Paul Stanley takes us beneath the greasepaint with glam rock icons KISS
By James McNair
By October 31, 1998, Paul Stanley’s band Kiss had already spent a quarter of a century in make-up. “Clown White” greasepaint was the foundation upon which they painted their comic-book alter-egos. Stanley was The Starchild, his fire-eating, blood-capsule chomping co-frontman Gene Simmons was The Demon, and lead guitarist Ace Frehley was The Spaceman. Drummer Peter Criss – clearly trading his sticks for the short straw – had the risible whiskers and dinky little nose of The Catman.
After their show at Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles that night, Kiss planned to decamp to the Sunset Marquis in Hollywood. They wanted to remove the make-up and outlandish stage outfits that had taken each of them the best part of two hours to put on. When their vehicle encountered the crowds forming the Hollywood Halloween parade, however, gridlock ensued.
“We were about seven blocks away when it dawned on me we could get out and walk,” recalls Stanley of the night the simple backdrop of Halloween enabled Kiss to stroll with the masses incognito. “Wow, man, great costumes!” commented one reveller at the time. “You really look like them!”
Stanley’s 462-page memoir is an eminently readable book. Jimmy Page and Dave Grohl big him up in the accompanying blurb, while, inside, a photograph of Lady Gaga wearing Stanley’s 7-inch, silver star-encrusted heels reminds us that the daft majesty of Kiss still has resonance for younger A-listers.