KISS' PAUL STANLEY: 'I'm Not Ready To Hang It Up'

KISS guitarist/vocalist Paul Stanley recently addressed the band's decision to abandon their retirement plans in favor of further touring and a possible new studio album. Appearing live on the "Merry KISSmass Special" hosted by WNEW radio personality Eddie Trunk on Dec. 21, Stanley explained that the group's [2000] 'Farewell' tour "was done in the same way that [basketball player] Michael Jordan retired, and [boxer] Sugar Ray Leonard retired… You reach a point where you think that, for whatever reason, you've done everything you want to, or need to, and you say goodbye. It's true for that time, [but] it may not turn out to be true later.

"The problem with being in the public eye — and the blessing of being in the public eye — is, anything you say is supposed to be true forever, and we all know that people change, how you feel changes, and what you wanna do with your life may change," he added. "So, that being said, after a break, I certainly started thinking, 'Gee, I'm not ready to hang it up. I wanna continue, and I wanna continue playing,' whatever that means.

"KISS is something that I've been a part of for 30 years now, and… I found something really interesting. After the 'Farewell' tour, I was getting my car fixed, and this guy came over to me… and I was thinking, 'It's over, we did the 'Farewell' tour,' and this guy comes walking over to me, and he goes, 'Wow, I was at the 'Farewell' tour, and it was so awesome. When are you doing the '30th Anniversary Tour'?' And a light bulb went off in my head. I went, 'Wait a minute…' Fans and people at large — the vast majority of people — don't care whether you've done a farewell tour. God knows there are bands that have made careers out of farewell tours. But at the end of the day, people wanna see KISS, and I wanna be there. And what means in terms of regularity, whatever, everything is up in the air and up for grabs."

With regards to guitarist Ace Frehley's absence from the group's current touring lineup, Stanley said, "God knows [sighs] … I'm trying to think… We spoke to Ace, I can't tell you for how long. He was wooed, he was pursued, he was talked to, and at some point, he stopped returning calls. We told him, and we showed him, how much we wanted him with us. And we also said — and maybe he didn't realize this — 'We really want you on board, but if you're not, and we decide to work, then the train leaves without you.' It was really [a case of], 'Let's gear up to do some exciting things that only a band like KISS can."

"All I know is that I have a desire to do certain things," Paul continued. "I have a desire, and there is a multitude of fans who want to see KISS. After that, who is in the band… It's no secret — what could be better than having all of the original members? For a lot of reasons. We're so blessed. I believe it's a sin — truly a sin — for people who have been in this band to not appreciate how blessed we all are. And whatever else you may wanna do, it just seems like such a shame not to take advantage of being in the band."

When asked to explain the reasons behind the band's decision to continue performing as KISS with non-original members assuming the "Spaceman" and "Catman" identities created for Frehley and drummer Peter Criss rather than being given new identities of their own, Stanley said, "[Coming up with fresh identities for the new members is] of no interest to the general public. The general public and the people who come to see this band identify the band by what the members look like. They don't necessarily know all the names. I know some fans may find that hard to believe, but everybody on the street doesn't know every member's name, but there's an image of the band that we all created, and as I said before, it's great to have the original guys, but this isn't something where I'm gonna short-change the majority of the public. There are die-hards — and I understand it — who say, 'Hey, how can you put someone else in that makeup?' I have to say that there's a vast majority who aren't saying that. So look, you can't please everybody all of the time, and I'm not going to. And the worst thing that anybody can ever try to do is please everyone. And you know what?! There are people now who are saying, 'Why do you have Peter back?' It's like, who is gonna be happy all the time? When Eric Carr joined the band, I can't tell how many die-hard fans said to me, 'I'm never gonna come see the band again.' Well, God rest his soul, Eric Carr was instrumental [in] and a cornerstone of keeping this band going. So you always have somebody going, 'I'm not gonna go along with it.' And you know something? I respect that. If you don't want to, don't. All I can tell you, is when I get up there, and when the band gets up there, it will be everything — and always has been — everything that people expect. That's my obligation and that's my responsibility, and that's what I will do — make sure that when people come to see KISS, they won't be disappointed, and no one has been."

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