Gene Simmons Defends the Rolling Stones’ ‘Their Satanic Majesties Request’
The Rolling Stones' 1967 album 'Their Satanic Majesties Request' is often derided as a weak attempt to explore psychedelic music in the wake of the Beatles' 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.' But in a new interview, the drug-infused record received a defense from an unlikely source, the famously drug-free Gene Simmons.
Picking his 13 favorite albums for the Quietus, the Kiss bassist says he likes it because it got the Stones to go "outside of their comfort zone. That's what I find interesting [...] it has production value and songwriting that isn't found on any other Stones records. '2000 Light Years From Home,' '2000 Man'; I mean, we covered '2000 Man.'"
Some of Simmons' choices are obvious. He picks albums by bands that started at the same time as Kiss (AC/DC and Montrose), his biggest influences (Beatles, Jimi Hendrix) and groups that followed in his wake (Guns N' Roses, Def Leppard). He also surprises us by listing 90s efforts from Beck and Foo Fighters. But it's his take on 'Satanic Majesties' that caught our eye; he likes it because its weirdness shows that there was more to them than simply borrowing from the blues. (It's also one more way to explain 'Music from the Elder.')
"With the Stones' music, the strings and backwards stuff, there is some very, very good material on that record," he continues. "They happen not to like the record. I think it's a unique record that shows that the Stones have some depth. There is some bad, out-of-key background singing because they were never the best singers, they didn't have harmonies like the Beatles. The thing about it is that they were blues-based and they veered away from it on that record and went into almost Celtic and classical areas. It was a pastiche, a multi-coloured quilt! You can look at a band like a coin and say, 'I see everything, I don't need to see anything more', but there is that other side. That other side is what I think is more interesting. The depth."
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