Andrew Jacobs here,
I first heard of record producer Toby Wright in mid 1995 during one of Bruce Kulick’s guitar clinics at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, California and then again a month or two later at Eric Singer’s drum clinic at the very first Official KISS Convention in Burbank, California on June 17th, 1995 (a very big THANK YOU to my best friend Chad Sanford at this point for not only getting me into both but for getting me into the $100 a head Convention for FREE – sorry, Gene).
After Kulick’s and Singer’s respective clinics had concluded, each of them took some questions from members of the audience. At this point, I vividly remember a number of the audience members asking both Kulick and Singer about the upcoming KISS studio album Carnival Of Souls. The internet was still several years from taking over the world in 1995 and bootlegs of said album wouldn’t hit the black market until sometime in 1996, so KISS fans hadn’t heard or been privy to any of the songs on the album at this point. The common theme among the fans’ questions about Carnival Of Souls was fear that KISS would jump on the extremely popular “grunge train” (as one of the fans called it) and that Carnival Of Souls would sound like almost every single other rock album being released at that time.
Both Kulick and Singer did their best to calm the fans’ collective fear by stressing Wright’s collaborative producing style as well as emphasizing Wright’s understanding of the essence of hard rock & heavy metal music (and it certainly didn’t hurt that Wright’s extremely impressive and prolific resume speaks volumes – no pun intended). Kulick and Singer had nothing but good things to say about Wright’s work on the album and what was in store for the fans. While I can’t speak for the other fans, I certainly felt better after hearing that.
In 1996, Carnival Of Souls bootlegs became readily available and so did scores of KISS fans’ criticisms about it sounding too grungy. Of course it didn’t sour my immediate love for the album in the least and I enjoy the hell out of it to this very day.
Bravo, Mr. Wright!