KISS Related

Mitch Weissman (2013)
Background vocalist/original "Beatlemania" cast member recalls his contributions to Gene Simmons' 1978 solo album and his work with Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons on albums such as "Animalize" and "Crazy Nights," plus a potpourri of KISS stories and tangents.

David Snowden (2013)
Longtime KISS fan and former head of the Vinnie Vincent Invasion fan club talks "All Systems Go" and various KISS-related topics

John Storyk (2013)
Renowned studio designer recalls his work on Ace Frehley's Ace in the Hole Studios in Wilton, CT

Mark Opitz (2013)
Producer details his work on "KISS Symphony: Alive IV"

Bruce Foster (2012)
Grammy-nominated musician discusses working with KISS and playing piano on "Nothin' To Lose"

David Wolfert (2012)
Grammy- and Emmy-nominated producer recalls working with Peter Criss on his first post-KISS solo album, 1980's "Out Of Control"

Bob Ezrin (2012)
Legendary producer details "Destroyer: Resurrected" and the making of the album

Lydia Criss (2012)
Author discusses the second printing of "Sealed With A KISS" and various Peter Criss- and KISS-related topics

Ron Nevison (2012)
A celebration of the 25th anniversary of "Crazy Nights" featuring an in-depth discussion with renowned producer/engineer

Jean Beauvoir (2010)
Songwriter/recording artist recalls collaborations with KISS on "Animalize," "Asylum" and more

Kenny Kerner (2010)
Recalling KISS' early days with the co-producer of "KISS" and "Hotter Than Hell"

Eric Singer (2010)
Exclusive interview with KISS' current drummer regarding a variety of topics

Ace Frehley (2009)
KISS' original Spaceman details his first studio album in 20 years, "Anomaly"

Bruce Kulick (2009)
Non-makeup-era axeman discusses KISS tenure and latest album, "BK3"

Mike Japp (2005)
A discussion with KISS collaborator on the "Killers" and "Creatures Of The Night" albums

Dick Wagner (2004)
KISS' favorite "ghost" guitarist discusses his guitar playing on "Destroyer" and "Revenge"

Jesse Damon (2003)
Former member of Silent Rage on his collaborations with Gene Simmons

Stan Penridge (2000)
Peter Criss' right-hand man talks Chelsea, Lips and working with the Catman

Bruce Kulick (1999)
Guitarist talks Union project with John Corabi, Eric Carr and ESP

Sean Delaney (1998)
A brief encounter with the "fifth" member of KISS

Bob Ezrin (1998)
Former KOL webmaster Michael Brandvold grills the legendary producer regarding his work with KISS

Non-KISS Band Members

Derrek Hawkins (2011)
KISS fan and former rhythm guitarist in Ace Frehley's band recalls his stint with the Spaceman on tour and recording "Anomaly"

Art Lindauer (2011)
Guitarist/vocalist discusses working with a pre-KISS Eric Carr in the cover band trio Flasher.

Adam Mitchell (2010)
Songwriter/collaborator recalls working with KISS, Vinnie Vincent and writing songs on "Killers," "Creatures Of The Night," "Crazy Nights," and more.

Bobby Rock (2010)
Powerhouse drummer recalls his wild ride with the Vinnie Vincent Invasion.

Rich Circell (2008)
Lead singer discusses working with Ace Frehley in pre-KISS band Honey.

Mike McLaughlin (2006)
Guitarist on his personal musical path and work with Peter Criss, Criss' "One For All" album, and much more

John Henderson (2004)
Musician shares his memories of collaborating with a young Paul Caravellos (Eric Carr) and his memories of Carr's pre-KISS bands

Neal Teeman (2003)
Uncle Joe drummer discusses working with Paul Stanley in pre-KISS band formed in 1966 and assistant engineering "Alive!"

Victor Cohen (2002)
Rhythm guitarist/keyboard player discusses working with Eric Carr in the Cellarmen

David Bartky (2002)
Bassist recalls his musical beginnings and collaborating with Eric Carr in the Cellarmen

Phil Naro (2002)
First lead vocalist of Criss recalls work with Peter Criss and ex-KISS guitarist Mark St. John

Jason Ebs (2002)
Final lead vocalist of Criss discusses his musical background and working with Peter Criss just before KISS' reunion in 1996

Robert "Bob" Pryor (2001)
Guitarist discusses his musical influences and working with Eric Carr in the Cellarmen

Ron Leejack (2000)
Wicked Lester guitarist recalls collaborating with Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley prior to KISS


Ross Berg (2012)
A detailed conversation with the author of "Gene Simmons: A Rock 'N Roll Journey In The Shadow Of The Holocaust."

Paul Grein (2012)
Yahoo Chart Watch blogger and certified chart expert provides a current breakdown and analysis of KISS' Nielsen SoundScan totals.

Larry Harris (2009)
Former Casablanca executive dishes on his must-read book, "And Party Every Day: The Inside Story Of Casablanca Records."

Todd Schorr (2004)
Artist discusses designing the album cover for Peter Criss' first post-KISS solo effort, 1980's "Out Of Control."

Charles Frehley (2001)
Brother of Ace Frehley discusses his sibling and his own musical career.

Wicked with Ron Leejack

By Julian Gill

Ron Leejack, best known in KISS fan circles for his role as guitarist in Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley's pre-KISS band Wicked Lester recently contacted me concerning the presentation of some Lester history in one of the articles I write at kissfaq.com. He was kind enough to take some time to answer some questions I had concerning Lester history and his role within it. Keep in mind that when Ron refers to Stan, that's Stanley Eisen, a.k.a. Paul Stanley. I'd like to thank Ron for taking the time to answer questions that he's probably been asked over and over and over again!

KissFAQ: At what point did you join Lester? How did you get connected with the band, and what, if any was the audition process?
Ron Leejack: I joined Lester in the middle of the recording session. My attorneys contacted me that this group was recording at ELS and wanted me to join them, they must have heard of me from the works I have done or the groups I was in. I was working with a lot of big groups. I just went there and started recording after all the paper work was done. They were not getting a record deal with Epic so Ron Johnston set up one one more audition with Epic A&R. Ron said he didn't think they were going pass. I said don't worry about it. So when the time came I put my amp where I thought the A&R man might sit and I was right.

I just cranked it up and just overplayed taking extended solo's and played every trick I knew on guitar. Gene and Stan were looking at me like what's he doing. When it was over the A&R man was in my ear (I thought he was trying to tounge kiss me) were going to do this, that bla bla bla man you're great (I still think he was trying tongue kiss me). I think his name was Tom, can't remember his last name. I'm just goin yeah ok yeah, ok, ok, ok, ok already. We got the deal, they made me the leader of the group and my first job as leader, Gene & Stan asked me to fire Brooke & Tony. Now I said to myself, Brooke & Tony looked up to me as did Gene & Stan and how could you fire people who look up to you. I know it's done every day but I don't do those things for no amount of money. So my attorneys contacted the group that I was leaving. I was put in funny situation. Then Epic found out I left and droped the group. Now I remember the A&R man's last name, Werman, Tom. Then Tom called me up to Epic about doing my own album and I said not at this time cause I still was doing recording sessions.

KF: Lester Live - Lester is rumoured to have played few live gigs, with the exception of the famed effort of A&R and perhaps a couple of shows at the Daisy. Is this correct?
RL: I never played live with WL.

KF: "Little Lady", "Eskimo Sun", and "Suiter", are rumoured to exist on a live recording of Lester - can you comment on the sort of material played live by Lester?
RL: I don't recall those songs. I didn't know what they played live.

KF: "Long Long Road", the Paul sung country-folk song. Was this simply a demo recorded before your tenure in the band, or did you have any involvement in it?
RL: I'd have to hear the song, I don't remember it but if I heard it I would my guitar playing.

KF: The two versions (mixes) of the rejected Epic album - how much involvement did the band members have in the remix of the album? Were there any additional recording sessions to fix, cleanup, overdub, or re-record any of the material?
RL: You have to remember they were not rejected after the audition with Epic. It's when I left they were rejected because they wanted me in the group (Epic) and in the situation I was in, I didn't want hurt anybody's feelings. Maybe it wasn't the right thing to do but I did it. (And don't get me wrong I'm not one to toot his own horn) I believe what happens in life is what happens right or wrong. Ron Johnston made all the decisions on everything and rightly so, he's terriffic, he could make my dog sound good and make it a #1 hit.

KF: There seems to have long been a disagreement concerning who plays the banjo on "Molly", any comment(!)?
RL: That was me playing banjo on "Molly". Ron asked if I could play banjo I said yes. He just wanted to try something different so I played it.

KF: While your resignation letters are dated 1/15/73, Lester had already ceased to exist in effect with Peter Cris joining up with Paul and Gene in late '72. At what point in 1972 did your lineup of Lester basically end?
RL: That's confusing to me also because after the album was done we started rehearsing, that's when they asked to fire Brooke & Tony and soon after that's when they got my resignation.

KF: Could you describe your career following Lester?
RL: It's been a long one, next time I'll get into that give me a few weeks my fingers are getting cramped I'm not used to typeing for long periods (for me it's a long period).

December 2000

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