by CSQ Magazine
Forty years is a long time for any partnership to survive, but in the music industry, when you think about artists from four decades ago, it’s nearly always in the past tense. Not so with Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. The founders and remaining original members of KISS are forging full-steam ahead on the heels of the band’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with this summer’s 40-year anniversary, 42-city U.S. tour, with a stop at The Forum in Los Angeles on July 8. Although the output of new material has ebbed, the pair have been plenty busy – together and separately – with multiple projects, including reality television, memoirs, musical theatre, films, a music label, a new line of restaurants, and bringing football back to Los Angeles.
What was the impetus for not only putting your energy behind an Arena Football League team in Los Angeles but branding it LA KISS?
It happened quite naturally. We were asked to play the AFL Arena Bowl. And then we became enamored with the AFL and found that there was no football team of any kind in Los Angeles. Opportunity knocked. We answered.
What will people see at an LA KISS game that they can’t see at any other sporting event?
We try to fill the evening with a variety of entertainment so that you’re not waiting for half time that consists of somebody running around the field dressed like a hamster. We’ve got great dancers and I don’t mean cheer ones. We’ve got BMX stunt bike riders. We’ve got a live band. We’ve got dancers suspended from the ceiling. And we’ve got a football team that looks like Marvel superheroes. And all at a price that won’t make you mortgage your house.
How involved are you in decisions related to the team (i.e., uniforms, personnel, in-game entertainment)?
We are involved in all the facets, without crossing the lines into certain managerial and coaching areas, which is best left to the professionals. Having said that, Paul designed the helmets and LA KISS Girls outfits.
How would you compare the lifestyle of professional athletes and professional musicians? Did either of you ever have aspirations to pursue sports?
Most musicians are wimps. To do what I do takes discipline, hard work, and constant training. My injuries, including torn rotator cuffs, torn knees, and a hip that had to be replaced with titanium, says it all. I am a warrior, not a wimp.