If you want the best rock ‘n’ roll concert in Arizona this summer, you’ll have to travel south. Rock legends Kiss kick off their ‘Freedom To Rock” tour at AVA Amphitheater in Tucson on the same day we celebrate America’s independence. Nothing says Fourth of July like a Kiss, right? Lame puns aside, the band has been very supportive of Wounded Warrior Project over the years, and has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the charity, which is surely in the spirit of the holiday. We recently caught up with guitarist Paul Stanley and discussed tour preparation, giving the photographers what they want, reconnecting with original lead guitarist Ace Frehley, and one of the best YouTube videos to ever exist.
New Times: You’re starting your summer tour in Tucson on the Fourth of July; how do you prepare for a tour these days? Paul Stanley: The same way I prepare for every week. You go and make sure you’re in the best shape you can be. Once you suit up, you’ve got a lot more on the line. I not only have to be great, but I have to exceed people’s memories of what Kiss is and what they remember. For me, it’s not about competing against other bands; it’s about competing with the legacy and the history of this band. To do that is something that is a part of my DNA. I’m not a fanatic, but I’m certainly working out every week regardless of a tour. But maybe I put the pedal down a little harder before a tour starts.
Do you guys have actual rehearsals at this point in your career, or or do you know the material pretty well by now?
Despite knowing the material, we would no more go out onstage without rehearsal than somebody would go into the ring to fight the fight of their life without training in the gym. You don’t do that; it’s not going to give the best results and for us. We have so much on the line. We have this history that people are so connected to, and I think it’s always been our obligation and commitment to not only live up to what people will remember but to exceed it. That’s a pretty big challenge. It’s not to be taken lightly; it’s always a matter of training and working with the band to make sure that we’re at our best.
You’ve been in Kiss for 40 years and you’ve been playing these songs forever; how do you keep it exciting not only for yourself but also for the fans?
Life is exciting, and I hope that’s contagious. I’m having a ball, and every time I hit the stage it’s a victory lap. At this point, we’ve made our point and we won. For me, those songs are classics. For me, we’ve created something iconic, and I’m not only in the band but I’m a fan of the band, so for me to see the band and hear us playing and to see the fervor of the audience — how could I not be excited? It’s an amazing position to be in, and one I don’t take lightly, and one that I celebrate every time I hit the stage. Continue reading →
June 28th marks the 6th anniversary of the passing of Bill Aucoin, a pioneer in the pantheon of music management. Not only does Mr. Aucoin have the distinctive notoriety of grooming and introducing not one, but three legendary, multi-million selling rock and roll acts to the world – KISS, Billy Idol, and Billy Squier, but he is also credited for erecting one of the first music merchandising empires, an empire that has reigned from the 1970’s to the present day. By trademarking the iconic faces of the original four members of KISS, Aucoin shifted the rock paradigm from a spectator sport, to a collectible zeitgeist that propelled a New York jean band into a global brand with an estimated worth in the billions of dollars.
KISS laid the groundwork for hundreds of rock acts who cite the group as an influence or inspiration of what a rock act should be. The very existence and ongoing popularity of the group 40 years after its inception is a testament to Bill’s astute foresight. A force so unshakeable, he would infamously bet his American Express card to finance the live tour of an act that most in the industry at the time were trying to ignore. In the process, his determination served to engineer one of the most dynamic live shows of the era by enhancing the concert experience in ways that would go on to transcend the rock genre.
If you grew up in the 1980’s, it’s almost impossible to separate this era from the global phenomenon and the anti-hero viscosity that arose from the ashes of the punk-rock movement, Billy Idol. Once again, dismissed by the industry as an outcast, and toxic to his own record label, Aucoin swam upstream and immortalized an unlikely spike-haired rebel. Bill’s keen instinct to pair the sneering, fist-twirler with a virtuoso guitar muse by the name of Steve Stevens proved to be a winning relationship that has defied the test of time, spawned millions of record sales, and continues to captivate audiences.
Paul Stanley has given his thoughts in the “Stairway to Heaven” trial that dominated headlines over the past two weeks. To make his point, he referenced a similarity between one of Kiss‘ highest-charting singles and a Bruce Springsteen song.
Speaking to Russ Rollins of RealRadio 104.1 in Orlando, Fla., (embedded above), Stanley said, “A lot of times it’s really unfair, because there are a certain amount of notes and they only get jumbled so many different ways. There’s a Springsteen song that sounds like… There’s a part of the song that sounds like ‘I Was Made For Lovin’ You,’ so I’m sure he wasn’t sitting around listening to that. But it finds its way into everybody’s music. You can’t come down on everybody for their creativity.”
Stanley is talking about “Outlaw Pete,” the opening track from Springsteen’s 2009 album Working on a Dream. But apart from a few melody lines and a running time of approximately eight minutes, the two songs don’t have much in common. “I Was Made for Lovin’ You” is a disco tune about wanting sex while “Outlaw Pete” is a Western epic about the life of a boy who “at six months old [had] done three months in jail.” Springsteen and illustrator Frank Caruso turned the song into a picture book in 2014.
The boy, named Zinnah, is scheduled to undergo surgery on his legs to correct an unspecified condition that will help him walk, according to reports, and the Kiss star is hoping his actions will encourage more people to help those suffering around the world.
He tells KSHE, “Look, we can all do more, especially if it doesn’t affect our lifestyles. So if you’re sitting at home and you got a few extra bucks in your pocket, you know what to do. You know how to make God smile. Come on.”
Simmons admits he felt compelled to help Zinnah because “children are our future”, adding, “The next great mind or humanitarian could come from Africa.”
The rocker’s links to Zinna came through the charity Child Fund, which he supports.
“Because children are our responsibility, I urge you to do something,” he says. “Pick up the phone and call Child Fund, or another charity organisation and find out what you can do. You will make all the difference to a child far, far away, whose dreams are every bit as important as your child’s dreams.”
Zinnah’s travel and surgery are being covered by Mending Kids, the charity co-founded by Gene’s Kiss bandmate Paul Stanley.
Veteran radio personality Jenn Marino, who in 2014 joined MÖTLEY CRÜE and SIXX:A.M. bassist Nikki Sixx as co-host of “Sixx Sense With Nikki Sixx” and “The Side Show Countdown With Nikki Sixx”, recently conducted an interview with original KISS guitarist Ace Frehley. You can now watch the chat below.
Asked about some of KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons‘s recent controversial comments, including his opinion on the tragic deaths of great music icon Prince, Frehley said: “I think he’s coming down with Tourette’s [syndrome]. [Laughs] He can’t help himself sometimes.”
He continued: “But you’ve gotta love that guy. I mean, he saved my life twice. I was in the hospital in 2005 out here [in Los Angeles], and I was leaving the hospital, and I was supposed to leave in a wheelchair. Most people [when they leave the hospital], they wheel you down to the lobby and then you get in a limo. He picked me up and carried me all the way downstairs. He didn’t want me to be in a wheelchair. I mean, how sweet of a guy is that?”
Frehley added: “Gene comes off very abrasive and like a money-grubbing guy, but, you know, there’s another side to Gene. There’s that sweet, sensitive guy that you don’t always see. But it’s there.” Continue reading →
Those who were hoping that Paul Stanley‘s appearance on Ace Frehley‘s most recent solo album, Origins Vol. 1, might have opened the door to the Spaceman’s return to Kiss will likely be disappointed. Stanley says that, while he’s glad to have renewed his friendship with Frehley, he doesn’t believe another reunion will happen.
“I don’t see it,” he said on former UFC champion Frank Mir’s podcast, Phone Booth Fighting. “And, to me, that makes it even better. The fact that you can have people in your life, and maybe who they are and what they are in your life changes over time. Because I’m happy to see Ace and would love to see him. … We text. He was on the radio last week, and I texted him, ‘I’m listening.’ It doesn’t need to go further than that, but the fact that it’s there is a terrific thing. Reading into it, and where’s it gonna lead, and maybe…? There is none of that. There is just the joy and satisfaction in reconnecting.”
Stanley’s cameo on Origins Vol. 1 was to sing on a cover of Free‘s “Fire and Water.” And as with Sammy Hagar publicly reaching out to Eddie Van Halen over Twitter a few months ago, Stanley, who added that it was “great to see [Ace] focused and clean [and] sober,” acknowledged that recording with Ace was part of a simple desire to tie up some loose ends.
DETROIT, MI – It’s a rock anthem for Detroit. We talked to Kiss singer/songwriter and guitarist Paul Stanley about how he came to write “Detroit Rock City.”
Stanley and Gene Simmons are the two remaining original members of the Rock and Roll Hall of fame band.
Upcoming Kiss concerts:
Grand Rapids at Van Andel Arena on Saturday, August 13 at 8pm.
Saginaw at the Dow Events Center on Monday, August 15 at 7:30pm.
Toledo at the Huntington Center on Wednesday, August 24 at 7:30pm.
About “Detroit Rock City:”
Stanley co-wrote the song which was featured on the band’s 1976 album “Destroyer.” The song did not chart in the U.S., but was popular in Detroit. The b-side, “Beth,” ended up becoming a hit instead. The band reissued the single with “Beth” as the a-side.
Stanley told me the song is not only about Detroit, but about a Kiss fan who died in a car crash on his way to a Kiss concert.
“There had been an accident outside of an arena in Charlotte. Someone was killed coming to the concert. I thought, how odd and how striking and the juxtaposition of someone coming to a Kiss concert, which celebrates being alive, to lose your life. That was the twist of “Detroit Rock City.” To change it from a song about your amazing city to something much more epic.”
In a candid interview, KISS’ Gene Simmons discusses his family history – and his violent plans as Earth’s ‘benevolent’ dictator
Gene Simmons, from American rock legends KISS, has opened up to The Big Issue about his mother’s experience in Nazi Germany. In a frank, wide-ranging interview in this week’s Big Issue, the infamous rocker also discusses what he would do if he became Earth’s dictator – and he doesn’t pull any punches.
I’ve tried to talk about it but she just won’t do it“My mother was 14 when she was in the concentration camp in Nazi Germany,” says Simmons in this week’s Letter To My Younger Self. “My father left us when I was about six. She, bless her – and she continues to be a force – she never spoke about it. I did my own research and found out just now terrible it was. I’ve tried to talk about it but she just won’t do it.
“She saw her mother walk into the gas chambers. Her whole family was destroyed. My mother [pictured below] was the only one left alive. And she was 14. I’ve been to the Holocaust museum in Israel. The Nazis kept detailed records of every name and I saw my mother’s name at 14, listed as one of the passengers on the train.”
Reflecting upon his teenage dreams, Simmons confesses to some delusions of grandeur – and reveals his zero-tolerant plans for when he rules the world.
The unique rock ‘n roll themed amusement attraction is based around the world-renowned band KISS. The new location replaces the original location, which closed in February 2016 to make way for the larger attraction at the Rio.
It features an indoor glow-in-the-dark, custom-designed, rockin’ 18-hole miniature golf course, state-of-the-art video and never-seen-before KISS props, arcade games, a special event room for birthdays and etc., a gift shop, hundreds of pieces of KISS memorabilia on display, and a rock ‘n roll wedding chapel with themed wedding packages.
In addition, a live DJ will rock the house with KISS music. There will also be trivia games and contests.
“Our new KISS By Monster Mini Golf location has allowed us to truly turn the volume up to 11 as we have created the most unique rock ‘n roll themed attraction right in the heart of Vegas Rock City,” Christina Vitagliano, CEO/Founder of Monster Mini Golf® and KISS By Monster Mini Golf. “We’re excited to showcase to the world a venue that let’s people celebrate their love for rock ‘n roll with an expanded and newly designed state-of-the-art rockin’ 18-hole mini golf course, new LOVE IT LOUD Wedding Chapel, plus the largest public display of KISS memorabilia in the world.”