PAUL STANLEY Talks Success Of Rock & Brews Restaurant Chain - "It's Not Because It's Affiliated Or Associated With KISS"

April 20, 2017, a year ago

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PAUL STANLEY Talks Success Of Rock & Brews Restaurant Chain - "It's Not Because It's Affiliated Or Associated With KISS"

The Orlando sentinel caught up with KISS icons Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons ahead of the April 24th grand opening of their new Rock & Brews restaurant in Orlando, FL. Following is an excerpt from the discussion:

The eatery will be Rock & Brews’ second Central Florida spot (a site in Oviedo opened in 2014) and the 20th location worldwide.

“You may not be a rock star, but you sure as hell will feel like one when you come in to our restaurant,” said Simmons.

The restaurant’s expansion wasn’t astonishing, but the speed at which it grew surprised Paul Stanley, the group’s rhythm guitarist and other lead singer. The brand will have 30 outposts by the end of this year.

“It’s not because it’s affiliated or associated with KISS; that is a minimal facet of Rock & Brews,” said Stanley. “Rock & Brews is a gem.”

A father of four, Stanley said he wanted to create a restaurant he could hang out in with his own family and that didn’t serve “cardboard pizza served by a rat.”

“The whole Rock & Brews concept is something that is part of a philosophy of mine,” Stanley said. “If you address your own needs, you address the needs of others.”

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What happens when you have two visionary modern artistes merging their talents? Well, when you are talking about rock photographer Mark Weiss (pictured above with KISS' Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley) and painter/artiste David Banegas, you wind up with a breath-taking, larger-than-life image of Mark’s images morphing into David’s art. Four portrait paintings are featured at the new Rock & Brews - located at 6897 South Semoran Blvd. by the Orlando airport.

One of the paintings is based on an image Weiss photographed of Axl Rose during the historic Guns N’ Roses concert in 1987 at The Ritz in New York City. Add to the 10’ x 30’ mural, three more textured and stylized mirror image paintings from Weiss’ archives and you begin to envision the mural’s impact. The “wall of art” was commissioned by entrepreneur Scott Paul for the Rock & Brews in Orlando. The restaurant needed to artistically exemplify its “rock roots” and it had to be contemporary. The merged artwork of Mark Weiss and David Banegas was the answer.

The Rock & Brews Orlando grand opening is open to the public on Monday, April 24th, the above-mentioned rock icon paintings are displayed on the Rock & Brew’s wall of distinction. There will be a silent auction where the proceeds will go to the Orange County Animal Services of Mark’s iconic classic rock photos as well as David’s embellished half/half giclee of Axl Rose, at a special community night celebration on April 22nd.

Work in progress: photographer Mark Weiss, owner Scott Paul, and artist David Banegas at the new Rock & Brews in Orlando

“I met Scott in February 2017.  I was touring with KISS, taking photos for their tour-book.  As I walked into the hospitality room where Gene and Paul were discussing future openings of Rock & Brews, Scott walked over to me  and asked if I was ‘Mark Weiss – the photographer’. He told me about how he ripped my photos out of magazines and plastered them on his bedroom walls three decades ago. Scott proceeded to tell me that he had opened 3 Rock & Brews locations and was opening another in Orlando shortly. The restaurants are covered wall to wall with album cover art and photographs. He expressed his love for art and showed me photos of the Rock & Brews in Texas where a huge painting of Stevie Ray Vaughn was proudly displayed. I showed him the merged art I did with artist David Banegas. After a couple of weeks, the project came to life.” – Mark Weiss

Picasso once said, “(a painter) paints not what he sees, but what he feels”. Seeing the combined effort of two artistes such as Mark Weiss and David Banegas, equals one new focused vision – one feeling - locking in a moment in time, image and feel.

Their first collaboration began in 2012 at Guitar World’s first Rock & Roll Roast to benefit MusiCares which featured guitarist Zakk Wylde

Photographer Mark Weiss and artist David Banegas met at the Lunch Break 2011 Gala in Red Bank, NJ. Both contributed their art to raise money at the charitable event. Mark was auctioning off his classic rock photographs; while David was painting live - a portrait of Elvis Presley that was raffled off at the event. David’s unique execution of painting caught Mark’s eye; inspiring him to approach David with the idea to have him paint a mirror image of his most iconic Rock & Roll images.  The partnership was formed! Both artists continue to donate their work to help bring focus and funds to charitable causes.

Mark Weiss got his first camera in 1973 at the age of 14. He made a deal with a guy in his New Jersey neighbourhood to cut his lawn all summer in exchange for a 35 mm camera. A couple years later in high school, Mark began sneaking his camera into concerts. He developed the prints in his parent’s bathroom and sold them for a buck a piece. In 1977 Mark was arrested for selling his photos outside of the Kiss Concert at Madison Square Garden and spent the night in jail. The next day he walked into the offices of Circus magazine with his portfolio. The rest is rock n’ roll history! Mark traveled around the world photographing tours for Ozzy Osbourne, Aerosmith, Motley Crue, Guns ‘n Roses, Kiss and Bon Jovi also creating album covers such as Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet and Twisted Sister’s Stay Hungry.

David  Banegas grew up in Bolivia and has been painting since he was 6 years old. He explains his unique work as “something that happens at the moment, it flows” If there is a name for this method it would be “Action Painting”, It is done layer upon layer and is created with pure feeling” Once he captures the eyes, he is “locked in place and the rest of the painting then follows.” It comes from letting go of all fears and painting what is felt and so this is a transcendent moment.”    

Rock & Brews is not just a cool Orlando-based restaurant - it is a rock restaurant that pays homage to artists who rocked our world. You’ll feel it the minute you walk through the door. The founding partners in Rock & Brews are: rock icons Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons of KISS, restaurateur/hotelier Michael Zislis and concert industry/merchandising veterans Dave and Dell Furano.

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