KISS’ history with Arizona is “pretty long and pretty steamy on all sides,” says singer/rhythm guitarist Paul Stanley.
But don’t press him for details.
“I’ve spent my fair share of time there with and without the band,” says Stanley, whose legendary act kicks off its summer tour on July 4 at Casino del Sol in Tucson.
“I have some long-term ties there and I have some great memories. I won’t go much more into detail. We have been going to Arizona, whether it’s Phoenix or Tucson, for as long as I can remember. It’s always been hot in more ways than one. That’s rock ‘n’ roll.”
Stanley could be talking about debauchery, KISS’ trademark pyro or the Sonoran Desert temperatures. One thing is clear: On this tour, KISS is supporting soldiers by partnering with Hiring Our Heroes (HOH) and Veteran Tickets Foundation (Vet Tix). KISS is hiring for the enviable role of “Roadie for the Day” for each show and donating tickets to VetTix.org.
Stanley says it’s imperative to support the troops.
“They just don’t get a fair shake,” he says passionately. “They volunteer to go into harm’s way. They volunteer to risk everything they have. It’s difficult for them physically and psychologically.
“We forget about their families. So many people are impacted by their service. Anytime we can shed a light on that is great.”
Stanley says he and his bandmates—bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons, guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer—see charity work as something that’s required of them.
“I think the more success we’ve gotten, the more it’s clear that charity isn’t an option. It’s an obligation,” Stanley says. “The greatest reward is giving.”
KISS’ giving nature extends to live shows. Stanley adds that KISS still enjoys playing the hits like “Detroit Rock City,” “Cold Gin” and “Rock and Roll All Nite.”
“Listen, I love what I do,” he says. “When bands start rearranging songs it’s because they’re bored. They’re also showing that the songs don’t hold up as they were. They’re also showing a lack of respect for bands. Fans don’t want to hear a reggae version of a song.
“They want to hear it the way they remember it. Otherwise, it shows blatant disregard for fans. We’re there for the fans, not vice versa.”
Stanley says yes, there will be plenty of pyro on July 4.
“We’re never known for subtly,” says Stanley, who also fronts Soul Station, his 13-piece R&B band. “We will be in our full glory. The band’s never been better. At this point, we don’t compete with anybody—just our legacy and our history.
“When we go out every night, it’s not only to live up to our past, it’s to surpass it. We don’t want someone to say, ‘You should have seen them when …’ Every show is the only show that matters. We make sure it’ll be a show to talk about for some time to come.”
KISS, Casino del Sol’s AVA Amphitheatre, 5655 W. Valencia Rd., Tucson, 855.765.7829, casinodelsol.com, 8 p.m. Monday, July 4, $100-$1,250.