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“We got such good reviews on Love It To Death. It’s sort of like when your first album comes out and everybody loves it. For the next one, everybody says, ‘The next one’s gonna suck. Now we’ll see what they’re really made of.’
“Killer was bigger than Love It To Death. To a lot of the critics, it was the best album of that year, so it showed some progression as to where the band was going. We were a better band, absolutely. At that point, Bob Ezrin said, ‘Let’s go for the fence here.’ So we stretched a little more and put a little more West Side Story in. Our band was not as much influenced by the blues as we were by West Side Story and Guys And Dolls, James Bond and horror movies. We didn’t mind that seeping into our music.
“As much as we watched James Bond movies, I always loved listening to the soundtrack albums, the John Barry stuff. I’d say, ‘Listen to this section here. What would that sound like with guitars?’ When we did Halo Of Flies, there were three different spy themes going on in at once. That became part of who were were.
“I didn’t mind doing the Jets song. Again, it’s what we were. You know, in a lot of kids’ cases, we were the closest thing they’d ever get to seeing a play or something on Broadway. I thought putting West Side Story in would inspire people – you know, ‘What is this thing they’re doing?’ In the era we were in, that was a really big deal, and we thought it was cool.
“With the song School’s Out, I remember Glen Buxton – the late, great Glen Buxton – just played that riff one night. It was a very bratty riff, almost like him going ‘nah-nah-nah-nah’ on the guitar. He was like an encyclopedia of trivia for shows like Dobie Gillis and Leave It To Beaver. You could ask him anything about one of those shows, and he’d know it all. So him doing that ‘nah-nah-nah-nah’ thing on the guitar almost sounded like a character on one of those shows.
“It’s interesting to think, ‘What’s an anthem?’ And the answer is, an anthem is a song that everybody can agree on. It speaks to kids everywhere. Now, what’s more anthemic than hating school? School’s out – there you go. When we did that song, it was the only time I told Bob Ezrin, ‘If this isn’t a hit, I might as well start selling shoes.’
“Every part of that song was on the money. And we got in The Yardbirds, too – that Bolero bit. Bob knew how to put all of that in a package and really make it work. Then, when we came up with the line ‘Got no class, got no principal, got no innocence, I can’t even think of a word that rhymes,’ that was the line that drove the stake through it.”
“And the cool thing is... it’s a good hard rock song. It wasn’t just a theme – it really rocked.”