Metal Sludge

Metal Sludge

ONE LAST KISS … Paul Stanley says Kiss “End Of The Road” tour is one last Victory Lap


Paul Stanley says Kiss “End Of The Road” tour is one last Victory Lap


By Martin Boulton

SMH – On the phone from Los Angeles earlier this year, Paul Stanley’s New York accent was a clear reminder of where the veteran entertainer and rock ‘n’ roll preacher began his life.

It was just a few days out from the start of what’s been billed as the End of the Road tour for Kiss, whose breakthrough 1975 album Alive! opened with the roar of a crowd and a stage announcer declaring: “You wanted the best and you got it, the hottest band in the land, Kiss”. Not Paul Stanley, not co-founding band member Gene Simmons or the huge Kiss juggernaut ever looked back.

“It’s amazing how life intertwines and how we impact and influence each other,” says Stanley, who had just collected his kids from school. “It’s pretty astounding to know that a band … that music can have that kind of power. It’s not lost on me.”

metalbabe_block_150_1He was referring to both the rise of the Kiss Army, a growing legion of fans around the world on the back of Alive! and subsequent albums, particularly 1979’s Dynasty; and the lasting influence of the band, and no more so than upon the rock ‘n’ roll disciples far and wide who discovered the power of Kiss and then went on to form their own bands.

Chatting on the phone, Stanley sounded supremely relaxed and ready to power up the amps again, for what would be more than a hundred shows this year across the US, Europe and Asia. And if it’s truly the end of the road for Kiss, he was determined “to make sure the road we leave behind is hard for anyone else to navigate” once they’ve put away the guitars and make-up.

Kiss started their journey in New York City in 1973, when lead singer and guitarist Stanley, Simmons on bass guitar and former members Ace Frehley (lead guitar) and drummer Peter Criss first painted their faces and donned elaborate stage costumes. They released their debut, self-titled album in 1974 quickly followed by Hotter Than Hell and Dressed To Kill in ’75, before Alive!The following year they released Destroyer and Rock and Roll Over before a second live album Alive II in 1977.

Looking back, Stanley says Humble Pie’s Steve Marriott was “a huge influence” on him and “was the template for a lot of what I wound up doing” on stage, albeit surrounded by bandmates in face paint, pyrotechnics and a fire-breathing Simmons spitting fake blood in between pounding bass lines. “The idea of being on stage and preaching the gospel of rock’n’roll, which is basically what he (Marriott) was doing … that was something I aspired to,” Stanley says.

“As a child, a young child, I saw a lot of the early rock’n’roll and I was fascinated by rock’n’roll, so it started quite early. I was hugely influenced by the Beatles and Led Zeppelin. I was fortunate enough to grow up in New York, where on any given weekend in the late ’60s or early ’70s you could see The Who, you could see Humble Pie, Zeppelin or Jimi Hendrix and that really, really inspired me; these bands who took pride in what they were doing, they left it all on the stage, so to speak.”

There’s been several line-up changes and another dozen Kiss albums since the release of Unmasked in the 1980s, which coincided with the first of several Kiss tours of Australia. Stanley still recalls the overwhelming response from fans, both at shows and in between performances in Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane.

“When we first came to Aussie land in 1980 we had no idea what to expect and we were absolutely blown away by the people, by the reception and the country,” he said. “My memories have always been incredible and from Melbourne to the Barossa and across Australia, nobody knows how to make a bad Shiraz. Really, what you have their is so special and the people are just stellar.

“My life here is what I consider a fairly normal life. I drive my kids to school or pick them up, I go to the market or the hardware store, but I also get to have an extraordinary life. It was Mark Twain who said ‘If you find something you love doing, you’ll never work a day in your life’ and along the way, I try to have a laugh as much as possible.”

Four months later, Stanley is on the phone again but this time from Atlanta, where Kiss had just played their 40th show on the End of the Road tour. After months of rehearsals, long-time members Tommy Thayer on guitar, Eric Singer on drums, Stanley and Simmons have been playing to packed stadiums across North America.

“I’m definitely on a break from my school duties and out there preaching rock’n’roll and causing mayhem,” he says. “We’re just having a ball, the chemistry on stage is incredible, we’re having a ball off stage too; we’ve never had more fun and there’s so much to celebrate. The band is on a high because we’re just doing the ultimate Kiss show and that in itself is a cause of incredible pride.”


Read the full story at The Sydney Morning Herald




Metal Sludge is not responsible for offensive comments. That said, you have no right to free speech on this site. This is our site, and we are not the United States government. We reserve the right to edit all comments, and to moderate all comment threads, as we see fit. Happy Sludging!