A Conversation With Paul Stanley
I recently took part in an interview with Paul Stanley, the lead singer of KISS. Below are his thoughts on a variety of topics that were covered during the interview.
ON KISS’ 40TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR
- This is the greatest and best stage that we’ve ever had. We took it through Europe and it was a huge success. We call it the spider stage because the lights are actually in the shape of a spider and the legs are actually dangling down onto the stage and move. I designed this. I wanted a stage where the lights and stage were one instead of having lights hanging from the ceiling. So, the lighting and the stage is by far the best thing we’ve done.
- Look, the band is firing on all cylinders; so, between that and the fact that we are psyched up for this and we’re celebrating our 40th year – we are out there to do a victory lap although the race isn’t over yet. There’ll be more races, but this is a celebration of everything we’ve done up to today.
- We’ve always tried to have great bands on tour with us and although we’re celebrating our 40th anniversary and this is the 40th anniversary tour, we want to make sure people get their money’s worth. We always make sure that we do that – a night of great music, songs that you know, songs that connect with you emotionally and serve almost as a snapshot of a certain time in your life. It doesn’t get better than that.
- Anybody can set off bombs, fireworks and all the rest. All you need is money to do a big show, but nobody can beat KISS and that is why we go out on tour. To celebrate our 40th anniversary is a huge vindication and it’s a huge celebration for us and our fans. They are not even our fans, they’re our tribe and to bring Def Leppard along means that everybody gets to hear a huge catalog of songs that were all hits and all mean something. It’s ultimately got to be great music. Def Leppard is just a great band and it’s a great way to spend an evening during the summer.
ON THE ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME
- Well, the rock hall was really not much more than a mosquito buzzing around my ear. Ultimately it was, is and always will be about the band, the music and our fans. No small organization with a big name can call the shots or decide what is or isn’t valid or who does or doesn’t belong in the hall of fame. The hall of fame, no matter who may own the name, is ultimately what the people decide is in the hall of fame.
ON THE LA KISS FOOTBALL TEAM
- We started with a tremendous handicap because we started a team midway through most players’ contracts. So, many people were not available and we had to make the best of what we had. We have some great players, but as with a band, a team takes time for people to get comfortable with each other. I wouldn’t rule out being in the playoffs. It will be a great team.
- At the moment, we’ve got 8,000+ season ticket holders who are having a ball. We delivered everything we said we would. We have hot female dancers, BMX bike riders, a live band – everything including a football team that is playing arena football, which is unlike any another sport. It means a lot to us to win and that will happen.
ON HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY, FACE THE MUSIC: A LIFE EXPOSED
- It was great to document something that I believed initially could be inspiring or helpful to other people. To see it finished and have that not only confirmed by my reading it, but to every day have people come up to me and say that the book moved them and inspired them. That, to me, at this point in my life, is the only reason to do anything – because of what others can get out of it.
- Writing a book about your life isn’t that different than trying to make a movie from a book. You can only give glimpses. You can only put together enough examples to give a pastiche. You don’t get to tell the whole story. You get to tell the story by using key elements. So, the difficult part might be in what you leave out; not leaving it out because it’s painful or hurtful to anyone else. You leave it out because it is unnecessary. In other words, once you make a point you don’t have to make it again. Reiterating the same stuff is…it takes away from the impact. The most difficult thing was choosing what didn’t go in. The rest of it was an absolute pleasure.
ON THE KISS ARMY
- I think you can’t have the kind of dedication that we have from our fans unless they sense the same dedication to them. The only way that you can be in KISS is if you have the ultimate respect, not only for the band, but for the fans because they are intertwined. When you no longer have that, then you have no place in this band. I think we have shown that over the years. We may not always do what makes every fan happy, but we stick to our guns and do what we believe in. Ultimately, it’s always what we think is best for the fans.
- There are more people than I can count that have KISS tattoos. That’s like being a ‘lifer’ in the Army. Anybody can put on a uniform then take it off, but when you tattoo yourself, you are in it for the long haul. That’s an incredible sign of dedication. Nothing compares to the KISS Army. The KISS Army started on the street in Terre Haute, Indiana when a radio station wouldn’t play KISS. The fans demanded it and said, “if you don’t play KISS. We will surround the radio station.” It wasn’t taken with any sense of urgency, but when the time came and they didn’t play KISS, the building was surrounded. This was all from a ground swell.
- The KISS Army started on the street and there is no army like a volunteer army. I see these people every day and the beauty of a KISS fan now is that it’s so multi-generational that everybody who comes to a show is proud to see the other people there. You’re proud to see your younger brother. You’re proud to see your grandfather. You’re proud to see anybody that shows up because you’re all part of the tribe.
ON KISS’ SUPPORT OF THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT
- As far as the wounded warriors, we’ve been very vocal over the past years of our obligations to our troops. To the people who serve voluntarily and put themselves in harm’s way, so that we can live in a free society. Sadly, many of us seem to take it for granted. These freedoms we have come at a huge price to people who go unrewarded and unheralded for what they do. So, over the years we’ve given a dollar from each ticket and that’s what we’re doing once again.
- I can’t say enough about the people who serve on our behalf. What we do wouldn’t be possible without what they do. I love being on stage and letting people know that there’s nothing corny about patriotism. There’s nothing corny about celebrating this great country. You only see people going over the borders to come into this country. You don’t see them going over or under the borders to get out.
ON KISS’ REPUTATION FOR PUTTING ON EPIC CONCERTS
- We’ve been doing this for forty years and the reason people still buy tickets to see the classic acts is because you know that we will deliver the goods.There are countless acts nowadays who sing on a song that was basically put together in somebody’s living room on a computer and auto-tuned. You know damn well that those people are not going to be able to put on a show.
- Many bands and many artists who sell nowadays or certainly have downloads in huge numbers are nobody who you want to go see live because they haven’t learned the craft. The ones who have enough money to put on a great show are invariably dependent upon a bunch of dancers jumping all over each other and a microphone that isn’t turned on. I certainly don’t want to hear this nonsense that it’s impossible to dance around and sing. Tell that to all the classics that I was lucky enough to see. It didn’t stop The Temptations. It didn’t stop Tina Turner. It didn’t stop James Brown. When you come to see KISS, you know you’re coming to see the real deal that has been proven time and again.