Paul Stanley Reflects On 4O Years Of KISS
Guitar World recently caught up with KISS guitarist/vocalist Paul Stanley to discuss the band’s forty year career and their upcoming induction into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. A couple of excerpts from the chat can be found below.
Despite having been eligible for induction to the Hall of Fame for two decades, KISS was continuously overlooked for induction year after year, until now. Stanley argued that it was no oversight on the Hall Of Fame’s behalf: “…to ignore somebody with the kind of fervor that we’ve been ignored, that’s clearly a conscious decision. For better or worse, that’s not being ignored at all.”
He said it was the band’s unyielding rock n’ roll attitude that both kept them out and got them in: “…to me rock and roll has always been about doing what you want to do and ignoring not only your critics but also your peers. For 40 years, we’ve rarely wavered from that. So I would have to say that the same criteria that has kept us out of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is the same criteria that now has gotten us inducted into it.”
2014 marks the 40th anniversary of KISS’ 1974 self-titled debut album, which featured the bands classic lineup: Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. The band has since gone through around 10 lineup changes, with Stanley and Simmons remaining the only constants throughout. While many fans and critics alike argue that the band’s best lineup was the first, Stanley said that while drummer Peter Criss was forced out of the band, guitarist Ace Frehley threw it all away: “What we had at the beginning was magical. Not because we were virtuosos. Magic in rock and roll isn’t dependent on virtuosity. Ace and I played great together. But in my mind it’s a crime what Ace did.”
Stanley blamed Frehley’s lack of commitment for his departure from the band: “He threw away incredible potential and talent. The Ace I played with when the band first started out was a comet. And not [Frehley’s late-Eighties band] Frehley’s Comet! But he was burning bright and stopped practicing. He got involved with a whole lot of things that really diluted and diminished his craft. I saw that comet grow dim.”
Both Freehley and Criss’ onstage persona’s, Spaceman and Catman, were adopted by their successors, something that has sparked much controversy over the years. However, Stanley said the band made the mistake of trying to develop a new character in the 80s, just before they went ‘unmasked.’ “…rather than saying, ‘We’ve built these iconic figures together and we’re going to continue on with what we built,’ we bought into the idea of, ‘We have to have a new character.’ That watered it down. Some people may argue with me, but I feel that Batman is Batman whether he’s played by George Clooney, Christian Bale, Val Kilmer and on and on.”
The full interview with Stanley can be found in the April issue of Guitar World.