INTERVIEW – Russ Stedman Opens Up About KISS

Music From The Stedman

Music From The Stedman


THIS WILL BE A GOOD OPPORTUNITY FOR ME TO ASK YOU ABOUT YOUR ALL-KISS COVER ALBUM, “MUSIC FROM THE STEDMAN.” IS IT AN OFFICIAL RELEASE? WHEN DID IT COME OUT? YOU REALLY COVERED A LOT OF GROUND WITH THAT CD, TONS OF SONGS FROM EVERY ERA.
No, it’s not an official release. I pretty much made it to show off to you. There were three copies made. One to you, one to Mike Myers, who played drums on a lot of the songs, and one to my good buddy Evan Peta. Maybe I should upload it to archive.org, but I would never consider it an official release. There are recordings on it spanning 1986-2006. My favorite is the Reggae version of “Naked City” from UNMASKED.

I LIKE THE SONGS FROM “THE ELDER,” THOSE ARE HILARIOUS. YOU NAILED THE GUITAR TONE! WHEN DID YOU BECOME A KISS FAN?
1976. I was 7. A kid down the street had a ton of KISS stuff and got me hooked.

HOW BIG OF A FAN WERE YOU?
At times, I topped out at over 300 pounds. But seriously, they are the band that got me into music and made me want to play guitar and without them my life probably would have been completely different. They were eventually replaced at my top spot by Frank Zappa, but If people ask me what my favorite bands ever are, I say 1. Zappa, 2. Kiss, 3. Devo.

CONVERSELY, DID YOU EVER STOP LIKING THEM, AND HOW BIG OF A FAN ARE YOU NOW?
When they crashed and burned on that slide from ’79 to ’81 which was DYNASTY, UNMASKED, and THE ELDER, I remember telling my Mom one day “I don’t like them so much anymore” and for some reason she said “Oh, you do too!”. Then CREATURES OF THE NIGHT came out and I got to see them live for the first time, and I snapped out of it. I actually like UNMASKED and THE ELDER now. DYNASTY I can take or leave. KISS died for me the day Tommy Thayer put on Ace’s makeup and costume. I consider the current incarnation of the band to be an insult to my decades of devotion. Nowadays, I just wish they would go away.

HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU SEEN THEM IN CONCERT? DO YOU RECALL THE TOURS, AND WHO WERE THE OPENING ACTS?

1. February 19, 1983 – Sioux Falls, SD – Creatures Of The Night Tour – Opener : The Plasmatics
2. March 19, 1988 – Rapid City, SD – Crazy Nights Tour – Opener : Anthrax
3. May 11, 1990 – Sioux Falls, SD – Hot In The Shade Tour – Openers : Slaughter and Faster Pussycat
4. December 4, 1992 – Sioux Falls, SD – Revenge Tour – Openers : Trixter & Kix
5. July 13, 1996 – St. Paul, MN – Alive Worldwide Reunion Tour – Opener : The Melvins
6. April 18, 1997 – Sioux Falls, SD – Alive Worldwide Reunion Tour – Opener : Some completely forgettable band that no one ever heard from again.
7. December 16, 1998 – Omaha, NE – Psycho Circus 3-D Tour – Opener : I have completely forgotten.

LUCKILY, I HAVE THE BOOK “KISS ALIVE FOREVER” WHICH LISTS EVERY SHOW THEY PLAYED BEFORE 2003. THE OPENER WAS…. ECONOLINE CRUSH!

8. August 29, 2000 – Omaha, NE – “Farewell” Tour (yes folks, that was over ten years ago) – Openers : Skid Row and Ted Nugent
Once Peter and then Ace left again, I decided I didn’t need to see them anymore.
The fact that they are still touring over ten years later, and with other guys wearing the original makeup, is astounding and embarrassing. I wish they would stop before somebody breaks a hip or Paul’s heart explodes live on stage.

DO YOU FOLLOW ANY KISS MESSAGEBOARDS?
No. When I got my first computer in 1997, I used to read rec.music.artists.kiss on usenet every day, but after a few years, nothing new was going on and I lost interest.

FAVORITE KISS LINEUP?
The original, of course. Although it would be cool to hear what the classic 74-77 albums would have sounded like with Eric Carr drumming.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE KISS ALBUM?
Probably ROCK AND ROLL OVER, the first one I ever bought. I bought it in 1976 when it came out. I was 7 years old. If you leave off “Hard Luck Woman” it rocks ass all the way through. Top 5 in no particular order would be ROCK AND ROLL OVER, DRESSED TO KILL, ACE’S SOLO ALBUM, THE ELDER, CREATURES OF THE NIGHT. You didn’t ask me my LEAST favorite. HOT IN THE SHADE is fucking horrible. Bottom 5 in no particular order would be HOT IN THE SHADE, PETER’S SOLO ALBUM, ASYLUM, CRAZY NIGHTS, PSYCHO CIRCUS.

WHICH LINEUP PLAYS THE BEST VERSION OF YOUR FAVORITE KISS SONG?
I LOVE the MTV concert from Amimalized tour! They over-compensate for having no make-up and costumes by playing everything REALLY FAST and running around like a bunch of gorillas on crank. It’s great!

DO YOU PREFER THE WICKED LESTER SONG “TOO MANY MONDAYS” WITH GENE SINGING, OR PAUL?
Gene. I love his “Soft Beatle Voice”, as also displayed on his ’78 solo album.

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