KISS frontman Paul Stanley was interviewed this past week on Brisbane, Australia’s 4KQ commercial radio station. You can now listen to the chat using the SoundCloud widget below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On KISS‘s music transcending generations:
Stanley: “We managed to keep a certain amount of our original fans, but, ultimately, we’ve become more of a tribe. I think for many bands, they’re very age specific — you don’t want your younger brother there, and you don’t want your older brother. With KISS, it’s like we’re all members of this big tribe and this secret society, so if your dad comes with you, it’s awesome, if your little brother, if your neighbor… It’s all about sharing something very special that everybody holds dear.”
On whether the band KISS owns the rights to the makeup made famous by all the group’s original members:
Stanley: “Very much so. Years ago, the original guys [guitarist Ace Frehley and drummer Peter Criss], basically, sold it off for, you know, not a whole lot, because they didn’t think it was worth anything. Quite honestly, I’ve always thought that our image and what we represent is priceless. So… That it didn’t matter to some other people, it truly matters to me. So, that being said, [current KISS drummer] Eric Singer I’ve known 26 years and I think he’s been in the band for decades. And Tommy [Thayer, current KISS guitarist] has been around the band for decades and has been in the band probably 12 or 13 years. I have to say KISS is somewhat like a football team, or an army. If somebody falls by the wayside, somebody else picks up the flag and runs. If somebody is out on the football team, somebody else comes along. I don’t think that when you go to see your favorite football team, you’re yelling out that you wanna see somebody who was in the team 20 years ago. Time moves on, but the team lives on.”
On most KISS fans’ belief that Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons are irreplaceable:
Stanley: “Well, I can see KISS without Gene. [Laughs] As much as I’m a big fan of what I do and think I do it really well, I didn’t invent the wheel. Somebody is out there who can come in and take my place, and at some point, I don’t see a reason for the band to fold anymore than I can see a reason for a team to fold.”
On KISS being the most merchandised band in history:
Stanley: “Interstingly, when we first started out, we were kind of thought to be heretics, so to speak, because instead of just being a rock band, we wanted to be more and we wanted to give our fans more, and lo and behold, other bands saw not only that it was proper to give your fans the things they want, but all of a sudden, other bands saw the potential to make money out of it, and they followed suit.”
Read more at http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/paul-stanley-says-ace-frehley-and-peter-criss-sold-off-rights-to-their-makeup-for-not-a-whole-lot/#haCtXwdxIE6UTXVS.99.99
Who is the greatest rock band of all time? Depending on who you speak to this is an argument that could rage until the end of time. For some it may be The Beatles or The Rolling Stones, some might want to argue it’s AC/DC or Led Zeppelin, and for a younger generation it may be Nirvana. Personally I think you can keep all of them because there is only one clear choice as far as I’m concerned and that is KISS. For 40 years this group of superhero rock and rollers have been conquering the world with their brand of good time rock and roll and influencing generations of would-be rock stars. Their work ethic, particularly when it comes to touring, is second to none and there is no corner of the world the band won’t play; the same can’t be said for others. Once again the band has ventured to the land down under, which has always welcomed them with enthusiasm, as part of the 40th Anniversary tour. I caught up with guitarist and all round nice guy Tommy Thayer for a chat about the band’s rich history, the current tour and playing golf.
Rock Man: Firstly, welcome back to Australia. You’re here as part of the 40th Anniversary tour and Australia has played a big part in the bands success over the journey, hasn’t it?
Tommy Thayer: Well there is no question about it, and particularly in my journey with KISS. My first official show with the band was in 2003 here in Melbourne for the KISS Symphony concert. But of course KISS has been near and dear to the hearts of Australian’s for a long time. The first time the band was in Australia was in 1980 and it was akin to ‘Beatlemania’; when they came it was over the top and it was a huge tour. I was not here at that time, but I have heard all about it and I have seen all the photos and I have seen the newspaper headlines from that tour and it looks like it was over the top.
RM: So going back to 2003 and that KISS Symphony show in Melbourne, that is an incredible way to announce your arrival in the band.
TT: It really was because it was this full blown concert with the Melbourne Symphony at the Telstra Dome, at the time, and there was 40/50,000 people there. The entire Melbourne Symphony Orchestra was in KISS make-up and we recorded it for a live album and DVD as well, so there was a little pressure involved in that first gig I did. But once I got past that it has been smooth sailing ever since.
RM: Congratulations on all you have achieved in your career. Do you shake your head and wonder sometimes “How did I get so lucky”?
TT: [Laughs] Yeah, well I don’t know if it is, they say the harder you work the luckier you get. So I am not sure it necessarily is luck; I have been very fortunate but again, I have been fortunate to find a vocation and find my calling in life to what I love doing which is music and playing guitar and doing this sort of thing. So if you combine that with a lot of drive and perseverance like I have and a never-giving-up type of attitude, it all kind of seems to work out and I have been fortunate like I said. But it does have to do with how hard you work and how much you put into something as well, for sure.
RM: So I guess an extension of that is do you ever have moments, maybe on stage for example, where you think to yourself “Holy smoke, I’m in KISS, arguably the biggest band in the world!”?
TT: Oh, there is no question about it. I have had a lot of those kind of moments. I have had those experiences of looking around on stage or in stadiums and coming down on lifts for the first song as we were playing Detroit Rock City and looking out at 60/70,000 people and thinking “Oh my God, how great is this?” and “How Did I get here?”.But again, somehow it all works and one thing always leads to another and sometimes I have to pinch myself and think “This is amazing”, and I am so fortunate to be in this situation. But I definitely never lose sight of that and never take it for granted either.
There is no better endorsement for an entertainment complex with the tagline “Guns, Gold & Rock N Roll” than one of the world’s top selling rock & roll legends wanting to be a part of it. KISS’ Paul Stanley, one of the most recognizable front men in rock & roll as well as an artist, songwriter and businessman, has become a minority owner in Badlands Pawn, Gold & Jewelry in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The 70,000 square foot retail, business and events center opens Thanksgiving Day and includes dozens of entertainment options including a pawn shop, radio network, television network, shooting range and concert venue.
Stanley is a long-time friend of Badlands founder and CEO Chuck Brennan. The Badlands family of companies also includes Badlands Entertainment, Guns, Gold & Rock N Roll Radio Network and Badlands Motor Speedway. Brennan is a philanthropist and businessman who founded several businesses including Dollar Loan Center and the non-profit Brennan Rock & Roll Academy in Sioux Falls, SD.
Gregg McQueen | Aquarian
Paul Daniel “Ace” Frehley first learned to play guitar at age 13.
Though he was involved with street gangs for a time, Frehley eventually leaned toward music as his favorite pursuit, which proved to be a wise decision. Playing in bands as a teen, he would insist to his friends that he would one day become famous.
Later, Frehley would do better than that—as lead guitarist for Kiss, for a time the world’s biggest band, he became legendary.
The Spaceman from the planet Jendell, clad in silver platform boots, shooting rockets and smoke from his guitar, Ace Frehley was every bit the mythical superhero onstage, along with the other Kiss alter-egos: Starchild, Demon and Catman.
According to Kiss lore, Frehley hooked up with Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, and Peter Criss when he responded to Stanley’s newspaper ad requesting a guitarist with “flash and balls,” and he provided the band with plenty of both during his tenure. While Kiss’ over-the-top image sometimes crossed the line into ridiculousness and crass commercialism, Frehley was always considered the group’s rock and roll heart.
His fiery playing on the band’s landmark Alive! record inspired a generation of guitarists, but Frehley soon became as famous for his booze and drug consumption as he was for his riffs and flaming solos. Frehley’s party-hard reputation became the stuff of legend, as did stories of high-speed police chases, wrecked Porsches, and trashed hotel rooms. The Space Ace embraced the rock and roll lifestyle and all its excesses, and Frehley readily admits he’s lucky to still be alive.
But these days, life in the fast lane is no longer Frehley’s speed.
Now clean and sober, the Bronx native prefers a more laid-back existence, and has swapped his New York groove for the golden California sun, where he’s resided for the past few years with his fiancée, Rachael Gordon, a singer/songwriter who helped pen lyrics on Frehley’s last album.
One thing Frehley has always maintained is his celebrated sense of humor. Most importantly, there’s the laugh—a hearty, Stooges-like cackle that is a Frehley signature, and sure to stick in the mind of anyone he encounters.
Fortunately for me, the jovial Frehley got in a few trademark chuckles during our recent conversation. When I phoned Ace at his home, he was busy fiddling with art designs for new tour shirts. He’s a very absorbed man at the moment—in addition to a busy concert schedule following the release of 2014’s confident solo effort, Space Invader, Frehley is currently prepping an all-covers album featuring some of his favorite rock songs. During our chat, Frehley discussed his sobriety, Kiss bandmates, encounter with Jimi Hendrix, and more.
Do you usually design the tour shirts yourself?
Sometimes I do. I used to do it more, but I don’t have always have the time now. But I was fooling around with some artwork I have. I’m in the middle of working on a new album, and gearing up for the next tour. And I’ve also been going over a lot of old tapes that I found, that were in storage for about 25 or 30 years.
Oh, cool. You mean old demos? Is it Kiss stuff, or demos you did on your own?
I found old Kiss stuff, but I also found stuff that was pre-Kiss, so it’s exciting.
Wow. That must have brought back a lot of memories.
Yeah. Now I’ve got to catalog everything.
Did you hear any old riffs that blew you away, that you think you might want to use in the near future?
Kiss have had 10 members over their 42 years, including five different lead guitarists and three drummers. For that matter, original guitarist Ace Frehley and drummer Peter Criss have both left and rejoined the group over the years, making it somewhat difficult to keep track of the band’s rotating lineup.
This new video shown below should make it easy. Titled “The History of Kiss in 90 Seconds,” it provides a succinct chronology of the band’s years together, starting in 1972 with the breakup of Wicked Lester, guitarist Paul Stanley and bassist Gene Simmons’ original group.
For millions of fanatics, September 18th, 1983 was the day their rock ‘n roll super heroes KISS showed their faces to the world for the first time in dramatic fashion on MTV. It was a moment that could only be compared to Batman, Spider-Man, or the Flash coming on the national news and removing their costumes and masks on camera. Although Ace Frehley and Peter Criss had already left the band, new members Vinnie Vincent and Eric Carr had spent the better part of a year hiding their identities behind faces painted up to look like the Ankh Warrior and Fox, respectively.
You see, there was no internet in 1983. We didn’t have the instant gratification you get today with dozens of different websites running their version of the same story. We common folk had to wait a full twelve to twenty-four hours before our first look at KISS without their trademark makeup.
At the time, I was living outside of Austin, TX in a suburb called Cedar Park. On September 19th, I was eleven years old and getting ready for school that Monday morning. My stepfather always got up early to read the local newspaper, the Austin American-Statesman, before he headed to work. He silently slapped the paper down in front of me at the dining room table. I remember looking at the picture of the four members of KISS without their war paint and reading the blurb, which named each member from left to right.
I didn’t find it too hard to pick out Paul Stanley‘s slightly pursed lips and Gene Simmons with his tongue protruding from his mouth. Vinnie Vincent and Eric Carr were recognizable mainly because of the shapes of their faces and through the process of elimination after picking out Stanley and Simmons. It was a monumental moment for millions of KISS fans and remains a pivotal point in rock and roll history and the career of the Hottest Band in the World.
On a personal note, I always laugh thinking back on that day. After reading the article, I exclaimed, “Wow.” My stepfather pulled the paper back to himself. With a straight face, much like that of Red Forman’s on “That 70s Show,” he proclaimed, “They should’ve kept the makeup on.” The ridiculous things old people say.
When we went looking for the Spaceman, we found him in Green Bay, Wisconsin, believe it or not. That’s where former KISS guitarist Ace Frehley was on Tuesday afternoon when we caught up with him via phone for a brief conversation. He comes to Northeast Ohio on Saturday night to perform at Hard Rock Live.
Space Invader, Frehley’s latest solo album, continues the successful comeback story for the 64-year old veteran guitarist who scored a Top 10 debut on the Billboard charts when the album was released last year in August. The chart debut added another milestone to Frehley’s career, as he became the first KISS member to have an album debut in the Top 10 as a solo artist. Anomaly, his previous solo album, released in 2009, peaked at #26 on the album charts.
The artwork for Space Invader came from Ken Kelly — well-known in the KISS universe for creating the cover art for the classic Love Gun and Destroyer albums. Frehley had been keen to have Kelly work on art for one of his projects and he finally got his wish with the new album and he says that the space theme that populates some of the material on the record began to take shape as he was in the midst of discussing album art ideas with Kelly.
“It kind of started up with the cover idea,” he says. “I wanted to get Ken Kelly to paint something and then we figured that [it should have] me coming out of the spaceship and it just snowballed from there.”
Frehley assembled the bulk of the album in less than a year, writing 11 songs in the process, something that demonstrated that he still had creative mojo that he thought he might have lost.
“You get to a certain age and you just think that sometimes you can’t recapture some of the things that you had in your youth,” he says. “One of the comments that I got a lot on this last record was that my voice still sounds like it did in my twenties, which is kind of funny, you know? Sobriety,” he adds, “has really helped me focus and be more creative. It was kind of fun towards the end as the songs started falling into place and we got really hot on the space theme. ‘Space Invader’ was the last song that I wrote for the record and it just kind of came together during the mixing process [which] was a big surprise and a nice surprise.”
A pair of rock ‘n’ roll icons turned for the grand opening of Rock & Brews in Buena Park on this week.
Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of KISS, who serve as consultants and front-men for Rock & Brews, treated about 150 veterans from Buena Park VFW Post 8954 to a free lunch on Tuesday and made a $10,000 donation to the post.
Rock & Brews is a national chain that bills itself as a family-friendly restaurant serving American comfort food amid a rock ’n’ roll vibe.
The 6,750-square-foot eatery, located about a quarter-mile north of Knott’s Berry Farm, has been open since late August.
Keith Spera | Mass Live
As of this summer, Kiss has accumulated more gold-certified albums than any other American band. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the trade group that certifies gold albums for sales of more than 500,000 copies and platinum albums for sales of more than 1 million copies, announced that Kiss has 30 gold albums to its credit. Those include 26 full band albums and the four solo albums released simultaneously by the four original band members in 1978.
“The Very Best of Kiss,” a compilation released in 2002, and “The Best of Kiss 20thCentury Masters (Millennial Collection),” from 2003, were certified gold in June. Those new certifications for these two vintage greatest-hits collections were apparently enough to anoint Kiss “America’s No. 1 Gold Record Award Winning Group of All Time,” with a total of 30 gold albums. Kiss also has 14 platinum albums, and three multi-platinum albums.
Kiss, now in its 41st year as a band, was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. Original members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley continue to tour and record with current guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer – had the good fortune to come to prominence in the decades before file sharing and such streaming services as Spotify decimated sales of recorded music.
While more than 100 digital singles were certified multi-platinum, platinum or gold in June by the RIAA, only one album achieved platinum or multi-platinum status – Taylor Swift’s 2014 blockbuster “1989,” which has sold more than 5 million copies and counting – and only five were certified gold. Those included the two Kiss albums, R&B singer Miguel’s 2012 release “Kaleidoscope Dream” and a pair of compilations: the “Disney Lullaby Album,” from 2000, and the 52nd edition of the ever-popular “Now That’s What I Call Music” series.
Unless Taylor Swift puts out another 30 albums over the next three decades, it seems unlikely that any contemporary act will ever rack up enough gold certifications to displace Kiss at the top spot.
“Seriously? Seriously? This guy wants to fucking dance? It’s just so pathetic.”
Daniel Kohn | LA Weekly
For the better part of the past 40-plus years, Paul Stanley has been known as the lead singer of KISS. But there’s more to being a rock icon than painting your face and putting on a dynamic live show. In his autobiography, Face the Music, Stanley mentions early on how he got into the Motown and Philly soul, and that played as much of a role as British rock did in shaping his career.
Ahead of that show, we caught up with the Soul Station impresario to hear about the project’s origins, how important of a role this music played in his own songwriting, and what fans can expect from the band’s live show.
Why at this point in your career did you decide to form this group?
A lot of people have asked me similar questions. But before I saw Led Zeppelin, I saw Otis Redding, I saw Solomon Burke and I saw The Temptations. I grew up as much on real blues, R&B, Motown and Philly soul as British rock.
I just find myself thinking that people go to live shows paying for Kobe beef and getting dog food. You get computerized music with fake vocals, and it had me thinking about all of the great Motown and Philly soul acts that did these great songs and delivered the goods. I thought it was a great thing to celebrate, so I called some of the top people who I knew and when I told them what I wanted to do, [and] everybody without hesitation said they were in.
If you try to talk down to KISS, be prepared to be burned.
Recently Dee Snider of Twisted Sister appeared on Eddie Truck‘s show where he expressed his opinion on the current lineup of KISS and how he isn’t too fond of them now that guitarist Ace Freely and drummer Peter Criss have departed from the band. He went so far as to call KISS’ current lineup “an insult,” and he continued with, “I don’t see how people could accept this. Tommy Thayer? I’m sorry. It’s insulting. Not only did he play in a tribute band of KISS, he’s imitating Ace in his entire act!”
Snider went on to express his outrage when KISS went so far as to mimic Frehley’s look and stage moves for the song “Shock Me.” “Oh my God – that’s disgraceful. When KISS replaced Ace and Peter, and they brought in guys [Eric Carr and Vinnie Vincent] who had their own makeup and their own thing, that was acceptable. That was awesome. They were their own characters.”
Well Snider’s opinion didn’t sit too well with KISS frontman Paul Stanley, who responded to Snider’s comments while on Chris Jericho‘s podcast, saying, “Let me put it in the simplest terms. In this case, this guy is a wannabe, has always been a wannabe and desperately wants attention and to be taken seriously and that will never happen because he’s obviously clueless that he and his whole band are a bunch of buffoons.”
Stanley went on to describe his relationship with the other members of the band as “not friends,” but elaborates, “I don’t mean that in a derogatory sense. I mean that we were very different people with different interests and separate lives. We didn’t socialize outside of being on tour and even then it was minimal. It was… we had some fun times but mainly being on tour was about playing and getting laid. And frankly I didn’t want the other guys around for the second part of that. But we were a gang. We felt a kinship. We felt special. We were KISS.”