By KISS ASYLUM
1) Tell us a little about yourself and how you got involved with KISS.
I'm from Southern New Jersey and lived there until I was about 20 years old. At that point I decided to venture out into the world with a couple of friends, so we moved to Hollywood, California in 1988. I wanted to get into the production world - movies - commercials - music videos. I had always loved music videos and had even dreamed up and written concepts for some of my favorite songs when I was growing up. When I first got to California I started working on a few different things as a production assistant. I worked on a couple of independent films, two commercials for Coca-Cola and about three music videos with various companies.
I was working at the Guitar Center in Hollywood when I first met Eric Carr. He would come into the store everytime he was in town doing a KISS video or rehearsing. We would talk for a while every time he came in and we became friends after a while. He knew that I was working here and there on different productions and I told him how hard it was to get "in" with the right production company. One day I ran into Eric some place and he told me that KISS was doing a new video and that I should come down to the set and he would talk to the director to see if I could work on the video. Well, I showed up and good to his word Eric told the director, "This is my friend, Jack, give him a job," - the director said ok. That director turned out to be Mark Rezyka, the guy that directed videos for Quiet Riot, Cinderella, Night Ranger, Ted Nugent, Survivor and about three hundred more over his career. These were videos that I was a big fan of so I knew who he was and that made it an especially great opportunity for me, all thanks to Eric. I ended up working for that director a lot over the years, and later on I even started to produce some of the productions. So basically Eric Carr set me up with my first real break in the production industry, which set me on the road to eventually working with KISS on a lot of different projects.
2) Were you a KISS fan before you got involved with the band?
YES! I was a huge KISS fan. The first time I heard of KISS was at my uncle's house. He had the KISS album "Alive!" As soon as I saw the cover and the booklet inside I was hooked. I listened to that record all day and night, and when it was time to leave I didn't want to give it back. He didn't even have a chance to listen to it much while I was there because I was using headphones. Anyway, everyone started to give me KISS albums for birthdays and Christmas. The first KISS album I ever purchased on my own was the Paul Stanley solo album. It cost about $8.00 and I thought that was big money back then since the magazines I used to buy with pictures of KISS in them were only $.75 cents. My friends and I would put on KISS make-up and have shows in the basement for all our friends. The guy that played Gene didn't want to breath fire. I usually played Paul or Ace and I didn't want to do it either, so my friend Keith, who played Peter, did the fire breathing from the drums! Those were great times. I can remember walking around this town called Millville, New Jersey with three or four of us dressed up like KISS. Everyone would just look at us; we loved it. One day a lady was so struck by us as she was driving her car that she drove off the road and hit a light post! She wasn't going very fast so no one got hurt, but she started yelling at us saying it was our fault! When the police showed up she told him that we should be arrested for making a spectacle of ourselves. The officer didn't buy her story so we were on our way. I even went to school dressed like Ace Frehley for dress up day - twice!
3) You were one of the Documentary Directors for the KISS Konfidential video. Can you share some behind the scenes stories about its making with the fans?
I got involved when Gene got a hold of me asking if I wanted to help them put a video together. He remembered that I was the guy who picked all of the vintage footage for the "God Gave Rock & Roll To You II" video and liked what I did. Of course I said, "Yes!" even before I knew if there was a paycheck in it for me or not. So they flew me out to Chicago to catch up with the tour and start video taping behind the scenes footage for the wrap arounds to the concert we would shoot later. Tim Rozner was also a documentary director and he was shooting behind the scenes stuff as well. That was a very interesting project for me because in a lot of ways I was responsible for all of the post production producing and got to be creative sitting with the editor Chris Osterhus, who is just an amazing editor. Originally after we did the show in Michigan I flew back to LA, they sent me all the footage, and then I started working with the first editor who just couldn't get the right feel for a KISS concert video. By this time KISS was back in LA as well and we started to go over some of the edited footage and they wanted to try another editor. Gene pulls this name out of his hat, Chris Osterhus, and said to me, "Find him." I did, and a week later we were back to editing and it was coming along fine. We had meetings about the video and I think Paul said that it would be cool to have each individual song be edited like a music video - that was the same thing I had in mind as well and so did Chris. So we cut every clip like that. It took much longer to do it that way, but it was worth it. When we were finished I proposed an idea to take just the concert clips and give them a film look. Gene and Paul said to do a test and it turned out like crap. So then I had the idea to transfer the video to actual film and then transfer it back to video for the release. Gene and Paul were cool and said to try that and we did and it worked and it looks like a concert film (I'm glad that idea worked out).
4) What's your favorite KISS home video? Can you give your opinions on other KISS home videos?
My favorite is the first one, "KISS Exposed." I think it's the most creative to date and done really well.... and it was shot on film. It just has great production value, and since it was the first and I think that KISS was a little more playful with the whole rock star image thing and that was cool.
"Animalize Live Uncensored!" is my favorite concert video. It think it really captures KISS' energy and performance and, of course, Eric Carr kicks ass too!
"Crazy Nights" was all videos so not much to comment on except that the video are all cool.
"Extreme Closeup" was interesting. I just wish they would have included FULL versions of the music videos they have on there. I actually worked on that video as well. By the time we finished up the "God Gave Rock & Roll To You II" video I had researched through a lot of the KISS vintage footage and had a couple of pages of notes on it. I went over all of it with a guy from The KISS Company in detail and a lot of stuff that I pointed out ended up on the video, which was kind of cool. I didn't get a credit, but they gave the owner of the production company I worked for two credits on that video.
I like "Konfidential" because it is a concert, real-life kind of thing. That video always plays well on my TV.
"KISS My Ass" is interesting. I was working on that with Gene in the beginning stages and I went to Nashville with the band to video tape Garth Brook and KISS in the recording studio doing "Hard Luck Woman." What an incredible day that was! The "KISS My Ass" video was a good idea and they showed a lot of the stuff that I was interested in. I shot a lot of the footage that was used in the make shift music video for Anthrax's "She." I also worked with Gene at a post production facility for a couple of days going through footage and transferring pictures. I didn't receive a credit on that video either, but I did work on it. During the editing process of that video I was working on a bunch of other music videos for other artists, and unfortunately when Gene called and asked me to sit with the editor and help put the video together I just couldn't change my schedule. I wish I could have...... so I would have received my credit! LOL!
"The Second Coming." I actually haven't seen this video yet. I keep meaning to buy it and watch it, but I just haven't had the time. I hear that it has a lot of cool footage and I'm sure Tommy did a great job with it. It's on my list of movies and videos to see.
5) People often ask how the KISS fans in the "Rise To It" video were selected. You were involved with that video, as well as the "Forever" video, and perhaps you could answer that question and share some other interesting stories about those two video shoots with the fans.
"Rise to It" was a lot of fun and it was actually the first KISS video that I worked on. The way the fans were involved was a simple phone call to KNAC radio. We told them to put out the word that the first 200 KISS fans that showed up at SIR studios would get to be a part of the making of a KISS video. The production company had about 200 people there already, but it just didn't fill the room. That day was also very cool because I got to sit next to Gene and Paul as they put on KISS makeup for the first time in years. They were so larger than life - I couldn't believe I was there.
The "Forever" video was an awesome shoot. I sat behind Eric's drums while Paul and Gene were doing close-ups so they would have some one to look over at. At one point in the evening Gene was showing me how to play bass to the song. In between set ups, Paul and Bruce would start to play Beatles songs and at one point the whole crew started singing with Paul - that was a very cool video shoot.
6) Eric Carr's last video with KISS was "God Gave Rock & Roll To You II." What was it like working with Eric during that time?
Eric was all power that night. When we were in pre-production on the video some one, I can't remember who, said to have an oxygen tank there for Eric. So we got one and had it on the set. When Eric showed up he found me and told me he was happy for me that I was promoted to production manager. Then the director came over and told Eric that he had oxygen there if he needed it. Eric was very put off by that and said he didn't need it and he was fine. And for the record, Eric didn't need it and didn't use it. The shoot was a very long 15 hours. I took lots of pictures of Eric goofing around and working hard. At the end of the shoot, Eric gave me two drum sticks and signed them. I still have them and they are very special to me. It is still one of my favorite videos of all time. Also, Eric didn't want the fake cymbals or fake drum heads -- he wanted the real thing, so that is what he used. I also remember Bruce having a lot of fun on that video.
7) You knew Eric for many years and he helped you get your first breaks in the video business. What are some of your favorite memories and stories about Eric?
Eric was the kind of guy that was very real. I only knew Eric for about three years, but when I was hanging out with him it seemed like he was a friend from school or something. Everyone I met that knew Eric says the same thing -- he was just a great guy. Eric wanted to do things in a big way. I remember talking to him about his drum instructional video - Eric had asked if I wanted to help him produce it, and we were talking about it intensely. We came up with some ideas that hadn't been done yet for a video such as using micro-cameras and stuff like that. Eric told me that after he got better we would make the video, but unfortunately due to Eric's illness we didn't get to make it. It would have been a great video. Eric fought so hard to beat the cancer, but it just seemed like it hit him from every angle. As soon as he was getting better it would hit him again. He is definitely missed by me.
8) You are in charge of the Eric Carr Official Video-Biography "Tale of the Fox." How did the idea for this video come about and what materials are going to be included; what will it cover?
The idea for the tribute actually came about when I was working on the Konfidential video. I asked Gene if we should do something like that and put it in a segment for Eric. Gene said that would be best left up to Eric's family to do something like that so I sat on the idea for a while. When I met Eric's parents at the Ace Frehley/Eric Carr Rock Walk Induction in 1995 I told them who I was and what Eric did for me and that I wanted to do a tribute video somewhere down the line. They said great, gave me their number and said to call when I was ready. Well a few years have gone by, and once I secured the financing and production facilities I called them and they put me in touch with Eric's sister, Loretta. She told me that she would work with me to come to an arrangement to do the video. Well we have, and the video is going to be a reality very soon! I have already started working on different parts of it and will feature interviews with a lot of different rock and roll drummers and other rock stars. We have footage of Eric from 1975 to pictures of him all through his life.
Bruce Kulick is coming aboard as an associate producer, as is Eric's sister Loretta Caravello. Carrie Stevens is going to be involved with this video, and they are all bringing in personal materials for the making of the video. This will be a very special video for all Eric fans. Another producer of the video is Nick Fa-Kouri (long time road manager for bands like Kansas and Paul Rogers), who is lending his stories and thoughts to the project. The video will cover Eric's life from childhood on up through the KISS years, and we are concentrating on the positive and creative aspects of Eric's life. We hope to achieve some closure for Eric fans, as well as enlighten them on just who Eric Carr really was -- he was amazing!
9) Knowing Eric's dedication to his fans, what has been done to allow KISS fans the opportunity to be a part of this tribute?
Eric definitely loved his fans. We've all heard the stories of Eric bringing someone in from the cold or getting someone something to eat or drink. Eric was a big fan of his fans. He would sign autographs until his arm hurt. This wouldn't be a proper Eric Carr tribute without input from his fans. We are going to have segments all through the video from the fans, and here's what you can do to be a part of it:
If you are a fan of Eric Carr and want to be a part of the video, send us a picture of yourself with Eric. If you don't have a picture of yourself with Eric, send us a picture that you have taken or drawn of Eric and write down the story behind that. For the diehard Eric fans: get together with your Eric fan friends and turn on your video camera - just hit "record" and let us know how you feel about Eric Carr. Have a party with it, the more amazing the better! Just remember not to have any mu