KISS’ PAUL STANLEY Speaks With The West Australian

April 22, 2004, 20 years ago

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KISS’ official website ( has posted a recent article from Australia’s The West Australian paper, written by Bob Gordon. The article appears as follows:

There's a point in the Kiss Symphony DVD - recorded in February last year at Melbourne's Telstra Dome - where vocalist/guitarist Paul Stanley's helium-high stage banter descends into a warm and somewhat deeper tone.

"You know, last time we were here I never, ever, thought we'd come back. But you make it hard to stay away."

So hard to stay away, in fact, that Kiss will once again hit Australia next month for a national tour that comes three years after they bade us all goodbye on the Farewell Tour. By 2002, the band were well on the way to organising the Kiss Symphony show with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, as well as completing preparations for the co-headlining tour of the US with Aerosmith, which dominated the summer concert tour market in the States last year.

It seems to be a rock star's prerogative to change his mind. Then again, we all have done it.

"All I can try to do with my life is be honest to myself," Stanley says down the line from his home in Los Angeles. "Whatever I do at any given time is with integrity and with a full sense of it being fact. But one of the things in life is that life brings changes in view.

"Thinking that Kiss were done was something that, towards the end of the Farewell Tour, I really began to wonder if that, in fact, was so. Between the audience reaction and the fun I was having, at some point I had to reassess it and think that as long as I can have fun doing it in top form, then there's no reason I should stop. Hence, there's no reason Kiss should stop."

And so it goes that Kiss haven't stopped and will not stop for the foreseeable future. The Australian visit is followed by dates in Japan, then the Rock the Nation tour of the US with special support guests Poison.

While it looks similar, this is a different Kiss. With lead guitarist Ace Frehley fully replaced by long-time Kiss associate Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer back behind the drum kit now that Peter Criss has again been shown the door, Stanley and bassist/vocalist/businessman Gene Simmons are leading the 30-year-old outfit into another new era.

Out there in cyberspace, there are diehard fans - known in Kiss circles as "The Few" - who are crying foul.

"Things do change and if there are some diehard fans who cry foul, then they need to realise that there is no tooth fairy," Stanley says firmly.

"There's no Superman. As much as we might like to believe in fantasy and fable, a band is four people and... it seems odd that when faced with Kiss or no Kiss, well, I would think they'd opt for Kiss.

"Not to put those people down, because everybody is entitled to their opinion, but if that opinion becomes too vehement, then to me it's not that different to a child who wants vanilla ice-cream and when he gets chocolate decides he's not going to have any ice-cream at all.

"Again, if a member goes home or if a member can't do it or chooses not to or isn't up to it, the game's not over. I'll be damned if anybody tells me how I should treat the band that I started 30 years ago. They can tell me what they prefer but it's sure as hell not gonna stop me if a handful of people don't like it. It's insane.

"The proof of that is that whatever tour we've done, whatever the changes, the truth is it's Kiss. Quite honestly, there's been times when the line-up has been different to the original line-up and it's been better. This isn't about perpetuating fantasies, it's about delivering reality. And Kiss is a reality."

Fans will be pleased to know that Kiss reality will include a re-evaluation of the concert set-list and the staging, both of which have been tied down somewhat by the band's own tradition in recent years.

"What makes this tour exciting is the idea of really changing the set around in terms of music," Stanley explains. "Really shaking up the set-list and the stage and being more free with ourselves in terms of what songs we play. At times, we've had a mindset of what we 'have' to play. With our catalogue of songs, at some point you really have to put some of those songs aside because there's a lot of great material. Otherwise it really does become a bit repetitive."

While some fans have been screaming for set-list overhauls for some time, it seems the band were not only cornered by audience expectation but by the trademark effects that were deemed to belong to specific songs.

"Sometimes I think that some of those, shall we say, effects of the show have become a bit safe, in the sense that they're expected and predictable and may have lost their teeth," Stanley says.

"We can't be held prisoner by obligatory moments in the show because I don't think anything is obligatory.

"For a while now our set has been pretty much the same, with maybe three or four songs changed. It's because of the fact that we don't want to disappoint people by not doing what have become the quote/unquote Kiss classics. But there are loads of them. Like I said, it's time to shake things up a bit."

While both Stanley and Simmons have solo LPs due (Simmons is called Asshole and will be out in June, Stanley's early next year), Kiss is their main driving force. All original or not, they're intent on blowing us all away.

"On the Kiss/Aerosmith tour - which was a massive success where we literally went down a storm every night and blew the place apart - there wasn't one person who said 'Why is Tommy there?'" Stanley says. "It just doesn't enter into the realm of things. Once we hit the stage, it's very clear within the first 10 seconds who we are. We're Kiss."

Kiss perform at the WACA Ground on May 8 with support from Allegiance, Machine Gun Fellatio and Grinspoon. Tickets available through Ticketmaster7.

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