By Matt Wardlaw

One thing that becomes perfectly clear early in our conversation with Paul Stanley of KISS is that he doesn’t give a damn what the critics think. Instead, it’s the fans that have followed KISS since day one of their 40-year history as a group that really matter to the longtime singer and guitarist. During a phone call prior to the band’s current tour with Def Leppard, which stops in at Blossom Music Center this week, Stanley was happy to tell us exactly why the opinions of critics, “present company excluded,” as he added, don’t hold a lot of weight in his world.

“They didn’t go to school to get a degree in being critics — in a sense, they’re entertainers and they’re given a lot of credence by some people and ignored by others,” he says. “I don’t need somebody to tell me what good food is. Good food is what I swallow and bad food is what I spit out. Likewise, I don’t need to be educated about art or music, because it’s totally subjective. The people that count are the people who pay hard-earned money for tickets, hard-earned money for CDs, hard-earned money for T-shirts, belt buckles or whatever. So why would I chase the approval of people who really haven’t taken the test? So no, not at all. You’d have to ask the millions of people who are happy that we’ve done it. To this day, I still have issues with critics and with politics of critics and I am proud of what I’ve done and proud to continue doing it.”

From the band’s earliest days, Stanley says that they always knew what they wanted to do as a group and although they certainly made a big statement with their makeup, they wanted to make an even bigger statement with their music.

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