Larry Widen of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently conducted an interview with KISS guitarist/vocalist Paul Stanley. An excerpt from the chat follows:
Q: How did KISS avoid the pitfalls of success?
Paul: We didn't all sidestep them. Certainly the troubles that some members of the band had are well-documented to one degree or another, the poisons and vices of success. But I never got into drugs. Very early on when they talked about sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, I said, "You keep the drugs, give me the rest."
Q: Is that advice easy to follow even when people all around you want to give stuff to you?
Paul: Common sense will tell you if drugs and that lifestyle were so great, you'd be interviewing Janis Joplin, John Belushi, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain right now. There's nothing cool about being a martyr. There's nothing cool about being dead and not getting to enjoy your success.
Q: You made your own costumes in the very beginning. How?
Paul: To put it simply, desire. I believe there's nothing you can't do if you try. You never sewed before? Well, put a piece of fabric under a sewing machine and see what happens. You never played guitar before? Pick one up and give it a try. That's all it takes. Limitations are all self-imposed.
Q: Did the makeup afford you some anonymity once the band became famous?
Paul: To a point. But look, I'm 6-feet-plus. I had long blue-black hair below my shoulders. If you couldn't figure out I was in KISS when you saw me on the street, you certainly didn't think I was a neurosurgeon. I definitely got my daily dose of being stared at.
And really, anonymity is a choice. You can choose how much you want to be exposed, and celebrities have different levels of what they want.
Read the entire interview at www.jsonline.com.