PAUL STANLEY: 'If It Ever Comes Down To It, I Am KISS'

PAUL STANLEY: 'If It Ever Comes Down To It, I Am KISS'

Paste magazine recently conducted an interview with KISS guitarist/vocalist Paul Stanley. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Paste: You take Gene [Simmons] to task in [your memoir, "Face The Music: A Life Exposed"]. There are even parallels to his attitude in the early-'80s and Ace [Frehley] and Peter's [Criss] — that, in your words, they were delusional as far as their contributions to the band. Why do you think yours and Gene's relationship survived that?

Stanley: That's really interesting. I mean, I just left him 20 minutes ago. There is a respect for each other. I don't necessarily approve of everything he does, but how something affects you has nothing to do with the other person. It's all about how you take it in. There are things about Gene that over the years may have annoyed me, and that's OK. There are other times certainly where he did things that I felt a betrayal, and that he was taking advantage of me. But at the end of the day, Gene and I are brothers. We've been together 40-plus years. I know I can count on him in any situation, and we've only grown closer. Certainly we've had our — I don't even want to say moments — we haven't had moments, we've had weeks and months. Years. At the end of the day, both of us have always been about trying to do what's best for the band. But, look, you know, a strong relationship gets tested from time to time.

Paste: Yeah, it's like a marriage.

Stanley: Yeah, and perhaps the things that have tested our relationship have made us stronger. We are both blessed to have made possible the lives we both wanted, by each other. The life Gene has now is not a life I would want, and I'm sure it's vice versa. But how fortunate we are, that we've come to this point, and have a future to look at. It's phenomenal. We both started out living at home with our parents, and here we are with grown children, at a very fulfilling part of our lives. Although very different from each other.

Paste: Both you and Gene have said that Ace and Peter are both important to the foundation of KISS. But where do you think the band would be today if they hadn't agreed to do the reunion back in 1996? I mean, obviously, they had a lot to gain as well.

Stanley: I would have to say not where we are now. By putting it back on it allowed us to reclaim those four iconic characters and move on from there. So the reunion tour was very important. Absolutely. It was the ground on which we reclaimed our legacy.

Paste: Do you think KISS would be still be here if it didn't happen?

Stanley: KISS would always be around, because if it ever comes down to it, I am KISS. I don't mean that with disregard to Gene. It ultimately means that no matter what anyone does, I covet this band and will keep it going.

Paste: I think a lot of KISS fans understand that with no Paul Stanley, there's no KISS. Does Gene recognize that? [Laughs] I mean, does he thank you for that?

Stanley: Oh yeah, he acknowledges it now probably more than before, because I think he's more comfortable in his own skin. I do believe that getting married and looking at his past, seeing why he is the way he is, has made him more open to acknowledging that, which is great.

Paste: You've mentioned that you see KISS going on without you and Gene. My question to you is, do you think fans will buy it?

Stanley: Of course. They may not know that they'll buy it now, but they'll accept it if it's great. Look, I was included originally saying that the four original guys are the band, until people started leaving the band. Then it's, well we're going to continue anyway. The fans who thought it had to be the four of us are now 50 percent wrong. Well, they'll be 75 percent or 100 percent. The truth of the matter is that the band is bigger than its individual members, and there are other people out there who can do what I do, although they're probably not known right now. And somebody will come along who's terrific.

Read the entire interview at Paste magazine.

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