By Linda Leseman
Paul Stanley, rhythm guitarist of KISS, has been rocking the Starchild for nearly 40 years, over which time the group has accumulated 24 gold albums — more than any other American band. But perhaps even more importantly, in that time he has managed to shave about an hour and a half off of the two hours he once needed to do his makeup. “I don't know that it's much different than the boxers and the UFC fighters before they go in the ring,” he says. “They're in the locker room going through their rituals and their paces to get ready to defend their title. Every time we step out onstage, we have a title to live up to.”
Stanley spoke to us in conjunction with KISS' efforts for City of Hope, a National Cancer Institute-affiliated organization located just northeast of L.A. dedicated to curing life-threatening diseases. After all, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, y'all. He also spoke about the launching of the KISS “Navy” and why so many other bands are boring.
KISS fans are intensely devoted. Why do you think that is?
Well, part of it has to do with how boring most bands are. [Laughs.] I don't necessarily want to buy a t-shirt with a guy on it who looks like my neighbor. And I think KISS has always been about celebrating self-empowerment. Celebrating the idea that anything is possible with determination and hard work. We're the proof of that….There are no fans more rabid or devoted than KISS fans. KISS fans are what all other fans are measured against. That's how it came to be known as the KISS Army.
You just announced the title of your new album, Monster. Can we expect a KISS tour in support of the record?
Sure. We ultimately have always seen ourselves as a live band that prides itself not only in playing music but in entertaining. And I say “entertainment” in capital letters with lights flashing around it. We're proud of that. There's nothing worse than going to a concert and paying for a high-priced ticket and seeing somebody stroll out onto stage and sit on a stool. You kind of wonder where your money went.
The first ever KISS cruise is coming up later this month. What do you think that's going to be like?
Mayhem! [Laughs.] This is a great opportunity for the rabid fans, of which there are multitudes, to buy onto a cruse ship. We'll be doing two shows on it. And as opposed to the KISS Army, it's the launching of the KISS Navy.
This brings to mind a relatively new army of devoted fans — Lady GaGa's Little Monsters. I know GaGa is a fan of KISS. Any chance of a KISS/GaGa collaboration?
Anything's possible. She's terrific, and it's not improbable.
What got you interested in working with City of Hope?
Whenever anybody comes to me with a way that I can give something back, it would be ungrateful at this point in my life to not say yes. When you're in a position to have gotten so much, the gift at this point is giving back. There's nothing more heartbreaking than seeing children who are critically ill. And here's a way to make a solid and tangible contribution towards either helping those afflicted or eradicating these devastating illnesses.
Fifty percent of the proceeds from KISS t-shirt's bought at CityofHopeShop.com go to the charity.