KISS’s PAUL STANLEY: ‘We Don’t Make Art That Is Intellectual; We Make Art That’s Emotional’

In a new interview with Gulf News, KISS frontman Paul Stanley addressed the fact that he and his bandmates have never allowed their concert theatrics to overshadow the music.

“I always say this: a crappy band with a big show is a crappy band,” he explained. “We didn’t start as a band with everything. We started as a band making music we listened to. When I was young, I saw LED ZEPPELIN, I saw Jimi Hendrix twice and I saw all the greats. They inspired me. And it was never about being a part of a band with make-up and (fireworks) … Our music doesn’t need intellectualizing or philosophizing.”

Stanley added: “I know there are entertainers right now who can draw bigger crowds, but I don’t know if they are going to in the next 50 years. We have done that. Our devoted fan base is almost like a tribe … We don’t make art that is intellectual; we make art that’s emotional … That’s why people remember their first KISS concert, their first KISS song, and they remember when KISS first came on the radio. It’s a powerful connection.”

Two years ago, Stanley told Classic Rock magazine that “one of the best things about early KISS songs is that they really were uninhibited and very much from the gut: we had nothing to live up to, except doing what turned us on.”

“Over time you can learn too much: you might become a better songwriter, but sometimes it’s the freedom of naivety that makes for the best result,” he concluded.

KISS‘s final runs of shows will wrap up in early December with a massive concert in the city where it all began for the legendary rock act. New York City has been a part of the band’s ethos and storyline for more than four decades, so they felt it fitting to culminate an iconic Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame-worthy career on stage at New York’s famed Madison Square Garden.

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KISS launched its farewell trek in January 2019 but was forced to put it on hold in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“End Of The Road” was originally scheduled to conclude on July 17, 2021 in New York City but has since been extended to late 2023. The trek was announced in September 2018 following a KISS performance of the band’s classic song “Detroit Rock City” on “America’s Got Talent”.

Last month, Stanley told Australia’s “The Project” about “End Of The Road”: “Well, it’s interesting because we can see the end now. When we started to plan this, it was probably about five years ago and the pandemic came into play and we lost a few years. We’ve done 250 shows on this ‘End Of The Road’ tour, because it’s a long road, and they kept paving more road. But this is it for us. And intellectually, yeah, we go, we can’t continue doing this. We’re in our 70s; hard to believe. But for us, it’s just reached a point where we realize we can’t do this indefinitely. We’re really at the top of our game still. And now’s the time to do a victory lap and go out there with our heads held high and say thank you to everybody and do a show that really encapsulates and really pays tribute not only to us but to the fans.”

KISS‘s current lineup consists of original members Stanley (guitar, vocals) and Gene Simmons (bass, vocals),alongside later band additions, guitarist Tommy Thayer (since 2002) and drummer Eric Singer (on and off since 1991).

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Formed in 1973 by Stanley, Simmons, Peter Criss and Ace Frehley, KISS staged its first “farewell” tour in 2000, the last to feature the group’s original lineup.