Intervju med Paul Stanley av North Jersey:
Paul Stanley, Rock Hall inductee, to sign memoir at Bookends
WHO: Paul Stanley of KISS.
WHAT: Signing his book, ”Face theMusic: A Life Exposed.”
WHEN: 6 p.m. Wednesday.
WHERE: Bookends, 211 E. Ridgewood Ave., Ridgewood; 201-445-0726 or book-ends.com.
HOW MUCH: Free with purchase of book ($28.99).
MORE INFO: paulstanley.com.
KISS will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Thursday, and singer-guitarist Paul Stanley is not pleased.
”They are only inducting the original members,” Stanley said. ”It’s disrespectful. We never could have started without [original guitarist and drummer] Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, but this band has a 40-year history, many with other band members, that should not be ignored.”
Arguments about which members of the band, past and present, could or should play at the induction ceremony at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn led founders Stanley and bassist Gene Simmons to pull the plug on any performance.
”They wanted to strong-arm us into playing with the original guys only in gear and makeup, and that was a non-starter,” Stanley said.
Stanley and Simmons are the lone constants in KISS, the makeup-adorned band that carved out a unique spot in music history with their anthemic arena rock, spectacular stage productions and extensive merchandising efforts. The band’s current lineup also includes guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer.
Stanley was on the phone to promote his book signing on Wednesday in Ridgewood. His biography, ”Face the Music: A Life Exposed,” hits store shelves today.
”Many of the books that have been put out by so-called rock celebrities are tripe,” Stanley said. ”If I was going to write something, it would be based on the idea that it would be inspirational and give people some confidence from what I could achieve.”
The band’s summer tour with Def Leppard includes stops at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel on July 26 and Jones Beach on Long Island on Aug. 6. Last week, KISS released the first in a series of 40th anniversary vinyl collections. We spoke with Stanley about his book and the Hall of Fame induction.
Q. What is the main message you want people to take from your book?
I wanted to be able to write a book that shows how you can go through unsettling times and turmoil and come out on top. There’s no substitute for determination and drive. My life has a happy ending. I thought my story was something people could benefit from.
Q. You were born with microtia, a birth defect in which part of your right ear is missing, and you’re also deaf in that ear. How did that affect your musical ambitions?
It never affected my music. It affected my social interactions, how I was seen and sometimes ridiculed. Music became my refuge. Although I may not hear music the same way that someone who has hearing in both ears hears it, I never missed anything because I don’t know what things would have sounded like otherwise.
Q. You’re the last of the original members of KISS to write a book. Have you read the other guys’ biographies?
Gene’s book is understandably written from him being in the center of everything, because that’s what he’s like. The other two [by Frehley and Criss] go from being questionable to absurd.
When people’s recollections are tainted by substance abuse they’re not usually people an attorney wants to put on a witness stand. The few bits I read were so ridiculous that it was frightening to think that either of them believe it.
For a lot of reasons I feel I’m more objective.
Q. It seems like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction has been more a cause for headaches than celebration. How do you feel about it?
The Hall of Fame people said that inducting other members who were not in the original lineup but who were in the band for decades and played on multiplatinum albums like [guitarist] Bruce Kulick and [late drummer] Eric Carr was a non-starter. That’s not how it has worked with other bands. There’s a commune of Grateful Dead members in there, including a writer who never played an instrument, and a bass player in Metallica who had only been in the band for seven years when they were inducted.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a small boys club who trademarked a name that sounds very official and change the rules to suit their needs. We are in the Hall of Fame not because those people want us there but because it began to look absurd not having us there. To have a band that many pop bands cite as an influence and to be ignored year after year takes a lot of effort.
Whether it’s official or not, I will be there to celebrate 40 years of this band.
Q. KISS is the all-time leader in rock music when it comes to branding. There’s been everything from makeup sets, action figures and board games to KISS coffins and coffeehouses. What was the mind-set behind the marketing effort, and do you feel it led to people thinking KISS was style over substance?
You can put all the icing on the cake that you want but you better have the cake.
It must start with viable songs, consistently having viable songs, and we have that.
With the makeup, we wanted to be larger than life. With merchandise, we wanted to give our fans what they wanted. When we first started doing T-shirts and belt buckles we were laughed at because it was considered uncool. We saw it very much the opposite. If our fans wanted it, then it was cool.