Paul Stanley of KISS: Winning and living on your own terms defines rock and roll

By Robin Leach / Las Vegas Sun

Fire breathing, spitting blood, guitars on fire, levitating drum kits and extraordinary pyrotechnics have always been hallmarks of KISS led by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, and it all finally took them to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The rockers’ worldwide record sales are more than 100 million, making them one of the bestselling bands of all time. Incredibly, the group that formed in 1973 is going stronger than ever, and its Army of fans grows larger, too.

Now KISS is celebrating its 40th anniversary with its first-ever residency — at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel — where Gene promises: “What happens in Vegas will not stay in Vegas, not if we have anything to do with it. We intend to blow the roof off the Hard Rock.”

KISS will play nine shows Nov. 5-23 with guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer rounding out the action. Beneath that bizarre makeup beats the hearts of two astute businessmen who are marketing marvels. We actually share the same Wall Street investment banker.

I’ve known Gene and Paul for many, many years, so it’s always good to have a long chat with them. I caught up with Paul just before he left for Mexico City and his annual KISS Cruise.

You’ve just wrapped another one of those major tours?

We did 42 shows and played to 600,000 people, so right now I’m just catching my breath. Tomorrow I leave for Mexico City to headline a festival, then we have the KISS Cruise, which we do every year, and that’s sold out with 3,500 people from 33 countries. Then we come to Las Vegas, which is the icing on the cake.


A Timeless KISS

Revisiting a childhood obsession as the rock-star superheroes come to Vegas

By Sean DeFrank / VegasSeven.com

I have a confession to make:

Despite appearances, I was never really in the Army. Yes, I wore the uniform, knew all the terminology and infiltrated its ranks, but after all these years—on the eve of KISS’ residency at the Hard Rock Hotel—I finally have to come clean: I was never an official member of the KISS Army in the ’70s. I had friends in elementary school who paid the $5 annual fee to become card-carrying members, but for reasons unknown to me even now, I never formally enlisted.

Having such a strong devotion to the band, maybe the official membership just seemed extraneous to me. After all, I bought all the affiliated merchandise, or rather my family did: posters, T-shirts, magazines, action figures, trading cards, puzzles, lunch box, a windbreaker jacket, you name it. Even the KISS Your Face Makeup Kit, which my mom used when I was Paul Stanley for Halloween in fifth grade (his makeup was the easiest to do). I had all the albums, some on vinyl and 8-track, even the four lame 1978 solo projects. OK, three were lame; Ace Frehley’s easily outrocked the others.

It wasn’t just my parents who were aware of and supported my habit. My stoic maternal grandfather purchased a copy of Alive II not only so I could listen to it when I visited, but also so he could learn more about this band I was infatuated with, a subtle gesture of love that wasn’t lost on me even then. And I remember distinctly the day in 1978 my paternal grandmother brought home the slick promotional magazine for KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park from the grocery store.

My dad promised he would take me to a KISS concert if they ever came to Las Vegas. But they only performed here once during the ’70s—in May 1975 at the Sahara (with Rush opening!)—not long before I became obsessed with the band.



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KISS: Love Gun Deluxe Edition Review

By Mark Lore / Paste Magazine

KISS will always be a live band. It wasn’t until 1975’s double concert LP Alive! (which followed three studio albums released over two years) that people began to really pay attention to the band. While those early studio records had some great songs, they were sometimes plagued by tinny production, lethargic performances, or both. It was on stage—exploding in one tidal wave of blood, fire and volume—where KISS had the power to level city blocks.

1976’s Destroyer was a response to those first three records. With the help of producer Bob Ezrin—who by that point had worked magic on Lou Reed’s Berlin and Alice Cooper’s Love It To Death—KISS conquered the studio with choirs, orchestras, conceptual elements and even a goddamn calliope. In hindsight, Destroyer is seen as KISS’s masterpiece. At the time, opinions—especially those of fans—were mixed. What followed was 1976’s Rock and Roll Over and 1977’s Love Gun—both returns to the raw, barebones rock and roll that Midwestern pubescent males craved, and also the final two records to feature all four original members.

Of course, the KISS Army is a fickle bunch when it comes to these things—choosing the best studio record from KISS’s klassik era is simply a matter of taste (or, from an outsider’s perspective, tastelessness). KISS’s 1974 self-titled debut is loaded front-to-back with timeless rockers. Hotter Than Hell is dark, heavy and strange. Dressed To Kill contains their glammiest New York power pop. Destroyer is, naturally, impeccable, but probably a little too luxurious if you truly wanna rock and roll all nite. And Rock and Roll Over makes good on its title.

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