KISS' PAUL STANLEY Talks Songwriting - "I Thought ‘Hard Luck Woman’ Would Be Great For ROD STEWART But Gene Said ‘No, We Need This Song’"
October 24, 2023, a month ago
Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley spoke to American Songwriter about the legacy and last days of KISS as a touring band. The KISS co-founders also spoke about songwriting, where inspiration arises, the magic of music, and how it all still impacts them more than five decades later. An excerpt follows...
American Songwriter: Through 50 years of KISS, solo, and other projects, what kind of songwriter are you today?
Gene Simmons: "It happens even when you’re least expecting. And everybody’s the same. You can hop into a shower—if you care about hygiene—and you’re creating music. And the chances are pretty good that the melody you’re coming up with has never been used before. If you put some words into it, you’re writing a song."
Paul Stanley: "I loved doing the Soul Station album (Now and Then, 2021). It was awesome because my roots are very diverse. My roots are broad, and I’m a big believer that if you listen to one kind of music, you’re malnourished. Music is like food. You need variety, because what you listen to will come out in some form or another.
"For me, writing the Soul Station songs and arranging the strings and everything was really gratifying. Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, Thom Bell, Holland-Dozier-Holland (Lamont Dozier, Brian, and Eddie Holland)—there are just so many amazing producers, writers, and arrangers, and that’s part of who I am. To tap into that was really something. Just a few days ago, I was listening to it [Soul Station], and I felt like I was possessed.
"It’s the idea of embodying something that you’re doing. If you’re doing a project, you have to live in it. When you hear about actors not dropping their characters when they’re not filming, I kind of understand it whether it’s painting or writing songs. If I’m writing—and I enjoy writing for other projects other than myself—you almost have to put yourself in someone else’s skin. But you have to draw from your own experience. That’s what made Soul Station so much fun."
American Songwriter: When writing for other artists, is it a different process of pulling from within for someone else?
Paul Stanley: "It goes back all the way to writing [KISS’] 'Hard Luck Woman' (1976), which was really a song. I thought, ‘Gee, this will be great for Rod Stewart.’ What happened was we’d had a hit with 'Beth', and the band heard it, and Gene [Simmons] heard it, and it was like ‘No, no, no, no, we need this song.’
"It’s the project of saying ‘What would a song sound like if it was written by so and so,’ and assuming someone else’s identity. I enjoy that."
Read more at American Songwriter.