© 1976, Casablanca Records; © 1997, KISS Catalog Ltd.
God of Thunder
According to Gene, "By the end of our third record (Dressed To Kill), we had gotten very used to each other's songwriting styles. Paul's songs were always a little snappier and happier, and mine were always darker and gloomier. So we'd poke fun at each other sometimes, and Paul once said to me, 'Anybody can write a Gene Simmons song.' To prove his point, he came back the next day with 'God Of Thunder.' I changed some of the lyrics and sang it. When I first heard the song, I immediately had visions of the scene in 'Fantasia' when the mountain top opens and this big winged thing is standing there - something from the dark shadows. But Paul's 'God Of Thunder' lyrics totally missed the point - they were almost about Aphrodite and love" (Guitar World).
However, getting Paul to give the song to Gene to record took quite a bit of effort. Paul recalled that the song "was unique in that a song that became a signature song for Gene was by me and for me, and then I watched as the producer Bob Ezrin decided that it was going to be Gene's song. We all agreed going in that the producer had final say. I was hoping his final say would always agree with mine" (Rolling Stone). According to Paul Gene changed the "we make love 'til we bleed" lyric to "hear my word and take heed" (Guitar World, 8/92).
There were several other changes made to "Demonize" the song, all of which have Gene's stylistic stamp on them: The end of the second verse, "I was raised by the women / I live for pleasure and fun," became "I was raised by the demons / Trained to reign as the one;" In the chorus, "We'll take it slowly even more" (or something like that) became "Will slowly rob you of your virgin soul;" and substantial changes would be made to the third verse seeing it change from "Well I'm the master of leather / A modern day man of steel / Be you ancient or newborn (c'mon) / Come before me and kneel," to "I'm the lord of the wastelands / A modern day man of steel / I gather darkness to please me / And I command you to kneel before the."
It is likely that Bob Ezrin had a hand in changing the arrangement slightly not only to accommodate the "atmospheric" elements he incorporated into the recording, but simply refining the piece. While the changes were not substantial, it was common for members to help one another with their songs, without receiving a credit unless the work was substantial. According to Paul, "It's all about arrangement and embellishment. That's what you're supposed to do in a band - come in and add something. But that doesn't mean you wrote the song" (Guitar World, 9/96). Thus, it is fair to say that Gene probably helped co-write his version of "God Of Thunder" since the character and essence of the song changed drastically from the original.
While Gene, Paul, and Jr. Smalling demoed the song, Bob Ezrin remembered that it took quite a bit of effort to persuade Paul to let Gene take the song because of the subject matter and balance of the album at that point. During the recording of the song Peter recalled how some of the effects were created. According to Peter, the band was "At the old Record Plant in New York City and Ezrin says to me, 'I'm going to put you in an elevator.' At that point it was three or four in the morning and we were in the back of the building. He mic'd the drums from the fourteenth floor. There were mics in the elevator shaft and I was in there with a bass drum and two floor toms going, "Boom, boom, boom, bap, boom, boom, bap.' I was there all alone - they couldn't see me because they didn't have video setups in those days. In the middle of laying down the track, the elevator doors opened and two garbage men came walking in to collect the garbage in the hallway! I kept playing, but I was laughing hysterically at the looks I was getting from these guys! Ezrin was very creative" (Modern Drummer, 2/99). For Paul's original demo, refer to the "Box Set" section.