Musicians in today's rock bands look like "garbage collectors" and the only true new star is Lady Gaga, said members of the legendary heavy metal group KISS.
"There are a lot of bands that have something. What's missing is stardom. The ability to get up on stage and rule, bigger than life," said the KISS bassist, singer and songwriter Gene Simmons during a promotional appearance for the KISS Monster book.
"There are no stars. There's no Elvis, there's no ... even Prince," said the 62-year-old. "Stage presence - none of the bands have it, they look like garbage collectors. They look worse than the audience that comes to see them. There's no pride."
Dressed in black, without make-up, in silver neck chains and long hair, the creators of rock hymns such as I Wanna Rock & Roll All Night and I Was Made for Lovin' You agreed that the extravagant Lady Gaga stands alone among new performers. "The only new rock star is Lady Gaga. That's it. She's a star," said Simmons. "There are some very, very good bands, I'm a big fan of Foo Fighters, but give me the stars."
It's not just about the show, he said. "Elvis could walk up on stage with nothing but charisma. Image. Mystique."
Paul Stanley, the group's star and lead vocalist, went further. "Musicians who look like the delivery boy don't realise that there's more. When big bands go on stage, they deliver their goods," he said.
"That's why we've been around 40 years, because people know when they come to see us, they're going to get their money's worth."
The band is promoting its megabook as a collector's item. With a limited edition of 1,000 copies, it is individually signed by the band's members and spans KISS's 40-year history. It includes 127 photographs, some never published before.
The rockers said they are recording their next album using analogue equipment, seeking beauty in imperfection. Monster, their 20th studio album, is scheduled to be released in October. "All the greatest music that was ever made was made on tape, was analogue. The problem with computers and technology is, when it's not used for enhancement, it becomes a noose around your neck," Stanley said. "You wind up looking for perfection instead of passion. And all the music that we grew up loving - Led Zeppelin, Beatles, Stones, James Brown, Motown, you name it - none of them were perfect, and that's what made them great."