Non-KISS Band Members

Marty Cohen (2014)
There are few people would can say that they played with both Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley prior to KISS. Steve Coronel is one. Marty Cohen the other. Marty was kind enough to give the KissFAQ an interview to discuss his history with Gene and Paul, and correct a few things that appeared on the FAQ website over the years. His perspective continues to add to the picture of Gene and Paul coming together in a partnership that had lasted more than four decades...

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"

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

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

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

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

Uncle Joe's Drummer...

By Julian Gill

Personally, I found this interview staggeringly important, and a fair amount of it is repeated in the articles also included in this book. Neal was a person who had worked with the awesome Paul Stanley prior to KISS. And nearly Gene Simmons too! That, for me, said it all. Neal originally contacted me after seeing his name spelled incorrectly - see bad spelling can sometimes be beneficial!

Paul Stanley's first proper band was "Uncle Joe" which was formed around 1966. The KISSFAQ recently did a Q&A with the band's drummer, Neal Teeman. If you enjoyed reading David Leaf's account of Paul's youth in "KISS: Behind The Mask", then the Q&A will add to Paul's story. If you didn't, then perhaps you should?

KissFAQ: First, about Neal's name...
Neal Teeman: First my name is spelled 'Neal Teeman' not 'Neil Teeman'. I grew up with (Paul) Stanley Eisen. Went through elementary School (PS 164), Parsons Junior High and played drums with him until some time in 1970. The dates listed in his Band Lineups are not correct. I played drums with Paul Stanley, Matt Rael/Stephen Coronel through 1970. It was during 1970 I was employed by 'Jay and the Americans' and worked in their studio where 'Uncle Joe' used free studio time to record some demos.

When Matt left the band, my buddy Marty Cohn recommended Stephen Coronel and he joined us at that time. Stephen tried to get Gene in the band at that time and we all met at Coronel's apartment in Washington Heights, NYC, and Stan and Gene didn't get along at first. I remember riding back to Queens with (P) Stanley, and he ranted 'who does he think he is' about Gene. I later left the group (a friendly parting) before Gene and (P) Stanley worked things out. This all happened in 1970. Later I worked with Eddie Kramer at Electric Lady Studios and worked on KISS Alive! (as well as many other records of that era - Song Remains the Same--LZ)."

KF: What made you chose to take up the drums and when did you do so?
NT: When I saw the Beatles and Dave Clark 5 I decided to be a drummer.

KF: Who were your major musical influences as a drummer?
NT: At first, Ringo and Dave Clark. Later I was very impressed with the drummer of 'The Move' Bev Bevan. (BTW, Paul Stanley was influenced by Roy Wood and The Move. I believe Firehouse was his sequel to the Move's Fire Brigade. At least for the storyline to the lyrics.) Later my drumming was influenced by BJ Wilson (Procol Harum) and John Bonham.

KF: Describe your first encounter with Stanley Eisen and how the two of you met?
NT: We were classmates in 3rd grade. Mrs. Sondike's class. Stan (he was Stan then) was kind of a loner due to a very minor physical malformity (ear) and stayed out of the mainstream but we got on. By the time we reached 5th grade he was really into music and was turning me on to all kinda of stuff. By 6th grade he could play acoustic guitar play harmonica just like Dylan. He was really great. I wanted to play drums with him.

KF: What was Stanley like as a child?
NT: A good guy. We played tackle football together and had a lot of fun. There was this one super-jock, Walter Kaso, who we both hated so we would play the game with the objective of just screwing up this guy. It was great fun.

KF: What was the first band you played with?
NT: At first I played with a friend in Brooklyn but that didn't work out due to the distance from Queens and this was way before any of us could drive. From there I was bands with Stan. After Kiss I still messed around with Stephen Coronel but although him and I remained friends I found him difficult to work with. A few years later (late 70's) I tried to produce his band 'Lover' and get them a record deal. I lost a lot of money on that effort.

KF: There's a long standing story that Incubus became Uncle Joe. What do you recall of the formation of Uncle Joe and when did it occur?
NT: The band was one of those on and off situations - We'd be together, break up, reform. There was a lot of things going on in our lives at that time. We also were never all that happy with the name of the band so it was always changing. I think we were Ratabagus before we became Incubus, but the story of how we became Uncle Joe was this: Stan's dad's boss had t-shirts made with his face printed on them for a company picnic and got us all some. We decided to wear these shirts when the band played and since this boss's name was Joe we called the band Uncle Joe. Nothing to do with Stalin at all.

KF: How did you and Stan meet Matt Rael?
NT: Stan introduced me to Matt. Matt's brother John was a few years older than us and played with Post War Baby Boom. We all looked up to him. Later, there were times when Stan left us to play in PWBB. Then after a few gigs he'd come back to us and we'd reform.

KF: Why did Uncle Joe never really get a full-time bassist, and how did the band adapt to playing without one?
NT: Maybe we didn't need a bass player? You must remember this was a time in our lives where what equipment you had was more important than how you played. I had a make shift set of drums, no two pieces matched, the few cymbals I had were absolute shit and Stan and Matt played out of the same amp (Gemini III, I think) as well as the vocal mike.

KF: Did Incubus/Uncle Joe ever do any gigs?
NT: We played parties and were very well received. One band that was playing the same gig as us refused to go on after we did our first set. They just packed up and went home.

KF: What sort of material did Uncle Joe perform - a typical set?
NT: This is tough to remember but I would say that if you look at the songs that were in the collection called Nuggets I think it would represent the type of cover stuff we did. 'Time Won't Let Me', '96 Tears', 'Nobody But You', some Lovin' Spoonful stuff, Yardbirds.

KF: Did you ever consider that Uncle Joe had a chance of "making" it, or was the band simply a matter of teens making music together, a garage band ethos?
NT: By 1970 we were getting more serious about making it and what we wanted to do as a band.

KF: How serious was Stan during the Uncle Joe and how did he develop as a singer and guitarist?
NT: Stan was always serious about playing music. When asked what he was going to be when he grew up he'd always say Rock 'N' Roll performer. I think this was before the term Rock Star existed.

KF: It's mentioned that Uncle Joe got recording time at Mayfair due to your working there. What were the circumstances that led to the band recording "Stop, Look To Listen" at the studio?
NT: Around 1967 I started to work part time in a recording studio (Century Sound). While there I became friendly with Jay and the Americans (note - I was friendly with Marty Kupersmith and Kenny Vance). In 1970 while I was in my senior year of HS JATA got a big record deal and leased Mayfair Studios. They hired me to be their engineer (no I was not a clean-up boy there or at any other studio ever!!!!) and I worked there Mon thru Fri, from 3 to 11pm with them (for $5/hr).

Part of the deal I had with them was that I could use the studio for my own stuff whenever JATA were not using it. (BTW, at that time JATA were recording a couple of songwriters they were using as the keyboard player and bass player for their backup band--Donald Fagen and Walter Becker aka Steely Dan). I used to set up the room so Uncle Joe could rehearse and I'd let the tape roll without anybody at the controls. That is how we did those tapes. We later dubbed in the vocals but Stan would just put something down in one take. I don't think he really knew how to sing well in a studio yet. When I saw him do vocal overdubs years later at Electric Lady there was a big difference in the way he could sing.

KF: How much time did you manage to get and how was the song recorded? Several takes, single take "live"? Did anyone else from Mayfair assist with the recording?
NT: There were no takes -- We were just practicing. Later we would listen back to the tapes to evaluate our playing and the arrangements. We were really learning then. We didn't know what we were doing.

KF: Stan's credited as the writer of the song, can you comment on the development of the song - was it a quick write for the session or was it something the band had been working out at rehearsals/jams?
NT: Don't remember.

KF: Did Uncle Joe do any other original material?
NT: By 1970 we were only doing Stan's songs seriously. At that time the album Shazam came out by the Move and we would jam to some of their songs - 'Hello Suzy' in particular.

KF: When Matt Rael left the band he was replaced by Stephen Coronel who was recommended to you by Marty Cohen. Marty played in bands with Gene Simmons, but what was his relationship to you and Stan?
NT: I don't think Stan liked Marty. He was an easy guy to dislike. A funny guy that was like a joker who never knew when to stop, yet he always got cute chicks to fuck. Then he'd tell you a million times how HE got to fuck her. A lot of people didn't like Marty. But yes, he did turn us on to Stephen Coronel, and Stephen introduced Gene.

KF: Marty has been suggested to have been in the band Cathedral with Gene Simmons. You are also suggested to have had interaction with Gene prior to KISS, from the alleged incident where Gene rented Uncle Joe equipment for a gig which he also performed at. Perhaps you can help clear up the picture of when Gene first entered the picture - did you know (or were you aware) him prior to Stephen trying to get him into the band?
NT: Marty left school and played for a year in a band in the Catskills which included Gene and Stephen in the band. I do not know about Gene renting Uncle Joe equipment. Not my stuff. I did have to get my stuff out of their loft after I left the band. I didn't have a car so my drums were there for some time before Stan gave me a ride to pick them up.

KF: You continued with Uncle Joe until 1970. When did the band end, or was it more of a transition from one band to another? What led you to leave the band, or was it simply a matter of the band members moving on to other things?
NT: I would say transition is probably a good way to put it.

KF: There's a copyright registration for "A Proper Son" written by you and Stephen Coronel in 1974 and published by Steve in 1978. What can you tell us about this piece and did you and Steve continue to work together in bands during the early 1970's?
NT: This was for his band Lover which I mentioned I wanted to produce them and tried to get them a record deal. I was a staff engineer at Electric Lady at that time and stopped playing drums for a while.

KF: How much contact have you had with Stan in the years since Uncle Joe?
NT: While in the Music Business we used to run into each other often. Now we lost touch. The last I spoke with Paul was in 1996.

KF: Did you ever see Rainbow/Wicked Lester perform or even hear the album they recorded? Comments?
NT: Yes, but I don't really remember much. I know that they worked with Ron Johnson who I thought was an asshole and felt bad when it fell apart.

KF: Did you ever see KISS perform? Comments?
NT: Several times. Once at a showcase in a rock club in Sunnyside Queens, I forget the name. Paul called me and asked me to come down and see his new band. That was the first time I saw the clothes and makeup. It was awesome!!! After that I didn't see them again until I ran into Paul at Trax one night (late 70's) and he gave me tix to an upcoming show at MSG. Also a great show but by that time I knew what to expect.

KF: You worked with Eddie Kramer at Electric Lady Studios. How did you, and what led to this career path as an engineer?
NT: As I stated earlier, I was already doing this while in High School. My recording career is a long story - not all Kiss related.

KF: What, essentially, does an Assistant Engineer do during the recording of an album?
NT: The assistant does anything the engineer tells him. Basically he sets the room up, mikes the instruments, sets up the headphones, runs the tape machines.

KF: You worked with Eddie on KISS' "Alive!" album. It's long been known that a lot of work was done on the basic tracks, with re-recordings, touch-ups, etc., (and has been officially confirmed by Eddie and the band in recent months). What do you recall of the sessions where the album was really created and what was your role or contributions?
NT: They were behind schedule so Eddie would be in Studio A mixing while I was in studio B recording the touch-ups. They were little spots here and there. When we finished a tune I'd give the tape to Eddie and he'd mix it. It was last minute so when I asked Paul if I would get a credit on the album he said 'sorry but the album jackets were already printed up!'

KF: Semantics: "Live" versus "Alive!" As a presentation of what KISS essentially sounded like live the "Alive!" album basically accomplished everything the band needed where the previous three studio efforts had failed. What is your opinion of the product, its goals and accomplishments?
NT: Great album, period.

KF: It has been suggested that KISS were working on the "Destroyer" album at the same time that "Alive!" was being finished up at ELS. Do you recall any preparation work or discussion of KISS' next studio album at the time "Alive!" was being finished?
NT: No.

KF: With the problems KISS and Bill Aucoin were having with Casablanca at the time "Alive!" was being done, do you recall anything of an over-riding "atmosphere" as the project was being worked on? With three generally un-successful studio albums was there any desperation?
NT: I always got the feeling that Aucoin was behind Kiss 1000%. I don't remember anything about Casablanca. I guess I was not really in that loop. The guys in KISS were always careful about anything they said. It was as if they were coached not to ever say anything that may come back to haunt them. Diplomatic would be the word I would use to describe anything they would say about anybody.

KF: Tell us about some of the other musical projects you've worked on? Any stand-outs?
NT: I worked on Led Zeppelin "The Song Remains The Same" movie sound track (also with EK), Frampton Comes Alive. A bunch of stuff for Brian Eno.

KF: Are you still in the music industry?
NT: No, I retired from music in 1982. I still play the drums for fun though.

KF: What are your feelings about "Stop, Look To Listen" being released on the KISS box set? With 20/20 hindsight, what do you have to say about the song now?
NT: I wish someone would have let me know instead of finding out after the fact. I do not own a copy, my name is spelled wrong, and I do think it would have been nice to at least have received a free copy.

KF: Your soap-box. Here's where you get to add anything you'd like to mention!
NT: I was friends with Paul (Stan) as kid. We had some good times together, I wish him well. I am kind of sorry we lost touch. The last time we spoke I got the feeling he was a little on the defensive side as if he was thinking I was going to ask him for something, money? I was not. I have a decent career and was not looking for any handouts, but I guess he gets hit up so much that when he hears from an old friend he must think that's what they want. I never asked them for anything and the only thing I ever got was those MSG tix. It would have been nice to get a complementary copy of KISStory or a complete set of there recordings. Oh, well.

October 2003.

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