I wanted to
talk with Paul Stanley for two reasons: First, when you have the opportunity to
talk to an original member of KISS, you talk to an original member of KISS.
Second, he's an old school rock'n'roll pro. I love those guys. They get how
interviews are supposed to work. I ask questions, they answer in good copy.
It's fun. Oh, and the band is a working on a new record. So I guess it's three
reasons. When I got an email offering the opportunity to talk to Stanley-pegged to his work with the City of Hope cancer, diabetes,
and AIDS/HIV research institute-I took it.
How did you get involved with City of Hope? "Honestly
you reach a point where it becomes clear that life isn't a one-way ride-not if
you want to get the most out of it. And for me, City of Hope has always been synonymous with being
one of the leading research, treatment and education centers for cancer and
diabetes and other illnesses."
You have a new baby daughter. You're 59-years-old.
Presumably there's a good chance that by the time she's old enough to be aware
of what's going on, you won't be performing with KISS anymore. Do you wonder
how she'll understand what her dad did for a living? "That's an interesting question. Certainly with my oldest,
he's lived it with me. He's 17. He's toured the world with me. My younger boy,
Colin, who's 5, he's been on the side of the stage while I've played to a
hundred thousand people. So he's also aware of it but probably not with the
depth that Evan is. Sarah is two-and-a-half. She knows who it is when she sees
Daddy on the television or hears the music. How lasting that impression will
be, I don't know. Same with my youngest. But I won't continue just so they can
continue to experience it with me."
Do you wish your kids could've seen you in 1975? "I'm very fortunate that I wasn't their dad back then. For a
lot of reasons."
Where are we with the new KISS album? It's called Monster, right? "Yeah. It'll probably be out just before summer 2012. We're
working on vocals. Matter of fact, Gene [Simmons] and Tommy [Thayer] are both
at my house and are going through lyrics. I wanted to make sure, very much,
that this album was far beyond [2009's] Sonic
Boom. Sonic Boom was about going
into the studio and redefining ourselves as a recording band. It's great to be
out there on the road and base what you do on your legacy, but once you go into
the studio you're forging the future. So from day one of doing Sonic Boom, the prerequisite to doing
the album was me producing it and having final say. I think democracy is great
for countries, but not for bands."
How do you try and manage the balance between sounding like
KISS and not sounding like you're oblivious to changes in how music is
recorded? "Well in my estimation, it
would be a failure if somebody said a new KISS song sounds like it could've
been on one of the early albums. What I'm not trying to capture is the sound of
the early albums. I want the vitality, the passion, and the recklessness of the
early albums. I don't want to over-think things. The bands and the music that I
grew up loving made albums based on feel. They weren't going for perfection. I
wanted to make sure that we didn't allow technology to castrate us."
Did you ever feel like you were chasing trends in KISS? "I think the realization hit us-certainly in the last ten
years or so-that we are KISS and that's good enough. Why should we be the
caboose when we're supposed to be the engine? I think Sonic Boom, if nothing else, was a declaration of the band's
commitment to the present, to the past, and towards the future. So being as
great as we've been on tour-and I put us against anybody on any night-it was
really time to take a step forward and recommit ourselves. Sonic Boom was also-I was determined to not let [1998's] Psycho Circus be the last breath of
recorded KISS because that was such a debacle. It was everything that was
wrong, including band members who no longer were committed to the band. They
should have been committed, but not necessarily to the band! DAVID MARCHESE
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