Interview with Paul Stanley. Issue 78 June 1995.

Interview with Paul Stanley: June 1995


SLUG: So, the KISS Convention’s in June.

PAUL: Yeah, that’s basically what’s happening right now. I mean we spent a year putting this thing together. They’ve just been awesome. Obviously people have been doing KISS Conventions for like 10 years or so, and there’s not a whole lot of bands you could do a convention based around. But, you know even though some of them were really well intentioned we just figured to really do this thing right there’s only one band that can do it and that’s us. To do it ourselves. We’re not the kind of guys who say, “Hey here’s our name. Go put together a convention.”

SLUG: You don’t want to just let anyone use the name. 

Paul Stanley with guitar
We’re not the kind of guys who say, “Hey here’s our name. Go put together a convention.” Issue 78, June 1995

PAUL: Yeah, I mean this is a traveling museum. It’s over a ton of stuff that’s traveling and we’ve got 20 fully dressed mannequins on—I mean, they’re basically like six and a half feet tall. There are 20 fully dressed mannequins in the original costumes and boots. You can see The Destroyer costumes or the KISS AIive! costumes. All this stuff up close and the boots and you can see Peter Criss‘s mirror a drummer from KISS Alive! There’s a KISS tribute band that does a ’70s style show. And then Eric does a drum clinic and Bruce Kulick does a guitar clinic. Then we have like 20 years of like memorabilia, like blue prints for stages and we got the the Love Gun oil painting. We’ve got all this cool merchandise certified ‘Alive!’ and ‘Destroyer’ gold and platinum albums. We got the KISStory the book and we got the awesome motorcycle jackels that look like they’re 100 years old. KISS army motorcycle jackets. And you know all that kind of stuff. And then obviously we’re there. We show up and we do a Q+A period that can run up to two hours depending upon what people want to know. I mean we’re there to answer basically anything and everything. You want to talk about the past, the present, the future. You want to talk about the guys who’ve been in the band. Whatever you want to talk about.

SLUG: And you guys are also going to do an acoustic set, right?

PAUL: And then after that we played unplugged. KISS Acoustic is what we call it. We do that usually for at least an hour or two hours and I mean god knows what we’re going to play. We’ve played everything from “Strutter” to “World Without Heroes” then ”Domino” to ”Forever.” Shoes. So its really, really cool. On top of that they’re eligible for a grand prize. We have a drawing at the end of the convention tour where somebody is going to win a set of drums and Ibanez PS10 guitar and ESP Kulick guitar and Gene Simmons‘ bass.

SLUG: The original iceman, yeah. I used to have one of those. I don’t know if Simmons told you or not, but did he tell you the story about when you were at the Hilton?


SLUG: He didn’t.


SLUG: Oh, he’s a liar. When I first did the interview with him I told him and he goes, “Oh, I gotta tell Paul he’ll get a kick out of it.” When I was about 14 I think it was, I think it was the tour before Love Gun, you guys had Cheap Trick open for you at the Salt Palace. You guys were staying at the Hilton. You came and sat down at the counter by yourself, without any make-up on. And I was about 14 and I walked up to you and I was like,“You’re Paul Stanley,” and you said, “No, I’m not.” You don’t remember that?

PAUL: Of course I remember that. I said to you, “Keep this name in mind, SLUG Magazine”.

SLUG: No actually that is true. I had you sign one of those place mat type deals and you signed “Rock on…Paul Stanley” and I told all my friends and they were like, ‘You’re so full of shit, that never happened.” But anyway that was funny. So, let me ask you a couple of other questions that don’t necessarily have to do with KISS Conventions. Didn’t you do New England, the band? 

PAUL: Yeah.

 SLUG: What happened to those guys?

PAUL: Unfortunately, I think they were on the wrong label at the wrong time and when that album came out everybody was saying, Oh, this is the next big thing. 

SLUG: I thought they were a great band. 

PAUL: Yeah, I thought they were really cool. I really liked that album a lot. 

SLUG: So do I. 

PAUL: But, you know, usually when people say you’re the next big things, you’re in a lot of trouble. 

SLUG: Yeah, no shit. 

PAUL: It’s the one thing you don’t want to hear. You don’t want to be the next Beatles

Paul Stanley in full makeup
There was like Thin Lizzy, there was Cheap Trick, there was in my opinion a bunch of really cool bands. Issue 78, June 1995

SLUG: No kidding. Ok well, cool band anyway. I still have some notes from Simmons’ interview. But I have a couple of other questions I want to ask you about other stuff. Such as give me your views on some of the bands that I’m going to say to you. Okay.

PAUL: Okay, now let me just preface this by saying, “My opinion is no better than anybody else on the street.” 

SLUG: So your opinion and a quarter won’t get you a cup of coffee? 

PAUL: You bet, my opinion does exactly what anyone else’s does.

SLUG: Kurt Cobain

PAUL: Dead? 

SLUG: Hole

PAUL: Will be. 

SLUG: Pearl Jam

PAUL: Uh, uh, uh, let’s come back to that. 

SLUG: There you go. Actually, the only reason I asked you that is I’m just kind of curious as to what you think about bands today as opposed to…cause like you know when you guys were first starting, but maybe not first starting out, but when KISS was on the rise to being the Kings. There was like Thin Lizzy, there was Cheap Trick, there was in my opinion a bunch of really cool bands. And now I don’t think there are, you know what I mean.

PAUL: You know, that’s a touchy subject. People are always bound to talk about the past because the past always seems better—maybe because it is the past. There is something to be said for some of the music today and there is something lacking in some of it. Time will tell how much of it is good. Because god knows how many bands have sold millions of albums and a few years later you’re embarrassed to say you ever listened to them. 

SLUG: Right, true. That’s true but out of your guys time period, how many people lasted? Not a lot. You guys and maybe two other bands and that’s it. 

PAUL: Yeah, well, you know lets see what happens with the people around today. One of my questions all the time is if the basis of your view on life is that life sucks and that you’re miserable and poor your first time is going to take care of all that? Now what are you going to sing about? You know the jury is still out. I think there is some really cool stuff. I think Live is just very cool. 

SLUG: Yeah, I like that. I like Live a lot. 

PAUL: That really knocks me out. 

SLUG: See, I think there are bands like live that are good and that are what I think some of the best music out today. But still, my point is if you look back at that time like just at the bands that I mentioned those turned out to be fairly huge bands. I mean Cheap trick even though they’re not what they used to be. They were huge for a long time.

PAUL: I don’t know that in 20 years from today anybody is going to be treating any of the new bands as Led Zeppelin. But that remains to be seen. I don’t know. It takes time. Time is really the doctor. Time tells all. Everything gets measured by its endurance. You know, when we think about boxing we always think of Muhammed Ali as being the champ. Muhammed Ali got beaten by Leon Spinks, but nobody remembers Leon Spinks because in the long run it was Muhammed Ali who won the most fights. That’s what I like to think of us as. I mean I’m in the battle for the long pull and whose ahead in this lap doesn’t matter. There ain’t that many bands who are going to have conventions. Ain’t that many bands who are going to have 9 pounds, 440 page coffee table books. There ain’t that many bands that are going to have 27 albums out. 

SLUG: So you don’t think Honeymoon Suite is going to do a little convention tour thing?

PAUL: Only after the reunion. 

SLUG: Who has done a convention besides you guys? 

PAUL: Well nobody. 

SLUG: And the only people who could do it would easily be you guys, Led Zeppelin and the Stones that would be about it. And the Beatles obviously. 

PAUL: I may love The Stones, but what are you going to look at a convention. Scarves? Scarves and belts? 

SLUG: I mean is, you guys not only have the history of the band, but you’ve got all the cool shit because nobody else had that stuff. Nobody else did the makeup and the boots and the shows. 

PAUL: And the cool thing about what we’re doing is, you don’t have to be out of the band. You don’t have to be in the audience to be a fan. I’m in the KISS army and I’m on stage. I’m trying…I get off on everything we do. I think the key to this band other than total fan appreciation is the fact that we’re such huge fans. I get so off on what we do and basically the show, the conventions, the book, all that stuff is geared to turn us on. Because if it turns us on, it will turn everyone else on. 

SLUG: Cool. I know it was one of my major influences when I was a kid. You know my mom hated KISS and she thought you guys were Satan and the devil. I’m sure that’s what everybody else thought. You know, and I was like that’s all I need. All I need is the endorsement the world hates you guys and I’m all over it.

PAUL: I’ll tell you what the funniest thing is. Like in the late 70’s we went through a period where we became a little bit more family oriented which I despised. We wound up with young kids in the audience whose moms would bring them. The funny thing was the those moms would wind up putting Johnny to bed in the room next to mine. If parents would only tell the truth. 

SLUG: How’s everything else going as far as you…you’ve got how many albums? 20?

PAUL: Yeah, I’m trying to remember. In the next couple of years, we should become the band with the most gold albums. But we’ll see. Other than that, we just came back from a huge successful tour of Australia and Japan. Before that we were doing stadiums in South America with Slayer and Black Sabbath opening for us and Suicidal Tendencies, and that was fun. August we’ll be back in the studio and get the next album done and get it out. 

SLUG: Any difference or departure from the last album or what do you think? Have you guys even written it yet? 

PAUL: Oh, it’s done. This stuff has been written and rewritten. We could have done an album probably a year ago. It would have been a good album. I don’t think we want a good album. It’s got to be great and great albums aren’t easy. The stuff got written and rewritten and at this point the stuff is really, I think it’s awesome. 

SLUG: Well you have the luxury of taking that time too. It’s not like the record company can say, you better have a album by the 20th of the month or you’re in trouble. 

PAUL: Yeah, I mean it is really great to be in that position where everything is hands on and everything is done our way and when it comes to other people it’s hands off. The KISS Convention is done by us. When you get something with a stamp on it chances are we licked it. We do this all ourselves. We elect to do it at our own pace and usually that’s the way to do it right. Don’t let anybody call the shots for you. I don’t want to hear anybody else’s opinion. 

SLUG: There you go. Cool. So it’s June 22. I think I’m going to talk to the publicist and see if she’s going to get us in or what. So, hopefully I’ll meet you there and I’ll come up to you and I’ll say, “You’re Paul Stanley” and you can say, “No, I’m not.” 

PAUL: That’s right. Which one are you going to? 

SLUG: Salt Lake City. 

PAUL: Well Salt Lake is June 22. I’ve got some great photos from Salt Lake City. Yeah, they would rebuke anybody’s thought of Salt Lake being conservative. 

SLUG: There you go, I’ll bet. All indoors I would imagine.

Read more from Issue 78 here.