was a rumor that you had not finished the artwork of the Love Gun cover when Casablanca Records urged you to hand it in, as they wanted to release the album as soon as possible, and that therefore, you had to hand it in incomplete, is this really true? KK: This is correct, I had not finished Peters costume completely but it doesnt seem to matter much now. KAA: We know that for an artist his works are somehow like his "children". In this sense, and in relation to KISS, what would you say your favorite cover is and why? KK: That is a very difficult question to answer since each one has its own qualities; one week Ill swear Love Gun is my favorite, then Ill switch to BROWN KISS. Im still not sure but I do love all three. KAA: In the time when Destroyer and Love Gun were released, how much involved was KISS in the design for the cover? What about Bill Aucoin, who was sort of the 5th KISS, and responsible in a great extent of the image and ideas for the band? KK: It was always evident to me that their manager, Bill Aucoin, was in charge and made the final decisions, but Gene and Paul would give me suggestions that I always followed. KAA: After your contributions to Destroyer and Love Gun, two iconic covers, was there ever

-3another chance of working with the band again? KK: There are other projects associated with KISS that I have done; there was the KISS Nation cover for Marvel and the Norway KISS Army Tribute Album cover. KAA: It seems the future cannot be brighter. KISS is planning to re release a deluxe edition of Destroyer, and it seems they will use the cover that you had originally designed and that had been originally rejected. Is this correct? Are you currently working with KISS in this sense? KK: In a sense yes, although Im working directly with Universal Music, who in turn communicates with Paul and Gene regarding whats going on. KAA: It will be like going back in time: KISS working again in Destroyer, Bob Ezrin contributing again, plus your original cover. Sounds really exciting. KK: As exciting as it gets! Im flooded with email with all the talk! Very exciting! KAA: What are your current plans and what are your projects for the future? KK: I have a wonderful career and am currently working on a number of projects, Book Series, Calendars, Statues, Record album projects; too many to list here but please come visit my web site, www.kenkellyfantasyart.com. Thanks. KAA: Finally, could you please leave a message for KISS army Argentina? KK: I want to first thank you all for your interest in me and my association with the band and thank you again for your loyalty. May it continue for many more years! KAA: Ken, it has been a pleasure and a true honor for us to hold this interview with you. Thanks a lot! KK: Its been a pleasure for me also; Im delighted people so far away are still so nice and friendly. If I had an opportunity to travel I would very much like to visit you and your country. Thank you very much. Sincerely Ken Kelly

Interview: MARCELO GARCIA and DIEGO FERREYRA (Kiss Army Argentina) Translation: Mariana MIA Abello (Kiss Army Argentina) December 2011

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