For Unfinished Business multi-skilled, and former Kiss tribute band “Paul Stanley”, Benny Doro played an important role in several tracks. Benny shared some thoughts about his involvement on the album with the KissFAQ
Source: KissFAQ.com, unofficial & unsanctioned fan website
— Your professional history with KISS goes way back. Is it true that Eric Carr gave your band Unchained’s demo to Paul Stanley? Tell us a bit about the history of that band?
Yes, it was on A Crazy Nites tour in 1987 while they were in Vancouver. I had my bands demo on a cassette. We were a Van Halen influenced band at the time I was really into Eddie’s playing and also the VH vibe. Tim Steinrock was the bass player (has great new band “The Mighty One”). Jeff Worobec was on drums, and a rotation of singers. Then there was me and Ron Roxx, who was doing one of the first KISS fan mags called Firehouse. I was hiding outside The Four Seasons Hotel waiting for KISS to arrive after the show when we saw a tour bus go around the block and park in front of another hotel.
We quietly made our way over. We knew that Eric Carr always liked to go to the bar after the show and have a drink, and if we had any luck he would not break that habit. Sure enough we walked in the hotel and were immediately grabbed by the security. We then hear a voice, “hey you guys looking for me.” It was Eric, he told the guard to let us go and to come and join him. WOW!! Ron and I both had offerings / Ron’s magazine and my Demo, on a cassette. I think it was 4 songs “Feel the Fire,” “Heart attack,” “Summer Girls,” and “ShotGun” which we recorded with a friend of ours at the time Cecil English in Vancouver, BC, Canada. I gave Eric the cassette and it had the track listing and a note on it “To Paul and Gene, without you this tape would not have been possible,” along with my phone number at the time.
Eric thanked us and told me that he would get the tape to Paul and Gene, and also asked if I didn’t mind if he listened to it. (this is key as it figures into the story a little later) I said yes…
— KISS fan or just KISS aware?
KISS fan, actually more part of KISS culture growing up, not only did we go crazy for the band, the show and the music but early on I GOT the message that KISS was putting out. I was always an outcast in school and fit in nowhere. When I first connected with KISS around 11 years old, I no longer felt alone or that I was a freak. I started to realize at an early age that it was not me that was bizarre in the world, but mostly everyone else.
— I’ve got to ask: Any favorite Kiss album or song?
Well, I fell in love with Sonic Boom, the latest album, but really each album takes me somewhere else in my mind since a lot of them are like old sweaters (which is why Sonic Boom is so relevant, it’s new and it’s a real KISS record that KISS fans have fallen in love with like the classics)
Crazy Nites – Album just takes me back to a time and place when Rock and Roll was still rock and roll with a touch of glam. I love how Paul sings on that album and it was the first recording where KISS started to reference themselves. “Bang Bang you, I’ll shoot you down with my love gun baby”
Dynasty – The feel and production of it. I tend to listen to entire albums instead of mixes. I like the journey from beginning to end and also that particular feel once I am in it, I don’t want to get out of it. You can even feel the gaps between the songs and anticipate the next song coming in. Magic Touch was so underrated, Charisma is Gene all the way and 2000, man I should be sick of it, but I am just not.
Dressed To Kill – From the beginning to the end, the production is so clean. It’s like you’re in the room with them. Ladies in Waiting, the outro guitar lead is just haunting and cool at the same time. Anything for my Baby was just so a happy KISS song that reminds me of jumping on my bed when I was a teenager with it cranked. Of course, Rock and Roll All Night which now on the digital version you can hear the kick peddle squeaking on the intro which I love. Every time I am on the corner of 23rd and 8th Avenue in New York, I go stand by that same lamppost the cover shot was taken and from what I can tell it’s the same lamp post.
Asylum – King of the Mountain is just a stellar Paul Stanley track that intros with one of the signature Eric Carr intros that sets the tone for the album. There is nothing larger sounding than that intro and you can feel Eric Personality in it.
KISS KILLERS: “I’m a Ledged Tonight” sounds like a song that could have been on the first Paul Stanley solo album. This is also where we get the classic Paul Stanley voice back. Clean with that touch of rasp on it.
HITS; My band recorded in the same studio “The Fortress in Hollywood” right before they came in and recorded HITS. Our drummer at the time Jeff Worobec was playing the same electronic drums that Eric would use. I am on the hunt for those 24 track tapes as they were never released but I know they are in storage someplace.
LOVE GUN; from the opening track I stole your Love to the Title Track “LOVE GUN” it’s just classic song after song.. well maybe “When She Kissed Me” not so much but Ace Frehley’s debut on Shock Me we went crazy for back then. NOTE: I am the Original owner of the KISS LOVE GUN PAINTING I bought it from KISS at the Butterfields Auction in 2000 along with the “Unmasked” painting. Both were stolen out of my storage in Las Vegas and there is a federal investigation that has begun so stay tuned on more information on that.
I am sure I could write thought on each album but I’ll stop here…
— You were a member of Vancouver KISS tribute band, Black Diamond. Tell us how that came about and what was your favorite song to perform?
In 1989, Paul Stanley, through that demo take I gave Eric, became my manager and we continued to tour and record for years. Then Grunge came onto the scene and Paul and I had a talk about what to do because rock and roll as we knew it was dead. I had been thinking about it for some time and proposed the idea of putting together a KISS tribute. He said get on it and as long as I don’t feel like you’re standing on my shoulders we will give you our blessing….. We got it. The original members included Rick Lee, Claude Erfon and Kurt Frohlich. When we hit the road it was mayhem. There really were only a handful of tribute bands and word quickly spread that Black Diamond was a force to be reckoned with. We toured some 200-300 shows a year playing to real sweaty gritty rock and roll KISS fans. We were making real money which we put right back into the show. We took trucks and busses with us, had merch, lots of roadies and plenty of pretty much anything we wanted. We didn’t always get along, but I will tell you this, when we hit the stage that was all that mattered. Some of us played real sick, some injured and sometimes exhaustion was all we felt. We made that show everything it should be without a complaint or an excuse. Our favorite songs to play were I stole Your Love and Detroit Rock City
— Do you find it ironic that you went from being managed by Paul Stanley to performing as “Paul Stanley?!”
Well, not really, I always felt like he felt, if that makes any sense. There is a reason Paul liked the things we were doing, and I was locked into that to some extent. When it came to performing and when I saw him on stage, I could feel it in myself probably what he was feeling, so it became very natural at the time. We were real musicians as well, not to knock anyone who picked up an instrument to start a KISS tribute band, but there is just something different about someone who picks up the guitar for the sole reason to play in a KISS tribute and someone who was influenced by KISS to pick up a guitar because they found the love for that instrument and rock and roll.
— How did Kiss respond to the tribute band?
It was all positive; we were doing this for the right reason. Our hearts and our spirits were in this and we made sure that even our antics offstage were something that would make KISS proud. The way we would treat fans, even to dress our best and be as professional as we could all of the time. I remember playing in Texas around 1999 or so and there was another tribute band playing across town and we had a day off so we went to say hello. When we went to see their sound check, the Gene character had his boots off (they were in costume already) and was wearing flip flops, had a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other. I introduced myself to him and said “you guys must be big KISS fans to do this.” His reply “I hate KISS, I like southern rock I just do this for the money you know what I mean” I said, no I don’t and I was outta there.
— You’re on several tracks on the new Eric Carr CD, “Unfinished Business.” Tell us about recording “Carr Jam 1981” with ZO2’s Joey Cassata and what the track meant to you?
I had already done the full version of the song and sent it off for Joey to replace the drums (Joey and I played together in KISSNATION for a time) He sent it back saying this is not the right version; we need to do the one off of Revenge. Ok smart guy, I said, do the drums and send it to me. He did, and they were bang on, and I mean, was this ripped track from Revenge. I loaded it into Pro Tools and put down the rhythm tracks first, then the bass and in two passes I did the front end of the solo then the back end. I sent it back, they mixed it, and it sounds great. I feel honored to be a part of this track as it was always a favorite of mine on the first Frehley’s Comet album, and then on Revenge, so to hear my guitar work on it is pretty cool in my books.
— You also play keyboards on “Shandi,” which uses Eric’s 1980 audition vocal. Tell us about that song and how it feels to accompany Eric in this way?
I tell you it was more of a trip down memory lane that I got to write a new chapter in (many of us had the Eric Carr audition tape for years). I loved the rest of the music and just thought that it needed an Angelic feel to it. I kind of pictured Eric singing it in the room with me, while I played the keyboard. I also sang additional backgrounds on it and it’s always an honor to be adding to a voice of someone that you love and respect that is no longer with us. I hope everyone finds this track to be a special as I do.
— You also perform with Seether’s John Humphrey on a new version of “Eyes Of Love.” Tell us about this song?
I was in my studio one night and Loretta (Eric’s sister) had given me some dat tapes to listen to, and his acapella vocals for this song were on one tape. Out of nowhere (was not a conscious thought) loaded it into Protools and thought, was this done to a click and within a minute I had it synced up.
Now what, I gave one listen to the version that is on the first tribute album “Rockology” and picked up a Les Paul and proceeded to play the rhythm around it. It just worked. I layered several more tracks of guitar then laid down scratch drums and bass. I was like wow, Houston, we have a song here. I remember Loretta giving me a pair of Eric’s sticks, I put them up on the console set up a mike and began signing the answerbacks and some harmonies with Eric’s vocals. For the solo, all I could picture was Ace Frehley from the COTN promo tour and the I Love It Loud solo (which he did not play on but had the feel) so I went for it, one take, and that was it.
I was at Loretta’s for several meetings and I played the song and she was like, “sounds good.” I’m thinking, this is perfect for the CD but nothing from Loretta. Now we are close to finishing the project and I am leaving her place and I am in my truck (it has a coliseum sized sound system) She walks out and I roll down the window and crank this song. She runs over, “what is that….that has to be on the CD” I bang my head on the steering wheel and replied “what took you so long.” She had the idea to get John from Seether to play the drums and he really added the finishing touch. What a perfect drum track! That was the icing on the cake (Don’t think I didn’t catch the Heavens on Fire drum part from the chorus).
— Sum up what Eric Carr in Kiss meant to you?
From the minute we were introduced to Eric Carr, it was like a breath of fresh air and I actually loved it when KISS made the appearance on Kids Are People Too TV show on Saturday morning. (You can hear Eric asking under his breath to Gene “how old are these kids”.) When we got to hear him play on COTN it was apparent that KISS could do and play anything now. I think that if it weren’t for Eric being in the band, KISS would have never made it through the 80s/90s era. All due respect to Peter Criss, he is just a different style. Eric really put the fire back into the band and he was up there with John Bonham in terms of power and sound. Eric was also fun in the media and lent a bit of lightness to the personality of the band.
— How did knowing, interacting with or simply experiencing Eric Carr affect you; be it a favorite story about him, a happy memory, or simply a word that you associate with him!
If you take a look back at my comment on how I got the tape to Eric, it really shows who he was. Two young kids barging into the hotel, being grabbed by the security, only to have him invite us in and buy us a soda. He talked with us for a good 20 min or so, and really talked to us, was not the usual blow off, so you guys are KISS fans stuff. He asked us about the stage, what we did or didn’t like about it. He also asked if we dug the new electronic drums for his solo. This was no Paris Hilton, me me me, he really was happy to share that time with us.
He has influenced generation of drummers and has left us with music that will never die. When he promised me, a kid who he had no idea who I was or would ever see again that he would give the tape to Paul and Gene, he kept his word and that says a lot about what a special man Eric really was. The very next day Paul Stanley called me.
Source: KissFAQ.com, unofficial & unsanctioned fan websitePre-order “Unfinished Business” : EricCarr.com, official website