By Adrian Thrills
Kiss frontman Paul Stanley has had joint trouble — and not the kind you’d expect in a rock ’n’ roll man. After 40 years teetering around the stage in 8in platform heels, it’s his hips (and knees and shoulders) that have had it.
Stanley and his bandmates have sold 100 million albums since they first daubed their faces with black and white warpaint in 1973, and he has paid the price with two hip replacement ops.
‘I’m a bionic man and I’ve earned every scar,’ the 60-year-old singer and guitarist says proudly. ‘My doctors are sports specialists, as my injuries are the same as those that affect [American] footballers.
'My knees have been surgically reassembled and I’ve had work done on my shoulders.
‘But I’m in better shape than ever. The engine’s been serviced and I’m good for another 50,000 miles.’
Kiss are one of rock’s great survivors, as well known for their comic-book stage personas and garish costumes as their music, while their gigs are renowned for fire-breathing stunts and eye-popping special effects.
But they attribute their staying power to a more old-fashioned virtue: hard graft.
‘Four decades ago, a bunch of knuckleheads from New York got together,’ says bassist Gene Simmons.
‘The four of us had an epiphany: let’s put together the band we’ve never seen on stage. So we did it, and we’re still here.
‘Back then, there were no shortcuts. There was no internet or cable TV. You had to take your case directly to the people by playing live, and we do the same today. We’re the real deal.’
Or as real as anyone sporting face paint, Spandex leggings and glitter wedges for their day job can be.
The bullish 62-year-old adds: ‘If you are a member of U2 or Coldplay, you put on your jeans and T-shirt and play. Those bands are great, but they don’t have to sweat.
‘We spend two hours putting on make-up. Then we run around for two hours in platform shoes. I spit fire and fly up to the rafters.’