'Sonic Boom' album from KISS soars while Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley's friendship endures
Paul Stanley, 57, and fellow bandleader Gene Simmons, 60, are both sons of Jewish refugees who instilled them with vigorous work ethics, have formed one of the more enduring - and lucrative - bonds in rock 'n' roll. They even live about two minutes' drive from each other, although Stanley says he's been to Simmons' house perhaps four times in the past decade.
"We're very close as family," he said. "You can love your brother and not want to see him all the time."
As the rock-star manse speeds toward completion, KISS also seems to be on a roll. A new studio album, "Sonic Boom," debuted at No. 2 on the U.S. pop chart last Wednesday, the band's highest ranking ever.
Stanley produced the new album himself for the first time, and wrote or co-wrote nine of the tracks.
Many of the songs - celebrations of what Stanley calls "freedom, love of life, the value of friendship" - are fist-pumping anthems that would seem natural contenders for big stadium or arena shows. He tantalizingly acknowledges as much.
"We played those songs during sound checks. They sound every bit as good as anything else. They have the soul," he said.
The new song "Stand," which Simmons and Stanley wrote together, is a tribute to their friendship, sure to bring tears to the eyes of emotional fans.
"The idea that we shouldn't revel in the idea of camaraderie or teamwork or what people can accomplish together is silly," Stanley said. "What we hope for in life is companionship, people we care about. It's timeless."
Another of their odes to teamwork, "All For The Glory," is sung by 51-year-old drummer Eric Singer.
"It's so great to have a band of guys who all love the band, and all want to do what's best for the band, as opposed to further themselves at the band's expense," Stanley said.
"Anybody who would kid themselves into believing that 'Sonic Boom' could have been made by any four other members is out of their mind."