Heart of Steel: Interviews

Industry Profile Ė Kayos Productions Carole Kaye

Metal Queen Explains the Publicity World


Interviewed by Keith McDonald

You can probably find Carole Kayeís name on the liner notes of some of your favorite metal albums. You may also find them on some newer metal acts that are just beginning to make their mark on the metal community. Sheís the person who helps put you and your bandís name in print. That means interviews, CD reviews and other ways of getting your band in to the publicís eye. Carole has worked with the best of the best when it comes to the metal world. Dubbed the Queen of Metal by some, she has worked with KISS, Queen, Ted Nugent, Dio, Twisted Sister, Aerosmith and many others making a name for her bands and herself along the way. I had the opportunity to speak with Carole who gave me a look into the world of a publicist.


How did you get started in the music business?

Thatís a fluke.  It wasnít something I planned on. My first job was working for KISSí management company, Aucoin Management, baptism by fire. Aucoin at that time were managing KISS, Piper which was Billy Squireís band on A&M, Starz on Capitol and Tobie Bowie on RCA. Aucion had a press department and there were two people and I was one of the two. I became KISSí publicist and thatís how it started. I learned from the best band in the world.


What was your involvement with KISS?

I was involved in the early days from Love Gun on. We did the solo records, the comic books, KISS meets the Phantom and on and on.


Was it hard to hide their real faces from the public and media?

No, it was different then. The journalists were very respectful. I do remember the daily newspapers would always run these photos of Paul Stanley without makeup and it wasnít even Paul.


How did Kayos Productions start?

I worked with KISS, then went to a PR company where I represented Blondie, The Ramones and Paul McCartney. Then I went to Elektra Records as head of publicity working with The Eagles, Cars and Queen. I then went to work with the management company Leber/Krebs. I was the publicist for Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Scorpions and Def Leppard. I was really the queen of metal. I decided it was time to start my own company. I realized my two loves were publicity and management. I started Kayos in í89 as a management and PR company.


What are the day-to-day duties of a publicist?

You can come in with the best of intentions to get things done but a crisis always comes up. Interviews didnít happen whether it was the journalist had to change the time or the band wasnít available. Everyday stuff. Itís crazy; itís hectic and deadline oriented. You have to be organized, detail oriented especially when youíre working with as many bands as we do. You really need to keep accurate records so you know who was sent what, whoís entrusted in doing interviews, etc. You donít want to waste peopleís time who are not interested. You have to know your journalist, their likes. You have to know your bands, their personalities. Itís all a part of it.


How important is a publicist for an up and coming artist?

Very important. For a young or baby band you need a publicist whoís passionate about their music.


How expensive is a publicist? Does the label or band or both pick up the tab?

Could be any of the above. Most artists canít afford an independent publicist. Generally, the way we work, we have record labels as clients. So weíre paid by the label to represent their bands on a monthly fee per artist. A PR company will charge a monthly fee plus expenses for a three-month minimum because you canít achieve that much before (that). You gotta pitch, follow up and get clippings.


Do you handle radio also?

We do, not every PR company does. We do deal with radio syndicates and we do online Internet radio.


Is it hard for an up and coming publicist to start?

It is hard. A lot of people try and realize itís not as easy as it looks. Itís feast or famine. The life of and independent publicist is not easy. When youíre out on your own itís tough. When I started Kayos my first client was KISS and Ace, who were both doing separate things. You have to constantly get out, network and let people know youíre available.


Do you travel with your artists?

No, itís by phone. There are occasions when we have press conferences where we do travel. We donít always have to.


What artists are you currently working with now?

Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent, Sebastian Bach (who just got his own show on VH1 which we were instrumental on), Ace Frehley, Danzig, LA Guns, Twisted Sister, Dio and Billy Sheehan.


What advise do you have for an unsigned artist looking for press?

I think itís really important to do as much on their own. Itís easy enough to find out who the regional and local (press) contacts are. Iím sure every band has their press kit, bio and photo. They should send announcements when theyíre playing and try to create a buzz. After that they may want to consider hiring an independent PR firm. Iím really all for the artist. I donít like to see anyone spending money on something they can do themselves.

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