KISS’ Paul Stanley Talks DEF LEPPARD Tour, Rumored Las Vegas Residency - "I Can Only Anticipate That If Those Posters Are Any Indication Of Things To Come - It Will Be Everything That People Would Expect And More"
June 13, 2014, 5 years ago
Special report by Mitch Lafon
On June 10th 2014, Paul Stanley held a special press only conference call to discuss KISS’ upcoming tour with DEF LEPPARD and his New York Times’ best selling book, Face The Music: A Life Exposed. Journalists from across Canada and the U.S. were able to ask one question plus a follow-up. What you will read below are Paul’s answers to the questions that were posed (in proper sequence) by the various media invited to the one-hour event. PLEASE NOTE: This is Part One of a three part special. Also note than none of the questions were asked by this reporter.
The first question asked of Paul was the obligatory, ‘what will we see on the tour?’“This is the greatest and best stage that we’ve ever had,” started Stanley. “We took it through Europe and it was a huge success. We call it the Spider stage because the lights are actually in the shape of a spider and the legs are actually dangling down onto the stage and move. I designed this. I wanted a stage where the lights and stage were one instead of having lights hanging from the ceiling. So, the lighting and the stage is by far the best thing we’ve done,” and added proudly, “Look the band is firing on all cylinders so, between that and the fact that we are psyched up for this and we’re celebrating our 40th year; we are out there to do a victory lap although the race isn’t over yet. There’ll be more races, but this is a celebration of everything we’ve done up to today.”
The next question in the cue dealt with the much talked about Vegas Residency as the reporter inquired about the ‘coming this fall’ posters seen around Las Vegas and posed the very direct question - ‘Are there plans for KISS to do a residency in Las Vegas this fall?’
With that the next journalist returned the discussion to the current tour and inquired as to what makes Def Leppard a good combination to tour with KISS.
Without hesitation Stanley explained, “We’ve always tried to have great bands on tour with us and although we’re celebrating our 40th anniversary and this is THE 40th anniversary tour; we want to make sure people get their money’s worth. We always make sure that we do that - a night of great music, songs that you know, songs that connect with you emotionally and serve almost as a snapshot of a certain time in your life. It doesn’t get better than that. Anybody can set off bombs, fireworks and all the rest. All you need is money to do a big show, but nobody can beat KISS and that is why we go out on tour. To celebrate our 40th anniversary is a huge vindication and it’s a huge celebration for us and our fans. They are not even our fans; they’re our tribe and to bring Def Leppard along means that everybody gets to hear a huge catalog of songs that were all hits and all mean something. It’s ultimately got to be great music. Def Leppard is just a great band and it’s a great way to spend an evening during the summer.”
With questions pouring in from every corner, the topics were varied and never followed a linear path. The next topic broached was about the drama that surrounded the Rock N’ Roll Hall Of Fame.
Stanley was refreshingly blunt in his assessment of the Hall Of Shame, “Well, the rock hall was really not much more than a mosquito buzzing around my ear,” he said with obvious disdain. “Ultimately it was, is and always will be about the band, the music and our fans,” he stated emphatically and proudly. “No small organization with a big name can call the shots or decide what is or isn’t valid or who does or doesn’t belong in the Hall Of Fame. The Hall Of Fame, no matter who may own the name, is ultimately what the people decide is in the Hall Of Fame,” he added calmly. “So, you know that was an interesting divergence from what is the heart and soul of what we do,” and explained, “Which are great shows and a great relationship with our fans.” He also reiterated, “They are more a tribe than they are fans because it’s multi-generational at this point. You are all members of this great cult and secret society. It’s a victory lap for us to go out on tour.”
Moving on from that answer, Paul was quizzed about the status of the upcoming KISS documentary.“I can’t say anything about it. I really can’t. It’s being worked on and hopefully it’ll see the light of day. In any case we’re always working on KISSology and the next chapter in terms of our documenting the band’s evolution and on-going journey.”
The LA KISS’ season…“We started with a tremendous handicap,” began Stanley, “because we started a team midway through most players contracts. So, many people were not available and we had to make the best of what we had. We have some great players, but as with a band, a team takes time for people to get comfortable with each other,” mused Paul, but quickly added, “I wouldn’t rule out being in the playoffs. It will be a great team.” He furthered his response by stating, “At the moment, we’ve got 8000+ season ticket holders who are having a ball. We delivered everything we said we would. We have hot female dancers, BMX bike riders, a live band… Everything including a football team that is playing Arena Football which is unlike any another sport. It means a lot to us to win and that will happen.”
The focus of the interview then shifted to his book, Face The Music: A Life Exposed. Paul was asked if he learnt anything about himself in writing the book and whether or not he was happy with the way that it turned out.“I would have to be happy with the way that it turned out because I wrote it,” quipped Stanley. “If I wasn’t happy, you wouldn’t have read it,” and went on to add, “I can’t say that I really learned anything writing the book. Some people have said, ‘Was it cathartic writing the book?’ I go, ‘No, it was cathartic living the life.’ It was great to document something that I believed initially could be inspiring or helpful to other people. To see it finished and have that not only confirmed by my reading it, but everyday have people come over to me as they did this morning and tell me, literally on the street or in stores, that the book moved them and inspired them - that, to me, at this point in my life is the only reason to do anything - because of what others can get out of it.”
Once again shifting back to the tour, the curious press inquired as to whether or not this was a co-headlining show with Def Leppard.“No, this is OUR 40th anniversary tour,” stressed Stanley, “Def Leppard is along with us. We’re happy to have them with us, but it’s not a co-headlining tour. The running order and everything else remains the same every night.”
Much of the band’s success is due to their die hard fan base. The next reporter wanted to know as to what Paul attributed the band’s fans’ fierce loyalty to and also what were some of the lengths fans have gone to show their dedication.“I think you can’t have the kind of dedication that we have from our fans unless they sense the same dedication to them,” pondered Stanley. “The only way that you can be in KISS is if you have the ultimate respect, not only for the band, but for the fans because they are intertwined. When you no longer have that; then you have no place in this band,” affirmed Paul. “I think we have shown that over the years. We may not always do what makes every fan happy, but we stick to our guns and do what we believe in. Ultimately, it’s always what we think is best for the fans.” As for dedication, Paul Stanley states proudly, “There are more people than I can count that have KISS tattoos. That’s like being a ‘lifer’ in the Army. Anybody can put on a uniform then take it off, but when you tattoo yourself - you are in it for the long haul. That’s an incredible sign of dedication.” Stanley emphatically added, “Nothing compares to the KISS Army. The KISS Army started on the street in Terre Haute, Indiana when a radio station wouldn’t play KISS. The fans demanded it and said ‘if you don’t play KISS. We will surround the radio station.’ It wasn’t taken with any sense of urgency, but when the time came and they didn’t play KISS; the building was surrounded. This was all from a ground swell. The KISS Army started on the street and there is no army like a volunteer army.” He continued by stating, “I see these people everyday and the beauty of a KISS fan now is that it’s so multi-generational that everybody who comes to a show is proud to see the other people there. You’re proud to see your younger brother. You’re proud to see your grandfather. You’re proud to see anybody that shows up because you’re all part of the tribe.”
We’ll wind down the first part of this Stanley interview special by going back to the band’s beginnings and Paul’s memories of playing the Daisy in Amityville, NY in 1973.“The Daisy was really a second home for us,” began Stanley. “From the first time we played there and nobody knew who we were to a few months later when people were breaking windows trying to get in. It was trial by fire. It was bringing the cause to the people. They resoundingly embraced what we were doing,” and ends by adding, “I do remember the 0.35$ alcohol drinks which wouldn’t do much except make you pee a lot.”
(Photo of rumoured KISS Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas residency courtesy of Three Sides Of The Coin)