Q&A: Paul Stanley for Sportswear International

Sportswear international

12137-orgPaul Stanley, co-founder and singer/songwriter of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band, KISS, will launch his own lifestyle and fashion brand, Paul Stanley: Royals & Rebels. Here, he talks about his attitude towards fashion and style and his aim to also design womenswear at some point. Interview by Melanie Gropler

You designed the band’s costumes. Why did you decide to start a commercial fashion collection?
I have always been excited by finding new ways to express myself creatively, and my successes point to a general affirmation of those outlets. My individual Look, whether more formal or casual, has always been based on a combination of elements rather than mirroring fashion. Fashion makes creating a style possible using various pieces, looks and eras, but on it’s own, fashion is better served on a printed page as art rather than something that looks organic to the individual who might wear it. My hope is to take some of the work out for the consumer by creating pieces that are compatible.

Do you see yourself as a part of your design?
I have no desire to endorse anything that isn’t conceptually mine. The idea is to develop my point of view in a broad range of areas starting with men’s apparel.

What will be the look and the feel of the collection? What’s the heart of it?
Style over fashion. Fashion is momentary. Style is timeless.

You’ll start with men’s fashion. Can you imagine to design women’s wear as well? Women have always loved and commented on what I wear and I have always had a great eye for helping women find ways to project a comfortable look that is sexy without looking contrived or obvious so my answer is a confident “YES.”

Kiss is well known for their extraordinary costumes and performances. How important is fashion for you personally?
Clothes don’t make the man but done properly they perhaps allow you to put forward a first impression that is indicative of who you are or in other cases, how you would like to perceived.

What pieces in your wardrobe do you like best and why?
A pair of black Levi’s 511 Jeans fit great and work with almost anything. I love the timeless tailoring of a two button Brioni Suit. I love the shoulders and drape of their Jackets and whether you wear the suit or just the jacket it exudes confidence. I love a lot of what John Varvatos does. His point of view and touchstones are clothes. I wear a lot of his white wing color shirts. It’s one of my “go to’s” and work with anything. Everyone is now making great men’s shoes. I like to wear something a bit colorful and wild with blue jeans but you can’t go wrong with a great black shoe. I also need a pair of trainers or running shoes but for me they have to have black soles and trim to work with everything.

What’s your favorite designer?
Varvatos, Brioni, Christian Lacroix do some nice pieces. Actually there’s loads of great stuff out there. It’s all a matter of what you mix.

Gene Simmons and Sammy Hagar debut new radio shows

Jeff Giles | Ultimate Classic Rock

Sammy-Hagar-and-Gene-Simmons-630x420Sammy Hagar and Gene Simmons never met a microphone they couldn’t use, and they’re proving it all over again with a pair of brand new radio ventures.

As previously reported, the ever-entrepreneurial Hagar is hosting a new weekly radio show he’s called Sammy Hagar’s Top Rock Countdown, which finds him counting down “lists of his favorite party songs, comeback albums, unsung heroes or best tunes from a specific year or decade.” The show has already started airing, and you can find affiliates — and listen to the first episode — at Hagar’s official site.

Top Rock Countdown begins during a typically busy time for Hagar, who’s also prepping a new reality TV show while promoting a new live album, At Your Service, with his latest band the Circle.

Simmons, meanwhile, can be heard on a recent installment of the BBC Radio 2 series I Love It Loud, which is now online and offers the Kiss co-founder an opportunity to pay tribute to bands that inspired him as well as those that he sees as musical compatriots.

“I’m flattered that BBC Radio 2 has given me the chance to play the music that I love dearly, that I continue to play over and over again, that I introduce young people to,” Simmons says in a statement. “I’ll never forget when my son, Nick, first heard ‘Boys Are Back in Town’ by Thin Lizzy, he went, ‘What’s that?’ And then I played him Queen, and goes, ‘What’s that?’ and that music continues to attracts new ears generation after generation, which is why it’s classic — classic rock.”

Here’s hoping Hagar eventually invites Simmons to be a guest on Top Rock Countdown, where the duo can recount Hagar’s infamous stint as an opening act for Kiss in 1977 — when, as he later recounted during an interview with MTV, he reacted to the crowd booing by dropping his pants and smashing a guitar. “I still can’t believe I did that to a Stratocaster. That guitar would probably be worth $200,000 today,” he admitted. “It’s funny now, but at the time, when you’re faced with that kind of rejection, it can be heartbreaking.”



KISS performing without makeup at Ace Frehley’s 1976 wedding, (upgrade)

Jeff Giles | Ultimate Classic Rock

The members of Kiss played their first official concert without their signature makeup in 1983, but they took the stage together au naturel years before that — at guitarist Ace Frehley‘s wedding in 1976.

The foursome’s brief reception set was captured for posterity in the 8mm footage above, which was initially uploaded to YouTube in 2012 but was more recently dug up by Dangerous Minds, whose report includes a passage from C.K. Lendt’s book Kiss and Sell: The Making of a Supergroup that helps set the stage for what you see in the clip.

Calling it “a huge affair at New York’s Americana hotel,” Lendt says the wedding — which culminated the long courtship between Frehley and his girlfriend Jeanette Trerotola — was somewhat complicated by the fact that her father and grandfather were high-ranking Teamster officials, and definitely not the sort of guys who were prone to putting up with rock stars’ flamboyant antics. As Lendt puts it, “One friend of the band, a gay musician who came dressed in a black leather motorcycle jacket and knee-high boots, supposedly came close to inciting a riot when he congratulated members by giving them bear hugs and huge kisses.”

Unsurprisingly, given the circumstances and the vintage of the footage, it’s fairly low-fidelity stuff, but it should still prove fascinating viewing for Kiss fans who haven’t had many opportunities to watch the band perform in such a low-key setting. Unfortunately for the newlyweds, their domestic union wasn’t destined to last — although Frehley claimed to still be legally married to his former bride as recently as 2014, when he responded to a query about setting a date with his new fiancee by admitting, “I still have to get divorced.”


Jeff Giles | Ultimate Classic Rock

Tommy-Thayer-and-Ace-Frehley-630x420Tommy Thayer makes no apologies for the way he assumed Ace Frehley‘s stage persona when he accepted his position in Kiss, but don’t expect him to sling any mud at his predecessor.

Thayer refused to take the bait during a recent interview with Australia’s Newcastle Herald, responding to a question about derogatory comments Frehley made last year by shrugging, “I don’t want to get into a back and forth, but I’m sure you can kind of assess what you think when you hear all that.”

As he goes on to point out, Thayer is perfectly aware that he wouldn’t have gotten the Kiss gig if Frehley hadn’t played himself out of it. “I think he had every opportunity in the world to continue in Kiss and be in Kiss as long as he did the right thing,” he continued. “It worked out better for me and he has to lead his life. As far as the jabs and all that, he can say that stuff and I’m not going to say anything bad about him. I just wish all the best to everybody in whatever they’re doing.”

And while some Kiss fans may still feel that there should only be one Spaceman in the band’s history, Thayer recognizes the possibility that future members may face the even more daunting prospect of replacing co-founders Paul Stanley or Gene Simmons after they decide to retire.

“It’s possible, I mean, it’s already kind of happened with half the band, to be truthful,” he admitted. “It’s hard to imagine Kiss without Paul or Gene. But at the same time, who’s to say somebody won’t come along that blows everybody away and they could take over and continue on. Anything’s possible, you never say never, and I think part of the Kiss philosophy is there are no rules and anything could happen.”

TOMMY THAYER: ACE FREHLEY ‘Had Every Opportunity In The World To Continue In KISS’


tommythayeracefrehley_638Guitarist Tommy Thayer, who joined KISS in February 2003, stepping into the boots the band’s original axeman, Ace Frehley, had been occupying for the KISS reunion that lasted from 1996 to 2002, has refused to criticize his predecessor, insisting in a new interview that he wishes “all the best to everybody.”

Last year, Frehley spoke out against Thayer in an interview, describing him as “just a guy up there copying me and trying to move like me and trying to sing like me and trying to play like me.”

But Thayer has declined to fire back at Frehley, telling Australia’s The Herald: “I don’t want to get into a back-and-forth, but I’m sure you can kind of assess what you think when you hear all that.”

He continued: “I think [Ace] had every opportunity in the world to continue in KISS and be in KISS as long as he did the right thing, but it worked out better for me and he has to lead his life.

“As far as the jabs and all that, he can say that stuff and I’m not going to say anything bad about him.”

Thayer added: “I just wish all the best to everybody in whatever they’re doing.”

During an interview for VH1 Classic “That Metal Show” co-host Eddie Trunk‘s podcast, “Eddie Trunk Podcast”Ace — who claims that he has “never seen KISS perform” without him and vows that he “never will” (“I’ve looked at videos on YouTube, and that lasted about 15 seconds,” he admitted) — was asked what his “evaluation” is of Tommy ”dressed as [Ace]” and “doing [Ace's] thing.” He responded: “[Tommy is] not Ace Frehley by any stretch of the imagination, number one. Number two, what bothers me the most is that I know the new fans that KISS are getting don’t know it. A lot of people that see Tommy up there think he’s the original guy that created the makeup, that wrote great songs and wrote all those solos that he’s performing, but he’s not. He’s just a guy up there copying me and trying to move like me and trying to sing like me and trying to play like me. And that’s what bothers me the most. I mean, the real hardcore fans know. But the new fans, a lot of them don’t know.”

Asked what it was like performing with a version of KISS that had Eric Singer sitting behind the kit instead of the band’s original drummer, Peter CrissAce said: “That was okay. I mean, Eric‘s such a solid drummer, he’s a pleasure to play with, because you know the beat’s always gonna be there.”

Pressed on whether it was weird seeing someone other than Criss playing the drums for KISSAce said: “Well, you know, I don’t see as good as I used to, so when I look back, I can’t tell the difference. [Laughs] Just like a lot of fans don’t know…”

He added: “I can’t tell you how many times I get phone calls and people say,’ Hey, Ace, I heard you’re playing here, I heard you’re playing there. Can you get me tickets?’ I go, ‘I’m not in the band anymore.’ Some people, still, are oblivious to that whole thing.”

Thayer told Rolling Stone magazine that he had no discomfort about wearing Ace Frehley‘s makeup. He explained: “First of all, I didn’t have any input on that. That was a decision that those guys made. There was not even a conversation about it, because I think it was so obvious, that they weren’t going to introduce new characters 30 years into the band. I never thought that there should be some new designs or something. I thought that would have been ridiculous. And the only thing is, you’ve got a lot of push-back from some of the diehards. And that’s understandable. Hey, you know, if you lived in the Seventies and KISS was your favorite band, and that’s what you grew up with, and suddenly there’s another guy wearing that makeup, I can understand how some people, it might not have appealed to them as much. But as time as gone by, a lot of people have changed their mind.”


What’s New in KISS Collecting – KISS Figure Limited Edition Packaging


asylum-repackage-bannerNew repackaging of the current KISS figures – all limited to only 100 pieces each! Brilliant, new multi-figure packages for a better display. Each is individually numbered on the front. Seven different package variations to choose from – at 100 pieces each, they won’t last long!

See all the limited edition KISS Figure packaging at KISSMuseum.com

Paul Stanley and Epic Rights to Develop Global Branding, Licensing and Retail Programs for New Paul Stanley: Royals & Rebels Brand

Epic Rights

Epic Rights Paul Stanley ArtHOLLYWOOD, Calif., May 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ – Paul Stanley, Co-Founder and singer/songwriter of legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band, KISS, has teamed up with the music industry’s leading branding and social media marketing company, Epic Rights, to develop and launch Stanley’s all new lifestyle brand, Paul Stanley: Royals & Rebels, at the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas in June.  The announcement was made today by Epic Rights CEO Dell Furano and Paul Stanley.

From Stanley’s signature designs of musical instruments to his fine art paintings, both of which have generated millions in sales, the brand Paul Stanley: Royals & Rebels is synonymous with fashion forward, cutting-edge style and an independent spirit. Epic Rights has been charged with building the Paul Stanley: Royals Rebels brand into a new licensing program, including men’s fashion apparel and accessories, footwear, food, spirits, home decor, cookware and more. Epic Rights anticipates debuting the Paul Stanley: Royals & Rebels brand at retail in fall 2016. ”Paul is the definitive Rock Renaissance man with a sense of style in arts, fashion, design and food that is unrivaled in the music industry. His creativity, marketing savvy and personal style truly sets him apart,” said Furano.

“Over the years, Dell and I have worked closely on the strategic developments and partnerships on the KISS brand, as well as more recently with Rock & Brews and my paintings,” said Stanley. ”I am excited to watch Dell and Epic Rights’ great team of branding professionals seek out and find opportunities and outlets that will reflect a lifestyle and point of view that I am passionate about and do it imaginatively and creatively in the years to come.”

Stanley, one of rock’s most acknowledged and respected front men as lead singer and guitarist for KISS, is a driving force and unwavering voice for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted band.  Ensconced in the media as both an unequivocally sophisticated fashion trendsetter and creative visionary, Stanley has designed KISS costumes, album covers and stages in addition to its iconic KISS logo, instantly recognizable around the world for the past 40 years!

As an author, Stanley’s autobiography Face The Music, soared to #2 on the New York Times Best Seller List. His concept for Rock & Brews, an energized dining and entertainment venue continues to expand with new locations being launched around the country.  Recently, both Stanley and Gene Simmons were recipients of the ASCAP Founders Award, a prestigious honor given to songwriters and composers who have made pioneering contributions to music by inspiring and influencing their fellow music creators. Each recipient is a musical innovator who possesses a unique style of creative genius, which will enrich generations to come.  Additionally, Stanley was honored at the Open Hearts Foundation Gala for his direct involvement in both raising funds to pay for needed surgeries for children afflicted with various birth defects and giving support to the parents of those children.

Paul Stanley Launching Lifestyle Brand

Wenn | Contact Music

5th-annual-open-hearts-foundation_4719152Paul Stanley: Royals & Rebels will feature men’s fashion, accessories and footwear, as well as alcoholic spirits and homeware products, but the veteran singer is adamant the venture will not be solely aimed at Kiss fans.

He describes the brand as embodying “the elegance of royals and the attitude of rebels,” adding, “There is nothing wrong with appealing to the masses. That’s not a sin. That’s the ultimate compliment… If that (aiming it at KISS fans) were the point, I wouldn’t even bother doing it. What am I going to do? Make jackets with bat wings? Am I going to include a makeup kit? KISS is a fragment of who I am and what I chose to create.”

41 Years Ago: Kiss Receive a Scathing — and Inspiring — Concert Review

Jeff Giles | Ultimate Classic Rock

KissQuote-630x420Kiss have never had a very friendly relationship with rock critics, but sometimes even the most brutal reviews can be used for inspiration.

Case in point: Seattle Daily Times writer Patrick MacDonald’s infamously withering review of the band’s May 25, 1974 stop at the Paramount Northwest — part of a triple bill with Manfred Mann and Savoy Brown that, as MacDonald noted in his May 27 article, drew a number of local rock fans who were just as interested in getting high and passing out in the lobby as they were in actually listening to the music.

CElJak-VIAA7kLfNot that MacDonald was all that impressed with the music either. Describing Kiss as “a very flashy glitter band that tries to make up in theatrics what it lacks musically,” he called their set an “amusing rock extravaganza” while dismissing the songs as “strictly on the moron level … made up of a series of simple chords any child could learn and lyrics that are there because they rhyme.” But if the show was a visual spectacle with little redeeming musical value, it still succeeded on those admittedly limited terms; as MacDonald went on to point out, the crowd gave Kiss a standing ovation.

But by sacrificing a real artistic identity for the sake of flash and focusing on showmanship at the expense of songwriting, he argued, the band was ensuring its own quick trip into obscurity. “I hope the four guys who make up the group, whose names don’t matter, are putting money away for the future, the near future,” MacDonald decreed. “Because Kiss won’t be around long.”

Again, it’s well worth noting that this was far from the only negative review the band received — and that for a time, it looked like MacDonald’s gloomy forecast for Kiss’s future would prove accurate. But for whatever reason, his words resonated particularly strongly with the members of the band, who ultimately threw them back in his face when they used that last quote on t-shirts printed up for their 2000 farewell tour. And judging from one of Gene Simmons‘ recent tweets, he still hasn’t forgotten the article:

MacDonald, for whatever it’s worth, ended up doing pretty well for himself too, remaining a fixture of the Seattle journalism landscape until retiring from his post in 2008 after 35 years as the Seattle Times‘ music critic. Fittingly, he even ended his farewell column by quoting Kiss. “What am I going to do now?” he asked. “Well, of course, I’m going to rock ‘n’ roll all night and party every day!”

KISS’ Paul Stanley: ‘It Doesn’t Feel Necessary to Make a New Album’

Chad Childers | Loudwire

Paul-Stanley-630x420Those of you holding out for another KISS album, you may be waiting for a while … if not forever. According to Paul Stanley, a new disc is not in the immediate plans for the group and may not be in KISS’ future plans either.

Speaking with Classic Rock Magazine, the Stanley stated, “There has to be a purpose to us doing an album. There was a time when we did albums because the contracts said so. But I only want to work now when it’s justified. Sonic Boom was an album that was very much needed to be done, and Monster just felt like, ‘Well, we did Sonic Boom — let’s see where we go from here.”

He went on to add, “Having accomplished that, I feel we can move forward without new music. There are enough things going on in KISS that right now it doesn’t feel utterly necessary to make a new album.” But Stanley did state that position could eventually change. “Anything is possible,” said the vocalist. “But at the moment, I don’t see it on the horizon. I’m not one to ever say never.”

KISS returned in 2009 with Sonic Boom, their first new music since 1998′s Psycho Circus. Monster followed in 2012. And tracks like “Say Yeah,” “Never Enough,” “Hell or Hallelujah” and “Long Way Down” have become welcome additions to the band’s catalog.

Look for KISS spending late May and June in Europe, taking a break, then heading to Australia and New Zealand in October. See their tour dates here.


22 Years ago: KISS release heir only live album without makeup, ‘Alive III’

Matthew Wilkening | Ultimate Classic Rock

The non-makeup version of Kiss got their one and only shot at strutting their stuff on a live album with the release of 1993′s Alive III.

Of course, you can’t hear greasepaint on an audio recording. So the most important changes found on the long-awaited follow up to the band’s two iconic ’70s live albums were the replacement of founding members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss by guitarist Bruce Kulick and drummer Eric Singer.

Although the majority of Alive III‘s 17 tracks were chosen from albums released after 1977′s Alive II, it did mark the first time Kiss re-used songs that had been on other live albums. This gave listeners an opportunity to compare the changes all those years and lineup changes had brought to tracks like “Detroit Rock City” and “Watchin’ You.”

Bassist Gene Simmons explained the differences well in the book Kiss: Behind the Mask when he said, “It’s clear to me there’s better musicianship, we’re singing better and the songs have a better feel. But there’s no denying that rock n’ roll is this kind of primitive music that often is loved more for its primitiveness, not for how well the songs are played.”

Indeed, little touches like the use of double-kick drums, and a greater emphasis on technical ability tend to pull things a hair too far from rock and towards metal on ‘Alive III.’ As Singer, who’s been in the makeup-wearing version of the group nearly non-stop since 2001, explains in Behind the Mask, “I tend to approach the songs differently now. I tend to play them now much more simplistic and more straightforward.”

Still, the record’s got good energy and spirit. Simmons and fellow founding frontman Paul Stanley are as charismatic as ever. Singer and Kulick are clearly more fluid and accomplished players than their predecessors. In particular, Kulick shines throughout — much as he did on the band’s 1992 studio album Revenge – maintaining a healthy respect for the original material while still putting his own distinct stamp on things, particularly on an absolutely smoking run through “Deuce.”

Unexpectedly, Alive III turned out to be the last major hurrah for this lineup of Kiss. A few years later, Simmons and Stanley reunited with Criss and Frehley for a massively successful reunion tour. Kulick launched a solo career, and since 2000 has also been a member of Grand Funk Railroad. The original foursome split in half into their traditional camps again a few years later, with Singer returning to the fold and Tommy Thayer taking over for Frehley.


New Jersey KISS Mart is happening on May 31, 2015


10997812_758512474265718_6117039091766935066_oThe New Jersey KISS Mart is open once again for a one day buying experience later this month! We have been buying up TONS of merchandise from some KISS Collectors who have been doing their spring cleaning – We’ve been helping them clean out their garages, attics and family rooms to bring you yet another massive truck-load of KISS merchandise to fill up table after table… If you are a KISS Collector and live in the Tri-State area, you really don’t want to miss this event!

SUNDAY, May 31, 2015
12 noon – 6:30 pm

70 Challenger Rd
Ridgefield Park, NJ 07660
(201) 641-2024
KISS MART is a 1 day Kiss Memorabilia Collectors Meet where Kiss Fans can gather to
Buy, Sell, and Trade official items spanning 1974 to 2013….All types and genres of Kiss Collecting will be present ….Magazines, Promo Items, Toys, T-Shirts, Hats, Books,ConcertItems, Picks, Posters, Paper Items, Kiss Army Items, Foreign Items, official CDs, Tour Programs, official Cassette Tapes, Records, Picture Discs, 45s, official DVDs, doll24inchMartSMALLSigned Items, Out Of Print Items, Non Makeup Items, Original Lineup Items, newly released items, Tour Books, Cards, Cars, and of course Rarities…..1,000s of items will be available!!! Come hang out with all the other other die-hard KISS collectors from the Tri-State area!
Both events are set up and ready to go! We are so excited, and you should be too… Two great days for KISS collectors that you do not want to miss!

WWE Studios, Gene Simmons sparks to Voltage

Screen Daily

EXCLUSIVE: WWE Studios and Gene Simmons’ Erebus Pictures joint venture has struck a sales deal with Voltage Pictures, who are in Cannes talking up the pipeline.


The partnership kicks off with Temple, which WWE Studios acquired and developed with screenwriter Matt Savelloni.

A director will be announced shortly on the story of a crew that infiltrates an isolated military compound inhabited by strange phenomena.

“The entire Voltage team and I are incredibly excited to partner with the legendary Gene Simmons, Michael Luisi and the entire WWE Studios team on this exciting slate of films,” said Voltage president and COO Jonathan Deckter.

“With WWE’s marketing muscle and Michael and Gene’s creative direction we are confident that the Erebus brand will quickly become synonymous with high-quality, smart genre films the world over.”

“We are excited to introduce our label internationally with a sales partner that understands and influences the international market place,” said Simmons, the co-founder of KISS turned media entrepreneur.

“We’ve been looking for opportunities to partner with Jonathan, Nicolas Chartier and the Voltage team, and we’re excited to have found it with Erebus,” said WWE Studios president Michael Luisi. “We’re confident their expertise will successfully launch the label worldwide.”

Bradley Buchanan negotiated the deal for WWE Studios with Deckter.