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Baker's Dozen

The Demon Advocates: Gene Simmons' Favourite Albums
Valerie Siebert , March 3rd, 2015 12:53

The Kiss man picks a giants-of-rock top 13 albums for Val Siebert (and finally gives drum machines the talking to they deserve)


Def Leppard - Hysteria
Say what you will, nobody is trying to show off here, it's just solid songwriting. The great thing about almost every song on that record is that you can pick up an acoustic guitar and just play it and sing along. Joe [Elliott] singing the melody, he doesn't sing the highest and his voice doesn't rip up the most, it just sticks to the melody. It's great rock sensibility. The melodies aren't too bluesy, it's just a really solid record, and ten million other people must have thought so too because they bought it.

But the interesting thing for me about that record is how honest it sounds, yet how unlike rock bands it was recorded. We took Def Leppard out with us and they told us the story of how their producer Mutt Lange would get them in the studio and the record was totally fabrication, by that I mean they would put down the drum track, then the computers would move the drum track so it really felt in time. Then he would ask Phil or someone to play one note - so instead of chords they'd be doing one note at a time. Then the chords would come from different tracks so you could control it, one note at a time. That record took two years. I've never heard of anybody doing that before or since. You can argue that it makes it sound different or better, but then there are great punk bands that go and bang things out in a day. There are no rules! Led Zeppelin I was recorded in 18 hours. The Beatles' first two records were done in 24 hours. But you can't argue with Mutt Lange's success.