Matt Wardlaw of the Cleveland Scene recently conducted an interview with KISS guitarist/vocalist Paul Stanley. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Cleveland Scene: A quote that stuck with me from [your memoir, "Face The Music: A Life Exposed"] was "we weren't SIMON & GARFUNKEL, we weren't the EVERLY BROTHERS — our songs were built to rock." Did you have a pretty clear direction when you first got going with the band as far as where you wanted things to go?
Stanley: Totally. It was never about the makeup. It was always about the kind of band we wanted to be. I was fortunate enough as a teen to have seen HUMBLE PIE, LED ZEPPELIN — and I'm not talking about in arenas and stadiums, I'm talking about small places. So HUMBLE PIE, LED ZEPPELIN, JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE, THE WHO — the list goes on and on. Those were the bands that inspired me. So how we chose to dress it up came secondly. It was always part of the big picture, but it was never "Let's wear makeup and play music." It was "Let's play music and wear makeup." So the priority was always how much horsepower is our engine going to have and then what color are we going to paint the car?
Cleveland Scene: As far as the makeup, do you feel like that cost the band critically and do you regret that piece of the plan?
Stanley: Not in the least. Present company excluded, critics are a lucky bunch. They didn't go to school to get a degree in being critics — in a sense, they're entertainers and they're given a lot of credence by some people and ignored by others. I don't need somebody to tell me what good food is. Good food is what I swallow and bad food is what I spit out. Likewise, I don't need to be educated about art or music, because it's totally subjective. The people that count are the people who pay hard-earned money for tickets, hard-earned money for CDs, hard-earned money for T-shirts, belt buckles or whatever. So why would I chase the approval of people who really haven't taken the test? So no, not at all. You'd have to ask the millions of people who are happy that we've done it. To this day, I still have issues with critics and with politics of critics and I am proud of what I've done and proud to continue doing it.
Cleveland Scene: With the 40th anniversary tour on tap for KISS, what do you, Paul Stanley, still want to do as an artist and creative type?
Stanley: Tour. Be a great dad. Watch my kids grow up and watch my oldest finish NYU and if he chooses to pursue music. There's a lot that has to do with the people around me. It's a different life when you see yourself as the most important person. It's a much more fun life when you allow someone else to be the center. So my family, where they go and how they develop and how I participate — that's important to me. Where I go as a father and as a husband and also where the band goes. The band has never been better. The band has never sounded better and the band has never gotten along better. We are proud and steeped in our past, but we don't live exclusively there. I'm very happy to get up every night and play with those guys. I just saw them yesterday at the press conference and we just have a lot of fun. We laugh a lot and there's a work ethic, which is something that I'm proud of, where everybody wants to make the and as great as it can be. That's how you become more well-known and respected. When you're in it saying "How can I use the band to make me more famous?, well you've put the cart before the horse. I'm very happy in the band and I want to continue that and continue things that are going on with my family and also perhaps go back and do more musical theater.
Read the entire interview at Cleveland Scene.