KISS frontman Paul Stanley will guest on the April 23 episode of "The Big Interview". The AXS TV program, which is on its seventh season, features interviews with some of entertainment's most influential artists.
In a preview video below, Stanley talks to veteran TV journalist and host Dan Rather about his road to stardom and how fame shaped his perspective on life.
"I pursued fame as a way to compensate for a lot of insecurities," Stanley said. "I was born deaf on my right side, and I had a birth defect. I had what's called a microtia, which is basically not having an ear, having a crumpled mass of cartilage. And I wasn't very socially adept. And when you have something physical that sets you apart from people, it makes you really the target of unrelenting scrutiny and sometimes ridicule. And, quite honestly, for me, the idea of becoming famous was a way to push it in people's faces and go, 'You see? You should have been nicer to me.'
"I was fortunate enough to have success come to me, and realized that it didn't change anything," he continued. "So I was really blessed, because, at that point in your life, when you become famous, it's either a disappointment because it's not a remedy, and you either put a needle in your arm, a gun in your mouth, or you live life as a victim. And I'm not cut out for that. So I decided that I would spend my life or my time on self-exploration and trying to make myself a better person and see where that is going to take me. I was blessed to be a part of an idea to become the band we never saw, and that led me on a course that I'm still on today. Where it's taking me, God only knows."
Stanley wrote about his early struggles with hearing in his 2014 autobiography, "Face The Music: A Life Exposed".
Paul hid the deformity by growing his hair long, and worked through insecurities with a therapist. He received no support from his parents, who had his mentally ill older sister to contend with.
Stanley wrote in his book that it took him decades into adulthood and plenty of therapy to help conquer his lack of self-esteem.